Payday Loans
Brian Donlevy (1899-1972)


  1. Alan Mowbray, Ladies In Love, 1935.        Donlevy was in the frame for self-absorbed magician, Paul Sandor - in the lives of three Budapest beauties on the razzle-dazzle: Constance Bennett, Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young. A painful trio, said a New York Times report on the shoot. “Each of the young ladies is known for being temperamental and diplomacy has been called into use more than once.”
  2. Alan Mowbray, Ladies in Love, 1935.        Donlevy was in, then out - as Mowbray took over Paul Sandor in the tale of three beauties in a typing pool in, of all places, Budapest - the reportedly temperamental Constance Bennett… plus Janet Gaynor and Loretta Young.
  3. Michael Whalen, Island in the Sky, 1937. Donlevy and Rohelle Hudson became the steady team of Whalen and Gloria Stuart - as a DA who thinks a guy on Death Row deserves his fate, and the secretary who proves him wrong.
  4. George Tobias, The Strawberry Blonde, 1940.       Despite the title, James Cagney was the star - a pugnacious (what else?) dentist, no less. But Tobias as his pal Pappalas stole half the comedy and the titular Rita Hayworth the other half…. saving her clinkering career.
  5. Albert Dekker, Buy Me That Town, 1940.     Change of the punchy ex-fighter helping to turn Middle Village into a safe haven for crooks - under the aegis of his boss, ex-racketeer Lloyd Nolan. His guys included Crusher, Fingers and Ziggy. So you this came from Damon Runyon.
  6. Gary Cooper, The Pride of the Yankees, 1942.        Producer Samuel Goldwyn won the battle to make a biopic of baseball great Lou Gehrig - who died at 40 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease), after a moving farewell to his fans:  “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” His widow, Eleanor, wanted Cooper or Spencer Tracy to play Lou. They were not alone. Also on the mound before Cooper signed on were Donlevy, Eddie Albert, Cary Grant. Pus two other real sports heroes: ex-New York Yankee pitcher Waite Hoyt and middle-weight champion boxer Billy Soos. Gehrig appeared as himself in Rawhide, 1937, his only film despite being listed by producer Sol Lesser to head his Tarzan series. Until seeing Lou’s legs. “More functional than decorative.”
  7. Adolphe Menjou, Hi Diddle Diddle, 1942.   The news that Donlevy passed Colonel Hector Phyffe, no less, to Menjou, was somewhat lost in the combat for the leading lady chanteuse - from Lupe Velez to Constance Bennett to ex-silent queen Pola Negri.
  8. Arturo de Cordova, Incendiary Blonde, 1943.      "Too shallowly glamorous," said Donlevy about the proffered role of Bill Romero Kilgannon. And he danced  out of Betty Hutton’s bio of about silents’ star and night club queen Texas Guinan.
  9. Fred MacMurray, Double Indemnity, 1944.        George Raft also refused to die. Again.
  10. Ray Collins, The Eve of St Mark, 1943.     Donlevy and Charles Bickford were also up for Deckman West in this good slice of propaganda - or “morale booster,” as critics dubbed it - based on Maxwell Anderson’s Broadyway hit, following a small town’s hero called… Quizz.
  11. Humphrey Bogart was among the (very) few who actually liked the vile Columbia chieftain, Harry Cohn.  When Warners agreed Bogie could make one film a year outside his home studio, he made them for Cohn. Starting with replacing Brian Donlevy (and indeed Gary Cooper and Mevlyn Douglas) as tank commander Sergeant Joe Gunn in this WWII thriller – while Donlevy, fed up with war pix, took over Bogart’s  role in Once Upon A Time. ... ultimately played by Cary Grant. 

  12. Cary Grant, Once Upon A Time, 1943,  The pitch: A cash-strapped theatre producer promotes a nine-year-old lad’s… dancing caterpillar.  But onlv dances to "Yes Sir, That's My Baby!"   Humphrey Bogart-Rita Hayworth stopped shooting it in January. Three days later,   Brian Donlevy was tired of WWII films and swopped roles with Bogie here and in Sahara.Then, Rita simply refused to continue. Shooting stopped again, Grant offered his services opposite Janet Blair in April. They all wished they hadn’t!
  13. Ward Bond, A Guy Named Joe, 1943. MGM tried to borrow Donlevy but his Paramount masters said the 40s’ version of: “No way!” This is one of Steven Spielberg’s favourite movies; so how come he made such a dog’s breakfast out of his 1989 re-make, Always.

  14. Spencer Tracy, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, 1944.      Tracy was not keen on spending three weeks as Lieutenant-Colonel Jimmy Doolittle as he chaired various briefings about the 1942 raid. “Anybody could go on and do that,” he told his wife. “It’s silly. Why should I do it?”Producer Sam Zimbalist called in Donlevy but he had no box-office clout... and Tracy changed his tune.
  15. George Raft, Nob Hill, 1944.        For the second re-tread of Alexander’s Ragtime Band, 1937 which, recalled New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, had been nothing to write home about), Raft beat Donlevy, James Cagney, Fred MacMurray, Michael O’Shea to saloon owner Tony Angelo. But then, poor Raft knew zilch about choosing movies. He nearly walked off this one.
  16. George Brent, Montana Belle,1948.   Donlevy and  Ann Sheridan \were first set  as the leads, But Russell and George Brent finally played Belle Starr and saloon owner Tom  Bradfield. They shot it, for Allan Dwan, in ’48. Nobody saw it for four years.  With a poster of a lounging Russell and the line: "Let’s get friendly… stranger."
  17. Esmond Knight, The River, 1950.       Producer Kenneth McEldowney was a florist who loved India and his wife, an MGM publicist. When he complained about one of her studio’s new movies, she retorted: Do better! And he did. Selling house, home and his florist franchise to back French realisateur Jean  Renoir’s  dream - filming India as per the Rumer Godden novel (and script). Result: one of the top ten films of the year. After four years on the film, McEldowney switched to something easier. Real estate. The film remains among Martin Scorsese’s most formative movie experiences: “one of the two most beautiful color films ever made.” 
  18. Tyrone Power,  King of the Khyber Rifles, 1953.       Re-making the original, 1928 version of The Black Watch had been shelved since 1936. Paramount attempted  to buy the rights  for a Donlevy vehicle in 1941 and simply woke up Fox to the decision that  the project was “too valuable to dispose of.”  Ten years on, another  exhausting re-make process began at Fox. 


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