Paulette Goddard

  1. Charlotte Henry, Alice In Wonderland, 1932.      Mary Pickford had earlier planned to  be Alice with animation items made in Disney! Now it was Paramount trying to save its sinking ship with as most of its contracted stars (Cary Grant as Mock Turtle).  Didn’t work. Their costuming hid who they were! Apart from the nine Alice possibilities (rom the usual 7,000 hopefuls!  (Yeah, sure).   Marge Champion, 16; Betty Gable, 23; Anne Shirley, 15; and two real kiddiwinks: Sue Kellog and the stunning six-year-old Marilyn Knowlden. London offered Paulette Goddard, 23; Ida Lupino, 15,  and Pearl  Hay,12.  And the winner was Charlotte Henry,19, from New York and eventually 31 other movies.

  2. Vivien Leigh, Gone With The Wind,  1938.

  3. Marlene Dietrich, Destry Rides Again, 1939.    Or, The Man from Montana  when Paulette  was due to be Frenchy opposite Gary Cooper  or Joel McCrea (who would make  a sort of re-hash, Frenchie,  with Shelley Winters, in 1950). During the ’39 shoot, James Stewart had an affair with Marlene Dietrich, endjng in an abortion.  She was 38, he was 31.  She had already  horrified the Hays Office censors, after stuffing gold coins  in her bra and declaring: “There’s gold in them there hills!”
  4. Mary Astor, The Maltese Falcon, 1940.       Who didn’t want to be Brigid O’Shaugnessy:  “I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.”  She was the film noir Scarlett O’Hara and three of the potential Scarlett women were in the mix: Goddard, Joan Bennett, Brenda Marshall. Also delighted at being seen were: Ingrid Bergman, Olivia de Havilland,  Betty Field, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Janet Gaynor, Rita Hayworth. The rest were livid about not being good enough for bad Brigid… and her just desserts. “If you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years,” Bogie’s Sam Spade tells her.  “I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.”
  5. 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  Goddard, Joan Bennett, Madeleine Carroll or Rosalind Russell for Baroness  Cecilia Duarte – before going with the contracted Faye in her sixth and final teaming with Don Ameche.  (She famously referred to her studio as Penitentiary Fox). 
  6. Barbara Stanwyck, The Lady Eve, 1940.     “I need him like the ax needs the turkey.” For his deliciously sexy comedy, director Preston Sturges went through various combos for the con-woman chasing an heir to zillions… In 1938, the rascally gal was Claudette Colbert. In July, the couple was Joel McCrea and Madeleine Carrol, then Ray Milland and Goddard. By August, Carroll and Fred MacMurray. In September, Fox loaned Henry Fonda to join Goddard – and they wound up as Fonda and Stanwyck… at her wicked best. And then Sturges claimed he wrote it for her. Oh really!
  7. Ellen Drew, The Night of January 16th, 1940.  Ayn Rand was working in wardrobe and among the battalion of extras at RKO when the studio bought her play, Woman on Trial. It had a great gimmick – the murder trial jury being drawn from the audience every night. All the movie could offer was Drew, the wondrous Paramount princess, beating Goddard, Lucille Ball, Claudette Colbert and Barbara Stanwyck to the glory.
  8. Susan Hayward, The Forest Rangers, 1941.  When it was time to change the casting (as it invariably does), Goddard was promoted from the girl who didn’t get Forest Ranger Fred MacMurray to the one who did.
  9. Ingrid Bergman, For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1942.  Barbara Britton, Frances Farmer, Betty Field, Paulette Goddard, Susan Hayward and Barbara Stanwyck were seen for Gary Cooper’s gal. Plus the French Annabella, Mexico’s Esther Fernández,  true Brit  Vivien Leigh and Germany’s Luise Rainer and Vera Zorina. However, Ernest Hemingway insisted on Bergman (and Cooper) because he’d had them in mind when writing the book. In case Ingrid changed her mind, producer-director Sam Wood had  the Austro-Hungarian Lenora Aubert waiting in the wings.
  10. Teresa Wright, Casanova Brown, 1943.   Aka Gary Cooper. Goddard had been first choice for Isabel, his ex-wife – their marriage as annulled when, in trying to hide the fact he’d been smoking, burns down his in-laws’ house. Funniest part of a slight movie reuniting Mr and Mrs Lou Gehrig from Pride of the Yankees.

