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James Mason


manderstoke
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I have a question.  Is there a boycott of Mr. Mason by  TCM?  Actors and actresses, great or mediocre, are honored, but James Mason is never mentioned.  The movies with some of  his best performances - Odd Man Out, The Seventh Veil, The Man Between, They Were Sisters, Lolita, The Man in Grey, The Wicked Lady, Alibi, Cop Out, Tiara Tahiti, A Touch of Larceny, etc.,etc. are never shown.  Never. The one movie with him in it that TCM does show (over and over again) is North By Northwest, in which Mason's screentime is 21 minutes.  The film runs over 2 hours, so this hardly counts as a Mason film.  James Mason was one of the finest actors of his generation, yet TCM chooses to ignore him.  I don't get it. Can someone explain this omission?

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I have a question.  Is there a boycott of Mr. Mason by  TCM?  Actors and actresses, great or mediocre, are honored, but James Mason is never mentioned.  The movies with some of  his best performances - Odd Man Out, The Seventh Veil, The Man Between, They Were Sisters, Lolita, The Man in Grey, The Wicked Lady, Alibi, Cop Out, Tiara Tahiti, A Touch of Larceny, etc.,etc. are never shown.  Never. The one movie with him in it that TCM does show (over and over again) is North By Northwest, in which Mason's screentime is 21 minutes.  The film runs over 2 hours, so this hardly counts as a Mason film.  James Mason was one of the finest actors of his generation, yet TCM chooses to ignore him.  I don't get it. Can someone explain this omission?

 

TCM has shown many of the Mason movies you mention.   Note that TCM doesn't show many Fox or Universal films due to access right issues.    Also if some of those are British films,  access can also be more difficult to obtain. 

 

I'm a big fan of Mason but you're overstating your case that TCM ignores him. 

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TCM does, as James pointed out, show a fair number of Mason films, if you keep your eyes open.

 

I recently viewed the subtle beauty of one of his final performances in The Shooting Party - on DVD, though, not the channel.

 

I think that Mason does not really receive his proper due from fans. Look at these boards, for example. I fail to see much enthusiasm here about this particular actor.

 

Even the two Mason films that are arguably the best known today - A Star Is Born and North by Northwest - are celebrated primarily by Garland and Hitchcock fans, rather than those extolling the contributions of Mason (though, as pointed out by the OP, his screen time in the latter is limited).

 

If I had to go with one Mason performance as probably my favourite, I think it might be the incredibile subtlety and sensitivity that he brought to one of his most controversial roles, that of Humbert Humbert in Kubrick's Loilta.

 

Having said that, though, my favourite Mason film is one not even mentioned by the OP - FIVE FINGERS, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's intelligent take on a true WW2 espionage tale set in Turkey, with Mason perfectly cast in the enigmatic role of a British embassy valet stealing secrets which he sells to the Germans. Mason's dry delivery of some of Mankiewicz's clever dialogue is a joy, and the film manages to become a genuine suspense thriller, too, as it approaches its climax. I consider the final scene of FIVE FINGERS a classic moment of cinema.

 

As an example of the Mankiewicz wit to be found in the film's dialogue, Danielle Darrieux plays a "countess" in the film used to living a life of luxury. At one point, in observing a German official staring at her for a few seconds, she drolly responds to him, "Please do not look at me as though you had a source of income other than your salary."

 

FIVE FINGERS is as a movie much like the star itself, quite wonderful and quite underappreciated, I feel. TCM has shown this film at least one, a few years ago, but that was it, to the best of my knowledge. It is, of course, a FOX film, making it tougher for the channel to acquire and show on a regular basis.

 

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Mason and Darrieux in Five Fingers

 

Finally, if there was just one Mason film above all others that I would most like to see on TCM, a film that I think was largely taken out of circulation some years ago, it would be A TOUCH OF LARSENY, a droll, clever comedy with Mason surprisingly effective in a genre of film for which he is not remembered. It co-stars Vera Miles and George Sanders.

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He's been Star of the Month in September 2003 and was one of the actors honored during Summer Under the Stars in August 2009. Just this week they showed A Star is Born and it seems like there was a time that Lolita was shown a lot. I feel like he's featured quite frequently for an actor who started in England.

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Mason is the star of the favorite film of my childhood: Journey to the Center of the Earth. It would be nice if TCM could get hold of some of his very early British films. I don't think it would be that difficult.

