Louis Jourdan

  1. Cary Grant, I Was A Male War Bride, 1948.  A Frenchman instead of Cary Grant, what was producer Sol C Siegel thinking?  Well, he wasn’t looking beyond the Henri Rochard character  being French –  although based on the Belgian Army Major Roger Henri Charlier, the book’s author and its real-life  protagonist. Ann Sheridan (not Ava Gardner), as the WAC who wed the stuffy  Frenchy and the only way he can travel with her to the US  was by  the joining war bride quota. Therefore, Cary had to disguise himself as herself, long hair, nylons and acting extremely feminine. No, said director Howard Hawks, “Just do it like a man women’s clothing.”  Won’t work, said Grant. So Hawks got dragged up for a Heidelberg party with the military  top brass – red wig, cigar and “Gotta light general?” A convulsed Grant got the message and followed suit. “I honestly feel it’s the best comedy  I’ve ever done.”

  2. Lyle Bettger,  The Greatest Show on Earth, 1951.      Three years before CB De Mille made his old dream of a circus film (and inspired a six-year-old Phoenix kid named Spielberg to make movies),  the Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick planned risking $6m on a big top number named after the slogan of the Ringling Bros circus. The DOS line-up would have featured Jourdan, Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones, Dorothy McGuire, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Shirley Temple and Alida Valli.  Obviously the DeMille  epic had a different script, but it’s safe to surmise  that the characters would have been much the same… trapeze stars, lion-tamer, elephant girl, circus boss.

  3. Cameron Mitchell, Les Miserables, 1951.M’sieur Smoothie from Paris was first announced by director Lewis Milestone for Marius in the French classic. Until someone realised he’d be the sole Frenchman in the cast. Brits Michael Rennie and Robert Newton were Valjean and Javert.
  4. Vincent Price, Son of Sinbad, 1953.     Suddenly, Omar Khayym – Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer – came from St Louis and not Marseille as the RKO origibnal line-up of Keith Andes, Jourdan and Ursula Thiess churned into Dale Robertson, Price and Sally Forrest. All shot in… Superscope.
  5. Marlon Brando, Désirée, 1964. Or Daisy Rae as Brando insisted on calling her…  Jourdan, Montgomery Clift  and Jay Robinson were early Fox notions for Napoleon. Until Brando’s agents offered a sweet deal.  Marlon would turn emperor if Fox would forget  its $2m suit against him  for refusing The Egyptian   in 1953.  Fox  swiftly agreed, knowing Brando would sell more tickets. And he did. Désirée was a much bigger hit than On the Waterfront.  Go figure!   
  6. Philippe Noiret, La vie de Chateau (US: A Matter of Resistance), France,  1965.   “His nose is too big,” said realisateur Jean-Paul Rappeneau when Noiret was suggested by one of the writers (future director Claude Sautet) to play the gentleman-farmer. Rappeneau was dreaming of Jourdan, due to his handsome looks and his Hollywood experience…. His last actual French film had been Mathias Sandorf, 1963 – and his next (and last) was Plus ça va, moins ça va (The More It Goes, the Less it Goes)… and that was made in Spain in 1977.  Rappeneau discovered that Noiret’s talent  was bigger than  his nose.
  7. Rossano Brazzi, The Adventurers,1969. A  last minute change to the Italian  Brazzi from the French Jourdan as Baron de Coyne, cutting his wastrel son off without a cent for spending too much time (and money) alongside the hero and his insatiable taste for fast cars – and women to match. UK director Lewis Gilbert (better at James Bondage) agreeed with the general consensus that his film was… terrible!  
  8. Jean-Pierre Aumont, La nuit americaine/Day For Night, France, 1973.   Unavailable – or unimpressed – when realisateur François Truffaut offered him the role of the veteran movie star, proving to be gay, in this Oscar-winning hommage to  film-making – hated, naturally, by his New Wave colleague  Jean-Luc Godard,    and loved, unreservedly,  by almost everyone else as The Movie about the joys of movie-making.
  9. Michael Lonsdale, Moonraker, 1979.
  10. Cesar Romero, Falcon Crest, TV, 1985-1988.     Three other suave movie kings were also looked at for the billionaire Greek shipping magnate Peter Stavros (involved with lead harridan Jane Wyman for 50 episodes): Jourdan,  Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Gregory Peck.

 Birth year: 1921Death year: 2015Other name: Casting Calls:  10