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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


James GleasonJAMES GLEASON (1882-1959), born James Austin Gleason, was a very likable character actor who acted in some 150 films, where he played all sorts of big city types, cops, robbers, gamblers, cab drivers, fight managers and reporters. Beyond acting, James Gleason directed dialogue, wrote plays and screenplays (twenty-four of which became films), produced one film and directed two others.

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)Haven't you seen Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)? In this fantasy/comedy film, James Gleason plays fight manager, Max Corkle, whose prize fighter is knocked out in the ring and whisked off to heaven prematurely by a novice angel. Before the problem can be rectified, his body is cremated. Clean-cut and decent Joe Pendleton must then be put back into the body of someone else who has recently died and take on that man's circumstances. Joe is given the body of Bruce Farnsworth, a corrupt millionaire that no one likes. In fact, his wife just murdered him. Much to her shock, it appears the murder didn't take, when Joe steps in, bringing Bruce Farnsworth back to life. It's a wonderful film that I like very much. It was remade in the 70s as Heaven Can Wait starring Warren Beatty.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

The Bishop's Wife (1947) In this Christmas classic, an angel comes to Earth to help a Bishop and his wife. James Gleason plays Sylvester, a cab driver whose faith in human nature is restored when he spends the afternoon with the angel, played by Cary Grant, and the bishop's wife, played by Loretta Young. Their time together is very endearing.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Also a Cary Grant film, this comedy is good to watch on Halloween for those who can't take horror flicks. Cary Grant discovers just before he is to be married that his dear sweet aunts are actually murdering people and burying them in the cellar. Cary Grant says one of the greatest lines of dialog in the movies: "Insanity runs in my family; it practically gallops." James Gleason plays Lt. Rooney trying to get to the bottom of the case. This is one of my favorite Cary Grant films.
Meet John Doe (1941) In this Gary Cooper classic about a homeless man hired by a newspaper company to pretend to take his life over the desperate state of the country, James Gleason plays one of the reporters. This, too, is an excellent film.
Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958) In this Jerry Lewis film, Jerry watches triplets for an actress who isn't the mother type. Gleason plays Doc Simpkins, the family doctor. This is one of my favorite Jerry Lewis films.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Date: Wed, Jun 21 2006 / 16:37:23 PST

Academy Awards®
© A.M.P.A.S.®
1941 Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role: HERE COMES MR. JORDAN