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I like your Eric Blore idea, @Wiendish Fitch! (I'm not the Victor Moore hater many people seem to be, but I can see Blore giving the plot a fun lift.) I have to assume that the Cary-Grant-as-Henry-Higgins idea was a total fantasy excursion on the "if only he talked totally differently from the way he did" train. But in decades of living in the States and becoming Americanized in many ways, he had never lost his Cockney accent, so clearly he wasn't about to start in 1963, nor would he have consented to have his whole performance dubbed. I can imagine a good My Fair Lady movie with other Higginses (Michael Redgrave and Noel Coward, who had been the first approached in 1956, at the top of the list -- or John Gielgud to do a precursor of his character in Arthur) -- but there's no way the fabulous Mr. Grant could have been one.

My idea is an obvious one, and we've probably talked about it before: getting rid of Lucille Ball as Mame, and giving Angela Lansbury her shot. With just that one change, the movie would flip from an ordeal to a delight.

I can also imagine changes that would improve the movies of Hello, Dolly! and A Little Night Music, but they would be so extensive -- involving recasting several roles and the director -- as to imagine a whole different movie. Which amounts to cheating.

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3 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

I can also imagine changes that would improve the movies of Hello, Dolly! and A Little Night Music, but they would be so extensive -- involving recasting several roles and the director -- as to imagine a whole different movie. Which amounts to cheating.

No offense to any Streisand fans, but she was way, way, way too young to play Dolly Levi ("Before the Parade Passes By" loses something when it's sung by someone under 30). A Little Night Music needed a different director (Hal Prince is untouchable as a theater director, but sorely lacking when it comes to film) and a better cinematographer.

In my magical alternate universe, The Wiz is directed by a still healthy and active Vincente Minnelli, Joel Schumacher isn't allowed anywhere near the screenplay (in fact, he isn't even involved with the movie), and Dorothy is played by a bright-eyed, 15-year-old unknown named Whitney Houston.

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38 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

This is going to be sacrilege, or heresy, but I would have loved to see Cary Grant take over Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Do I think he would have been better than Rex? I can't say that. But I can say I don't think Jack Warner was crazy to seek him out. I think he could have been hilarious! And moving. The only fly in the ointment is that Grant's own English accent is slightly "downmarket" and that would have flown in the face of the whole concept. Details, details.

Is there any halfway decent film that Grant wouldn't have been good in? I really think he could do it all. Even though they wanted him for My Fair Lady and The Music Man--and at his urging went with those who had created the parts so brilliantly--I don't doubt he could have been good in both of them, had he taken it on.

As for recasting, esp. where a lead ruins (or nearly ruins) the film.  The first that came to mind for me is "Sabrina". Yes, I'm a big Humphrey Bogart fan and he's in several of my favorite films. But I'll never know why Billy Wilder thought he'd be good as Linus. He's an old fuddy duddy at the beginning and he's still one--no matter how he wears his homburg--at the end. I know they wanted, but couldn't get, Cary Grant--and he'd be an obvious excellent choice.  But for me, it's hard to imagine a leading man in the part who would have been worse than Bogart.

And, here's a bit of heresy. The casting of Judy Garland as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz".  I realize the film was written for a more sophisticated, adult audience than the children who read and loved the books. Some of the drafts even thought it would be a good idea to leave out the magic, while others thought there should be a suggested  romance between Dorothy and the handyman/Scarecrow.  (So I guess it could have been worse.)

But Dorothy was a child and Judy Garland was just too mature for me to accept her as Dorothy.  Yes, I would have even preferred Shirley Temple (dubbed).  Or Deanna Durbin (also dubbed, to have more of Judy's naturalistic singing style).

When you read the books, that world is real, so the idea of a man in a lion's costume was even pretty grating. But the rest of it is entertaining...and, of course, there's the great Harburg-Arlen music.  So the OTT campy parts (Judy and the lion), just make it "Oz-inspired"--a great film on its own, in its own campy way, but not one that does justice to the books.  

And ITA about Streisand in "Hello Dolly" and Lansbury v. Ball in Mame.  

