Basil Rathbone

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967) was a South African-born English actor. He rose to prominence in the United Kingdom as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in more than 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers and, occasionally, horror films.

Rathbone frequently portrayed suave villains or morally ambiguous characters, such as Mr. Murdstone in David Copperfield (1935) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). His most famous role, however, was heroic—that of Sherlock Holmes in fourteen Hollywood films made between 1939 and 1946 and in a radio series. His later career included roles on Broadway, as well as self-ironic film and television work. He received a Tony Award in 1948 as Best Actor in a Play. He was also nominated for two Academy Awards and was honored with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Basil Rathbone
Basil Rathbone in Tovarich trailer
From the trailer for the film Tovarich (1937)
Born
Philip St. John Basil Rathbone

13 June 1892
Johannesburg, South Africa
Died21 July 1967 (aged 75)
Resting place Ferncliff Cemetery Shrine of Memories, Hartsdale, New York
EducationRepton School
OccupationActor
Years active1911–67
Spouse(s)Marion Foreman (1914–1926; divorced)
Ouida Bergère (1926–1967; his death)
Children2
RelativesFrank Benson (cousin)
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1915–18
RankUK Army OF2-2.png Captain [1]
UnitLondon Scottish Regiment
Liverpool Scottish
Awards

Early life

Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to British parents. His mother, Anna Barbara (née George), was a violinist, and his father, Edgar Philip Rathbone, was a mining engineer and scion of the Liverpool Rathbone family. He had two older half-brothers, Harold and Horace, as well as two younger siblings, Beatrice and John. Basil was the great-grandson of the noted Victorian philanthropist, William Rathbone V, and thus a descendant of William Rathbone II. The Rathbones fled to Britain when Basil was three years old after his father was accused by the Boers of being a spy after the Jameson Raid. He was a distant cousin of Major Henry Rathbone, who was present at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and was seriously wounded trying to stop John Wilkes Booth.

Rathbone attended Repton School in Derbyshire from 1906–1910, where he particularly excelled at sports and given the nickname "Ratters" by schoolmates. Thereafter, he was briefly employed by the Liverpool and Globe Insurance Companies, to appease his father's wish for him to have a conventional career.[2]

On 22 April 1911, Rathbone made his first appearance on stage at the Theatre Royal, Ipswich, Suffolk, as Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew, with his cousin Sir Frank Benson's No. 2 Company, under the direction of Henry Herbert. In October 1912, he went to the United States with Benson's company, playing such parts as Paris in Romeo and Juliet, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Silvius in As You Like It. Returning to Britain, he made his first appearance in London at the Savoy Theatre on 9 July 1914, as Finch in The Sin of David. That December, he appeared at the Shaftesbury Theatre as the Dauphin in Henry V. During 1915, he toured with Benson and appeared with him at London's Court Theatre in December as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Military service

During the First World War, Rathbone was called up in 1915 via the Derby Scheme into the British Army as a private with the London Scottish Regiment, joining a regiment that also counted in its ranks his future professional acting contemporaries Claude Rains, Herbert Marshall and Ronald Colman at different points through the conflict. After basic training with the London Scots in early 1916 he received a commission as a lieutenant in the 2/10th Battalion of the King's Liverpool Regiment (Liverpool Scottish), where he served as an intelligence officer and attained the rank of captain. Rathbone's younger brother John was killed in action on 4 June 1918.[3] In 2012 two letters Rathbone wrote to his family while serving on the Western Front were published. One reveals the anguish and anger he felt following the death of his brother, John:

I want to tell him to mind his place. I think of his ridiculous belief that everything would always be well, his ever-hopeful smile, and I want to cuff him for a little fool. He had no business to let it happen and it maddens me that I shall never be able to tell him so, or change it or bring him back. I can’t think of him without being consumed with anger at him for being dead and beyond anything I can do to him. (26th July 1918)[1]

