1. Carley Johnson

    Oh HECK yes. Especially IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. And, if I might say, March’s Val Jean is still my favorite … just as Laughton’s Javert is my favorite. It’s pre-musical adaptation, so it’s bare-boned and brawny.

    1. Jill Blake Author

      I really think Laughton’s Javert is one of the finest performances on screen. And what’s weird is Les Misérables didn’t really get the attention it deserved when it was released. I think it’s probably because Mutiny on the Bounty came out the same year. CLEAN SHAVEN GABLE and ANGRY PANTS LAUGHTON.

  2. Wonderful write-up and wonderful list!

    I agree completely when people say they can’t stand a character in a film, it’s a testament to the actor’s ability. And Fredric March fits this bill…he’s an actor that’s so pliable, he could play so many different roles well. I especially like his portrayal of Matthew Brady in INHERIT THE WIND (1960) as his character isn’t that likable of a person to me, but I’m in awe of how March portrays him.

    Of the five films you list, I’ve not seen *any* of them…thanks so much for the recommendations.

    1. Jill Blake Author

      Thanks so much, Joel.

      I agree with you about Inherit the Wind. Such a fantastic film with performances from two of the best. Btw– Twilight Time is releasing it this fall on blu-ray.

      As for the films listed here: all of them, except The Royal Family of Broadway, are fairly easy to find. Oh, and during the Pre-code festival on TCM this month you’ll be able to catch Design for Living and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

      If you get around to watching any of these, let me know what you think!

  3. Well Jill I’m pretty sure I read this when you first published it a year & a half ago but since I love Freddy as much as you it was a pleasure to read again. For those who may be reading for the first time should invest some time in watching his films, including his great performance in Seven Days in May. Great writing as usual

  4. Wonderful list! Oh where have you been all my life, fellow Freddie fan??! I’ve been on a Freddie binge for months now, and there are STILL films I’m only now hearing about & have never seen (The Royal Family of Broadway is one). Must remedy that!

  5. The list is pretty good, well done! I discovered him by accident when I saw a publicity of Design for Living and thought this guy looked pretty cute, and then I watched Death Takes a Holiday, which still remains one of my favs all the time. His portrayal of Death is mysterious, kinda inhuman, thoughtful, compelling, somewhat tormented, but also romantic, and sexually appealing. Very attractive.
    In addition to the five on the list, for FM’s essential underseen films, I recommend The Eagle and the Hawk. His portrayal of a WWI flying ace who deeply suffers from PTSD is very memorable, kinda hard to watch since it’s pretty sad. The chemistry between him and Cary Grant in this film is pretty strong.

    1. Jill Blake Author

      THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK is one of his finest performances. I wish we had more performances of March and Grant together. Also, major kudos to Jack Oakie. He’s terrific in this.

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