Edited by Padma

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2 hours ago, Padma said:

As for recasting, esp. where a lead ruins (or nearly ruins) the film.  The first that came to mind for me is "Sabrina". Yes, I'm a big Humphrey Bogart fan and he's in several of my favorite films. But I'll never know why Billy Wilder thought he'd be good as Linus. He's an old fuddy duddy at the beginning and he's still one--no matter how he wears his homburg--at the end. I know they wanted, but couldn't get, Cary Grant--and he'd be an obvious excellent choice.  But for me, it's hard to imagine a leading man in the part who would have been worse than Bogart.

I have often commented to no one in particular that William Holden would have been my preference to play Linus.  We know that he can play the more somber brother, tptb at that time could not see it.  I do have to admit I have a bit of a dilemma casting David.  Paul Newman does come to mind and he and Holden look like the could be brothers (not that anyone cares about that).

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10 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

No offense to any Streisand fans, but she was way, way, way too young to play Dolly Levi ("Before the Parade Passes By" loses something when it's sung by someone under 30). A Little Night Music needed a different director (Hal Prince is untouchable as a theater director, but sorely lacking when it comes to film) and a better cinematographer.

Those were exactly my thoughts, though I didn't make them explicit. Yes, Streisand was ludicrously young for Dolly ("it's so nice to have you back where you belong" -- where has she been exactly?). At the same time, there's so much else wrong (Gene Kelly's amateurishly leaden direction, Walter Matthau's "I'm just punching a time clock here" blankness, Michael Crawford's yowling and mugging, and don't get me started on Marianne McAndrew) that Streisand's intermittent injections of star magnetism are about all that kept it alive. That's why I said that ultimately we would have to just start over.

And bingo on both Night Music elements. Pauline Kael's remark "Prince directs as if he'd never seen a movie" was depressingly spot-on; he literally didn't understand what editing etc. can provide. And yes! it used to be a watchword that if a movie looked murky and unappetizing, it was probably shot by Arthur Ibbetson. But the movie also needed a different production deal that would have allowed them to retain the essential Scandinavian setting, and a better screenplay adaptation that would allow for more of the stage songs, and substantial recasting... again, I'm really imagining a whole different movie.

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I saw Hello, Dolly! when it came out and I loved it.  It's the ultimate example of never re-watch what you loved when you were twelve - it can provoke full-body cringing.  What a leaden, charmless, miscast, awful movie.

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1 minute ago, mariah23 said:

They just put in on the TCM Facebook page: Robert Osborne is gone.

 

 

Oh, that makes me so sad.   He will be sorely missed by anyone who loved classic movies.  

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A death drove me away from here, and now a death has brought me back.

The day I've dreaded for years is here.  

God bless you, Robert!  You made my life better, and you didn't even know it.

I shall miss, and have missed, your voice, your smile, your wit, your knowledge, your grace, and your twinkly good looks.

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Damn.  Just saw this on CNN.  I will miss Robert terribly.  He was one of the last true gentlemen.  Godspeed Robert.

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So sad to learn of this.  TCM is what it is at least partially due to him, and while it won't ever be the same, it will also stand as his legacy.  Everyone you've touched will miss you, Mr. Osborne.

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I've been missing him for quite awhile now.  Very sorry to lose him, but it's good that he could spend time following & telling us about the actors & their movies that he loved.  He seems to have had a happy life, as he deserved.

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9 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

 

And bingo on both Night Music elements. Pauline Kael's remark "Prince directs as if he'd never seen a movie" was depressingly spot-on; he literally didn't understand what editing etc. can provide. And yes! it used to be a watchword that if a movie looked murky and unappetizing, it was probably shot by Arthur Ibbetson. But the movie also needed a different production deal that would have allowed them to retain the essential Scandinavian setting, and a better screenplay adaptation that would allow for more of the stage songs, and substantial recasting... again, I'm really imagining a whole different movie.

One of my favorite online film reviewers, Diva from Musical Hell, also hit the nail on the head: "There are a lot of long, middle and wide shots, and the results are alienating; the humor falls flat, and the dramatic thrust of the scenes [is] lost". Here's the full review.