Following his brother's death, Rathbone appears to have become unconcerned about the dangers of serving at the front. Author Richard Van Emden in Famous 1914-18 speculates that his extreme bravery may have been a form of guilt or need for vengeance.[4] He persuaded his superiors to allow him to scout enemy positions during daylight rather than at night, as was the usual practice to minimise the chance of detection.[5] Rathbone wore a special camouflage suit that resembled a tree with a wreath of freshly plucked foliage on his head with burnt cork applied to his hands and face.[6] As a result of these highly dangerous daylight reconnaissance missions in September 1918, he was awarded the Military Cross for "conspicuous daring and resource on patrol".[7]

Career

During the Summer Festival of 1919, he appeared at Stratford-upon-Avon with the New Shakespeare Company playing Romeo, Cassius, Ferdinand in The Tempest and Florizel in The Winter's Tale; in October he was at London's Queen's Theatre as the aide de camp in Napoleon, and in February 1920 he was at the Savoy Theatre in the title role in Peter Ibbetson with huge success.

During the 1920s, Rathbone appeared regularly in Shakespearean and other roles on the British stage. He began to travel and appeared at the Cort Theatre, New York, in October 1923 in a production of The Swan opposite Eva Le Gallienne, which made him a star on Broadway. He toured in the United States in 1925, appearing in San Francisco in May and the Lyceum Theatre, New York, in October. He was in the US again in 1927 and 1930 and again in 1931, when he appeared on stage with Ethel Barrymore. He continued his stage career in Britain, returning late in 1934 to the US, where he appeared with Katharine Cornell in several plays.

Rathbone was once arrested in 1926 along with every other member of the cast of The Captive, a play in which his character's wife left him for another woman. Though the charges were eventually dropped, Rathbone was very angry about the censorship because he believed that homosexuality needed to be brought into the open.[8][9]

Romeo and Juliet lobby card 2
With John Barrymore and Leslie Howard in Romeo and Juliet, 1936

He commenced his film career in 1921 in silent movies and appeared in 1923's "School for Scandal", later appearing in The Masked Bride, appeared in a few silent films, and played the detective Philo Vance in the 1930 film The Bishop Murder Case, based on the best selling novel. In the film there is a coincidental reference to Sherlock Holmes. Like George Sanders and Vincent Price after him, Rathbone made a name for himself in the 1930s by playing suave villains in costume dramas and swashbucklers, including David Copperfield (1935) as the abusive stepfather Mr. Murdstone; Anna Karenina (1935) as her distant husband, Karenin; The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) as Pontius Pilate; Captain Blood (1935); A Tale of Two Cities (1935), as the Marquis St. Evremonde; The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) playing his best remembered villain, Sir Guy of Gisbourne; The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938); and The Mark of Zorro (1940) as Captain Esteban Pasquale. He also appeared in several early horror films: Tower of London (1939), as Richard III, and Son of Frankenstein (1939), portraying the dedicated surgeon Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, son of the monster's creator, and, in 1949, was also the narrator for the segment "The Wind in the Willows" in the Disney animated feature, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

He was admired for his athletic cinema swordsmanship (he listed fencing among his favourite recreations). He fought and lost to Errol Flynn in a duel on the beach in Captain Blood and in an elaborate fight sequence in The Adventures of Robin Hood. He was also involved in noteworthy sword fights in Tower of London, The Mark of Zorro, and The Court Jester (1956). Despite his real life skill, Rathbone won only twice onscreen, against John Barrymore in Romeo and Juliet (1936) and against Eugene Pallette in The Mark of Zorro (1940). Rathbone earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performances as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (1936) and as King Louis XI in If I Were King (1938), a truly remarkable, comedic performance as the wily king. In The Dawn Patrol (1938), he played one of his few heroic roles in the 1930s, as a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) squadron commander brought to the brink of a nervous breakdown by the strain and guilt of sending his battle-weary pilots off to near-certain death in the skies of 1915 France. Errol Flynn, Rathbone's perennial foe, starred in the film as his successor when Rathbone's character was promoted.

According to Hollywood legend, Rathbone was Margaret Mitchell's first choice to play Rhett Butler in the film version of her novel Gone with the Wind. The reliability of this story may be suspect, however, as on another occasion Mitchell chose Groucho Marx for the role, apparently in jest. Rathbone actively campaigned for the role, however, but to no avail.

Despite his film success, Rathbone always insisted that he wished to be remembered for his stage career. He said that his favourite role was that of Romeo.

