Classic Film : Miscastings in classic films

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Charlton Heston's casting in Touch Of Evil doesn't bother me, maybe because the movie's so surreal he sort of makes sense in the role. I mean, if he could play Moses he could play Mexican. His monolithic qualities, even relatively early in his career, saved him somewhat. Besides, it's a fun movie, and Chuck's humorless acting is part of what makes it fun.

Re: Miscastings in classic films


Besides, it's a fun movie, and Chuck's humorless acting is part of what makes it fun.


Fun? In what sense? Are you being ironical or did I miss something? Heston's acting was "humorless", as you say, but Welles as Captain Quinlan was even worse, and pathetic, in my opinion. He overdid it (Being a genius and knowing it has these problems, sometimes...) Dietrich is the usual Dietrich, a copycat of herself. Honestly, I always found this film pretty boring, even Mancini's music was boring, three years before his beautiful 'Moon River' and his Oscar.






Re: Miscastings in classic films

Ironical. I like Touch Of Evil. It draws me in, the way a dream does. I don't think that Welles thought he was making a comedy or send up,--it's not his Beat The Devil, for sure--however its flamboyant, nocturnal qualities appeal to me, while the acting of its mixed bag of a cast holds my attention.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

That's what I thought.

I take your point. Mind you, I did appreciate its nocturnal qualities, but totally missed the flamboyant ones. Nevertheless, If I ever watch it again (ars longa, vita brevis), I'll try to get rid of my prejudices —'postjudices' in my case— and see it from a different perspective, looking for new angles.


Re: Miscastings in classic films

Katharine Hepburn in Spitfire as an Ozark Mountains hellion; she and just about the entire cast as Chinese in Dragon Seed.

Marlon Brando and Mickey Rooney as Japanese men in Teahouse of the August Moon and Breakfast at Tiffany's respectively.

Joan Crawford in roles that she would have been perfect for 15 or 20 years earlier in Flamingo Road, The Damned Don't Cry, and This Woman is Dangerous.

More recently: Jennifer Lopez as a psychologist in The Cell and Tom Cruise as a dock worker in War of the Worlds.

"The answers to all of life's riddles can be found in the movies."

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Katharine Hepburn seemed a bit out of place playing Jo in Little Women. In some ways, I like her, but in other ways, I think she overdid it.

Here I should also mention that I didn't like Robert Morse in A Guide for the Married Man. I think that Jack Lemmon would have been a better choice.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: Miscastings in classic films


Marlon Brando and Mickey Rooney as Japanese men in Teahouse of the August Moon and Breakfast at Tiffany's respectively.


I entirely agree. As for the latter, I am surprised that the Japanese ambassador in Washington, D.C. didn't protest. Or perhaps he did, I don't know...




Re: Miscastings in classic films

Bette Davis as Aggie Hurley in The Catered Affair. Thelma Ritter was born to play Aggie, and play her she did, on television. But surely anybody, save Garbo, would have been more appropriate than Davis.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Humphrey Bogart as a doctor brought back from the dead who kills victims for their blood in The Return of Doctor X (1939). Bogie thought this was his worst film. Can't imagine why.

John Wayne as Townsend Harris, the first American minister to Japan, in The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958).

Larry Parks as an 18th-century Scottish highlander in The Swordsman (1948).

Steve McQueen as Thomas Stockmann in An Enemy of the People (1978).

Gregory Peck as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Beloved Infidel (1959).

William Holden as Hal in Picnic (1955), a dozen years too old (and Cliff Robertson as Alan, a similar age problem).

Re: Miscastings in classic films

While I have to agree about the miscasting, I must say that I didn't dislike Wayne as Townsend Harris, among other reasons because I never saw a portrait or a photograph of him. Anyway, yes, The Duke was The King of miscastings...

The other actors of 'The Barbarian and the Geisha' (Sô Yamamura, Sam Jaffe and Eiko Ando) are fine, and that helps.

