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James Mason


manderstoke
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You're right.  THE HIGH COMMAND is Atwell's movie, Mason is barely in it.  He must have gotten star billing because the studio saw him as an up and coming.  I believe this is the film where Atwell has some issue with his legs, so he was rarely filmed from the waist down.  Mason says in his auto- biography that the cast began referring to him as "the general who has no legs."

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You're right.  THE HIGH COMMAND is Atwell's movie, Mason is barely in it.  He must have gotten star billing because the studio saw him as an up and coming.  I believe this is the film where Atwell has some issue with his legs, so he was rarely filmed from the waist down.  Mason says in his auto- biography that the cast began referring to him as "the general who has no legs."

 

I only see Mason getting lead billing on that re-mastered DVD.    Was Mason listed first on the actual original credits?   Note that when something is re-master and re-sold the names on the package are those that are the biggest stars TODAY.   Yea, tricky marketing!

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I only see Mason getting lead billing on that re-mastered DVD.    Was Mason listed first on the actual original credits?   Note that when something is re-master and re-sold the names on the package are those that are the biggest stars TODAY.   Yea, tricky marketing!

Yeah, that is why Marilyn Monroe's image and name is prominent on DVDs of films like RIGHT CROSS, where she barely has a handful of lines.  Also, the same thing happened back them, when a movie might be re-released in theaters, and a now prominent star would be prominently displayed in the promotion.

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I watched The High Command twice last couple of days.  I do not want to tell you the story.  It is Atwills finest hour.  I think he wanted to make movies in britain but he did not find a script worth the trip.  I will tell you why its not shown.  One of the worst aspect of the empire system is the natives had to be trained into an army strong enough to defend the brits from superior numbers of natives.  It was Atwill's job to train the troops and make sure they could play empire music on occasions.

James Mason was in love with the wife of a local exporter. and she him. His cousin was also on the base which was Fort Mamba in Nigeria.  it was an island.  It is a great picture and it was loaded with info on the empire. 

But the black people are sometimes done badly by the pov of the film.  For instance a scene which should be cut - Masons valet boy who speaks very bad english is interrogated at Mason's court martial.  his name is julius caesar.  The kid babbles on.  there is another scene in which is shown the natives being extremely angry about the subjugation and the tons of raw materials being stolen & them having to haul it at pittance wages.  The scene was partially cut but enough is there.  the film is honest about the empire being despised for its treatment of locals.  It also showed Ireland 1921.  If TCM showed it they would have to show the cut scenes.

I think I like Atwill in this movie better than any of his hollywood pix because he is a real person.  Hollywood does not portray real people well.  Steven Geray is great.  Buy it from england.  TCM can't show it.  But they are touchy about stuff as they should be.

The first picture shows Steven Geray,  his wife and Mason's cousin when they arrive in Nigeria.  Its a blow up of a shot from the film.

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I watched The High Command twice last couple of days.  I do not want to tell you the story.  It is Atwills finest hour.  I think he wanted to make movies in britain but he did not find a script worth the trip.  I will tell you why its not shown.  One of the worst aspect of the empire system is the natives had to be trained into an army strong enough to defend the brits from superior numbers of natives.  It was Atwill's job to train the troops and make sure they could play empire music on occasions.

James Mason was in love with the wife of a local exporter. and she him. His cousin was also on the base which was Fort Mamba in Nigeria.  it was an island.  It is a great picture and it was loaded with info on the empire. 

But the black people are sometimes done badly by the pov of the film.  For instance a scene which should be cut - Masons valet boy who speaks very bad english is interrogated at Mason's court martial.  his name is julius caesar.  The kid babbles on.  there is another scene in which is shown the natives being extremely angry about the subjugation and the tons of raw materials being stolen & them having to haul it at pittance wages.  The scene was partially cut but enough is there.  the film is honest about the empire being despised for its treatment of locals.  It also showed Ireland 1921.  If TCM showed it they would have to show the cut scenes.

