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in the West Midlands of England,
in order to cast
and direct character types.
Whale said "I do not doubt that
when Dudley people see this film,
they will recognise some of these types."
The village inn,
in the film called "The Lion's Head",
has a cross section of types
engaging in characteristic activity.
Typical inn and pub. Conversation,
laughter, a few pints of ale, and darts.
Enter the mysterious stranger.
He is dramatically pointed up by a series
of three successively closer shots,
similar to Whale's introduction
of Frankenstein's monster,
played by Boris Karloff in
the 1931 production of Frankenstein.
But the voice you're going
to hear is certainly not Karloffs.
Rather, the unmistakable and unique
vocal delivery of Claude Rains,
who was making his first sound film.
What happened regarding the planned
casting of Boris Karloff in the title role?
After his success in Frankenstein,
and to a lesser extent,
The Mask of Fu Manchu, on loan to MGM,
and The Mummy,
back at his home studio,
Universal regarded him
as a full-fledged star,
and all along had planned
for him to do The Invisible Man.
But the Great Depression
had taken its toll on Universal,
as well as most of the other studios,
and they were in dire straits.
In May 1933,
when Karloff returned from England,
where he had been on loan
to Gaumont-British for The Ghoul,
he was still set
for the starring role in The Invisible Man.
Then, in June, he encountered
contract problems with Universal.
As the trade paper Variety reported,
"Universal is continuing its policy
of dumping contract players
as soon as
they reach the big-money class,
and substituting them
with new people at less money."
"The latest Universal star
to go off the list is Boris Karloff."
"At the studio 18 months,
Karloff had been drawing $750 per week
and was scheduled to get $1250
on his coming option jump."
"The sum represented a jump of $500,
or $250 each for two option periods."
"Karloff waived
the previous option increase,
which would have boosted
his salary to $1000,
on condition that he would get
the full amount on the next option."
"Universal refused to meet
the figure, which came due Thursday,
and Karloff walked."
Whale offered the role
to fellow Britisher Colin Clive,
who had been the director's leading man
in both the stage and screen versions
of the well-received Journey's End,
and who played the leading role of Dr
Frankenstein, who creates the monster,
in Whale's 1931 film of Frankenstein.
But Clive, who had
a marvellous voice and delivery,
had just completed two additional
film roles in Hollywood,
and wanted to get back to England,
although the part did appeal to him.
In the British magazine Picturegoer,
in July 1933:
"Colin Clive gets a kick out of playing
parts like his grim role in Frankenstein."
"He certainly does not see himself
as a leading man or romantic lover."
"He wants the strong stuff."
Now what?
Whale remembered Claude Rains,
and discovered that he had made
a screen test for RKO Radio Pictures
for the leading male role
in A Bill of Divorcement in 1932.
Apparently it was not good.
In fact, it was, in the actor's own words,
"the worst screen test
in the history of movie-making".
He said that when Whale saw it,
he howled with laughter.
the part in A Bill of Divorcement
went to luminary John Barrymore.
But Whale wanted Rains
and his special presence.
A test was made, and Rains, who had
been appearing in Broadway plays,
was signed at virtually the last moment.
Unless one had seen him on the stage
in his native England, or in New York,
the unique and commanding
texture of his vocal delivery
would be a new experience
for movie-goers at that time.
That's why Whale wanted him,
for his voice.
Whale knew Rains and his work and he
knew the voice had to
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