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their original choice... what would the film be like??


DickLindsay
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Ever wonder what some of our favorite films would be like if another actor who either turned down the role or, for whatever reason, they didn't get the part?

 

Many thoughts come to mind here.  I would have loved to have seen Julie Andrews reprise her Broadway role in the film version of MY FAIR LADY.  I love the film, think its terrific and Audrey Hepburn was wrongly not given any acknowledgement by the academy.  But, I also think that if Julie Andrews had played Eliza Doolittle that it would probably be one of the best movies ever.

 

 

Also, SUNSET BOULEVARD... a film that I consider to be perfect.  Role of Joe Gillis was originally offered to Montgomery Clift who turned it down because it was too similar to the part he played in THE HEIRESS and A PLACE IN THE SUN; he didn't want to be typecast.  I'm not sure he would have been locked into that type of role had he done SUNSET BOULEVARD and as much as i like William Holden in the role, I think Monty fits it better.

 

any other thoughts?

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Yes, I always like MARNIE; don't understand why it did not do well (Tippi Hedren is a bit dull but, it's still a good film).  As for Grace Kelly, well it certainly would have been different. And i think it would have worked very well.

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Billy Wilder always wanted to work with Cary Grant, but it never happened. Wilder had hoped Grant would do "Ninotchka" . But the role went to Melvyn Douglas.

 

Wilder had offered the part of the British Cpl. in "Five Graves to Cairo" to Grant. Grant turned him down. Franchot Tone got the part.

 

Wilder wanted Grant for the role of "Linus" in "Sabrina" with Audrey Hepburn, but again Mr. Grant said no and Bogart was cast.

 

And Grant said no to Wilder when he wanted him for the lead in "Love in the Afternoon" again with Audrey Hepburn and again Grant turned him down. Gary Cooper was cast. Grant said he though the age difference between him and Hepburn was to great, but a few years later he co starred with her in "Charade"

 

Finally in "The Apartment" [ no, not Grant] actor Paul Douglas was all set to appear in the role of Jeff Sheldrake, but right before shooting started Douglas died of a heart attack and the role went to Fred MacMurray.

 

But with all the no's from Cary Grant, him and Wilder remained life long friends....

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Montgomery Clift was the original choice for the lead in NOT AS A STRANGER, but his personal problems made that impossible. It would have been much better with him than with his replacement, Robert Mitchum, who wasn't suitable for that role (although he was terrific in many other movies).

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Montgomery Clift was the original choice for the lead in NOT AS A STRANGER, but his personal problems made that impossible. It would have been much better with him than with his replacement, Robert Mitchum, who wasn't suitable for that role (although he was terrific in many other movies).

 

I agree that Clift would have been better then Mitchum in Not as a Stranger since Clift was better at playing a moody,  brooding type of character and that is what the role called for.    Mitchum just came off as bored most of the time. 

 

But for similar reasons I feel Holden is better for the role of Joe then Clift would have been.    Norma is moody enough for 10 films and to me it was better to have a more glib Holden than a moody Montgomery.

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But for similar reasons I feel Holden is better for the role of Joe then Clift would have been.    Norma is moody enough for 10 films and to me it was better to have a more glib Holden than a moody Montgomery.

 

I agree.  While I'm a fan of Montgomery Clift; I don't see him being as effective in Sunset Boulevard as Holden was.  I think it worked having a little more relaxed Joe in contrast to Swanson's crazy Norma Desmond.  Having two moody characters would have changed the entire tone of the film and perhaps made it more tedious than entertaining. Holden also brings a certain amount of charm that makes it more believable that Norma would be interested in him (although maybe after that many years cooped up with Max, she'd go after any young man) and that he could also be wooing the engaged Nancy Olson over at the movie studio.  While Clift was good at attracting the ladies in his films, like From Here to Eternity for example, I don't necessarily find him charming.  In From Here to Eternity, I think the main reason Donna Reed's character was so interested in him was because she sensed a vulnerability in Clift and almost wanted to take care of him.  Burt Lancaster would have been more the type to charm the ladies and attract them because of his obvious, virile, masculinity. 

