Payday Loans
Rosalind Russell (1908-1976)

  1. Myrna Loy, Libeled Lady, 1935.        MGM made  Roz into young millionairess  Connie Allenbury - then decided it would be more fun if it was Loy and William Powell…  Again. (In the fifth of their 14 movies).  The slick comedy was re-hashed as Easy To Wed in 1945 with Van Johnson and Esther Williams when one of the extras was a beardless… Fidel Castro!
  2. Virginia Bruce, The Garden Murder Case, 1935.      For the eighth of the 15 films based on SS Van Dine’s (actually, Willard Huntingdon Wright’s) snobbish, cynical bored, supercilious, dilettante sleuth Philo Vance, Aherne was to Vance with Roz as Zalia Graem. But once bitten… She had been in an earlier Vance detective thriller, The Casino Murder Case, 1934. “So bad - and I was so bad in it.” 
  3. Mary Astor, Dodsworth, 1936.      Producer Samuel Goldwyn's casting director, Robert McIntyre, voted: Roz.Sam voted: Mary.Guess who won?
  4. Margaret Sullavan, The Shop Worn Angel, 1937.    Metro had no idea who should  - could! - inherit Daisy after Harlow’s tragic death.  First idea was Crawford, then  Russell - before being switched to The Citadel. Sullavan  partnered James Stewart. Two years later, comedy genius Ernst Lubitsch waited months  for the same couple for “the best picture I ever made in my life” - The Shop Around The Corner, 1939.  (In the meantime, he casually knocked off the equally enchanting Ninotchka!)
  5. Ann Sothern, Dulcy, 1939.   For the madcap comedy caper, the 1938 plan had been Florence Rice. By ’39, it was  Roz Russell.  Then,  Sothern breezed in as the dizzy Dulcy - described by The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther as “the daffy filly who always does the wrong things which invariably come out all right.”  He also suggested that Sothern must have been fed up with such  screw-loose comedies.
  6. Myrna Loy, Third Finger, Left Hand, 1939.   Loy, Russell and Marion Davies were in the  comedy mix for Margot, a single mom-to-be. The Production Code chief told MGM to cut several gags because illegitimacy was not a laughing matter.  Nor was the movie.
  7. Alice Faye, That Night In Rio, 1940.    During  a September 1940 meeting about what was then A Latin from Manhattan, head Fox Darryl F Zanuck, suggested Russell, Joan Bennett, Madeleine Carroll or Paulette Goddard for Baroness  Cecilia Duarte - before going with the contracted Faye in the sixth and final teaming with Don Ameche.  (She famously referred to her studio as Penitentiary Fox).
  8. Ida Lupino, Ladies In Retirement, 1940.     Roz had a non-exclusive Columbia deal and tried to head up the Creed sisters.  Director Charles Vidor preferred Lupino. She  preferred co-star Louis Hayward - her first husband during 1938-1945.
  9. Bette Davis, The Bride Came COD, 1940.  Bete hatedit! "iI was called a comedy” - not a genre she shone in. AllI  she got out of it “was a derriere full of cactus quills.” She should have left it to one of the other contenders Olivia De Havilland, Ginger Rogers, Rosalind Russell and (the suspended) Ann Sheridan.  They knew comedy.  
  10. Bette Davis, Old Acquaintance, 1942.      The Warner Bros. Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library says Russell and Irene Dunne were up for the best-selling novelist Kit Marlowe. Her old friend was played by Miriam Hopkins - an old arch-enemy of Davis!