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Yeah, I like James Mason alright.  But not to any great extent.  LOVE his voice and delivery.  At least I can tolerate him easier than I ever could George Sanders.  I know there's been a lot of input from Sanders freaks in this forum, but I never COLD put up with him much.  Yep....to each their own.

 

Sepiatone

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Yeah, I like James Mason alright.  But not to any great extent.  LOVE his voice and delivery.  At least I can tolerate him easier than I ever could George Sanders.  I know there's been a lot of input from Sanders freaks in this forum, but I never COLD put up with him much.  Yep....to each their own.

 

Sepiatone

 

Did you use COLD on purpose?    Either way it works because Sanders played many of his role without much warmth.   Anywhow,  if Andy, one of those freaks finds out this Mason thread mentions Sanders I'm running for the hills!  :)

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This board is a dangerous place to definitively declare with your third post ever that TCM NEVER does something! For sure all the following Mason films have aired on TCM:

 

Odd Man Out

Madame Bovary

The Reckless Moment

One Way Street

Pandora & the Flying Dutchman

Julius Caesar

A Star is Born

North by Northwest

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Lolita

The Pumpkin Eater

Georgy Girl

Autobiography of a Princess

Heaven Can Wait

The Boys from Brazil

 

Also, I feel pretty strongly Age of Consent has aired at least once late at night, maybe the night Thelma Schoonmaker helped introduce a whole evening's worth of Powell and Powell/Pressburger films.

 

 

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Yes, and I also remember TCM showing my new favorite James Mason film a while back...THE MAN BETWEEN. 

 

Loved this Carol Reed directed film, and which in some ways is similar to Reed's THE THIRD MAN, but this time taking place in a divided postwar Berlin, and with Mason perfectly cast as the man who probably shouldn't be trusted.

 

(...and having a beautiful young Claire Bloom in it doesn't hurt at all either)

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This board is a dangerous place to definitively declare with your third post ever that TCM NEVER does something! For sure all the following Mason films have aired on TCM:

 

Odd Man Out

Madame Bovary

The Reckless Moment

One Way Street

Pandora & the Flying Dutchman

Julius Caesar

A Star is Born

North by Northwest

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Lolita

The Pumpkin Eater

Georgy Girl

Autobiography of a Princess

Heaven Can Wait

The Boys from Brazil

 

Also, I feel pretty strongly Age of Consent has aired at least once late at night, maybe the night Thelma Schoonmaker helped introduce a whole evening's worth of Powell and Powell/Pressburger films.

TCM has also shown Bigger Than Life.

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Mason is obviously a great actor, but he was perhaps a bit too British aloof-superior to inspire passionate fan devotion.

 

There's an interview with D.W. Griffith near the end of his life where he raves about this new English actor James Mason and predicts he's going to be a big star.

 

I'm also a big fan of Five Fingers. It's a Joe Mank so it isn't directed all that well directed, but his dialogue (he supposedly rewrote the script, credited to Michael Wilson) is often superb. Mason is perfectly cast as a detached, acerbic, sympathetic villain, giving every line a double meaning.

 

A unique Mason moment that has always amused me: the scene at the hotel in Lolita with Peter Sellers improvising like crazy about being "normal". Kubrick simply turned the camera on and let Sellers take over, much to Mason's obvious dismay (he called the film "The Peter Sellers Show"). If you can take your eyes off Sellers you can watch Mason, trying to hide his irritation and patiently waiting for his cues.

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A unique Mason moment that has always amused me: the scene at the hotel in Lolita with Peter Sellers improvising like crazy about being "normal". Kubrick simply turned the camera on and let Sellers take over, much to Mason's obvious dismay (he called the film "The Peter Sellers Show"). If you can take your eyes off Sellers you can watch Mason, trying to hide his irritation and patiently waiting for his cues.

Yes, Sellers' antics must have been a real test for Mason as an actor. Fortunately he only shares two scenes with him in the film.

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I was curious about the OP so I looked at his posts. There were only two on his profile page and the other one was about James Mason's birthday in May and how TCM just ignored it. Obviously this person rarely watches TCM.

 

Well it is hard to watch TCM when one is camped out at James Mason's grave site 24\7!     Of course with the 'watch TCM' app one can now get TCM remotely.

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I was curious about the OP so I looked at his posts. There were only two on his profile page and the other one was about James Mason's birthday in May and how TCM just ignored it. Obviously this person rarely watches TCM.

Get out!  We've been punked? How long has this been going on around here???

Forget Mason, what about Marie Osmond? When is TCM gonna show her films?

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Get out!  We've been punked? How long has this been going on around here???

