Have you ever thought about movie roles that Basil tried out for, but didn’t get, or roles that he was offered, but declined? And then there were films Basil was contracted to do, and for some reason the film wasn’t made, or it was made and Rathbone wasn’t in it. In this post we will take a look at Rathbone’s close encounters with the following films: The Hurricane The Gamblers The Knight and the Lady Victoria Docks at Eight The Hunchback of Notre Dame It Can’t Happen Here Lady of the Tropics Dark Victory The Boudoir Diplomat Reunion in Vienna Blood Beast Terror One of those films was The Hurricane. (See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029030/) In 1936 producer Sam Goldwyn was eager to give Rathbone a role in the film, but he wanted Rathbone to sign a four-year contract with his company. Rathbone didn’t want to sign the contract, so that role went to someone else. See “Was Basil Rathbone a Diva?” In April 1937 The Film Daily announced the following: “Feodor Dostoievsky’s celebrated novel ‘The Gamblers,’ will be directed …
Marcia has suggested this pic, partly because of its prettiness and partly on the off chance anyone can tell us anything about its origin. The dedication reads “to Sophie, thank you for your beautiful work. Basil Rathbone/Christmas 1929“. B is obviously in some kind of costume, but for what? The only movie he made that year was THE LAST OF MRS CHEYNEY, but he doesn’t wear anything like this Spanish-type deal in that. So…what is it? Any clues or suggestions welcome. Meantime, admire… (And apologies for comments having been turned off much of the time over Thanksgiving. They are back on properly now). And welcome to all the new followers who have been signing up lately!
Terrific caps from Fiction for Life.
Two beguiling and intriguing shots from two lost or very hard to find movies.
So, inspired by the example of other and better bloggers, I thought I’d start a weekly (more or less) list of noteworthy Baz-related links.
Judging from the search terms that hit this blog and the steady trickle of emails I get on the subject, there is a fair amount of curiosity and/or puzzlement amongst Rathbone fans regarding the life and tragically early death of his adopted daughter Cynthia. It’s true that what we know about Cynthia is surprisingly patchy, considering she was a movie star’s daughter…Here is what we do know…
“…like a painting by a Renaissance master (his profile reminds me always of Michelangelo’s study for the head of Leda), with such vibrant colour, such dark grey eyes and sooty lashes, such cream and olive skin, and the lithe body of an athlete. He is perfection, but he has eaten the fruit, is a David, with knowing eyes, and he bestows himself like a royal gift, expecting royal tribute in return…” JAMES AGATE, THEATRE CRITIC, About Basil Rathbone, 1921 cited on “The Most Gentle Magical Person…”
Can’t do better than invite you to admire the delicious screen caps done by A Folded Umbrella of the Baz in CAPTAIN BLOOD. It’s said the British writer Daphne Du Maurier had a crush on Basil when she was a teenager and that she subsequently based the pirate/lover in FRENCHMAN’S CREEK on his incarnation of the dashing, crazy, devastatingly romantic Levasseur. So whatever was up with her in the self-esteem department (seriously, REBECCA is an essay on inadequacy and desperate over-compensation), there was nothing wrong with her aesthetic sense. If FRENCHMAN’S CREEK had happened ten years earlier, maybe the B would have been playing the love interest instead of horny Lord Rockingham.
I’m sort of getting into a thing of using weekends to post the photos and other things sent in by readers. This Sunday we’re featuring an image sent in by Sophie. Sophie found it online and discovered its massive potential for enlargement while playing around with it on Photoshop, so she did some crops for us. The pic is an MGM publicity photo from 1943, after the Baz became a contract player there. Here’s the full pic: If you download it and expand it to its full size it’s so detailed you can even see the little snags and bobbles on the fabric of his jacket. And here’s a detail. At risk of being fangirly – wasn’t he fecking gorgeous? A close-up of the pin he’s wearing. No idea what it is. Anyone? And the back – with a little bit of blurb. Apparently he was a “consistent Sunday Nighter at the Hollywood Canteen?” 😀
To date, 46 years after his death there is still no full length biography of Basil Rathbone. The Biography Project is working towards achieving one. How it began As soon as you start a website about anyone or anything people begin writing to you and sending you things. Since I’ve been running this blog I’ve been getting emails and comments sent in, and a fairly significant minority of these have been bringing to light some facet of the Baz’s life, of which I was not previously aware. Some of the pieces of information coming in are tiny, others (one or two) have been quite huge in their potential impact on Basil’s life and work; some have been things that were hidden away in personal papers or family recollections, some have been published in books but yet somehow not assimilated into the “official” Rathbone biography you’ll find on Wikipedia and the IMDB – and indeed in Basil’s own elegantly allusive, poetically selective “autobiography.” Looking at some of this stuff, it occurred to me that they’re pieces …