The Sherlock Holmes films

Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes.jpeg
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

Rathbone is most widely recognised for his many portrayals of Sherlock Holmes. In a radio interview Rathbone recalled that Twentieth Century-Fox producer and director Gene Markey, lunching with producer-director-actor Gregory Ratoff and 20th Century-Fox mogul Daryl Zanuck at Lucey's Restaurant in Hollywood, proposed a film version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles. When asked who could possibly play Holmes, Markey incredulously replied, "Who?! Basil Rathbone!" The film was so successful that Fox produced a sequel which appeared later in 1939. Interest in Holmes cooled at Fox, but Universal Pictures picked up the character, and twelve feature films were made between 1941 and 1944 for release until 1947, all of which co-starred Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.

The first two films, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (both produced by Fox in 1939), were set in the late Victorian times of the original stories. The later installments, produced by Universal, beginning with Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), were set in contemporary times. The first three had World War II-related plots.

Concurrent with the films, Rathbone and Bruce reprised their film roles in a radio series, The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which began in October 1939. Rathbone appeared in the radio series as long as the film series was active, but after the films lapsed in 1946, Rathbone ceded his radio part to Tom Conway. Conway and Bruce carried on with the series for two seasons, until both dropped out in July 1947.

The many Holmes sequels typecast Rathbone, and he was unable to shake himself completely free from the shadow of the Great Detective despite appearing in other film roles. Resenting the typecasting, Rathbone refused to renew his contract at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and returned to Broadway. In later years, however, Rathbone willingly made the Holmes association, as in a TV sketch with Milton Berle in the early 1950s, in which he donned the deerstalker cap and Inverness cape. In the 1960s, dressed as Holmes, he appeared in a series of TV commercials for Getz Exterminators ("Getz gets 'em, since 1888!'").

Rathbone also brought Holmes to the stage in a play written by his wife Ouida. Thomas Gomez, who had appeared as a Nazi ringleader in Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, played the villainous Professor Moriarty. Nigel Bruce was slated to portray Dr Watson once more but became too ill and the part was played by character actor Jack Raine. Bruce's absence depressed Rathbone, particularly after Bruce died on 8 October 1953, while the play was in rehearsals. The play ran for only three performances.

Later career

In the 1950s, Rathbone appeared in two spoofs of his earlier swashbuckling villains: Casanova's Big Night (1954) opposite Bob Hope and The Court Jester (1956) with Danny Kaye. He appeared frequently on TV game shows and continued to appear in major films, including the Humphrey Bogart comedy We're No Angels (1955) and John Ford's political drama The Last Hurrah (1958).

Rathbone also appeared on Broadway numerous times. In 1948, he won a Tony Award for Best Actor for his performance as the unyielding Dr. Austin Sloper in the original production of The Heiress, which featured Wendy Hiller as his timid, spinster daughter. He also received accolades for his performance in Archibald Macleish's J.B., a modernisation of the Biblical trials of Job.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, he continued to appear in several dignified anthology programmes on television. To support his second wife's lavish tastes, he appeared as a panelist on the television game show The Name's the Same (in 1954), and he also took roles in cheap film thrillers of far lesser quality, such as The Black Sleep (1956), Queen of Blood (1966), The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966, wherein the character ' Eric Von Zipper' played by Harvey Lembeck jokes, "That guy looks like Sherlock Holmes"), Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967, also featuring Lon Chaney Jr and John Carradine), and his last film, a low budget, Mexican horror film called Autopsy of a Ghost (1968).

He is also known for his spoken word recordings, including his interpretation of Clement C. Moore's "The Night Before Christmas". Rathbone's readings of the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe are collected together with readings by Vincent Price in Caedmon Audio's The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection on CD.

In four Caedmon albums Rathbone revisited his characterization of Sherlock Holmes. The first, "The Speckled Band" (Caedmon Records TC 1172, recorded in 1963), is a straight narration of the tale. In the rest he changes his voice for each character, including a most enjoyable rendition of Nigel Bruce for Dr Watson.[10]

Rathbone also made many other recordings, of everything from a dramatised version of Oliver Twist to a recording of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf (with Leopold Stokowski conducting) to a dramatised version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.[11]

On television he appeared in two musical versions of Dickens's A Christmas Carol: one in 1954, in which he played Marley's Ghost opposite Fredric March's Scrooge, and the original 1956 live action version of The Stingiest Man In Town, in which he starred as a singing Ebenezer Scrooge.

