Second Takes — Billy Wilder


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Kevin Thomas writes an appreciation of director Mitchell Leisen for a 1977 revival of "Midnight" and "Death Takes a Holiday." The 1941 film "Hold Back the Dawn" reunited Leisen, Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder.

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The Times' Philip K. Scheuer calls Brackett and Wilder's script for "Hold Back the Dawn" "close to brilliant."

According to a 1942 Times story, Paulette Goddard was originally cast in the role of an Azusa schoolteacher who succumbs to the wiles of a gigolo played by Charles Boyer, then yielded the role to Olivia de Havilland and became Boyer's cynical partner.

"I backed all the way into this business," she said, "and I may have to back some more. But I'm getting there." (According to the story, Goddard had been stonewalled by the studios for several years because she threw a telephone at a Hollywood producer).

Bonus fact: Ketti Frings, who wrote "Memo to a Movie Producer," the original story for "Hold Back the Dawn," was the 1958 Times Woman of the Year for playwriting. 

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, Second Takes. Bookmark the permalink.

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