George Arliss

  1. Miles Mander, Suez, 1938.     Ironically the role was Benjamin Disraeli – exclusively Arliss property after his Broadway, 1921 silent and  1929 talkie versions of the life of Britain’s first Jewish  Prime Minister. 
  2. Jascha Heifetz, They Shall Have Music, 1938.     Producer Samuel Goldwyn thought about the Brtitish Arliss or Walter Brennan for the music master – until he achieved his dream of persuading his friend, the violinist superstar to make a movie.  (Heifetz  was married to silent  movie star Florence Vidor).  
  3. Walter Brennan, They Shall Have Music, 1939.   The hammy Arliss was the first idea for the Music Master which far better suited Brennan’s acting styie. Archie Mayo directed but William Wyler, Himself, helmed the five violin solos (Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky,  Mendelssohn, etc) by the great Jascha Heifetz, himself.
  4. Donald Crisp, How Green Was My Valley, 1940.   After paying  $300,000 for Richard Llewellyn’s Welsh Germinal, head Fox Darryl Zanuck wanted the venerable (if hammy) Brit to be Dada, head of the Morgan family – in what New York Times critic Bosley Crowther hailed as “a stunning masterpiece.” It went on to beat Citizen Kane for Best Film, the perfect Crisp winning the support award as John Ford collected the third (of four) unequalled directing Oscars.
  5. Abraham Sofaer, A Matter of Life and Death (US: Stairway To Heaven), 1946.  The stage veteran was first offered The Judge in the audacious Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger classic.

 Birth year: 1868Death year: 1946Other name: Casting Calls:  5