I think I like Atwill in this movie better than any of his hollywood pix because he is a real person.  Hollywood does not portray real people well.  Steven Geray is great.  Buy it from england.  TCM can't show it.  But they are touchy about stuff as they should be.

The first picture shows Steven Geray,  his wife and Mason's cousin when they arrive in Nigeria.  Its a blow up of a shot from the film.

 

I'm a big fan of Steven Geray.     He was in a lot of noir films.   Not big roles but interesting ones (like Gilda).   He was very versatile.  TCM should feature him as part of Summer Under the Stars.

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I'm a big fan of Steven Geray.     He was in a lot of noir films.   Not big roles but interesting ones (like Gilda).   He was very versatile.  TCM should feature him as part of Summer Under the Stars.

I agree, he was great in Gilda (as Uncle Pio), The Mask of Dimitrios, and so many other films.

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  • 8 months later...

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. 

I consider James Mason my favorite actor *in recent years" and agree that he has not been given enough acclaim.  I don't think TCM actually ignored him, but he should have gotten more homage to his great films.  The Seventh Veil and Odd Man Out are films that could never be duplicated with other actors..  He possessed a serious "quiet" manner in some films, while in others his droll sense of humor shone.  Case in point, In The Seventh Veil he is a quiet and serious man who is repressing his love for his ward, Ann Todd.  She had become his musical prodigy and she could not clearly analyze her own  feelings  --  Did she love him (he had been an inexorably strict taskmaster in order to aid her in her fine piano performaces) or a casual friend Peter or even an artist, Max. She was eventually conflicted about the man she wanted to spent her life with!   

 

In A Touch of Larceny, James is very humorous (in a tongue and cheek manner) about how to amass money without working for it.  Vera Miles costars in this film and her fiancee, George Sanders, finds his lovely girlfriend snatched away before his very eyes.-by his colleague. Virginia (Vera) admits that Max (James) is a disease and hard to combat, When she is with him she is weak-kneed and overwhelmed.  Guess we can figure out the future bridegroom's identity!  So in Odd Man Out Mr. Mason could be an IRA Leader who inadvertently shoots a man and relives his life while fleeing from police.  While on the run, he suffers keen remorse for his actions.  His friends,try to help him, but each has a purpose, or a motive.  So whether a "shy guy, a man of evil "The Man in Grey:, "Fanny by Gaslight", a dashing highway man "Wicked Lady", or even a 20th century reincarnation of Hendrick, the "Flying Dutchman". -  James lives and becomes the character, no matter what the role!  The important thing is, that his audience "believes in the character".  LAst but not least, our Mr. Mason made a very compelling victim in "The Night Has Eyes". He is excellent as a shell-shocked musician who remains in his lovely out of the way home, as he fears he is a killer during his blackouts.  An intrepid young woman passing through in a rainstorm and staying at the house, is fiercely protective of the man she has come to love in a very short time.  WHen atrocities begin around the estate (killing of animals, etc.) Marian (played by the able Joyce Howard) and eventually James's character "Stephen" begin to look elsewhere for answers.  Could it be the bloodthirsty caretaker, or the seemingly kindly nurse and housekeeper?

 

RE:  James's films that have not been on TCM, I am hoping that the matter will be rectified and rights to show them are no longer a barrier; Universal, etc.  I admit that when I ask people today  of all ages, the film they associate Mr. Mason with is North by Northwest.  Though Mr. M. essayed a fine performance in it,, it is far from being his masterpiece!

 

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I am definitely in the pro-James Mason camp. I first saw him in "A Star Is Born" and was blown away by how good he is. I think, though the movie is Judy's showcase, one still comes away equally moved by his performance. (Those who like to complain that Grant - one of my favorite actors btw - never received a competitive Oscar should be reminded that he turned down the lead in a flm such as "A Star Is Born" to make a fluffy, forgettable "Room for One More" - allegedly too worried about his star image taking a hit playing an alcoholic fading star- as well as working with the troubled Ms. Garland.) Too bad Mason was so dismayed by Peter Sellars's shenanigans during the making of "Lolita" as to think it became a Peter Sellars vehicle, because Mason was wonderful in the movie (Sellars, obnoxious as usual). I would hve loved to have seen him in "Who's Afraid of Viginia

Woolf" though Burton was great in the role. His screen time in "North by Northwest" may be limited, but clearly his star persona and performance make it a co-starring role.