 

Damn, I'm going to miss Robert Osborne. He was such a familiar, comforting presence, to the point where I felt like I knew him. I imagine Walt Disney must have had the same effect. 

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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Youtube has a bunch of Osborne intro's to movies and it occurred to me how that would be a good way to introduce folks to classic films. A short outline of the plot plus whatever tidbits of Hollywood he describes. 

This is so sad.

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What I loved most about Robert Osborne was his ability to be equally as passionate about a true four star gem as some slice of RKO nonsense. He really, really loved the movies, and loved sharing with us all of the things - grand and humble, silly or sincere - that there are to enjoy about films.  He was an icon, and I am really going to miss his warm presence.

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This makes me terribly sad,  I'm not surprised by it since it was clear his health was failing, but it's really like losing a friend.  Robert always seemed so nice, the kind of guy you would love to hang out with, who was so enthusiastic about life.  I'll miss his smile.

I have always loved "Private Screenings" when he would interview someone about their body of work, how they got into the business, etc.  Just so fascinating.  I wish that these shows would be compiled and be the feature of a particular month.  But recently, TCM doesn't show these; I wonder if they were only permitted a certain number of airings.  So many of those he interviewed are gone now too. 

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8 minutes ago, Lois Sandborne said:

What I loved most about Robert Osborne was his ability to be equally as passionate about a true four star gem as some slice of RKO nonsense. He really, really loved the movies, and loved sharing with us all of the things - grand and humble, silly or sincere - that there are to enjoy about films.  He was an icon, and I am really going to miss his warm presence.

Me too.

7 minutes ago, Calvada said:

This makes me terribly sad,  I'm not surprised by it since it was clear his health was failing, but it's really like losing a friend.  Robert always seemed so nice, the kind of guy you would love to hang out with, who was so enthusiastic about life.  I'll miss his smile.

I have always loved "Private Screenings" when he would interview someone about their body of work, how they got into the business, etc.  Just so fascinating.  I wish that these shows would be compiled and be the feature of a particular month.  But recently, TCM doesn't show these; I wonder if they were only permitted a certain number of airings.  So many of those he interviewed are gone now too. 

I hope someone at TCM hears you and does put together a compilation of these shows!

I feel like an era is over.

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I hope TCM will air a tribute to him soon. I just loved Mr. Osborne. He was like a tv grandpa to me. His soothing voice, his wide depth of knowledge, his amazing life! I just read something about how Lucille Ball got him involved in writing and away from acting. I adore Lucille Ball (even named my daughter after her) so to hear that she was one of the reasons Mr. Osborne was able to be a part of my life is pretty cool!

I don't mind Ben on TCM but he is no Robert. He will be missed! 

We recently went to Disney and rode the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios. Robert Osborne narrates it and as soon as the ride started and I heard his voice I starting clapping like a fool. The only one to do so but I got a shout out from the ride conductor for my Robert love! 

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Tuned into the prime-time film this evening, because I suspected that there might be something.  And I was right.

It began with the traditional music/animated "Feature Presentation" intro, with "Robert Osborne" there on the movie screen at the end.  And then there was Ben, gently breaking the news, promising more tributes to R in the coming days, and ending by saying, quite correctly, that Robert would want it to continue, with the introduction of a classic film.

And then the "TCM Remembers" to him played.

Flights of angels, old friend.

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5 hours ago, voiceover said:

That was so sweet! My own grandpa is Robert's age and in failing health. They remind me a lot of each other both in appearance and spirit (his name is Robert too!). This makes me sad on so many different levels.

I meant to tune into TCM for the evening movie but missed it by 15 minutes due to kid bedtime rituals. Hope they air it again!

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7 hours ago, mariah23 said:

 

They just put in on the TCM Facebook page: Robert Osborne is gone

 

We all knew this was coming but it doesn't make it any less sad.  Is it too soon for me to grump that none of the other hosts are really good replacements for him?  I am fine with Ben and Tiffany but neither of them are quite fannish  in the way that Robert was.  Hail and farewell, sir.

My recast is for Guys and Dolls - Shirley Temple instead of Jean Simmons and Dean Martin instead of Marlon Brando. Both my picks were better singers and dancers and for this particular piece both would have been better actors.