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Billy Wilder always wanted to work with Cary Grant, but it never happened. Wilder had hoped Grant would do "Ninotchka" . But the role went to Melvyn Douglas.

 

Wilder had offered the part of the British Cpl. in "Five Graves to Cairo" to Grant. Grant turned him down. Franchot Tone got the part.

 

Wilder wanted Grant for the role of "Linus" in "Sabrina" with Audrey Hepburn, but again Mr. Grant said no and Bogart was cast.

 

And Grant said no to Wilder when he wanted him for the lead in "Love in the Afternoon" again with Audrey Hepburn and again Grant turned him down. Gary Cooper was cast. Grant said he though the age difference between him and Hepburn was to great, but a few years later he co starred with her in "Charade"

 

Finally in "The Apartment" [ no, not Grant] actor Paul Douglas was all set to appear in the role of Jeff Sheldrake, but right before shooting started Douglas died of a heart attack and the role went to Fred MacMurray.

 

But with all the no's from Cary Grant, him and Wilder remained life long friends....

 

While I think that Bogart is too old for Hepburn's character in Sabrina, I liked him in this role.  Grant is only a few years younger than Bogart; so the age difference wouldn't have been that much different.  I think the difference is that Bogart looked older than his age; whereas Grant looked younger than his.  While I think that Grant would have been good, his Mid-Atlantic accent would have been out of place in this film.  I think different actors would have needed to have been cast in the roles of the Larabee family.  Bogart's New York accent fits in with the setting of the film.  I like the pairing of Bogart and Hepburn (even if Bogart himself didn't) because I think Hepburn's youth and vibrant personality makes a nice contrast to the worldly, stodginess of Bogart's.  While Hepburn and Holden would be the more obvious choice to end up together; I like that Bogart ends up with Hepburn.  It loosens him up a bit and makes him more likeable.

 

However, in regard to Love in the Afternoon, this film would have been better with Grant in my opinion.  Gary Cooper is just so dull and lifeless.  Grant would have definitely made the film more interesting and livened it up.  I've tried watching this film twice and been bored out of my mind both times.  I love Audrey Hepburn; but even she couldn't save this film.  I hate to say it, but I think this film would have also been improved with color.  With a location as gorgeous as Paris, color would have at least made the film a little more interesting.

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I wish Doris Day had done Nellie in SOUTH PACIFIC.  A more perfect actress to role combination I can't imagine.  Mitzi Gaynor sings of being an optimist, then spends most of the film, sulking.  Unfortunately for Mitzi, she required a better director than Josh Logan, who seems more concerned with color filters and not changing a step of staging he had done on Broadway, than character development. 

 

Robert Wise's original choices for Tony and Maria (Keir Dullea and Barbara Luna) might have been interesting; but, as I consider WEST SIDE STORY, the first great screen musical, it's only a curiosity, rather than thinking the film would have been better.

 

I also wish Lee Remick had reprised her role in WAIT UNTIL DARK.  She didn't stand a chance.  Warner's originally offered it to Julie Andrews, then Audrey Hepburn swopped-in and offered to defray the production cost, and bought herself a role.  I saw Remick (who was superb) on stage in the role (also saw Shirley Jones on stage in it).  Both were far better than Hepburn, who is okay, but of out of her league in the role.

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I agree on the aptness of William Holden in Sunset Blvd. he acts and LOOKS the part. Holden was a goodlooking guy, but could also seem burnt out. I am a big fan of M. Clift, but he would have been, I think, too young then and too handsome for the part in 1950. ( I've also read that he lived ( though gay) at the time with Libby Holman, a fading star, and that SHE was an influence in his rejecting a part to which he had already committed. (It hit too close to home.)