Ah, that voice and accent -just loved him!

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As much as I enjoy watching James Mason in films, watching him in interviews from the olden days discussing his wife, Pamela and daughter Portland is even more fun. He definitely was the consummate actor to be sure.

 

Ah, now this reminds me of a little story I once watched Robert Goulet tell on some talk show years ago(sure wish I could remember which one exactly), and as I recall right after Richard Burton had died in 1984.

 

(...the following story is rated PG-13)

 

As I recall, the host of the talk show had asked Goulet about his friendship with Burton which had been formed during the time they were both cast in the original Broadway production of CAMELOT during the early-1960s.

 

Goulet in his efforts to show why Burton was one of the more notorious "ladies men" of his era, would tell the tale of one particular incident that Burton himself would relay to Goulet during their mutual time in the aforementioned Broadway production, and one which while never actually naming the names of the people involved other than Burton, Goulet would do vocal impressions of while relaying this story.

 

It seems Burton had been strongly suspected of carrying on a little affair with the wife of a very prominent fellow British actor who had also made it big in Hollywood, and who with his wife owned a mansion in Beverly Hills. On evening and during a party at said mansion, one to which Burton had been invited and had showed up, the host of this party asked Burton into his private study to discuss a little matter that  had been weighing heavily on his mind, and while discussing this little matter, the host would pull down from a display case a small caliber revolver and begin to clean it. 

 

The host then said something to the effect of, "You know Richard, I've recently been asked to play a part in a film in which the character I play is a rather jealous husband. In this film there's a scene where I confront the man I suspect of carrying on an affair with my character's wife, and in that scene my character must make a decision if he thinks just offering a mild warning to the other man would do the trick in ending that man's involvement with my character's wife, or if perhaps more stringent methods might be called for. What do you make of this?"

 

Goulet, in a pretty good impression of the man said Burton's reply was, "I would think the warning would suffice."

 

(...and yes, as I'm sure you've probably guessed by now, the vocal impression Goulet did of the host of the party in Burton's story sounded a heck of a lot like the very subject of this thread) ;)

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I agree, he was great in Gilda (as Uncle Pio), The Mask of Dimitrios, and so many other films.

Me too!  I like Stephen Geary very much too!  He was excellent in Gilda as the sympathetic Uncle Pio, a kindly Chief of Staff

doctor in  Lady Possessed with James Mason.  Here he comforts Stephen Dunne who is losing his wife (Jean) to James Mason's character, Del Palma.  The husband even buys the family mansion (at eight thousand pounds) which was high for even a mansion in the late 40's to make his wife happy.  He is unaware that she is becoming possessed wiMrs. Del

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Me too!  I like Stephen Geary very much too!  He was excellent in Gilda as the sympathetic Uncle Pio, a kindly Chief of Staff

doctor in  Lady Possessed with James Mason.  Here he comforts Stephen Dunne who is losing his wife (Jean) to James Mason's character, Del Palma.  The husband even buys the family mansion (at eight thousand pounds) which was high for even a mansion in the late 40's to make his wife happy.  He is unaware that she is becoming possessed wiMrs. Del

whoops, I mean to say, that his wife is possessed by Mrs. Del Palma's ghost.   "Dr. Stefan" ably assists Jean's husband Tom  with psychological assistance.  In The Unfaithful ('47) , Stephen is a blackmailing sculptor who suspects Ann Sheridan's  character has shot her husband and reported the shooting as a robbery.  No matter what the role, this fine actor never fails to succeed  as the character he enacts.  I am going to watch So Dark the Night soon.  I know I will like it too!

