Dorothy Lamour

  1. Marsha Hunt, College Holiday, 1935.      Lamour was originally Sylvia Smith in this part of Paramount’s silver jubilee year. And it had enough stars: “subdued Jack Benny, exaggerated Martha Raye, restricted Mary Boland, generous Burns and Allen,” said The New York Times critic Frank S Nugent. He was kinder about Hunt’s duets with Leif Erikson.
  2. Joan Crawford, The Women, 1937.       Not yet famous for her sarong, Lamour was invited to join the 150 female roles in the MGM classic. No! She found Crystal “less then desirable.”  In the (all together now: totally unnecessary) re-makes, Crystal was Joan Collins in 1955 and Eva Mendes, 2007.
  3. Madeleine Carroll, Bahama Passage, 1940.       Shooting in the the British West Indies meant Brits had to have roles. Hence the stunning blonde Carroll trying to melt Sterling Hayden. “She gives it everything she’s got,” noted New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, “while he just stands straight as a mainmast and speaks his lines in truculent monotone.” The original title, Dildo Cay, was changed for some reason.
  4. Rita Hayworth, Blood and Sand, 1941.  When Fox decided to take over Paramount’s idea of  re-making Rodolph (sic) Valentino’s 1922 silen6 classic with Tyrone Power, the suits ran through ten  possibilities for the matador’s lady, Doña Sol des Muir (refused by Tallulah Bankhead in the 30s). Those interviewed and/or tested were Betty Grable, Hedy Lamarr, Dorothy Lamour, Carole Landis, Mona Maris, Maria Montez, Jane Russell, Gene Tierney – and Lynn Bari, who was awarded with the support role of Encarnacion).  Finally, this became Rita Hayworth’s first Technicolor film… even if her singing had to be dubbed by Rosita Granada.  Another re-tread in 1957 for, almost obviously, Sophia Loren, never happened.
  5. Margaret Leighton, Great Expectations1974.  And some 33 years later… this one takes some believing.  Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and Bob’s sarong gal was seen for…Miss Havisham!  Well, it must be added that this fourth version of the Dickens classic was a musical. For about seven weeks.   “I duly took singing lessons,” reported  Pip’s Michael York in his auto-bio, ”and even recorded such predictable ditties as ‘I Had Great Expecta-a-ations.’ Instead of counterpointing, illuminating or ideally advancing the action, it was found that they stopped

 Birth year: 1914Death year: 1996Other name: Casting Calls:  5