Re: Doris Day in South Pacific. It is astonishing that she wasn't given the part at that time - it seemed perfect casting, she wanted the part and she was BIG box office. I don't really fault Mitzi Gaynor in the part though - she can certainly be appealing ( especially in all those tv specials). - I think (sacrilege) the part of Nellie Forbush is terribly dated now. Her prejudice, understandable apparently when the show was written, now seems wildly over the top. I mean she is rejecting a handsome, wealthy and charming man who adores her because he was once married to an Asian woman and fathered her children ( whom Nellie finds adorable). I see the movie or stage show and think, "Go back to Kansas, (or wherever she was from) honey! This guy deserves better." i don't know what Doris Dy could have done to make her more

appealing, but I would have loved to have heard her singing that great score

Re: Cary Grant - wouldn't he have been great in Love in the Afternoon? He and Gary Cooper should have switched parts in 1957 - Cooper in The Pride and the Passion and Grant in Wilder's film. Grant would have been interesting too in A Star Is Born - a part Judy Garland and producer/ hubby Sid Luft desperately wanted him to play. He was allegedly concerned about the trials that working on a big budget musical with Garland might entail. He was also said to be hesitant to play a fading, alcoholic star. It is not unheard of after all, for audience members to confuse a part with reality. Bogart wanted to play Norman Maine, but

Garland and Luft didn't want him and they were right. Bogart would have been a very unattractive drunk.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with their ultimate choice, James Mason - great in the role and very sympathetic.

Re: what might have been - Hard to imagine anyone but Bette Davis as Margo Channing in All About Eve though cast with Claudette Colbert who had to bow out due to a temporay injury ( broken arm?) on a film

prior to Eve.

Other casting replacements of note - Joan Collins and Stephen Boyd replaced by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Cleopatra. (talk about changing Hollywood history!)

Stewart Granger originally offered Ben-Hur, Lana Turner instead of Lee Remick in Anatomy of a Murder (Turner and Eva Marie Saint were both also considered for Janet Leigh's role in Psycho) Joan Crawford instead of Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity. Harry Cohn also wanted Aldo Ray instead of Montgomery Clift whom Cohn was not convinced could be tough enough in the part. And of course, famously did not want Sinatra in the movie - he wanted Eli Wallach in the part. (Guess that horse's head in his bed changed Cohn's mind. Lol)

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The first thing to spring to mind whenever a question like this is posed is Sea of Grass.   I love Katharine Hepburn, and I always enjoy watching her and Spencer Tracy together.  But I also love Myrna Loy, and she was originally slated for the film.  I think she and Tracy also work well together, and with her Montana upbringing and appreciation for what her grandmothers endured and accomplished, she could have really brought something to that role.  I'm not attached to the film as it exists (it's probably my least-favorite Hepburn/Tracy collaboration), so I've always wished MGM had stuck with the original casting. 

 

Sticking with some of the same players, I wonder what Libeled Lady would be like had Clark Gable played Spencer Tracy's role as originally planned.  Now, that film I do absolutely adore, so I'm not sure I'd make the change even if I had a time machine.  But Gable plays so well with Loy, Powell and Harlow ... that would have been a terrific foursome.

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The first thing to spring to mind whenever a question like this is posed is Sea of Grass.   I love Katharine Hepburn, and I always enjoy watching her and Spencer Tracy together.  But I also love Myrna Loy, and she was originally slated for the film.  I think she and Tracy also work well together, and with her Montana upbringing and appreciation for what her grandmothers endured and accomplished, she could have really brought something to that role.  I'm not attached to the film as it exists (it's probably my least-favorite Hepburn/Tracy collaboration), so I've always wished MGM had stuck with the original casting. 

 

Sticking with some of the same players, I wonder what Libeled Lady would be like had Clark Gable played Spencer Tracy's role as originally planned.  Now, that film I do absolutely adore, so I'm not sure I'd make the change even if I had a time machine.  But Gable plays so well with Loy, Powell and Harlow ... that would have been a terrific foursome.