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NipkowDisc--TCM has shown both Hatters' Castle (1948) & Botany Bay (1953) before, according to the "Users Review section--HC last in Dec. 2013, Botany Bay last in June 2013.  Check the Dec schedule for HC--it's due to be shown again.

Thank you!  I was unaware that they were on, but obtained Botany Bay and Hatter's Castle from friends. 

I like both films very much.

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As much as I enjoy watching James Mason in films, watching him in interviews from the olden days discussing his wife, Pamela and daughter Portland is even more fun. He definitely was the consummate actor to be sure.

That is true.  Far from a happy family!  My friends and I were glad to learn that he got away from his adulterous first wife (23 years later).  He eventually found real happiness married to the lovely and sympathetic Clarissa Kaye whom he had met when making a late 60's film with Helen Mirren.  Daughter Portland was a lovely girl. Growing up in the 50's and 60's I spotted her on some TV Shows; Bachelor Father, etc.  Sadly, she died in her late 50's.

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Don't miss "Hero's Island" (1962), airing August 24th, 11:15 a.m., E.S.T.--there is a terse article about it, but no reviews.  A premiere??  Has Mason in a U. S.Colonial type role, at the height of his career.

Not sure if it was a premiere.  Got it!  Thanks!

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That is true.  Far from a happy family!  My friends and I were glad to learn that he got away from his adulterous first wife (23 years later).  He eventually found real happiness married to the lovely and sympathetic Clarissa Kaye whom he had met when making a late 60's film with Helen Mirren.  Daughter Portland was a lovely girl. Growing up in the 50's and 60's I spotted her on some TV Shows; Bachelor Father, etc.  Sadly, she died in her late 50's.

talking about unfaithful spouses,i remenber one thing when James Mason was battling Pamela, he capitulated on the terms when she sent him a listing of at least 15 actresses he had an affair with and she intended to name them in court if she had to.,so i guess they were both not very faithful.I  do not defend his ex wife at all but let's just say James was no saint either.

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talking about unfaithful spouses,i remenber one thing when James Mason was battling Pamela, he capitulated on the terms when she sent him a listing of at least 15 actresses he had an affair with and she intended to name them in court if she had to.,so i guess they were both not very faithful.

 

Wow! Can you just imagine the Hollywood Reporter's headline if THAT would've come out ???...

 

WIFE OF MASON JARS COURT WITH CROSS-COMPLAINT DETAILS

 

(...yeah yeah, THAT'S right...I'm one of those idiots who fifty years later after junior high and when he first heard it, STILL chuckles when he thinks of that fake headline/punchline to another old joke: "ARTIE CHOKES TWO FOR A DOLLAR AT SAFEWAY"...yep, simple pleasures for simple minds I guess, eh?!) ;)

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I  have a deep admiration for James Mason's superb acting skills and recently read two biographies about his life and career.  Along the line I read some newspaper and magazine articles about the Mason's unfortunate marriage. I know that stories can vary, but a reliable source speaks of Pamela's affairs from nearly the beginning of their marriage.  James retaliated with affairs; notably with Ann Todd.  After Pamela heard of that one her infidelities increased.

 

 

He had a love affair with Ann Todd while making The Seventh Veil (in '45).  It's very touching in an article about James Mason she is quoted as saying  "There was really no end of our love for each other".  She did not speak of their relationship until he had passed away. They did want to marry at the time, but both did not want to hurt their spouses.  (Ann was married to David Lean (of Brief Encounter fame) and James to Pamela). 

 

After they came out here to Hollywood in the 50's, the story goes that  there were numerous wild parties at their home (bad for the children) with many men.  James used to hide somewhere else in his own home!  

