Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Appreciation of Claude: Jessica Rains & Richard Chamberlain

Jessica Rains (née Jennifer) is the only child of TCM's Star of the Month, Claude Rains. She is also the co-author, with Richard Skal, of The Actor's Voice: A Biography of Claude Rains (University Press of Kentucky).

In this spot for TCM, she recounts a mandatory audience she was called to by none other than Bette Davis, who wanted to reminisce. As Ms. Rains recalled in her biography of her father, Claude took the high road, dodging several attempts by Bette to put their on-screen collaboration in such memorable films as Now, Voyager on a more intimate basis. I suspect that saving that spark for the camera was best for all of us.

Richard Chamberlain's affectionate appreciation of Claude Rains below reminds me that the rarely broadcast courtroom drama, Twilight of Honor (1963-Boris Sagal) occasionally shows up on TCM, though it does not appear to be available on DVD. Claude Rains, in his penultimate screen role, uses his enormous presence and the colors of his cello-like voice exceptionally well, even if his energy may have been flagging.

I wish that someone would see their way to issuing Chamberlain's Dr. Kildare television show* on DVD. Rains, James Mason, Sylvia Sidney, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Yvette Mimieux, were among the memorable guest stars on that interesting program.

*You can see a clutch of Dr. Kildare shows to whet your appetite here at a website called Classic Show Biz


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