I didn't know that Gable was originally slated for Tracy's role.  While I love Libeled Lady as it is, I think it would have been great with Gable as well.  I don't know, there's something about Tracy that doesn't do anything for me.  I don't know what it is.  I don't dislike him and will watch films that he's in, like the ones with Hepburn; but Tracy kind of falls into the Gary Cooper category of woodenness for me.  Even though I think I prefer Tracy slightly over Cooper; but in terms of woodenness, they way more lively and interesting than old George Raft. 

 

Anyway, I think Gable would have been an interesting addition to the film and I think he would have meshed well with the other cast members. 

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I didn't know that Gable was originally slated for Tracy's role.

 

 

Gable hadn't been cast, but when MGM first picked up the script he was who execs had in mind for that role.  When it came time to nail down a cast and shoot, however, they had him on another project (something with Joan Crawford, perhaps) and didn't want to wait.  Tracy was still fairly new on the lot and they were anxious to get him into more films, so he was cast.

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Gable hadn't been cast, but when MGM first picked up the script he was who execs had in mind for that role.  When it came time to nail down a cast and shoot, however, they had him on another project (something with Joan Crawford, perhaps) and didn't want to wait.  Tracy was still fairly new on the lot and they were anxious to get him into more films, so he was cast.

Ah okay.  Makes sense.  Still, it would have been interesting to see a Powell/Loy/Harlow/Gable version of Libeled Lady.  I think it would have been just as good as the version with Tracy.  Gable and Harlow were a good onscreen team.

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I wish Doris Day had done Nellie in SOUTH PACIFIC. A more perfect actress to role combination I can't imagine. Mitzi Gaynor sings of being an optimist, then spends most of the film, sulking. Unfortunately for Mitzi, she required a better director than Josh Logan, who seems more concerned with color filters and not changing a step of staging he had done on Broadway, than character development.

 

Robert Wise's original choices for Tony and Maria (Keir Dullea and Barbara Luna) might have been interesting; but, as I consider WEST SIDE STORY, the first great screen musical, it's only a curiosity, rather than thinking the film would have been better.

 

I also wish Lee Remick had reprised her role in WAIT UNTIL DARK. She didn't stand a chance. Warner's originally offered it to Julie Andrews, then Audrey Hepburn swopped-in and offered to defray the production cost, and bought herself a role. I saw Remick (who was superb) on stage in the role (also saw Shirley Jones on stage in it). Both were far better than Hepburn, who is okay, but of out of her league in the role.

Speaking of.Doris Day, I always wondered how her best film imho, LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME, would have been had it been done with Ava Gardner, who had turned it down. Ava had been so disillusioned when the recordings she had done for SHOW BOAT were not used in that, and the songs we're dubbed by a professional singer. Ava said something like feeling like a goldfish in a bowl.

 

And speaking of Lee Remick, and.Doris.Day, Remick was considered as Marilyn Monroe's replacement in the Ill fated SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE, but original costar Dean Martin balked at that, saying his contract called for him to.star.with MM. When the movie resumed, under the title MOVE OVER DARLING,.it was with Doris Day and James.Garner in the leads; also replaced was Cyd Charisse as the other wife with Polly Bergen.

 

And speaking of Mitzi Gaynor, she had been the interim choice to play Lorelei Lee in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, which Fox.had bought as a vehicle for Betty Grable in 1951. But Grable was fighting the studio over film roles, and placed on suspension a couple of , times in 1952, so the studio was not Happy with her, plus she was beginning to slip at the Boxoffice; 20th's then blonde replacement to Grable, Mitzi Gaynor, was to do it, but around that time,.Marilyn Monroe was becoming just about the most publicized new celebrity, and studio head Darryl Zanuck decided to take a chance.with her, once he had tested Monroe's singing voice. And the rest is history.

