James Mason- The Most Underrated British Actor
Mr. James Mason is one of my favorite actors, however I feel he was never as recognized as his peers- Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Richard Burton, and Trevor Howard. Why is that?
Sidney Lumet said he was the greatest film actor of all time.
He was in some of the biggest films of his generation- Thunder Rock, Julius Caesar, A Star is Born, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, North by Northwest, Lolita, Child's Play, Voyage of the Damned, The Boys From Brazil, Salem's Lot, Evil Under the Sun, The Shooting Party, and my personal favorite The Verdict.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||Last Wednesday at 6:16 AM|
I always thought he was excellent in the role of a man in distress but after that no.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||06/23/2021|
I love his voice. The way he says "Rapid City South Dakota" in NbyNW is still completely memorable.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||06/23/2021|
I love him in Bigger Than Life. The scene where he is on pills at the PTA meeting, and refers to the kids a generation of “moral midgets.” Classic.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||06/23/2021|
He and Michael York have the same voice.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||06/23/2021|
He was great in Lolita and A star Is Born.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||06/23/2021|
Orion Welles thought Andy Kaufman was a great actor (but couldn’t bring himself to say the name “Latke.”)
|by Anonymous||reply 7||06/23/2021|
I loved his film 5 Fingers
|by Anonymous||reply 8||06/23/2021|
After a little thought, James Mason was not as controversial as his peers either. James was boring.
Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton were married to crazy women, Vivien Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor, respectively. Their personal lives were in the papers more than their movies.
John Gielgud hid his homosexuality, but everyone knew. Ralph Richardson was a notorious recluse. Trevor Howard preferred England.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||06/23/2021|
His portrayal of Phillip Vandamm caught my attention as a child and made me appreciate sophisticated villains, though none could match his velvety, slightly sinister voice. I saw him on some talk shows of the time, very poised and mannered but in an easy way that, even then, seemed a bit antiquated.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||06/23/2021|
He had a wonderful speaking voice, instantly recognizable.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||06/23/2021|
Wait, R4 is actually right. Wow.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||06/23/2021|
I remember Pamela on the Jack Paar Show--one of those "divine" blabbermouths.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||06/23/2021|
He should be a DL icon for one thing alone: He gave the eulogy at Judy's funeral.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||06/23/2021|
[quote] He gave the eulogy at Judy's funeral.
I remember the eulogy: "that ugly bitch Garland was jealous of Deanna's talent, beauty popularity and success with beautiful men. Her only asset, her screetchy voice, was eclipsed by Deanna's , and all she could ever score was the like of Minelli's ugly gay ass, who gave her her equally monstruous and daft daughter, while Deanna had a c harmed life and beautiful children, and was well liked by her peers. Like her friend Bacall, Pignose got her due with her only oscar nomination, and died on a toilet, where she belonged"
|by Anonymous||reply 16||06/23/2021|
Great in Georgy Girl, too
|by Anonymous||reply 17||06/23/2021|
Alec Guinness was another peer I should have added. Guinness was making even bigger films, Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Murder by Death, and Star Wars.
I just never understood why the classiest man out of the bunch is the least well known.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||06/23/2021|
r15 John Payne was not British.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||06/23/2021|
The Post is saying suicide
|by Anonymous||reply 20||06/23/2021|
Peter Lorre is the only man who has that instantly recognizable and sinister voice.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||06/23/2021|
I loved him in 1959's 'Journey To The Center Of The Earth' with a half naked Pat Boone, back when he was actually sexy.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||06/23/2021|
In what world was "Salems Lot" one of the biggest movies of his generation?
|by Anonymous||reply 25||06/23/2021|
One of Hollywood’s best voices.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||06/23/2021|
His scenes with Shelley Winters in Lolita defied description. (I don't believe it was ever established who wrote this film.)
|by Anonymous||reply 27||06/23/2021|
R25 Salem's Lot was a big thing back in 1979. Stephen King's book was a best seller and TV movies were in. Either way, Mason's Richard Striker was the best thing about that miniseries.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||06/23/2021|
OP, I don't even understand the premise. James Mason was very well known and very esteemed. Mean, just look at the filmography that you yourself gave us.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||06/23/2021|
Bitches, he was in MANDINGO!
|by Anonymous||reply 30||06/23/2021|
He moved into Buster Keaton's old house and found rapidly disintegrating copies of some of Keaton's films. He had them copied onto stable film stock, saving the films from being lost.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||06/23/2021|
"the Haze woman, the cow, the obnoxious mama, the brainless baba".
|by Anonymous||reply 32||06/23/2021|
According to one of the Hitchcock biographies, Mason wore t-shirts that had shoulder pads sewn in, and required his costumes be made to fit over them.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||06/23/2021|
That's his grandson. Parents are Belinda Carlisle and Morgan Mason.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||06/23/2021|
Tasteful Friends: Which one of his movies where his massive dong was bulging achingly from under the tighties?
