Otto Kruger

  1. Paul Lukas, The Casino Murder Case, 1934.       Four films as SS Van Dine’s (actually, Willard Huntington Wright’s) snobbish, cynical, bored, supercilious, dilettante detective Philo Vance was enough for William Powell. He refused this one, planned by MGM for him and Myrna Loy (the better Thin Man and his wife). This news put Metro into a panic. Did they have another Philo? Well, Basil Rathbone had Vanced once in 1929 (and was Sherlock Holmes, opposite Powell’s Vance in Paramount on Parade, 1929). But that was then, this was now… Kruger topped the list, followed by Columbia’s magician-actor Fred Keating, Warren William (he had Vanced the previous year), Ricardo Cortez and, finally, Lukas – with Ted Healy succeeding Eugene Pallette as Sergeant Heath of the NYPD Homicide Bureau. Raymond Chandler was no fan of “the most asinine character in detective fiction.” And funny poet Ogden Nash added: “Philo Vance/
Needs a kick in the pance.”
  2. Walter Connolly, Nancy Steele Is Missing, 1936.       Nancy’s father, a munitions millionaire, in the the post-Lindbergh kidnapped baby drama went through six actors: Kruger, John Halliday, Lionel Barrymore, Jean Hersholt, Jack Holt, Osgood Perkins (Tony’s dad)… before director George Marshall found the perfect Steele in the guy first cast by previous director Otto Preminger as the convict Sturm.
  3. Lionel Barrymore, It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946.
  4. Emylyn Williams, The Scarf, 1950.   The suspicious shrink hired by the father of an escaped killer (or is he?) was called Dunbar. Scottish, right?   So UA hired Williams, an actor-playwright. And Welsh!  


 Birth year: 1885Death year: 1974Other name: Casting Calls:  4