 

And speaking of Mitzi Gaynor and Marilyn Monroe, Gaynor did not do THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE.FREE,.and Fox replaced her with their latest.blonde, Sheree North, who had done her first movie at the studio the year before, HOW TO BE VERY VERY POPULAR, when MM refused to it; North's costar was Grable,.in her last.film at the studio. And speaking of Grable, around this time, she lost out on the part of Adelaide in GUYS AND DOLLS when she stood up Samuel Goldwyn due to ahving to tske her dog to the vet. And sgsin spesking of Grable, she had become a star.with her first film at Fox 15 years earlier, when Alice Faye was unable to do DOWN ARGENTINE.WAY, in 1940.

 

And.speaking.of.Joanne.Woodward (someone here.was), she replaced.Marilyn Monroe in THE STRIPPER, a role planned for Marilyn before she died.

 

And.speaking of.Marilyn Monroe, she had turned down doing FREUD with John Huston, which would have errands her with Montgomery Clift.

 

And speaking of Clift, he died before he could.costar with Elizabeth Taylor in REFLECTIONS.IN A GOLDEN EYE; Marlon Brando did it. And speaking of Brando, he refused to do THE EGYPTIAN, and was replaced.with relative newcomer Edmund Purdom.

 

And speaking.....well let me.stop here for now.

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I didn't know that Gable was originally slated for Tracy's role.  While I love Libeled Lady as it is, I think it would have been great with Gable as well.  I don't know, there's something about Tracy that doesn't do anything for me.  I don't know what it is.  I don't dislike him and will watch films that he's in, like the ones with Hepburn; but Tracy kind of falls into the Gary Cooper category of woodenness for me.  Even though I think I prefer Tracy slightly over Cooper; but in terms of woodenness, they way more lively and interesting than old George Raft. 

 

Anyway, I think Gable would have been an interesting addition to the film and I think he would have meshed well with the other cast members. 

 

I think Tracy is a better fit for that role in Libeled Lady than Gable would have been for reasons associated with your comment of 'he doesn't do anything for me'.    The Tracy character doesn't wish to get married because he places his job above everything else.  He isn't a ladies man.   With Gable one might think the reason he avoids marriage was so he could play the field.  Also at the end when Tracy shows how jealous he is of Powell it is understandable.   Gable might have come off as 'he wouldn't care,  he would just find another gal!'.  

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I think Tracy is a better fit for that role in Libeled Lady than Gable would have been for reasons associated with your comment of 'he doesn't do anything for me'.    The Tracy character doesn't wish to get married because he places his job above everything else.  He isn't a ladies man.   With Gable one might think the reason he avoids marriage was so he could play the field.  Also at the end when Tracy shows how jealous he is of Powell it is understandable.   Gable might have come off as 'he wouldn't care,  he would just find another gal!'.  

True.  I can see that, a star's persona, even if they deliver the exact same dialogue, may change the meaning of the words and/or the character. 

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Arturo wrote:

And speaking of Lee Remick and Doris Day, Remick was considered as Marilyn Monroe's replacement in the Ill fated SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE, but original costar Dean Martin balked at that, saying his contract called for him to star with MM. When the movie resumed, under the title MOVE OVER DARLING,.it was with Doris Day and James Garner in the leads; also replaced was Cyd Charisse as the other wife with Polly Bergen.

 

In his book, James Garner stated that along with Marilyn he was to be the original star of SGTG but something-I've forgotten what-went wrong and Dean Martin ended up with the lead.  Garner and Doris Day had just had a hit with The Thrill of it All so when she took over for Marilyn after her death, Martin bailed out and Garner was again available that seemed the way to go.  While I like Cyd Charisse as an actress I can't imagine anybody but Polly Bergen as Bianca. 

 

Fox put all the footage of SGTG in order and AMC showed it on Sunday along and MOD afterwards. I never liked Dean Martin but Marilyn was quite good in what we saw. It's a shame she didn't get to finish it; if this had been her final film it would have sent her career out on a high note. 

 

Garner and Lee Remick did The Wheeler Dealers the next year.  What went around seems to have really come around back then.