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I teared up when I read that Osborne has passed.  He so enjoyed sharing his love of movies.  He had knowledge and class, and he was really good at eliciting insights from the guest hosts. 

My recast pick is Paul Newman instead of William Holden in Picnic, and Shirley Jones instead of Kim Novak.  Holden was sexy but too old, and Kim -- in that movie -- is the quintessential airhead.  Of course you're appreciated for your looks -- it's all you have!

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8 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

My recast pick is Paul Newman instead of William Holden in Picnic, and Shirley Jones instead of Kim Novak.  Holden was sexy but too old, and Kim -- in that movie -- is the quintessential airhead.  Of course you're appreciated for your looks -- it's all you have!

Ooh, nice! I actually find myself liking Novak in this at times, but still, someone like Shirley Jones would indeed be better. And it's true that, however much we're willing to stretch our credulity with adult actors playing characters younger than themselves onscreen, Holden stretches that convention way beyond the snapping point. You're probably aware (but others here may not be) that Paul Newman did appear in the play's original production -- not as the lead but as his friend (played onscreen by Cliff Robertson).

There's also some good casting in the video production of Picnic that was shown on cable TV. Gregory Harrison, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Conchata Ferrell, Rue McClanahan, and Dana Hill all hit the right notes. On the whole, I prefer this to the movie (though I do think Rosalind Russell does better than Michael Learned as the teacher).

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7 hours ago, 3pwood said:

He seems to have had a happy life

If that smile of his was any indication, he certainly did.  I could not be in a bad mood when seeing it.

Per the Los Angeles Times obituary, quoting his partner, Osborne died in his sleep.

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Just wanted to add my condolences. RIP Mr. Osborne. I  would make sure I got to see his intros, especially with The Essentials, even if I didn't have time for the whole movie. He was so knowledgeable and astute and had a lovely rapport with people.  One of the ones from recent years that was among my favorites was him discussing The Sugarland Express with Drew Barrymore.

I hope The Essentials continues in some form.  Recruiting Leonard Maltin would indeed be a great move.

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On ‎3‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 8:02 PM, mariah23 said:

I have always been curious what would have happened if Paulette Goddard wound up playing Scarlett O'Hara

Based on the audition clips I have seen, not well.  Vivien Leigh was perfection, IMO.   Too bad that Melvin Douglas was so wrong physically for Ashley, as I thought he captured the character much better than Leslie Howard, who was too old and basically kind of slept-walked through the role (which he didn't want to do).  Was there an equivalent of young Cary Elwes in 1939?  He's my picture of Ashley Wilkes.

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I just heard the news and I am so sad.

I wrote to Robert Osborne a few times over the years, the last time was this last holiday season. I told him he introduced me to classic film, and it was now one of my favorite things in life, and that the new hosts were cool, but..... please. Whenever I wrote to him, I would put in a few clippings from whatever fresh flowers I had around the house. Now I find out he wrote books about gardening! I wonder if he ever got my letters.

I shall miss him.

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30 minutes ago, NowVoyager said:

I just heard the news and I am so sad.

I wrote to Robert Osborne a few times over the years, the last time was this last holiday season. I told him he introduced me to classic film, and it was now one of my favorite things in life, and that the new hosts were cool, but..... please. Whenever I wrote to him, I would put in a few clippings from whatever fresh flowers I had around the house. Now I find out he wrote books about gardening! I wonder if he ever got my letters.

I shall miss him.

I'm happy I once to got to have a brief exchange with him. It was at the First Annual TCM Film Festival in Hollywood. Just he and I were waiting for an elevator in one of the hotels. Gave me an opportunity just to say, "I'm very thankful for all you do," and for him to smile graciously and say, "You're welcome."

Also, some years before that, he sat behind me at the Goodman Theatre's production of Sondheim's Bounce (which I imagine he had flown in especially for; Sondheim was in town for the run, and I imagine the two of them getting together). He was wearing a safari jacket, which I thought (and still think) was cool. :)

Edited by Milburn Stone
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18 hours ago, Lois Sandborne said:

What I loved most about Robert Osborne was his ability to be equally as passionate about a true four star gem as some slice of RKO nonsense. He really, really loved the movies, and loved sharing with us all of the things - grand and humble, silly or sincere - that there are to enjoy about films.  He was an icon, and I am really going to miss his warm presence.

