Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


James Mason 
JAMES MASON. 1909 - 1984.

This week Great Old Movies looks at one of our favorite actors: James Mason. When I was a youth Mason starred in two of my favorite movies, Hitchcock's North By Northwest and Journey to the Center of the Earth. As the years went by I could appreciate Mason as much for his acting ability as for the films he appeared in, although even as a kid I could tell he was good.

As I have already seen and/or reviewed a great many of Mason's films, I decided this week to look at a few oldies that I had never watched before. Alas, I was to discover that poor James Mason made quite a few lousy movies, especially in the earlier days of his career. However, Mason himself was rarely less than stellar. Mason gave especially fine performances in such films as Child's Play; Lolita (in which he was, as was often the case, much better than the material); 5 Fingers; The Wicked Lady; and many, many others. You can read a review of a biography of him here.

As I said, Mason made more than his share of stinkers, a few of which are reviewed this week. But it's fun to read about stinkers, isn't it? (Better than watching them, I suppose.)

In any case, James Mason was no stinker.

He was one of The Greats!


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill, you are so right! Mason was truly wonderful.

My favorites are A Star is Born (just watched it again last week, wow, he really more than holds his own opposite Garland!!; of course Lolita; but also later roles like in Evil Under the Sun and of course, as Mr. Jordan in Warren Beatty's Heaven Can Wait.
Most of all, I loved his elegant voice!

William said...

Yes, he had one of the most distinctive voices in the movies. He was especially good at registering contempt for his opponents while being sardonic.