Ralph Bellamy

  1. Spencer Tracy, Man’s Castle, 1933.     At one point the couple was set for Bellamy-Anita Louise, not Tracy-Loretta Young.
  2. Cary Grant, The Awful Truth 1937.   Still seething about Topper – before it proved a winner – Cary Grant was not on form when preparing for director Leo McCarey’s comedy about… divorce!   Or as the Columbia ogre Harry Cohn put it, a Frank Capra film without [expletive deleted] Frank Capra!  Co-star Irene Dunne explained Cary would be so apprehensive about nearly everything in those days, ”that he would almost get physically sick.” As usual, he tried to buy his way out of what he saw as trouble.  He should swop roles with Ralph Bellamy – who should be Dunne’s husband with Grant, if as anything at all, as The Other Man, originally written for Topper, himself, Roland Young.   Also, Cary wasn’t happy with  McCarey doing re-writes every night and expecting him  to improvise all over the place.,.. which he happened to do extremely well.  (“The judge says this is my day to see the dog.”).  Naturally, nobody took any notice of his complaints.
  3. James Stewart, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, 1938.  Before  Frank Capra and  Stewart rescued it, the Lewis R. Foster story was producer Harold Wilson’s project for Bellamy.  That’s when it was known variously as The Gentleman from Montana and The Gentleman from Wyoming – just as Capra first intended it as Mr Deeds Goes to Washington. Oh yes he did.  But  he could not  lasso Gary Cooper again. 
  4. Bruce Bennett, Mildred Pierce, 1944.  Ralph Bellamy, George Coulouris anf Donald  Woopds, were all in the  mix for Bert, first  husband of Mildred, “the has-been” Joan Crawford in her Oscar-winning comeback  as Mildred. As Herman Brix, Bennet was Tarzan in a 1934 serial. A broken shoulder had ruled him out of the 1932 version which, of course, eventually starred the unknown Johnny Weissmuller.
  5. Leo G Carroll, Spellbound, 1944.     Also in the frame for Dr Murchison in Hitchcock’s “just another manhunt wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis” – Paul Lukas, Fredric March, Alan Napier. For Bellamy this was one of the few titles missing from a 183 film career spanning Jean Harlow to Julia Roberts.

  6. Gregory Peck, Twelve O’Clock High, 1948.    
    The greatest Hollywood fiction of USAF WWII pilots, often unfairly compared to the  weaker  Command Decision – which js why Peck nearly passed.  “Duke told me he’d turned it down,” recalled Peck.  “And I seized it!”   Just not that fast… Clark Gable was extremely keen on General Savage (he made Command Decision, instead). Peck read it again and  was also won over by director Henry King’s empathy for the subject. King was a pilot, himself, and he  would helm five more Peck  films). “A fine film,” said Peck, “much honoured  and  respected,  about the psychological stress of total involvement of these men.” Too honest for such a gung-ho movie-hero as John Wayne. This was Peck’s finest hour; forget To Kill A Mockingbird.   Seeing him glued to his chair in a catonic state of battle-fatigue made one helluva impression on me when I saw it in, hell, I was 11 years old!  It marked me for life.  It also affected Rian Johnson, who called it an influence on his Star Wars:  Episode VII – The Last Jedi, 2016. Others in the Savage loop were Dana Andrews, Ralph Bellamy, James Cagney, Van Heflin, Burt Lancaster, Edmond O’Brien – and three-bobs-worth of Roberts: Montgomery, Preston and Young.

  7. Chill Wills, Giant, 1955.
  8. EG Marshall, The Defenders, TV, 1961-1965.    The pilot of this award-encrusted, ground-breaking legal series by 12 Angry Men author Reginald Rose was a double Studio One episode (featuringa young Steve McQueen) when the Preston lawyers, pere et fils, were played by Bellamy and William Shatner.





 Birth year: 1904Death year: 1991Other name: Casting Calls:  8