In my opinion, Yamamura (Admiral Yamamoto in 'Tora! Tora! Tora!') had the stature of a Toshirô Mifune.


Re: Miscastings in classic films

Actually, I have a soft spot for The Barbarian and the Geisha as well, in no small part because of its Japanese settings and supporting cast, plus a nice score. I think Huston knew he had a dicey picture on his hands, with a story of limited commercial appeal, and so thought casting as unlikely a star as the Duke would bring in his fans and maybe attract some interest as a curiosity piece. (It didn't work.) I really don't think he did so badly by it, either, but in the end, yes, I do have to say he was miscast. He hated it too, ever after referring to it as "that awful Japanese thing". But an occasional change did him good, even if the fit wasn't really right.

Agreed, So Yamamura was on a par with Toshiro Mifune. He was a good director too. Both men played Admiral Yamamoto, Mifune more than once.

Re: Miscastings in classic films


"that awful Japanese thing"


Yeah, that's my Duke!!

Friedhofer's score, yes, a nice one.

My favourite sequences are those with Harris entering the Japanese court in Edo and then standing before the Shogun, who finally received him: a proud and magnificent US Consul General delivering the letter from President Pierce...

I never saw any of the few Yamamura films as director. Most of his numerous films as an actor were 100% Japanese, so he was less known than Toshiro Mifune, who was more international (including Spielberg's joke, '1941', and a European film, 'Soleil Rouge', in which he played a samurai in the Far West, a superb character!)

Yes, and as I wrote elsewhere, Mifune played both Togo (twice as well!!) and Yamamoto, the two greatest admirals in Japanese history.

PS. I had to edit my post: I was drowsy and had typed "Yamamo" and things like that...



























Re: Miscastings in classic films


Steve McQueen as Thomas Stockmann in An Enemy of the People (1978).


The reasons behind this film were strange.

From IMDb:


This was a personal project for McQueen, as he made it to prove to many people that he could act. But Warner Bros. could not figure out how to distribute it and decided not to release it domestically. It had a very brief theatrical release in New York a few years after it was made.
---
It was hard for McQueen once he found the book to convince his partners at First Artists to make the film, he agreed to take a union scale fee and promised to keep the budget under 3 million.



Whatever, he was the executive producer, so he had the right to miscast himself!!

I also wondered if they realised that Bibi Andersson is Swedish, not Norwegian. Wasn't Liv Ullman available? Maybe not: at that time she was very busy with Ingmar Bergman's 'Höstsonaten', and with her fictional mother, Ingrid Bergman... ;-) Or maybe they were not updated and forgot that Norway separated from Sweden in 1905, a year before Ibsen passed away.





Re: Miscastings in classic films

Gail Russell in "Calcutta" 1947 with Alan Ladd. Russell didn't have much range beyond her usual angelic, vulnerable roles. She's a femme fatale in this movie but it's a part better suited for Jane Greer, who had an equally angelic face, but had that lethal switch inside her which Russell just couldn't find.

Almost the entire cast of "The Fountainhead" 1949 was miscast. Cooper wasn't bad, just too old. Gregory Peck would have been far better had he brought the single minded integrity he showed in "Gentleman's Agreement" to the part of Roark. Raymond Massey was good as Wynand, but again, too old. Robert Ryan would have been a better choice. Robert Douglas missed all the sophisticated charm that Ayn Rand had written into the part of Toohey. Ayn Rand envisioned Clifton Webb as Toohey. That would have been so much better. Or perhaps George Sanders! Only Patricia Neal nailed her part as the intelligent but sexually neurotic Dominique Francon.
Oh and Kent Smith was also too old for Peter Keating. Farley Granger would have been better.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

The boat "Orca" in the 1975 movie Jaws was horribly miscast.

They definitely needed a bigger boat.