You captured perfectly my thoughts about Mr. Osborne.  I couldn't have said it better. 

He will certainly be missed.

3 hours ago, Inquisitionist said:

Based on the audition clips I have seen, not well.  Vivien Leigh was perfection, IMO.   Too bad that Melvin Douglas was so wrong physically for Ashley, as I thought he captured the character much better than Leslie Howard, who was too old and basically kind of slept-walked through the role (which he didn't want to do).  Was there an equivalent of young Cary Elwes in 1939?  He's my picture of Ashley Wilkes.

Yes!  No offense to Leslie Howard but I love Melvyn Douglas and feel he was a terribly underrated actor.

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3 hours ago, Inquisitionist said:

Based on the audition clips I have seen, not well.  Vivien Leigh was perfection, IMO.   Too bad that Melvin Douglas was so wrong physically for Ashley, as I thought he captured the character much better than Leslie Howard, who was too old and basically kind of slept-walked through the role (which he didn't want to do).  Was there an equivalent of young Cary Elwes in 1939?  He's my picture of Ashley Wilkes.

Franchot Tone!

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My impression of Leslie Howard forever changed when I read Michael Caine's memoirs "The Elephant to Hollywood" and he talks about when he meets Bette Davis in 1966:

Quote

"You know," she said, in that unmistakable drawl "you remind me of the young Leslie Howard." I'd heard this before but this was from Bette Davis! She went on "Did you know Leslie screwed every woman in every movie he made-except me?" I had heard this I said. "Well," she said,"I was not going to be just one on a list of conquests-but when I look at you I was just wondering what difference it would have ever made if I had." She sounded almost wistful.

Edited by VCRTracking
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Nice pick up line from Bette! lol  Michael Caine is such a good story-teller. I wonder if Robert O. ever interviewed him. The charm would have been off the charts.
I caught a bit of the "Remembered" clips last night and felt sad.  Ben's grown on me with his dry humor, but I kept hoping Robert would be back. I felt a little better reading the LATimes obituary though. He really had a great life, lots of success in a couple of careers and many loving friends,  including all the famous ones, and seemed to enjoy it all.

Quote

 


I have always been curious what would have happened if Paulette Goddard wound up playing Scarlett O'Hara

 

 I thought her audition tape showed her as an excellent Scarlett, the best of all the auditions we saw, and seemed likely to be at least the equal of the (British) Leigh.  I don't know what Selznick didn't see in her.

As for other recasting, I like the idea of Paul Newman in Sabrina and Picnic and Jones rather than Novak in the latter. (Then again, while Kim Novak seems like a nice, shy person, I've always felt she was a terrible actress and never understood why she was cast over women just as beautiful--or moreso--who could actually act, too).

Newman/Holden in Sabrina would have been an improvement to me.  But I think my ideal Linus would have been a non-starter because he and Hepburn had already done a different film together.  I think with Holden (or Newman) as David, Gregory Peck would have made a very good Linus.  He could have done "mature, stuffed shirt, serious adult who puts everything into the business" without seeming to completely lack any kind of warmth or charm (as, for me, Bogart was in the role). I think Peck could have made the change for Linus to warm and vulnerable and self sacrificing once he found true love a lot more convincingly than Bogart did.  And it wouldn't have been painful to think of joyful Sabrina winding up with dull, stolid Linus (because he wouldn't have been).

Ah, if only.... 

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I had always heard that Selznick was leaning toward Goddard as Scarlett, but her murky marital status with Chaplin put him off.  This may just be scuttlebutt.  I think she would have been a terrific Scarlett - but Leigh was utter perfection.  And much as I love Leslie Howard, he is awful as Ashley.  I like the idea of a 1930s Cary Elwes - blond and beautiful, but Franchot Tone might have been good. 

Edited by Crisopera

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Heads up everyone:  Clear your calendars next weekend.  TCM has a 48-hour tribute to Robert Osborne with his some of his most famous interviews plus his 20th Anniversary special.

