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Charles Bickford (1891-1967)

  1. Johnny Weissmuller, Tarzan, The Ape Man, 1931.
  2. Pat O’Brien, Laughter in Hell, 1932.   According to the Milwaukee Sentinal, no less, on April 21st, 1932., Bickford was due for the chain-gang. A  month earlier,  Hollywood  gossip hen Louella Parsona jpromiserd Victor McLaglen for the lead. John Ford supposed to direct, but the film was made e by the dreaded  Edward L  Cahn, who made Ed Wood look good. MHG in New York Times was not impressed.    “Where I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang was real and dramatic, this current contribution is clumsy and doleful.”   (The busiest Canadian in Hollywood at the time, Berton Churchill, was in both).
  3. Robert Montgomery, Night Must Fall, 1936.    Montgomery put up a fight for the role, but MGM didn’t want  its romcom idol playing a psychopath - and tried to loan Paramount’s Bickford. No deal. OK, then Bob, it’s yours… “but we’re gonna hafta warn the public of  the spurious content.”  
  4. Brian Donlevy, Union Pacific, 1938. As the polite version goes, Bickford “stepped out of the part because he didn't like it.”   CB DeMille must have been more heated, despite directing from a stretcher while recovering from surgery.
  5. Ray Collins, The Eve of St Mark, 1943.   Bickford and Brian Donlevy were also up for Deckman West in this good slice of propaganda - or “morale booster,” as critics dubbed it - based on Maxwell Anderson’s Broadway hit, following a small town’s hero called… Quizz.
  6. Lionel Barrymore, It's A Wonderful Life, 1946.
  7. Gene Lockhart, Joan of Arc, 1947.    Change of Georges de la Trémouile in July 1947…. After London producer Alexander Korda cancelled plans for a dual-language version with Michele Morgan a in face of the Hollywood competition from Ingrid Bergman of Lorraine.
  8. John Wayne, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, 1948.   Bickford was first choice (and around the right age at 57) for Captain Nathan Cutting Brittles… until John Ford was impressed by his older than 41 role of Thomas Dunson in Red River.
  9. Otto Kruger, Magnificent Obsession, 1953.   Change of painter Edward Randolph in Douglas Sirk’s soppy, not to say soapy re-gurgitation of the 1935 weepie. …marking the birth of the new Universal king. Rock Hudson.
  10. Chill Wills, Giant, 1955.







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