In the 1960s, he also toured with a one-man show titled (like his autobiography) In and Out of Character. In this show, he recited poetry and Shakespeare as well as giving reminiscences from his life and career (e.g., the humorous, "I could have killed Errol Flynn any time I wanted to!"). As an encore, he recited "221B" a poem written by writer-critic Vincent Starrett, one of the preeminent members of the Baker Street Irregulars whom Rathbone held in high regard.

Vincent Price and Rathbone appeared together, along with Boris Karloff, in Tower of London (1939) and The Comedy of Terrors (1963). The latter was the only film to feature the "Big Four" of American International Pictures' horror films: Price, Rathbone, Karloff and Peter Lorre. Rathbone also appeared with Price in the final segment of Roger Corman's 1962 anthology film Tales of Terror, a loose dramatisation of Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar".

In 1965 Belmont Books issued the anthology Basil Rathbone Selects Strange Tales, a collection of classic horror stories by Poe, Hawthorne, Bulwer-Lyttton, Charles Dickens, Allston Collins, Le Fanu, and Wilkie Collins. The volume features a cover portrait of Rathbone; however, the back cover's legend "Produced by Lyle Kenyon Engel" indicates the anthology was probably not edited by Rathbone himself. Canadian editor and book packager Engel packaged shows and magazines for other horror movie stars including Boris Karloff.[12]

Basil Rathbone has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for films, at 6549 Hollywood Boulevard; one for radio, at 6300 Hollywood Boulevard; and one for television, at 6915 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

Personal life

Rathbone married actress Ethel Marion Foreman in 1914. They had one son, Rodion Rathbone (1915–1996), who had a brief Hollywood career under the name John Rodion. The couple divorced in 1926. In 1924 he was involved in a brief relationship with Eva Le Gallienne. In 1927, he married writer Ouida Bergère; the couple adopted a daughter, Cynthia Rathbone (1939–1969). Their own baby had died some 11 years previously. The American actor Jackson Rathbone is a distant relation (a third cousin, several times removed).[13] Basil Rathbone was a first cousin once-removed of the British campaigning independent MP, Eleanor Rathbone.

During Rathbone's Hollywood career, Ouida Rathbone, who was also her husband's business manager, developed a reputation for hosting elaborate and expensive parties in their home, with many prominent and influential people on the guest lists. This trend inspired a joke in The Ghost Breakers (1940), a film in which Rathbone does not appear: During a tremendous thunderstorm in New York City, Bob Hope observes that "Basil Rathbone must be throwing a party". Actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell described Rathbone as "two profiles pasted together".[14] As cited in the same autobiography, Mrs. Campbell would later refer to him as, "a folded umbrella taking elocution lessons."

He was the cousin of the eminent actor Frank Benson, to whom he bore a strong resemblance.

He was a devout Episcopalian and a member of the Episcopal Actors Guild.[15]

Death

Rathbone died suddenly of a heart attack in New York City on 21 July 1967 at the age of 75. His body was interred in a crypt in the Shrine of Memories Mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.[16]

