Monday, August 4, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Claude Rains

Movie Dearest continues our daily previews of Turner Classic Movies' month long "Summer Under the Stars" celebration:

Now Playing Star Profile for Claude Rains - Stardates: Born November 10, 1889, London, England; died 1967. Star Sign: Scorpio. Star Qualities: That deep British rasp of a voice, those expressive eyes and the virtuoso acting talent. Star definition: "My favorite person to work with." -- Bette Davis. Galaxy of Characters: Senator Joseph Harrison Paine in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Dr. Jaquith in Now, Voyager; Job Skeffington in Mr. Skeffington; Julius Caesar in Caesar and Cleopatra.

His breakthrough role was as the title character in The Invisible Man, in which he was only actually seen briefly. But audiences soon got familiar with his face and he became a star. Raines often played the reassuring father figure, as in Four Daughters and Now, Voyager (both also airing tomorrow), but his most famous roles gave him a chance to show his darker side, most notably as the corrupt politician who stands against James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

The role earned Raines his first of four Academy Award nominations; alas, he never won an Oscar. In addition to Mr. Smith, he was nominated for Mr. Skeffington, Notorious and, his crowning achievement, Casablanca. The latter two films co-starred Ingrid Bergman, and will be screened on her "Summer Under the Stars" day, August 25.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington airs tomorrow on TCM at 11:30 AM EST.

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