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I just heard the news. It's not a surprise as his health issues were known and there were his absences from hosting but it's still a shock. I haven't processed it yet. I stepped away from TCM and the thread for a while because I was watching fewer movies and going out more. And in doing so, I actually ran into Mr. Osborne a few times. I wasn't able to speak with him but by all accounts he was a very nice man and I will miss seeing him introduce movies on TCM. But I think it's inspiring that to the end he lived his life supporting the arts, both movies and theater, and he helped inspire an appreciation of classic films in many generations. He will be missed. 

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2 hours ago, mariah23 said:

Heads up everyone:  Clear your calendars next weekend.  TCM has a 48-hour tribute to Robert Osborne with his some of his most famous interviews plus his 20th Anniversary special.

TCM to mount 48-hour tribute to Robert Osborne  - has some details about the line up

I think it is the Alec Baldwin interview of Robert Osborne of which bits I keep remembering.  The two that stand out are Robert talking about his first interview with Natalie Wood where she sat down with him and went over his notes and told what to ask, what not to ask, how to conduct the interview which was both extremely nice and helpful.  The other one is the story he tells about being Olivia de Havilland's escort to the AFI tribute to Bette Davis, how Bette was greeting everyone at the table and when she got to him, her reaction was one of "who are you?" but still politely greeted him.

Note: If I got any name wrong, please correct me and my swiss-cheese memory!

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17 minutes ago, Charlie Baker said:

It is a lovely piece!  

I scrolled down to the next article on Mr. Osborne.  Among the tweets I learned that he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and that there are clips of his intros on youtube.

and this memory that I feel sums up a true film lover and professional (bold mine)

============================================

Mark Harris ✔@MarkHarrisNYC

I asked Robert Osborne if he reused introductions on TCM. "Not if I can help it," he said."Part of the fun is finding something new to say."

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6 hours ago, Crisopera said:

I had always heard that Selznick was leaning toward Goddard as Scarlett, but her murky marital status with Chaplin put him off.  This may just be scuttlebutt. 

That's what I'd heard, too, but the "collective wisdom" at Wikipedia has a different take:
 

Quote

 

Selznick was pleased with Goddard's performances, particularly her work in The Young at Heart, and considered her for the role of Scarlett O'Hara. Initial screen tests convinced the director George Cukor and him that Goddard would require coaching to be effective in the role, but that she showed promise,[21] and she was the first actress given a Technicolor screen test.[21] Russell Birdwell, the head of Selznick's publicity department, had strong misgivings about Goddard. He warned Selznick of the "tremendous avalanche of criticism that will befall us and the picture should Paulette be given this part ... I have never known a woman, intent on a career dependent upon her popularity with the masses, to hold and live such an insane and absurd attitude towards the press and her fellow man as does Paulette Goddard ... Briefly, I think she is dynamite that will explode in our very faces if she is given the part." Selznick remained interested in Goddard and after he had been introduced to Vivien Leigh, he wrote to his wife that Leigh was a "dark horse" and that his choice had "narrowed down to Paulette, Jean Arthur, Joan Bennett, and Vivien Leigh".[21]

After a series of tests with Leigh that pleased both Selznick and Cukor, Selznick cancelled the further tests that had been scheduled for Goddard, and the part was given to Leigh.[21] It has been suggested that Goddard lost the part because Selznick feared that questions surrounding her marital status with Charlie Chaplin would result in scandal. However, Selznick was aware that Leigh and Laurence Olivier lived together, as their respective spouses had refused to divorce them,[22] and in addition to offering Leigh a contract, he engaged Olivier as the leading man in his next production Rebecca (1940).[23] Chaplin's biographer Joyce Milton wrote that Selznick was worried about legal issues by signing her to a contract that might conflict with her preexisting contracts with the Chaplin studio.[24]

 

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Curious...did Paulette Goddard ever do a role that showed she had the dramatic range to handle Scarlett O'Hara? I know her from comedies. (And I know she was in a Chaplin film, which I've never seen, so maybe that showed she had the dramatic acting chops.)

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