HARRY POTTER IN THE FORTIES!
What if Harry Potter hadn't been created by author J. K. Rowling in the
late 1990s, but rather by Hollywood in the 1940s? Who would
been cast as who in an All-Star Hollywood Harry Potter film? As you
look over our choices, you might say "But (actor/actress) can't do a
convincing English accent!" to which we answer - hey, it's the 1940s!
They didn't worry about such things!
UNCLE VERNON DURSLEY (Billy Gilbert)
Uncle Vernon Dursley is
Harry's loud, nasty and blustering guardian. What better '40s
actor to capture
loud, nasty and blustering, as well as funny, than Billy Gilbert,
long-time nemesis of Laurel and Hardy as well as the voice behind
Sneezy in Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwafves? In
imaginary 1940's film, Harry could even put a sneezing spell on his
Played by Richard Griffiths in the real films.
AUNT PETUNIA (Una O'Connor)
|| Aunt Petunia Dursley is
Harry's only living blood
relative. Equally nasty though not as loud as Uncle Vernon,
to be played by somebody who can do mean and funny.
leaning toward Agnes Moorehead for a while, as well as Marjorie Main,
but in the end we went with Una O'Connor. It was really a
Played by Fiona Shaw in the real films.
|| We needed to find a
forties actors who was large, lovable and childlike himself to play the
half-giant Rubeus Hagrid. In
the end, we went with Alan Hale, Sr. Hale
would need a lot of makeup, but we think he would do just fine.
Played by Robbie Coltrane in the real films.
PROFESSOR McGONAGALL (Elsa Lanchester)
|| We had many fine ideas
for a 1940s
actress to capture Professor Minerva McGonagall. We were
thinking Judith Anderson, Una O'Conner, Margaret
Hamilton, Mildred Natwick or Edna Mae Oliver. But this
Elsa Lanchester, plus her work in many, many movies, convinced us she
would be perfect for the part. Once again, Agnes Moorehead
lost out - we'll have to write in a part for her!
Played by Maggie Smith in the real films.
SEVERUS SNAPE (Basil Rathbone)
When it comes to playing
an ambiguous villain, we came up with Basil Rathbone and immediately
stopped there. We know this picture of Basil is way
debonair, but trust us - Basil's the guy. He was such a good
actor, capable of playing heroes as well as villains, we could have
cast him as Dumbledore or Voldemort too.
Played by Alan Rickman in the real films.
ALBUS DUMBLEDORE (Claude Rains)
|| Dumbledore was a tough call.
He is character who needs to be larger than life yet
human. We considered many fine 1940s actors - Edward G.
(has the twinkle in his eye, but too short), character actor Donald
Crisp (not enough star power) and even Frank "The Wizard of Oz" Morgan
(too comical). We even thought of Fred Astaire (a dancing
Dumbledore!). In the end, we went with Claude Rains. A little
makeup and a long beard and he'd make a great Dumbledore.
Played by Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the real films.
LORD VOLDEMORT (Boris Karloff)
|| He Who Must Not Be
mortal enemy - Lord Voldemort. We came up with a number of
actors from the 1940s who could do justice to the part - Charles
Middleton, Raymond Massey (he'd make a great Dumbledore too), Henry
Darnell, Henry Brandon... but really, once we thought of Boris
Karloff, the contest was
Played by Ralph Fiennes is the real films.
HERMIONE GRANGER (Natalie Wood)
|| Who to play Harry's
and irritating "Know It All" witch
immediately thought of Margaret O'Brien (chatty - check;
irritating - check), but we thought a little more and came up
with the young
Natalie Wood instead for her acting skills, and also for her
abilility to be, well, not quite as annoying as Margaret O'Brien.
Played by Emma Watson in the real films.
RON WEASLEY (Mickey Rooney)
|| Here we ran into a problem.
Mickey Rooney to play Ron Weasley, Harry's best friend. In
the 1940s, Mickey Rooney was
already becoming a man, whereas Natalie Wood was a young
In the books and films. Ron, Hermione and Harry are all
supposed to be the same age.
But then we remembered that in our scenario, Harry Potter is a
Hollywood invention of the 1940s studio system. So - voila - Ron
Weasley is actually an
older student who has been left back several times. And
is a child prodigy who was put into wizarding school early.
Played by Rupert Grint in the real films.
HARRY POTTER (Roddy McDowall)
|| The star of the show.
We could only think of one
young actor in the 1940s to play Harry in our fantasy version - Roddy
McDowall. Throw a pair of glasses on this kid and he is Harry Potter! As far as age differences between McDowall, Natalie
Wood and Mickey Rooney - see the note above for Ron Weasley.
Played by Daniel Radcliffe in the real films.
Various Death Eaters: Bela Lugosi,
Peter Lorre, Edward G. Robinson, Charles Middleton and Gale Songergaard.
| Lily and James Potter,
who would be killed by Boris Karloff in the first ten minutes of our
film, would be played by one of the most popular romantic teams of the
1940s, Olivia De Havilland and Errol Flynn. This being a Hollywood
movie of the 1940s, they would come back alive at the end - you see, it
was all a bad dream, Harry! And look, here's your school
principal Claude Rains and the truant officer Boris Karloff to check up
The Secret Vortex