Claude Rains

Claude Rains

An Actor's Voice

Book - 2008
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Born into the English working class, Claude Rains (1889-1967) overcame a severe speech impediment to become a fixture of the London theater scene. Rains's personal life was as dramatic as his work onstage: to end his second marriage while masking his wife's alcoholism, he staged an episode of infidelity, though the ensuing scandal made it difficult for him to find work. In 1926 he immigrated to America where, despite what Rains described as the worst screen test of all time, he was hired by director James Whale to play the title role in an adaptation of H. G. Wells's The Invisible Man, a tour-de-force depending completely on his vocal skills. In Claude Rains: An Actor's Voice, noted author David J. Skal illustrates how Rains's talents were well suited to Hollywood's studio system, allowing him to become one of cinema's best known character actors. He lent his commanding presence to such landmark films as Casablanca, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Notorious, and Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated for four Academy Awards, Bette Davis considered him her favorite acting partner. Drawing on over thirty hours of newly released audio interviews with Rains and enriched by daughter Jessica Rains's contributions, Claude Rains is an intimate portrait and the first full biography of this gifted actor.
Publisher: Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c2008.
ISBN: 9780813124322
Branch Call Number: RAINS
Characteristics: x, 290 p., [32] p. of plates : ill ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Rains, Jessica


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Mar 30, 2019

A biography of Wittle Willy Wains (which how he himself claimed to have pronounced his name until he got rid of the lisp and the Cockney accent) is always worth the time. If you can find some of the Warner Clubs collection (the end-of-the-year blooper outtakes Warner Brothers Studio collected and showed to the casts and crews at parties), Grab 'Em! (they're usually appended to classic Warner films of the '30s and '40s.) To hear Rains curse in Cockney Slang is a treat in itself. To hear Dame May Whitney thunder "G@&D@*# IT!" in round Shakespearean intonations is exquisite! And To See Porky Pig, in a special in-house cartoon, say "Oh, Son of a B-B-B-B-GUN! Ha! Ha! Ha! Y-You thought I was gonna say -a- 'sonuvab%$^@', didn't you?" - if it ain't on your 'bucket list', it oughta be!


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