Greetings Effendi, from the mists beyond The Veil.
Today’s post is interesting, as it’s for someone who played an avatar of Death, as Fredrick March played Prince Sirki, the namesake of this column. Although, where Sirki was the embodiment of Death itself, Mr. Jordan was the head Angel in Heaven, charged with running admissions and departures and occasionally dealing with his agents’ mistakes, such as in Alexander Hall’s HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941). I speak, of course, about the great Claude Rains, who passed away on this date back in 1967.
Of course, Rains’ most famous role is that of the titular character in James Whale’s THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933), where he rose to prominence. He also played the unfortunate Larry Talbot’s father in George Waggner’s THE WOLF MAN (1941). Rains joins Bela Lugosi (creating the role of Dracula, then playing the Frankenstein Monster) and Lon Chaney, Jr. (the aforementioned Wolf Man, and then going on to play both the Frankenstein Monster and The Mummy), as an actor who created a role in one Universal Monster Movie franchise and then portrayed the lead of another franchise. In Rains’ case, he took on the title role in Arthur Lubin’s remake of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943), though the story was VERY different from the silent version. There were several other imagi-movie roles that Rains portrayed, but he was also well known for such mainstream parts as Prince John in Michael Curtiz & William Keighsley’s THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), Capt. Louis Renault in Curtiz’ CASABLANCA (1942) and Sen. Paine in Frank Capra’s MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939).