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Sir Michael Hordern (1911-1995)

  1. Rupert Davies, Maigret, TV, 1960-1963.    Hordern  refused Aunty’s offer to succeed Basil Sydney from the 1959 pilot and become the iconic French commissaire.  Davies was perfect in all his 52 cases - instantly approved by the Belgian creator Georges Simenon.  “The moment Simenon saw me he shouted: ‘C'est Maigret, c'est Maigret.You are the flesh and bones of Maigret!”Apart, perhaps, from  Jsan  Gabin, no one else has been that good. Certainly nor a dour Rowan Atkinson in 2018. 
  2. Patrick Troughton, Doctor Who, 1966-1969.
  3. Trevor Howard, Meteor, 1979.      In the loop for Sir Michael Hughes in the last of the disaster movies (a $22m bummer) were: Howard, Hordern, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen Peter Cushing, Gordon Jackson, John Mills, Kenneth More, Anthony Quayle… and four UK knights: Sirs John Gielgud, Alec Guinness, John Mills and Ralph Richardson. (Hordern was knighted in 1983, Quayle in 1985).

  4. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.
  5. Aubrey Morris, Lifeforce, 1984.  
  6. Frank Finlay, Lifeforce, 1984.
  7. Frank Oz, Labyrinth, 1985. One of the writers, Terry Jones of the Monty Pythons, said, quite rightly, that the veteran Hordern would be above perfect as the Wiseman.  But Jim Hension (making, alas, his final film) had been wondering which role best  suited the wizardry of Oz… the voice, or course, of MIss Piggy in The Muppets and Yoda in the same producer George Lucas’ Star Wars.

  8. Alec McCown, Personal Services, 1986.      Pythonite Terry Jones loved Hordern in his pal Michael Palin’s The Missionary and asked him to be Wing Commander Morten, a client of suburban Madame Julie Walters. Apparently Hordern was none too happy about his character being masturbated by one of the brothel tarts. The film was banned in Eire - indeed three of the four only films to be banned by Eire were directed by Jones!

  9. John Neville, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1988.     Terry Gilliam’s first choices for his Baron were Hordern, Peter O’Toole or the third Docor Who, Jon Pertwee. Strangely enough, although Hordern, in particular, was also perfect for another Gilliam fixation - The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - he was never invited aboard the long-delayed dream movie, begun in 2000, finished (?) in 2017.




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