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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.

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by Anonymousreply 91Last Wednesday at 6:16 AM

I always thought he was excellent in the role of a man in distress but after that no.

by Anonymousreply 106/23/2021

I love his voice. The way he says "Rapid City South Dakota" in NbyNW is still completely memorable.

by Anonymousreply 206/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 306/23/2021

He and Michael York have the same voice.

by Anonymousreply 406/23/2021

He was great in Lolita and A star Is Born.

by Anonymousreply 506/23/2021

He was t that great

by Anonymousreply 606/23/2021

Orion Welles thought Andy Kaufman was a great actor (but couldn’t bring himself to say the name “Latke.”)

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by Anonymousreply 706/23/2021

I loved his film 5 Fingers

by Anonymousreply 806/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 906/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 1006/23/2021

He had a wonderful speaking voice, instantly recognizable.

by Anonymousreply 1106/23/2021

Wait, R4 is actually right. Wow.

by Anonymousreply 1206/23/2021

I remember Pamela on the Jack Paar Show--one of those "divine" blabbermouths.

by Anonymousreply 1306/23/2021

He should be a DL icon for one thing alone: He gave the eulogy at Judy's funeral.

by Anonymousreply 1406/23/2021

he was no John Payne

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by Anonymousreply 1506/23/2021

[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 Anonymousreply 1606/23/2021

Great in Georgy Girl, too

by Anonymousreply 1706/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 1806/23/2021

r15 John Payne was not British.

by Anonymousreply 1906/23/2021

The Post is saying suicide

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by Anonymousreply 2006/23/2021

R20 wrong post?

by Anonymousreply 2106/23/2021

Ah yes!!! Sorry!

by Anonymousreply 2206/23/2021

Peter Lorre is the only man who has that instantly recognizable and sinister voice.

by Anonymousreply 2306/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 2406/23/2021

In what world was "Salems Lot" one of the biggest movies of his generation?

by Anonymousreply 2506/23/2021

One of Hollywood’s best voices.

by Anonymousreply 2606/23/2021

His scenes with Shelley Winters in Lolita defied description. (I don't believe it was ever established who wrote this film.)

by Anonymousreply 2706/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 2806/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 2906/23/2021

Bitches, he was in MANDINGO!

by Anonymousreply 3006/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 3106/23/2021

"the Haze woman, the cow, the obnoxious mama, the brainless baba".

by Anonymousreply 3206/23/2021

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.

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by Anonymousreply 3306/23/2021

His son was insanely hot

by Anonymousreply 3406/23/2021

R34 Pete's all over him

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by Anonymousreply 3506/23/2021


That's his grandson. Parents are Belinda Carlisle and Morgan Mason.

by Anonymousreply 3606/23/2021

Tasteful Friends: Which one of his movies where his massive dong was bulging achingly from under the tighties?

by Anonymousreply 3706/23/2021

The Seventh Veil made him a star. It used to be on TV quite routinely. Haven't seen it in years.

by Anonymousreply 3806/23/2021

along with gay British actor Dirk Bogarde

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by Anonymousreply 3906/23/2021

I can’t find any, but he actually wrote us own poems as well.

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by Anonymousreply 4006/23/2021

There was just something not sexy about JM.

by Anonymousreply 4106/23/2021

What does Morgan Mason do these days, anyway? Is he still with Belinda? Does he live in… Where was it, Thailand, too?

by Anonymousreply 4206/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 4306/23/2021

Friggin love James Mason, that voice and the calm, cool persona. Loved him in Lolita with Shelley.

by Anonymousreply 4406/23/2021

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 Anonymousreply 4506/24/2021


by Anonymousreply 4606/24/2021

R46 Stewie was Rex Harrison....

by Anonymousreply 4706/24/2021

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.

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by Anonymousreply 4806/24/2021

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.

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by Anonymousreply 4906/24/2021

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 Anonymousreply 5006/24/2021

R50 Very True!

by Anonymousreply 5106/24/2021

He's perfect in LOLITA and THE PUMPKIN EATER.

by Anonymousreply 5206/24/2021

His wife and their parenting were suspect.

by Anonymousreply 5306/24/2021

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 Anonymousreply 5406/24/2021

I wonder where he drew inspiration for Bigger Than Life - the movie he produced and starred in about pill addiction?

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by Anonymousreply 5506/24/2021

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 Anonymousreply 5606/24/2021

Morgan Mason was pretty handsome when younger, I can't find any recent photos. Still married to Belinda Carlisle!

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by Anonymousreply 5706/24/2021

He enjoyed an ice cold glass of Thunderbird

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by Anonymousreply 5806/24/2021

He has the GAY bone structure.

by Anonymousreply 5906/24/2021

[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 Anonymousreply 6006/24/2021

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 Anonymousreply 6106/25/2021

R43 Just watched Odd Man Out the other day. It's very good, though a bit of a tearjerker.

by Anonymousreply 6206/25/2021

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 Anonymousreply 6306/25/2021

[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 Anonymousreply 6406/25/2021

Also why is the OP grayed out? WTF, DL.

by Anonymousreply 6506/25/2021

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 Anonymousreply 6606/25/2021

[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 Anonymousreply 6706/26/2021

[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.

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by Anonymousreply 6806/26/2021

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 Anonymousreply 6906/27/2021

[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.

HAHAHAAAA! Excellent.

by Anonymousreply 7006/27/2021

R68 - Mason and Gielgud were fantastic as Brutus and Cassius in that film.

by Anonymousreply 7106/27/2021

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 Anonymousreply 7206/27/2021

Why is this thread greyed out? DLers are thread-cancel happy these days.

by Anonymousreply 7306/27/2021

[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.

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by Anonymousreply 7406/29/2021

Why was this marked out?

by Anonymousreply 7507/06/2021

[quote][R46] Stewie was Rex Harrison....

Or so Seth MacFarlane says, but I hear more Peter Wyngarde.

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by Anonymousreply 7607/06/2021

R14 Had he and Judy become good friends after A Star Is Born?

by Anonymousreply 7707/06/2021

Mason gave a eulogy at her funeral

by Anonymousreply 7807/06/2021

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!”

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by Anonymousreply 7907/06/2021

r78, see r14.

by Anonymousreply 8007/06/2021

Mmmm, Peter Wyngarde.

by Anonymousreply 8107/06/2021

None of them equals Alec Guinness. Kind Hearts and Coronets is one for the ages.

by Anonymousreply 8207/06/2021

Donald Sutherland and Tom Hanks have distinctive voices, too.

James Earl Jones

Nathan Lane

Morgan Freeman

by Anonymousreply 8307/06/2021

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.

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by Anonymousreply 8407/09/2021

Amazon Prime also has Child's Play (1972) for free. I just watched it. Good movie. Filmed in Tarrytown, NY.

by Anonymousreply 8507/09/2021

I wonder what a Peter Wyngarde - Alan Bates 8mm sex loop would have been like.

by Anonymousreply 8607/09/2021

Thanks to R85 and R84. I just finished watching 'Child's Play' -- what a strange yet surprisingly good film.

by Anonymousreply 87Last Monday at 4:45 PM

He is a classy guy

by Anonymousreply 88Last Tuesday at 6:02 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 Anonymousreply 89Last 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 Anonymousreply 90Last Tuesday at 6:26 PM

Odd Man Out (late 1940s)

by Anonymousreply 91Last Wednesday at 6:16 AM
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