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Charles Durning (1923-2012)

  1. John McGiver, Midnight Cowboy, 1969.     Surprising that he gave up such a memorable cameo.
  2. Richard Bradford, An Enemy of the People, 1978.     Durning had been offered the sea captain but held out for the mayor.... which came his way when Nicol Williamson proved unstable. "I'd worked with Charlie a lot," said George Schaefer. "He was a little more off-beat which is what the role required."
  3. Brian Dennehy,  First Blood (aka Rambo), 1981.
  4. Jack Warden, September, 1987.  
     In his 2020 memoir,  Apropos of Nothing, Woody Allen  called the film “a drama that asks the question: Can a group of tortured souls come to terms with their sad lives when directed by a guy who should still be writing mother-in-law jokes for Broadway columnists?”   The Bergmanesque chamber piece was more of a chamber pot. He wrote/shot/hated it, re-wrote/re-cast/re-made it. No better. "The fact is, I’d like to shoot it a third time." Only  Mia Farrow (pregnant  by the end of shooting) and Dianne Wiest stayed put; Denholm Elliott, too, but in a different role. He took on Durning’s Howard, while Jack Warden played Elliott’s  Lloyd. Result: Woody’s biggest flop - grossing a mere $486,484. That would have  killed other directors’ careers, not Woody’s. He just carried making new films -   good, bad and otherwise - and in Europe when LA wouldn’t fund him - every… September.


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