|by Anonymous||reply 37||06/23/2021|
The Seventh Veil made him a star. It used to be on TV quite routinely. Haven't seen it in years.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||06/23/2021|
along with gay British actor Dirk Bogarde
|by Anonymous||reply 39||06/23/2021|
I can’t find any, but he actually wrote us own poems as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||06/23/2021|
There was just something not sexy about JM.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||06/23/2021|
What does Morgan Mason do these days, anyway? Is he still with Belinda? Does he live in… Where was it, Thailand, too?
|by Anonymous||reply 42||06/23/2021|
I can’t believe no one mentioned Mason starring in Odd Man Out. There’s a thread on DL about forgotten movie gems and this one would qualify. Beautiful black and white film directed by Carol Reed, who won three Bafta Best Film awards starting with Odd Man Out, followed by The Fallen Idol and then The Third Man.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||06/23/2021|
Friggin love James Mason, that voice and the calm, cool persona. Loved him in Lolita with Shelley.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||06/23/2021|
R41 I disagree. I find him more sexy because of his voice and class. He also seemed extremely intelligent, he did study to be an architect. Definitely more sexy than the barbarians Richard Burton and Robert Shaw.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||06/24/2021|
R46 Stewie was Rex Harrison....
|by Anonymous||reply 47||06/24/2021|
If anyone is interested, the link is to a group of three interviews and a curious lecture to the BFI done between 1970 and 1980. The first three recordings within the first 26 minutes are quite enjoyable, I thought.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||06/24/2021|
I love James Mason, and I think the fact that Eddie Izzard used Mason's voice as the voice of God may have had something to do with that. Skip to 0:45 if you have ADD.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||06/24/2021|
I don't think Mason was ever underrated. He was a Hollywood movie star, which put him somewhere midrange on the theatrical echelon of the day, where performing Shakespeare on the legitimate stage ranked higher than doing contemporary theater, which ranked higher than A-list motion pictures, which ranked higher than TV, which ranked higher than B pictures and so on.
The best example I can think of of comparative acting styles of the time is the 1953 film version of "Julius Caesar," which contained a for the time very odd assortment of British and American actors belonging to various grades of that media hierarchy. John Gielgud, one of the premiere British Shakespearean stage actors of his day and well experienced in film, and James Mason the British movie star are both very effective in their own very different ways. Then you have Brando, the quintessential American Method actor who most likely had little to no background in Shakespeare, making an absolute clown of himself.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||06/24/2021|
He's perfect in LOLITA and THE PUMPKIN EATER.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||06/24/2021|
His wife and their parenting were suspect.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||06/24/2021|
His first wife fucked every other man in town and then sued him for divorce on the grounds that he cheated with multiple women. Quite dramatic bitchery.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||06/24/2021|
I wonder where he drew inspiration for Bigger Than Life - the movie he produced and starred in about pill addiction?
|by Anonymous||reply 55||06/24/2021|
His performances in Lolita, Odd Man Out, Child's Play (1972), North by Northwest, The Verdict, The Pumpkin Eater are outstanding His wife Pamela appeared with James' Lolita co star Shelley Winters in Wild in the Streets (1968)
|by Anonymous||reply 56||06/24/2021|
Morgan Mason was pretty handsome when younger, I can't find any recent photos. Still married to Belinda Carlisle!
|by Anonymous||reply 57||06/24/2021|
He enjoyed an ice cold glass of Thunderbird
|by Anonymous||reply 58||06/24/2021|
He has the GAY bone structure.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||06/24/2021|
[quote] Like her friend Bacall, Pignose got her due with her only oscar nomination...
Uhm, wrong r16.
Judy was nominated for Best Actress for 1954's "A Star is Born" as well as for Best Supporting Actress for 1961's "Judgment at Nuremberg", which was only nominated for eleven Oscars so I imagine you've not heard of it!
|by Anonymous||reply 60||06/24/2021|
R16 and R60 Lauren Bacall was more beautiful than Judy Garland. She has a natural beauty about her. Judy was just a train wreck.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||06/25/2021|
R43 Just watched Odd Man Out the other day. It's very good, though a bit of a tearjerker.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||06/25/2021|
Agree with the poster who said he wasn't even remotely sexy. I always thought there was something weird about his head - it simultaneously looked too big and too small for his body.
|by Anonymous||reply 63||06/25/2021|
[quote] According to one of the Hitchcock biographies, Mason wore t-shirts that had shoulder pads sewn in, and required his costumes be made to fit over them.
I think it was BIGGER THAN LIFE that I watched recently where I noticed his very small frame, like his shoulders were incredibly narrow.
Loved him in that, as well as NbNW and Salem’s Lot. Actually loved him in everything I’ve seen him do, though Child’s Play was a disappointment over all.
