Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Born today in 1909: James Mason

One of Cinema's most unforgettable screen presences, James Mason is the kind of actor whose name alone is enough to get you interested in a movie. He immortalized Captain Nemo onscreen in Disney's adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), arguably the greatest adventure film of all-time, and was versatile enough to play just about everyone else, including an unstable family man (Bigger than Life, 1956), a cunning and villainous smuggler (North by Northwest, 1959), a grumpy scientist (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1959), Erwin Rommel (The Desert Fox, 1951) Nabokov's most famous protagonist (Lolita, 1962), a deadly treasure hunter (Lord Jim, 1965), and even Doctor Watson alongside Christopher Plummer's Sherlock Holmes (Murder by Decree, 1979). A lover of silent cinema, Mason also lent his incredible voice to Kevin Brownlow's fantastic documentary series, Hollywood: a Celebration of the American Silent Film.


  1. His early work in the 30s and 40s was some of the best ever done. The man was robbed of too many Oscars. Start with "Odd Man Out" and work your way up to his last great appearance in "The Shooting Party" -- you will see a master at work.

  2. i grew up on 20,000 leagues, after all these years watching the film, the potency of his nemo portrayal still burns a hole in the screen, amazing talent.