Don't mess with me, man! I know karate, judo, ju-jitsu..... and several other Japanese words.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Miscast boats and ships as well? Then the heavy cruiser USS Salem as the German 'pocket batlleship' (panzerschiff in German, literally armoured ship) Admiral Graf Spee in The Battle of the River Plate (1956) ( 'Pursuit of the Graf Spee' in the States) and, though not a classic film, the US Navy warships in 'Pearl Harbor' (2001), which were not only CGI, but false from a purely historical and naval perspective.

Among others.


Re: Miscastings in classic films

The "Bounty" in the 1962 version was way too big. They build a full size frigate, when the Bounty was a Brig...a much,much smaller ship.You never got the feeling of how cramped the Bounty was.
The replica they built for David Lean's ill fated two film Bounty project ended up being used in the 1982 film "The Bounty". It was an exact replica of the Bounty, as authentic as reseach could make it, and was much Smaller then the one used in the 1962 film.It has a claustrophobic feel to it, very realistic.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Interesting, thank you.

Maybe I should have a 'Catalogue of Miscast Ships'...

About the ships used in the 1935 version: http://www.winthrop.dk/bounty/




Re: Miscastings in classic films

...if not already mentioned:

John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror

Omar Sharif as Colorado (the cowboy) in MacKenna's Gold

Edmund Gwenn as the assassin in Foreign Correspondent

Re: Miscastings in classic films

I believe Edmund Gwenn's "miscasting" was intentional, a little joke on director Alfred Hitchcock's part. One doesn't expect the lovable Gwenn to, er, behave as he did in Foreign Correspondent. I think it worked.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Oh, definitely, Gwenn's casting was intentional (well, isn't all casting, good or bad, intentional?). The whole point was to have someone who didn't look like an assassin play the part. It worked perfectly, not miscasting at all.

Re: Miscastings in classic films


(well, isn't all casting, good or bad, intentional?).


If "the casting couch" played as big a role in casting as some people say, the results of the casting couch showed theatre-goers some really weird roles for some actresses who wanted desperately to get in the business.

E pluribus unum

Re: Miscastings in classic films

...hmmm...let's see...Foreign Correspondent was made in 1940. Gwenn's turn as Kris Kringle didn't occur until 1947. So then, was he miscast as the lovable Kris Kringle character which post dated the assassin role in FC ??? Or was his miscasting as Kris Kringle intentional???

Edmund Gwenn

Gwenn was well cast in both. He was a superb actor, much beloved by moviegoers of his day, and still fondly remembered. My first viewing of him was his Professor Medford in Them!, and he was fine in that, too. His no nonsense playing of the scene with the little girl in shock is something to see. The way his empathy turns to "let's get down to business" is spot on. It's not that he's indifferent to the fate of the child but rather that he now has bigger fresh to fry.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Gregory Peck in Moby Dick will always be borderline with me. I love the actor's cerebral intensity, but he only really cuts loose at the end when he's surfing the whale. No Ahab has completely satisfied me, and some were ludicrous, but Peck came closest.

Not casting George C. Scott as Ahab in a theatrical remake was one of the great missed opportunities. Scott was an elemental force on screen. His dangerous intensity went far beyond Peck and his volcanic temper was awesome.

We are the makers of music and we are the dreamers of dreams.

Re: Miscastings in classic films

I believe that Peck himself thought that the film's director, John Huston, would have made for a great Ahab.

I actually have no problems with Gregory Peck in that title role. Heck, every time I think of Captain Ahab, Peck's image always comes to mind!

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Then there is Clark Gable as Parnell in "Parnell". Granted, the film is ridiculous anyway, but Gable's miscasting makes it even sillier.Carole Lombard, who was of Irish descent,herself ridiculed her husband in it, saying, "If Parnell was a goofy as Clark played him in that movie, Ireland still would never have gotten it's independence".

Re: Miscastings in classic films

Humphrey Bogart

Re: Miscastings in classic films

I actually thought John Wayne as the centurion at the crucifixion was brilliant. He had a casual working class brutality that put the audience right where we should be, identifying with the perpetrators.

It was a toss-up whether I go in for diamonds or sing in the choir. The choir lost.
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