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1921 Innocent Amadis de Jocelyn
The Fruitful Vine Don Cesare Carelli
1923 The School for Scandal Joseph Surface
The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots Undetermined role Uncredited
1924 Trouping with Ellen Tony Winterslip
1925 The Masked Bride Antoine
1926 The Great Deception Rizzio
1929 The Last of Mrs. Cheyney Lord Arthur Dilling
1930 The Bishop Murder Case Philo Vance
This Mad World Paul Parisot
A Notorious Affair Paul Gherardi
The Flirting Widow Colonel John "Johnny" Vaughn-Smith
The Lady of Scandal Edward, Duke of Warrington
The Lady Surrenders Carl Vandry
Sin Takes a Holiday Reginald "Reggie" Durant
1932 A Woman Commands Capt. Alex Pastitsch
After the Ball Jack Harrowby
1933 One Precious Year Derek Nagel
Loyalties Ferdinand de Levis
1935 David Copperfield Mr. Murdstone
Anna Karenina Karenin
The Last Days of Pompeii Pontius Pilate
A Feather in Her Hat Captain Randolph Courtney
Kind Lady Henry Abbott
A Tale of Two Cities Marquis St. Evremonde
Captain Blood Levasseur
1936 Private Number Thomas Wroxton
Romeo and Juliet Tybalt - Nephew to Lady Capulet Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Garden of Allah Count Ferdinand Anteoni
1937 Love from a Stranger Gerald Lovell
Confession Michael Michailow, aka Michael Koslov
Make a Wish Johnny Selden
Tovarich Commissar Dimitri Gorotchenko
1938 The Adventures of Marco Polo Ahmed
The Adventures of Robin Hood Sir Guy of Gisbourne
If I Were King King Louis XI Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Dawn Patrol Major Brand
1939 Son of Frankenstein Baron Wolf von Frankenstein
The Hound of the Baskervilles Sherlock Holmes
The Sun Never Sets Clive Randolph
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes
Rio Paul Reynard
Tower of London Richard - Duke of Gloucester
1940 Rhythm on the River Oliver Courtney
The Mark of Zorro Captain Esteban Pasquale
1941 The Mad Doctor Dr. George Sebastian According to IMDb, it was released on November 9, 1940, in Mexico.
The Black Cat Montague Hartley
International Lady Reggie Oliver
Paris Calling Andre Benoit
1942 Fingers at the Window Cesar Ferrari, alias Dr. H. Santelle
Crossroads Henri Sarrou
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon Sherlock Holmes
1943 Sherlock Holmes in Washington Sherlock Holmes  
Above Suspicion Sig von Aschenhausen
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death Sherlock Holmes
Crazy House Sherlock Holmes Cameo appearance
The Spider Woman Sherlock Holmes
1944
Bathing Beauty George Adams
The Pearl of Death Sherlock Holmes
The Scarlet Claw Sherlock Holmes
Frenchman's Creek Lord Rockingham
1945 The House of Fear Sherlock Holmes  
The Woman in Green Sherlock Holmes
Pursuit to Algiers Sherlock Holmes
1946 Terror by Night Sherlock Holmes  
Heartbeat Professor Aristide
Dressed to Kill Sherlock Holmes
1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Narrator segment "The Wind in the Willows"
1953 Season's Greetings TV movie
1954 Casanova's Big Night Lucio / Narrator
"A Christmas Carol" Jacob Marley. A Shower of Stars episode
1955 We're No Angels Andre Trochard
Svengali and the Blonde Svengali TV movie
The Court Jester Sir Ravenhurst
1956 The Black Sleep Sir Joel Cadman
1957 The Lark Chief Inquisitor TV movie
1958 Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates Dr. Boekman TV movie
The Last Hurrah Norman Cass, Sr.
1961 Victoria Regina[17] Benjamin Disraeli TV movie
The Black Cat Voices A short
Mystic Prophecies and Nostradamus Narrator
1962 The Magic Sword Lodac
Ponzio Pilato Caiaphas
Tales of Terror Carmichael segment "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"
Two Before Zero (aka Red Hell) Narrator
1963 The Comedy of Terrors John F. Black, Esq.
1965 Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet Prof. Hartman, Lunar 7
Dr. Rock and Mr. Roll
1966 Queen of Blood Dr. Farraday
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini Reginald Ripper
1967 Hillbillys in a Haunted House Gregor
1968 Autopsia de un fantasma Canuto Perez final film role
1986 The Great Mouse Detective Sherlock Holmes archive sound, released posthumously