  11. Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away, 1943.    Once he secured a part for his lady, Jennifer Jones (his  “property, ”said Dennis Hopper) and Shirley Temple’s comeback, Gone With The Windproducer David O Selznick worked hard on gaining the perfect Mrs Anne Hilton. He saw Russell, Irene Dunne, Ann Harding, Helen Hayesuntil finding his indomitable all-American mother in… the French Colbert!
  12. Joan Fontaine, Frenchman’s Creek, 1943.      English lady. French pirate. Love at eight bells. Also up for Dona St Columb (opposite Mexican star Mexican star Arturo de Córdova) were Russell, Irene Dunne, Vivien Leigh, Merle Oberon and Katina Paxinou.
  13. Paulette Goddard, Standing Room Only, 1943.    The salesman and his secretary became  butler and maid at a mansion for the  accommodation during their business trip to an overcrowded WWII Washington…  The daffy couple went went from Fred MacMurray and Rosalind Russell… to Sonny Tufts (all together now: Sonny Tufts??!!) and Paulette Goddard… before being solved by splitting the difference.  MacMurray and Goddard!
  14. Rose Stradner, The Keys of the Kingdom, 1944.   Once listed (so were Ingrid Bergman, Geraldine Fitzgerald and the inevitable rank outsider, KT Stevens) for the Reverend Mother Maria-Veronica. Co-writer Nunnally Johnson reported how writer-producer Joseph L Mankiewicz “practically got down on his knees” for his wife, Stradner: “This will save or doom my marriage.” Mankiewicz firmly denied it but she got the part. And the couple stayed wed until her1958 death. Bergman and Russell became meatier nuns in, respectively, The Bells of St Mary’s, 1944, Dixie: Changing Habits, TV, 1983, and The Trouble With Angels, 1965.    
  15. Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce, 1944.      James M Cain’s Mildred was an archetypical Stanwyckian broad - climbing over (weak) husbands to the top. So Stanwyck passed (been there, done that…) and Russell, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, Myrna Loy, Ann Sheridan were excamined. Director Michael Curtiz didn’t want to be lumbered with an old  “has-been” like Joan Crawford (as difficult asher shoulder pads). She shook him by agreeing to test, winning  him over and  simply complying with Mildred’s line: “I don’t know whether it’s right or whether it’s wrong, but that’s the way it’s gotta be.”  Oscar voters agreed on March 7 1946. 
  16. Gene Tierney, Laura, 1944.      Unadventurous for once, Head Fox Darryl Zanuck  wanted  a titular Russell with Dana Andrews and Laird Cregar as the cop and the critic. Director Rouben Mamoulian agreed.  (He needed the pay-check!), When he was canned after his first two weeks of rushes, Otto Preminger dumped them all for Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb and an instant classic. 
  17. Irene Dunne, Life With Father, 1946.    Mary Pickford won the rights to the Broadway hit, even agreed to test but, hell,  she hadn’t made a movie for 13 years! (They were never alarmed about William Powell having been off-screen for the nine years since  the tragically early death of his lover, Jean Harlow). So the Warner suits looked at Russell, Bette Davis and Rosemary DeCamp.. Director Michael Curtiz agreed that Dunne had more box-office pull (in her only colour film), although he really wanted Bette.
  18. Betty Garrett, My Sister Eileen, 1954.   Broadway’s 1953 hit, Wonderful Town, was based on the 1942 Columbia movie, My Sister Eileen. When Columbia decided to film the musical version, the rights were too wrong. A simple Eileen re-make was ordered instead - for Holliday in Rosalind Russell’s old role. But… Holliday was on Broadway in Bells Are Ringing; Russell, too, in Auntie Mame. And so the ex-MGMarvel, Betty Garrett, won her first film in five years since On The Town - due to just being the wife of McCarthyism victim, Larry Parks! (Holliday was also accused of Communist affiliations Being cleared by the Senate Internal Security Committee  did not  help her ruined career). During Judy’s vacation, Betty tookl over her New York role and and Roz Russell made Wonderful Town for TV (ie CBS could afford what Columbia wouldn’t!).
  19. Esther Williams, The Unguarded Moment, 1955.      Change of heroine as Williams leapt out of her pool…. But Russell was still on the screen - receiving her sole scenarist credit under her real name. (She signed Mrs. Pollifax - Spy as CA McKnight in 1970). Russell planned to star in the 40s. Better offers got in the way. By the time, Universal was ready to shoot, Roz was too old for a high school teacher, at 48.
  20. Maureen O’Sullivan, Never Too Late, 1965.      Spencer Tracy was the only  thought for Harry. Opposite one of a dozen choices for his wife - pregnant at 50, ho, ho, ho! From Russell to Katherine Hepburn (“but I’m too old for Edith?”). Plus June Allyson, Lucille Ball, Anne Baxter, Joan Fontaine, Susan Hayward, Deborah Kerr, Eleanor Parker, Ginger Rogers, Ann Sheridan. Ultimately, Warner Bros went with the Broadway hit’s duo: Paul Ford and O’Sullivan. 
  21. Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966.    Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1965.  Before Queen Liz made it her personal best performance (more so than Suddenly Las Summer??), the earlier choices for Martha were Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Patricia Neal, Rosalind Russell…  and Katharine Hepburn, who told the playwright Edward Albee: “This play is much better than I am."  When directors John Frankenheimer and Fred Zinneman fell out and Broadway king Mike Nichols made it his first film.  Liz approved him. Of course, she did. He and the Burtons had the same agent:  Robbie Lantz.  
  22. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967.  


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