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Casting Blunders Pt 1. ⋆ Historian Alan Royle
I often watch movies over and over again, just for the pleasure of re-visiting an extraordinary performance. Occasionally, as for instance with Double Indemnity (1944), it is not only an individual performance, but a combination of strong acting from more than one player, a fabulous script, seamless directing, and a score that seems to fit the overall production like a glove. Such combinations do not come along very often, but others that spring to mind include Casablanca (1942), The Magnificent Seven (1960), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Chinatown (1974), Charade (1963) and (most ‘experts’ will disagree vehemently) The Last Valley (1971), to name but a few. The last-named picture was panned universally, probably because it echoed writer/director James Clavell’s well-known atheism. Churches hate that kind of thing and they had enough clout back then to strongly influence critics in their reviews. Personally, I thought the script was brilliant, the acting excellent, and John Barry’s incredible score worth the price of admission in itself. Hence, a terrific movie (for me anyway). Overall, I suppose no more than three or four pictures a year fall into this category, but that is a matter of opinion, of course. The number of potentially good movies [...]