  11. Claudette Colbert, Practically Yours, 1944.   Instead of Goddard, Fred MacMurray partnered Claudette Colbert in their final movie as Paramount contractees. Not so juch a harmless, good-natured joke, said the New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, as “a most callous and inhuman jest.”
  12. Olivia De Havilland, The Well-Groomed Bride, 1946.   Paulette passed and this was Olivia’s first film since waging (and winning) a two-year legal battle with  Warner.
  13. Joan Caulfield, Dear Ruth, 1946. Change of Ruth telling her story, from Goddard to Caulfield. There was a similar muddle in the movie when Lieutenant William Seacroft returned from WWII (as, indeed, Holden just had) and was intent on marrying his pen pal, Ruth Wilkins. Only it was her kid sister (Mona Freeman) who had been penning the pal, Two more chapters followed. Dear Wife, 1949, about Ruth and Bill’s married life and Dear Brat, 1950 – but you’ve guessed it – about Mona Freeman’s Miriam.
  14. Anne Baxter, Yellow Sky, 1947.  Warner Bros refused to lend Bacall to the excellent William Wellman Western – with a smidgen  or two of The Tempest.   Paulette Goddard was next choice  for Constance Mae,  the  tomboyish Mike.  Jean Peters and even Anne Baxter (who finally agreed to be Mike) refused the rôle for being  “too sexy.” Oh really/ Can’t find the word in any  reviews and all Gregory Peck remembered was breaking an ankle in a bad horse fall.

  15. Hedy Lamarr, Samson and Delilah, 1948.   
    Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan had been had Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins.   Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner”  from among… Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney… even such surprises as comical LucIlle Ball (!) and song ‘n’ dancer Betty Hutton.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s!”

  16. Rita Hayworth, The Loves of Carmen, 1948.       London producer Alexander Korda planned a new take on Prosper Merimée’s heroine. Then quit once Columbia prepared it as a Hayworth vehicle.Not quite “the real Carmen, who has never been seen before” that Orson Welles promised Columbia czar Harry Cohn in a 1946 memo, suggesting that author Prosper Merimée “could make Hemingway seem like a Vassar girl.” Cohn obviously preferred less of Orson’s promised “blood, violence and passion… colour, music, pagaentry, showmanship” by passing the “rough and sexy” notion to Charles Vidor.

  17. Judy Holliday,  Born  Yesterday,  1950.
    Columbia’s crude chief Harry Cohn spent the  first $1m for a play – written for Jean Arthur – as a Rita Hayworth vehicle.  As she swanned around  Europe with the Aly Khan,  Cohn preferred Arthur, Goddard, Alice Faye, Gloria Grahame, Celeste Holm, Evelyn Keyes, Marie McDonald, Marilyn Monroe, Jan Sterling, Lana Turner  – or anyone other than  “the fat Jewish broad,”  the understudy who had made the play a hit.  waged a campaign to change Cohn’s mind, by virtually turning Judy’s support role in Tracy and Hepburn’s Adam’s Rib into the most elaborate screen test.  An act of generosity unsurpassed in  Film City history.   Cohn gave in, gracefully. “Well, I’ve worked with fat assess before!” He paid a  meagre $4,500 to the actress who   did the impossible – and wrested Oscar from Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd  – on March 29, 1951 Judy also won  Kate for a lover – Hepburn’s final lesbian  affair at a  mere 43.

  18. Bette Davis, All About Eve, 1950. 
  19. Gloria Grahame, The Greatest Show On Earth, 1951.      Tough ole buzzard that he (believed he) was, veteran director Cecil B DeMille rejected Paulette as his circus elephant girl letting an elephant rest its foot an inch from her face.. He had called her out as a coward in front of the entire unit (as per CB usual) when she refused to mount the besieged fort during a fireball attack in their third film, Unconquered, 1946.  Her stand-in suffered minor burns.
  20. Yvonne De Carlo, Hurricane Smith, 1952.   Good Goddard must have seen the scenario  Or the costumes. The subject was South Seas treasure hunters and 95% of the suspense, according to Web critic Steve Lewi’ Mystery File #24, was watching De Carlo  staying   inside her  low-cut, off-the-shoulder blouse.

  21. Dawn Addams, A King In New York, 1957.        Chaplin wrote it for her, of course, but so slowly (he spent four years apiece on their Modern Times and The Great Dictator) that she fretted about being forgotten by the public. That’s why   Chaplin’s wife became a   Bob Hope stooge.   Ego!
  22. Ava Gardner,The Sun Also Rises, 1957.       Everyone wanter to ber Lady Brett Ashley… After the Hays Office censors stopped Fox andConstance Bennett filming the hedonistic Hemingway book in 1933, Ann Harding picked up the rights in1935. Then, Goddard tried to obtain the rights – but in the 50s, Hawks was planning Montgomery Clift as the impotent (sssh!) Jake Barnes opposite Margaret Sheridan as Brett, thenBrando and Gene Tierney… It took Fox a quarter-century to finally make the film and even then, producer Darryl F Zanuck had to promise not touse the word impotent.He did, anyway!
  23. Sophia Loren, A Countess From Hong Kong, 1966.       Never divorce your writer-actor-director-genius… The so-so comedy was originally designed by Chaplin for Paulette as White Russian… some thirty years previously! Loren’s co-star, Marlon Brando, was bitterly disappointed by Chaplin and his genius -the nasty, sadistic asshole from Hell. “And I’m being kind.”

 Birth year: 1905Death year: 1990Other name: Casting Calls:  23