Paul Lukas

  1. William Harrigan, The Invisible Man, 1933.      Lukas was set to help the unseen scientist Claude Rains on his bid to conquer the world. Invisibly.  “We’ll begin with a reign of terror.”  Author HG Wells  was  more upset by the making a lunatic of his brilliant scientist. Said director James Whale: “In the minds of rational people only a lunatic would want to make himself invisible.”
  2. Ricardo Cortez, Hat, Coat and Glove, 1933.      The New York Times review stated John Barrymore declined the leading role. Rubbish! The Barrymore vehicle crashed into his alcoholism, he could no longer remember his lines and was dumped after three days. Lukas and Adolphe Menjou were quickly contacted but only Cortez answered the phone! He took over the lawyer defending his wife’s lover on a murder charge… when it was the lawyer whodunnit. You hadda be there!
  3. Warren William, Imitation of Life, 1933.  Change of Claudette Colbert’s  fiancéin the first version of  Fannie Hurst’s weepie about race and how a  a fair-skinned black girl cuts off all tiews with her mother to pass for white in lfe.. I prefer this John  M Stahl version to Douglas Sirk’s overblown 1958 soap. With another diva. Lana Turner.
  4. Cedric Hardwicke, The Moon Is Down, 1942.        All the major studios fought for John Steinbeck’s praised/vilified novel/play about the Nazi occupation of Norway. (It was, in fact, superb propaganda for anti-Nazi resistance). Fox chief Darryl F Zanuck won because of how he made Steinbeck’s previous book, The Grapes of Wrath. (The then highest price of $300,000 helped, too). There were eight possibilities for Colonel Lanser: Lukas, Fritz Kortner, Charles Laughton, Broadway’s Alfred Lunt, Otto Preminger, George Sanders, Conrad Veidt, Orson Welles.
  5. Claude Rains, Mr Skeffington, 1943.  David O Selznick wanted the book in 1940 for James Stephenson and Bette Davis but head bro Jack Warner won it and aimed,  Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, Irene Dunne, Merle Oberon,  Norma Shearer and Gloria Swanson at Mrs S., wed to John Loder, Paul Lukas or Richard Waring – after  James Stephenson died before the filming began.  (Waring instead became  Mrs S’ brother, Trippy Trellis). Davis rejected her Mrs role first time around. She “couldn’t play 50 at 32“– plus lines like “You’ve never loved anyone but yourself” were way too close to home. She then insisted on Claude Rains: her favourite “actor and colleague.”  as Mr. Plus Vincent Sherman as her director., and, inevitably, had an affair with him. Which usually guaranteed more and better close-ups… The 30-day shooting schedule took 110 days. Because, said the scenarist twins Julius J and Philip G Epstein, “Bette Davis is a slow director.”
  6. Alexander Knox, None Shall Escape, 1943. Knox wanted Lewis Milestone to direct and not his other guy making only his second US movie (after five in his native Hungary). Columbia czar Harry Cohn told  off the ungrateful actor.  After all, it was the novice Andréde Toth who wanted Knox after seeing hm on Broadway, while Cohn had voted for Lukas as the Nazi officer Grimm in Hollywood’s first Holocaust film.The two men ended as friends, making three other movies: Man in the Saddle, 1951; Hidden Fear, 1956; The Two-Headed Spy,1958. .
  7. Leo G Carroll, Spellbound, 1944.        Greatly aided by Alfred Hitchcock and Salvador Dali visuals, the script derived from various writers including Mrs Alma Hitchcock, Ben Hecht and producer’s David O Selznick’s shrink. DOS was still not satisfied. He wanted a love triangle between Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck and whoever played Dr Murchison…  When Fredric March passed and Lukas, Ralph Bellamy and Alan Napier made unimpressive tests, the idea was dropped in favour of what Hitch always labelled “just another manhunt wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis.”
  8. Raymond Massey, Possessed, 1946.    A catatonic woman found on LA strreets tells a doctor how she got there…. (In this where Danish director Lars von Trier got his opening for Nymphomaniac, 66 years later?)   The ’46 cast was switched  from Lupino, Dr Paul Lukas and Sydney Greenstreet to Crawford, Heeflibn and Raymond Massey. Crawfored made two movies with this title. The first was with Clark Gable, the second was not.

 Birth year: 1894Death year: 1971Other name: Casting Calls:  8