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1937 Lux Radio Theatre Captain Blood[18]
1939-1946 The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
1943 Lux Radio Theatre The Phantom Of The Opera
1952 Theatre Guild on the Air Oliver Twist[19]
1952 Theatre Guild on the Air The Winslow Boy[20]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Basil Rathbone, Master of Stage and Screen: The Great War". Basilrathbone.net. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  2. ^ basilrathbone.net Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Famous 1914-18," Richard Van Emden, 2010, p. 132
  4. ^ "Famous 1914–18," Richard Van Emden, 2010 p. 134
  5. ^ A 1957 interview with Basil Rathbone talking about WWI on YouTube
  6. ^ "In and Out of Character", Basil Rathbone, 1962, p.2
  7. ^ "No. 30997". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 November 1918. p. 13166.
  8. ^ "New York Times: Reaction to 'The Captive', 1926-1927 - OutHistory". outhistory.org. 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Basil Rathbone, Master of Stage and Screen: Biography". Basilrathbone.net. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  10. ^ Basil Rathbone: Master of Stage and Screen - Recordings.
  11. ^ Basil Rathbone: Master of Stage and Screen - Recordings.
  12. ^ "Authors : Engel, Lyle Kenyon : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia". www.sf-encyclopedia.com.
  13. ^ Millar, John (2010-08-08). "Jackson Rathbone profile, detailing blood relationship to Basil Rathbone". Dailyrecord.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  14. ^ Basil Rathbone, In and Out of Character (New York: Doubleday, 1962).
  15. ^ http://littlechurch.org/#/who-we-are/episcopal-actors-guild
  16. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 38744-38745). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition
  17. ^ Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of Laurence Housman's play Victoria Regina
  18. ^ "Those Were The Days". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (2): 32–39. Spring 2013.
  19. ^ Kirby, Walter (February 24, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 38. Retrieved May 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  20. ^ Kirby, Walter (November 23, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 48. Retrieved June 16, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  • Who's Who in the Theatre - "The Dramatic List," edited by John Parker, 10th edition revised, London, 1947, pp. 1183–1184.

External links

A Notorious Affair

A Notorious Affair is a 1930 American pre-Code drama film, produced and released by First National Pictures. It was directed by Lloyd Bacon, starred Billie Dove, and featured Basil Rathbone and Kay Francis. The film was adapted from the play Fame, which was written by Audrey and Waverly Carter.

Anna Karenina (1935 film)

Anna Karenina is a 1935 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adaptation of the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and directed by Clarence Brown. The film stars Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone and Maureen O'Sullivan. There are several other film adaptations of the novel.

In New York, the film opened at the Capitol Theatre, the site of many prestigious MGM premieres. The film earned $2,304,000 at the box office, and won the Mussolini Cup for best foreign film at the Venice Film Festival. Greta Garbo received a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her role as Anna. In addition, the film was ranked #42 on the American Film Institute's list of AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions.

Casanova's Big Night

Casanova's Big Night is a 1954 American comedy film starring Bob Hope and Joan Fontaine, which is a spoof of swashbuckling historical adventure films. It was directed by Norman Z. McLeod.

Hope plays a tailor who impersonates Giacomo Casanova, the great lover. The film also stars Audrey Dalton, Basil Rathbone, Hugh Marlowe, John Carradine, Hope Emerson, Lon Chaney, Jr., Raymond Burr, Natalie Schafer, and Vincent Price (in a cameo appearance as the real Casanova).

Crossroads (1942 film)

Crossroads is a 1942 mystery film noir directed by Jack Conway and starring William Powell, Hedy Lamarr, Claire Trevor and Basil Rathbone. Powell plays a diplomat whose amnesia about his past comes back to trouble him.

If I Were King

If I Were King is a 1938 American biographical historical drama film starring Ronald Colman as medieval poet François Villon, and featuring Basil Rathbone and Frances Dee. It is based on the 1901 play and novel, both of the same name, by Justin Huntly McCarthy, and was directed by Frank Lloyd, with a screenplay adaptation by Preston Sturges.

Innocent (1921 film)

Innocent is a 1921 British silent drama film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Madge Stuart, Basil Rathbone and Edward O'Neill. The film marked the screen debut of Rathbone, with his casting as a villainous figure pointing towards the sort of roles he would play in later British and Hollywood films. The film was made by Stoll Pictures, Britain's leading film company of the era, at Cricklewood Studios.

Kind Lady (1935 film)

Kind Lady is a 1935 drama film starring Aline MacMahon and Basil Rathbone. It is based on the play of the same name by Edward Chodorov and a short story called The Silver Mask by Hugh Walpole.