I always assumed he was gay. I’m surprised to learn here he wasn’t.
|by Anonymous||reply 64||06/25/2021|
Also why is the OP grayed out? WTF, DL.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||06/25/2021|
I feel like Mason has been largely forgotten in a way that Burton and Olivier, certainly, and to a lesser extent O'Toole, Harris have not.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||06/25/2021|
[quote] I love his voice. The way he says "Rapid City South Dakota" in NbyNW is still completely memorable.
He has one of the five most recognisable voices in movies (along with Harrison and Welles).
Actors don't seem to have recognisable voices any more; they mumble and the recording engineer does most of the work.
I've asked British people about his accent. They told me it's 50% West Yorkshire and 50% Cambridge.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||06/26/2021|
[quote] 1953 film version of "Julius Caesar"
That was a fascinatingly bizarre movie produced by that uber-snob named Jacques Haussmann AKA John Houseman.
Haussmann was more of a snob than Gore Vidal. He seemed determined to bring high culture to the bourgeois Americans. Isadore Schary at MGM allowed him to produce five high-toned movies in a row which all lost money.
And he produced that cut-up fiasco called 'In the Cool of the Day' where he had the weird idea of getting twangy-voiced, big-boobed sexpot Jane Fonda to pretend she was a doomed anorexic from an Ingmar Bergman movie.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||06/26/2021|
R43 Thanks for bringing up Odd Man Out. It's a great film with a great cast, including Mason.
R17 "Lace, lots of lace . . ."
|by Anonymous||reply 69||06/27/2021|
[quote] That was a fascinatingly bizarre movie produced by that uber-snob named Jacques Haussmann AKA John Houseman. Haussmann was more of a snob than Gore Vidal.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||06/27/2021|
R68 - Mason and Gielgud were fantastic as Brutus and Cassius in that film.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||06/27/2021|
R71 To be fair, Mason and Gielgud were fantastic in everything they were in, even 11 Harrowhouse.
I have not seen The Shooting Party yet. I want to read the book first.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||06/27/2021|
Why is this thread greyed out? DLers are thread-cancel happy these days.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||06/27/2021|
[quote] The Seventh Veil made him a star
It's on YouTube now in a clean restored print. It’s expertly photographed in light and ‘noir’.
I know most people would dismiss this as just another ‘woman’s picture’ about an emotionally crippled woman who’s somewhat of an icy prig. While the lovely James Mason is emotionally and physically crippled as well as being a woman hater.
But the handling of this awful relationship between the Svengali and his Trilby is well done.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||06/29/2021|
[quote][R46] Stewie was Rex Harrison....
Or so Seth MacFarlane says, but I hear more Peter Wyngarde.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||07/06/2021|
R14 Had he and Judy become good friends after A Star Is Born?
|by Anonymous||reply 77||07/06/2021|
Mason gave a eulogy at her funeral
|by Anonymous||reply 78||07/06/2021|
Thanks for mentioning “5 Fingers” R8. That’s a great film that is rarely shown.
He should hav gotten an Oscar for having to listen to Sylvia Miles bray his character’s name. “Odell!”
|by Anonymous||reply 79||07/06/2021|
None of them equals Alec Guinness. Kind Hearts and Coronets is one for the ages.
|by Anonymous||reply 82||07/06/2021|
Donald Sutherland and Tom Hanks have distinctive voices, too.
James Earl Jones
|by Anonymous||reply 83||07/06/2021|
Paramount+ has [italic]Child's Play[/italic]. This isn't the one with Chucky. This is a Sidney Lumet horror movie from 1972 starring Mason, Robert Preston and Beau Bridges.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||07/09/2021|
Amazon Prime also has Child's Play (1972) for free. I just watched it. Good movie. Filmed in Tarrytown, NY.
|by Anonymous||reply 85||07/09/2021|
I wonder what a Peter Wyngarde - Alan Bates 8mm sex loop would have been like.
|by Anonymous||reply 86||07/09/2021|
Thanks to R85 and R84. I just finished watching 'Child's Play' -- what a strange yet surprisingly good film.
|by Anonymous||reply 87||Last Monday at 4:45 PM|
Well he’s in one of my favorite movies The Verdict and he’s so damn good - he doesn’t make his defense lawyer character a cartoon villain - just someone who wants to do the best job for all the damn money he’s getting. But at the same time you can’t take your eyes of him when he’s in a scene.
And I LIVE for his transatlantic accent.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||Last Tuesday at 6:17 PM|
Child's Play is pretty cheesy, certainly one of Lumet's worst efforts (and compares negatively to the original Broadway production), but Mason struts his stuff. And he's fucking brilliant as the Prince of Darkness in THE VERDICT--without doing anything! And despite its success, THE SEVENTH VEIL is an over-the-top chick flick, full of misunderstood, mid-century Freudian hooey, but Mason is again the best thing in it (though Herbert Lom is excellent as well).
|by Anonymous||reply 90||Last Tuesday at 6:26 PM|