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Sir Cedric Hardwicke (1893-1964)

  1. Frank Lawton, David Copperfield, 1935.   Knighted the year before (“Arise Sir Cedric Pickwick,” said the deaf King George V), George Bernard Shaw's favourite actor (he wrote roles for him) lost his first  MGMovie due to a stage tour.
  2. Charles Laughton, The Barrets of Wimpole Street, 1934.     Director Sidney Franklin wanted Hardwicke, who created the role of the tyrrannical Edward Barret on Broadway, but Irving Thalberg wanted Laughton and you didn't mess with Thalberg.  He  was MGM's production boss. And house genius.
  3. Otto Kreuger, Vanessa, Her Love Story, 1935.   Still touring, he was luckier than title star Helen Hayes.  She fled back to Broadway afterwards. As he put it:  “Actors and burglars work better at night.”
  4. Robert Morley, Marie-Antoinette, 1938.   Neither Charles Laughton or Hardwicke were available  to mount the throne as Louis XVI.  
  5. Alexander Knox, This Above All, 1941.      Ya can’t always get wot ya wanna…  Darryl F Zanuck had such tight control at Fox that Nigel Bruce was the only one of eight casting suggestions made by director Anatole Litvak that DFZ approved.  Title stemmed from the Polonious soliloquy in Hamlet: This above all: to thine own self be true... As John Wayne could have told you; he could recite the entire play.
  6. Henry Daniell, Jane Eyre, 1943.     In  February 1942,  Hollywood Reporter revealed  that  producer David O  Selznick was testing Sir Ced  for the role of Brocklehurst. By November, DOS had sold it all - plus Claudia and Keys of the Kingdom - to 20th Century-Fox.
  7. Charles Bickford, The Song of Bernadette, 1943.    About ten actors tested for  Father  Peyramale, parish priest of the  the  French girl who had a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858. They included: Hardwicke Lee J Cobb, Donald Crisp, Walter Hampden and  Thomas Mitchell.  (Cobb was later given Dr  T Duzous).  Bickford became very close with  Jennifer Jones (wife of producer Davd O Selznick) who  played  Bernadette. They also co-starred in  DOS’s Duel in the Sun.  In fact, one  hour after hearing about Bickford’s death in 1967, Jones attempted suicide.
  8. Cecil Kellaway, Frenchman’s Creek, 1943. Hardwicke was Joan Fontaine’s butler William for a few weeks before being substituted by Kellaway. Not that his French accent was any better.
  9. Paul Lukas, Kim, 1950.     An on/off MGM project since 1935, when Sir  Cedric was booked for the Lama mystic long before the first screenplay (of eight!) was approved. 
  10. Maurice Evans, Androcles and Lion, 1951.    During three years of bizarre casting of the George Bernard Shaw playlet - everyone from the sublime Chaplin (and Harpo Marx) to the ridiculous Eddie Bracken was imagined for the lead. And Emperor Antoninus Caesar went from Rex Harrison to George Sanders to Hardwicke to José Ferrer to Evans…


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