Doris Lloyd appeared in this film and its 1951 remake of the same name in different roles.

Love from a Stranger (1937 film)

Love from a Stranger is a 1937 British drama film directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Ann Harding, Basil Rathbone and Binnie Hale. It is based on the 1936 play of the same name by Frank Vosper. In turn, the play was based on the 1924 short story Philomel Cottage, written by Agatha Christie.

The film was produced by the independent Trafalgar Films at Denham Studios near London. It is also known by the alternative title A Night of Terror in the United States.

Make a Wish (1937 film)

Make a Wish is a 1937 American musical comedy film directed by Kurt Neumann and starring Bobby Breen, Basil Rathbone and Marion Claire.

One Precious Year

One Precious Year is a 1933 British drama film directed by Henry Edwards and starring Anne Grey, Basil Rathbone and Owen Nares. It was made at Elstree Studios by the British producer Herbert Wilcox for release by the British subsidiary of Paramount Pictures.The film's sets were designed by the art director C. Wilfred Arnold.

Paris Calling

Paris Calling is a 1941 war film noir directed by Edwin L. Marin and starring Randolph Scott, Elisabeth Bergner, and Basil Rathbone.

Romeo and Juliet (1936 film)

Romeo and Juliet is a 1936 American film adapted from the play by Shakespeare, directed by George Cukor from a screenplay by Talbot Jennings. The film stars Leslie Howard as Romeo and Norma Shearer as Juliet, and the supporting cast features John Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, and Andy Devine.

The New York Times selected the film as one of the "Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made", calling it "a lavish production" that "is extremely well-produced and acted."

The Black Cat (1941 film)

The Black Cat is a 1941 film loosely based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The comedy/horror film was directed by Albert S. Rogell, starring Basil Rathbone and featuring supporting performances by Bela Lugosi and Alan Ladd in small roles. Lugosi also stars with Boris Karloff in a 1934 film with the same title.

The Jack Benny Program

The Jack Benny Program, starring Jack Benny, is a radio-TV comedy series that ran for more than three decades and is generally regarded as a high-water mark in 20th-century American comedy.

The Mad Doctor (1941 film)

The Mad Doctor is a 1941 thriller film starring Basil Rathbone as a physician whose successive wealthy wives die. Ellen Drew plays his latest bride.

The Masked Bride

The Masked Bride is a 1925 American silent romantic drama film directed by Christy Cabanne and starring Mae Murray, Francis X. Bushman, and Basil Rathbone. It is currently a lost film.

Tovarich (film)

Tovarich (the Russian word for "comrade") is a 1937 American comedy film directed by Anatole Litvak, based on the 1935 play by Robert E. Sherwood, which in turn was based on the 1933 French play Tovaritch by Jacques Deval. It was produced by Litvak through Warner Bros., with Robert Lord as associate producer and Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner as executive producers. The screenplay was by Casey Robinson from the French play by Jacques Deval adapted into English by Robert E. Sherwood. The music score was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by Charles Lang.

The film stars Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer with Basil Rathbone, Anita Louise, Melville Cooper, Isabel Jeans, Morris Carnovsky and Curt Bois in his American debut role.

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet is a 1965 American science fiction film, one of two versions adapted for Roger Corman from the Soviet science fiction movie Planeta Bur (Planet of Storms), scripted by Aleksandr Kazantsev from his novel and directed by Pavel Klushantsev. Curtis Harrington oversaw the editing and dubbing of principal portions of the source film, and directed new principal scenes featuring Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue. The resulting new film was then syndicated to television by American-International Television Inc.

We're No Angels (1955 film)

We're No Angels is a 1955 Christmas comedy film starring an ensemble cast of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, Aldo Ray, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, and Leo G. Carroll. Shot in both VistaVision and Technicolor, the Paramount Studios production was directed by Michael Curtiz, who had directed Bogart in Casablanca when both were under contract to Warner Brothers. It is one of Bogart's rare comedies.

The screenplay was written by Ranald MacDougall, based on the play My Three Angels by Samuel and Bella Spewack, which itself was based upon the French play La Cuisine Des Anges by Albert Husson. Mary Grant designed the film's costumes.

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