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Arturo wrote:

And speaking of Lee Remick and Doris Day, Remick was considered as Marilyn Monroe's replacement in the Ill fated SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE, but original costar Dean Martin balked at that, saying his contract called for him to star with MM. When the movie resumed, under the title MOVE OVER DARLING,.it was with Doris Day and James Garner in the leads; also replaced was Cyd Charisse as the other wife with Polly Bergen.

 

In his book, James Garner stated that along with Marilyn he was to be the original star of SGTG but something-I've forgotten what-went wrong and Dean Martin ended up with the lead.  Garner and Doris Day had just had a hit with The Thrill of it All so when she took over for Marilyn after her death, Martin bailed out and Garner was again available that seemed the way to go.  While I like Cyd Charisse as an actress I can't imagine anybody but Polly Bergen as Bianca. 

 

Fox put all the footage of SGTG in order and AMC showed it on Sunday along and MOD afterwards. I never liked Dean Martin but Marilyn was quite good in what we saw. It's a shame she didn't get to finish it; if this had been her final film it would have sent her career out on a high note. 

 

Garner and Lee Remick did The Wheeler Dealers the next year.  What went around seems to have really come around back then.

On the same topic, Billy Wilder originally had Mitzi Gaynor in mind for Some Like it Hot. When Marilyn came aboard he acknowledged that as tough as she was to work with, she brought the whole character and comedy to a whole other level. Her competence as an actress/comedienne has been questioned by some (though not by me!), but I think there's no question of the special quality her screen persona brought to the part of Sugar and to the whole movie.

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You'd have never known it from the public's reaction - it was a huge hit in 1967 and 68, and I remember well the superlatives bestowed on Hepburn.

It was an event picture.  Mostly due to the darkening of the movie theaters during a critical scene in the film.  Originally the theaters went to pitch black, but during its run, theaters were told to leave the exit lights on.  Hepburn was nominated for an Academy Award.  There's nothing particularly memorable about her performance, and like many of her films, she comes off like a kid, playing a grown-up.  She's not lousy in the role, by any means, just not anything special.  Unlike Remick and Jones, she never really seems frightened by what's happening; and she never comes off like anyone real, just Audrey Hepburn.

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It was an event picture.  Mostly due to the darkening of the movie theaters during a critical scene in the film.  Originally the theaters went to pitch black, but during its run, theaters were told to leave the exit lights on.  Hepburn was nominated for an Academy Award.  There's nothing particularly memorable about her performance, and like many of her films, she comes off like a kid, playing a grown-up.  She's not lousy in the role, by any means, just not anything special.  Unlike Remick and Jones, she never really seems frightened by what's happening; and she never comes off like anyone real, just Audrey Hepburn.

 

Well said.   I do understand your POV related to Audrey 'like many of her films, she comes off like a kid playing a grown-up'.    While this works (at least for me),  in films like Roman Holiday and Sabrina,  it doesn't work in Wait Until Dark. 

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Well said.   I do understand your POV related to Audrey 'like many of her films, she comes off like a kid playing a grown-up'.    While this works (at least for me),  in films like Roman Holiday and Sabrina,  it doesn't work in Wait Until Dark. 

Yes, it does work in those films, and in others she simply gets by on her charm and great face.  However, there are only two films where I think she actually impresses as an actress, THE NUNS STORY and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.  Mostly, THE NUNS STORY.  In TIFFANY'S, it's remarkable to me, that she is so miscast.  None of it makes any sense with her in the role, yet she and Edwards and the others make it work so incredibly well.

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Yes, it does work in those films, and in others she simply gets by on her charm and great face.  However, there are only two films where I think she actually impresses as an actress, THE NUNS STORY and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.  Mostly, THE NUNS STORY.  In TIFFANY'S, it's remarkable to me, that she is so miscast.  None of it makes any sense with her in the role, yet she and Edwards and the others make it work so incredibly well.

Has anyone here mentioned that Capote felt that Audrey Hepburn was totally miscast as Holly Golightly? He always envisioned Marilyn Monroe in it. I don't know, after half century of Audrey in this iconic role, that I could see MM in it.

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