Forget Mason, what about Marie Osmond? When is TCM gonna show her films?

 

Now, I THOUGHT I already told ya about this, Rich! TCM is havin' a hell of a time tryin' to secure the rights to show I MARRIED WYATT EARP.

 

(...how many times have I gotta tell ya this, HUH?!) ;)

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I tried but couldn't watch James Mason in "Julius Caesar" (1953),  has nothing to do with him but is an AWFUL movie!  It is not based on the William Shakespeare play - it is ONE with the same cheap costumes, SFX and sets.  Worse is the dialogue, OMG did they think the ancient Romans talk like that?!?

 

They are not turning over in their graves, they're laughing in hysterics. If I was Julius Caesar in this thing, death would be showing mercy.

 

"To be, or not to be, that is the question—

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Movie."_shakespeare__by_crakaemotes.gif

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Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) August 28

North by Northwest (1959) September 27

A Place of One's Own (1945) October 02

Lolita (1961) October 04

The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) October 07

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) October 09

 

I agree with other posters that: Five Fingers (1952) is an excellent movie. It is one of my all-time favorites. I love how the precision and attention to detail which makes him an excellent servant makes him also an excellent traitor. I believe that he was one of the few actors who could make such persona seem so very real.

 

I wish TCM could air also: Charade (1953).
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I tried but couldn't watch James Mason in "Julius Caesar" (1953),  has nothing to do with him but is an AWFUL movie!  It is not based on the William Shakespeare play - it is ONE with the same cheap costumes, SFX and sets.  Worse is the dialogue, OMG did they think the ancient Romans talk like that?!?

 

They are not turning over in their graves, they're laughing in hysterics. If I was Julius Caesar in this thing, death would be showing mercy.

 

"To be, or not to be, that is the question—

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Movie."_shakespeare__by_crakaemotes.gif

 

I only watched part of it to see Deborah Kerr.   She look wonderful with that natural flowing hair (as well as wild eye make up).  Funny that MOVIES was showing From Here to Eternity at the same time.    I filpped back and forth to show my wife how much different Kerr looked in these two movies.     My wife said 'well she is older in FHTE',   but I had to point out that both movies were released in 1953.   A hair style can make a big difference. 

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Incoming George Sanders fan, also can lobby for James Mason as well.  Loved all those actors who could accomodate mystery and panache.  I think  I first became aware of James Mason watching Georgy Girl....what 60's teenager didn't see Georgy Girl. 

 

You know bloggers can cross posts, just because you add your comments to one post doesn't mean you can't be objective on another post.

 

We wouldn't be TCM fans if we only liked one actor or one movie or one era.

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I tried but couldn't watch James Mason in "Julius Caesar" (1953),  has nothing to do with him but is an AWFUL movie!  It is not based on the William Shakespeare play - it is ONE with the same cheap costumes, SFX and sets.  Worse is the dialogue, OMG did they think the ancient Romans talk like that?!?

 

They are not turning over in their graves, they're laughing in hysterics. If I was Julius Caesar in this thing, death would be showing mercy.

 

"To be, or not to be, that is the question—

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Movie."_shakespeare__by_crakaemotes.gif

 

 

This board is a dangerous place to definitively declare with your third post ever that TCM NEVER does something! For sure all the following Mason films have aired on TCM:

 

Odd Man Out

Madame Bovary

The Reckless Moment

One Way Street

Pandora & the Flying Dutchman

Julius Caesar

A Star is Born

North by Northwest

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Lolita

The Pumpkin Eater

Georgy Girl

Autobiography of a Princess

Heaven Can Wait

The Boys from Brazil

 

Also, I feel pretty strongly Age of Consent has aired at least once late at night, maybe the night Thelma Schoonmaker helped introduce a whole evening's worth of Powell and Powell/Pressburger films.

 

TCM has also shown The Story of Three Loves, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lord Jim, Mayerling, and The Last of Sheila.  I'm fairly sure they've shown The Verdict,  but the TCM database isn't cooperating.   Are you joking Hamradio about Julius Caesar?  It is of course based very closely on the Shakespeare play, and Marlon Brando's "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech is remarkable.  And Mason is pretty good.

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The Last of Sheila is another I'd love TCM to show.  Besides James Mason it has a wonderful cast:  James Coburn, Dyan Canon, Richard Benjamin, Raquel Welch, Joan Hackett, and an English actor whose name I can't remember, and great story.

 

Ian McShane. What? You never watched "Deadwood" on HBO?

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