 

Yes, I had read somewhere that James had retaliated with 4 or 5 women out here.  I had no idea there were 14 or 15.  Certainly James did not want his children to be hurt and paid a lot to have their divorce settled.  He had been very much in love with Pamela, who was married to his friend, Roy Kellino.  James pursued her relentlessly and she divorced Roy and married him.  Not long after their marriage he discovered her infidelities.   Some of his friends (Christopher Lee and Graham Greene) noticed that James had a tragic expression on his face, but would never speak ill of her.  Once when prodded, he said "I must get out of my marriage".  It took 23 years, but he finally did it and was nearly broke.  She hounded him for practically every cent.  He could not speak of all the perfidy against him and her malice until his remarriage several years later.  One day he unburdened himself to his his new wife, Clarissa.

 

On a talk show interval James was asked if he minded Pamela being unfaithful.  He looked vague and said, "After the first, the rest did not matter".  A profound remark!   Of course she blasted him on talk shows later and when the host would ask what it was like being married to the "great James Mason!"  She said "Just awful!"  And naturally everyone wanted to know the answer  "Affairs!"  So we never will know the real story, but from reading 2 biographies of James and one he had written, it was fairly clear that she began belittling him in front of others.  Her loud laugh would ring out and James was often the butt of her jokes.

 

I just read that James was nervous about acting in a play in Canada, as he hadn't been on stage for awhile.   People going by his dressing room heard a loud woman's voice belittling James.  It was Pamela pacing back and forth saying he would fall flat on his face!  The first night was a failure, but he achieved more fame with resultant performances.  (People who did not know James felt very sorry for him and one said, "That woman should be burned at the stake").

 

A columnist in the early 60's wrote an article about the "Happy Masons" of yesterday, and the question she asked was, Why does James want to divorce Pamela all of a sudden and how does she feel about it.  She says she doesn't know why he would want to be rid of her and is amazed!   (In the article we see a picture of them happily draped around their swimming pool with baby Portland, who was about 2 at the time).  Both James and Pam look happy in the picture.  Not long after that, Merv Griffin came over to tape an interview with the Masons.  She did all the talking (and while they were talking) and a loud knock resounded on their front door.  Pamela said it was one of her lovers and he wanted to know why she hadn't called.  She said to keep the interview going and ignored the repeated loud knocking!  James looked merely uncomfortable.

 

Not we can see why Pamela wanted to accompany James on his movie sets and vice versa,  THe dissonance and mistrust between them must have been staggering.  I inferred from all I had read "that she could dish it out but couldn't take it".  OF course, he had more famous roles and was on more sets.  In an interview she said it helped keep a film couple's marriage together to follow one's spouse on location.. .

On one of the movie sets James told the director his wife would be sitting in and watching the. action.  He called out "Not that woman!  If she comes here, we'll have to get her out of here!"  He couldn't stand her criticisms and loud voice.

 

So no matter what we read or infer, James has left us a wonderful legacy to enjoy; Odd Man Out, The Seventh Veil  topping the list.

 

 

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talking about unfaithful spouses,i remenber one thing when James Mason was battling Pamela, he capitulated on the terms when she sent him a listing of at least 15 actresses he had an affair with and she intended to name them in court if she had to.,so i guess they were both not very faithful.I  do not defend his ex wife at all but let's just say James was no saint either.

Yes, I know what you mean.  Hard to say which came first, but I do think it was James who was the victim.  He was a superb actor and left a great legacy.  Sadly, he had very little happiness until he effected changes in his life.  I was glad to read that he was very happy with Clarissa Kaye, his second wife.  (Time is a crazy thing.  Do you know that  James would be 106 if he were still alive?  Amazing!  He is still handsome and mesmerizing to his lady fans and admired by his peers).

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Wow! Can you just imagine the Hollywood Reporter's headline if THAT would've come out ???...

 

WIFE OF MASON JARS COURT WITH CROSS-COMPLAINT DETAILS

 

(...yeah yeah, THAT'S right...I'm one of those idiots who fifty years later after junior high and when he first heard it, STILL chuckles when he thinks of that fake headline/punchline to another old joke: "ARTIE CHOKES TWO FOR A DOLLAR AT SAFEWAY"...yep, simple pleasures for simple minds I guess, eh?!) ;)

Funny guy!

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