Classic Film Stars Recast as James Bond Villians

BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
edited October 2016 in Trivia & Games Posts: 26,477
A friend of mine was in town who I hadn't seen in almost a decade. He is also a Bond fan (not quite at our level on here), an "Original".

He started this by mentioning that Boris Karloff would have made a great Bond Villain, I agreed. So that led into the discussion indicated in this thread's title. Specifically the Fleming villains. Mods, I know there have been recasting threads elsewhere on here, but being more focused I thought this topic warranted its own space.

Here's some we came up with. By wanting this list to have the grandeur of classic cinema we tried to keep our choices limited to actors and actresses who were in their prime pre-1969.


Dr. No - Boris Karloff, Yul Brenner, Conrad Veidt (Dr. No is half German), Akihiko Hirata (I'd like to put a Chinese actor here, but none of the ones I know of from the past fit the role)
Red Grant - Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum
Auric Goldfinger - Marlon Brando, Walter Berry, Charles Laughton
Pussy Galore - Greta Garbo, Marlene Deitrich
Emile Largo - Richard Conte, Ronald Coleman, Claude Raines
Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Bela Lugosi, James Mason
Mr. Wint - Eli Wallach, Edward Arnold
Mr. Kidd - Paul Muni, Rudolph Valentino
Serrafimo Spang - Jack Palance, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson
Mr. Big - Sidney Greenstreet (he's not black but he's the closest human that I could think of to the way that Fleming describes the character in the book, picture that head with purplish/gray facial make-up), Rex Ingram.
Francisco Scaramanga - Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Clark Gable
Horror - Raymond Massey, Richard Widmark
Sluggsy - Peter Lorre, Dwight Frye
Hugo Drax - I can think of no one that can fulfill Fleming's visual depiction, but Dwight Frye could have inhabited that character.
Krebbs - Peter Lorre
Le Chiffre - Charles Boyer, John Barrymore

I would not presume to try this with Irma Bundt and Rosa Klebb. They are cast so perfectly any secondguessing on my part would be futile.
Some fun ideas with later villains:

Elektra King - Jean Tierney, Joan Crawford
Alec Trevelyan - Cary Grant, Ronald Coleman
Silva - Marlon Brando, Vincent Price, Robert Donat



Anyone else want to try? Again, let's keep it pre-70s.
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Comments

  • Posts: 582
    It would have been great if James Mason had played Drax or another villain.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    @tiger99 , yes. In our original discussion I had mentioned Mason. I didn't realize that I omitted him here until your post.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    Oh, I actually did include him as Blofeld.
  • Posts: 1,475
    Laurence Olivier would have made a good Drax - with some ginger hair colouring and a few prosthetic scars... a scowling menace.

    Peter Lorre as Goldfinger...
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    I LOVE the 60's.

    Dr. No - Stewart Granger (ideal Sidney Toler but he died in 1947)
    Grant - Richard Harris
    Goldfinger - Ray Milland
    Largo - Martin Landau
    Biofeld - Yul Brynner
    Le Chiffre - Leonard Nimoy


    I would recast them as well, but they are not villains so therefore I hide them gracefully.
    Pussy Galore: Jane Russell
    Tracy: Audrey Hepburn
    Sylvia: Katharine Hepburn
    Honey Ryder: Marylin Monroe
    Jill Masterson: Kim Novak
    Tilly Masterson: Barbara Bel Geddes
    Tatiana: Tippi Hedren

    MONEYPENNY: DORIS DAY

    Q: PETER SELLERS

    M: JOHN WILLIAMS

    FELIX LEITER: CARY GRANT

  • Posts: 1,475
    Julie Christie...? Just not sure what character.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    Julie Christie could have been Pussy. Or Tiffany Case.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited October 2015 Posts: 26,477
    I LOVE the 60's.

    Dr. No - Stewart Granger (ideal Sidney Toler but he died in 1947)
    Grant - Richard Harris
    Goldfinger - Ray Milland
    Largo - Martin Landau
    Biofeld - Yul Brynner
    Le Chiffre - Leonard Nimoy

    I can see all of those except for Nimoy as Le Chiffre. Maybe as Dr. No or Scaramanga. And Harris was a bit too lean to be Grant.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe S.A.R.A.H.Moderator
    edited October 2015 Posts: 10,502
    Ann-Margret as Tiffany Case.
    Vincent Price - Fransisco Scaramanga or Carl Stromberg
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    Ok, Harris was lean in the 60's, I remembered him differently from the 70's.

    Warren Beatty was quite muscular, maybe a bit too pretty for Grant.
    William Shatner as Grant, he could look quite menacing!

    Christopher Plummer would have been wonderful as a villain just can't decide which one.

    Nimoy could work as Professor Dent or Kronsteen.

    I want Nimoy in a 60's Bond movie :))
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    Plummer would have made a fine Janus.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Back on Earth
    Posts: 33,006
    Lon Cheney as Hugo Drax.

    The guy could play anything, much like Michael Parks or Gary Oldman in more recent times.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 15,760
    Charles Bronson as either Red Grant or Blofeld in the same vain as the FRWL/TB version.
    Bronson.jpg
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    @Murdock ! Perfect. Bronson as Red Grant! I can't believe that I didn't come up with that way earlier.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    Lon Cheney as Hugo Drax.

    The guy could play anything, much like Michael Parks or Gary Oldman in more recent times.

    Sr. or Jr.?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Back on Earth
    Posts: 33,006
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Lon Cheney as Hugo Drax.

    The guy could play anything, much like Michael Parks or Gary Oldman in more recent times.

    Sr. or Jr.?

    Senior, of course. Not familiar with Junior except my own.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    Junior was a great actor as well. He was the Wolfman in five Universal Horror films. He also gave some classic performances in OF MICE AND MEN, HIGH NOON and THE DEFIANT ONES.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 15,760
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @Murdock ! Perfect. Bronson as Red Grant! I can't believe that I didn't come up with that way earlier.
    Yeah Bronson in a 60's Bond movie would have been perfect. I bet the Train fight would have been even more intense.

  • DariusDarius UK
    edited October 2015 Posts: 354
    I thought Christopher Lee would make a good Dr No., after all, Lee did play Fu Manchu -- the character Dr No was based upon. I believe that Ian Fleming actually approached Lee (his cousin) about the role.

    Ian Fleming also wanted Dr No to be played by Noel Coward, to which Coward's response was "Oh, no, no, no!"

    @BondJasonBond006 mentioned Christopher Plummer earlier. I think he would have made a good Dr No too. Failing that, he could have made a wonderfully menacing Blofeld as encountered in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

    I think also that Grace Kelly could have made a good Tiffany Case. Miss Kelly was never the best actress in the world, but when has that been a necessary criterion for a Bond girl?
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    Humphrey Bogart as Scaramanga?
  • The idea of Claude Rains as Largo is pure genius. I would have loved to see it.

    Other than that, and taking 75% of novels and 25 % of films as a reference...

    Jan Werich or Peter Ustinov as Goldfinger (Werich wasn't a good choice for Blofeld, but IMHO was a perfect fit for Goldfinger).
    James Cagney (rough, fair hair, judo expert), the young Max von Sydow or Burt Lancaster as Red Grant.
    Richard Widmark or Fernando Rey as Scaramanga.
    A weird choice, but I can't unsee him: Terry-Thomas as Drax.
    Lon Chaney Jr. or Broderick Crawford as Milton Krest.
    Francisco Rabal as González
    Noble Johnson as Mr. Big


  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited October 2015 Posts: 26,477
    The one of those that particularly stands out to me is Terry Thomas as Drax. You are correct; weird, unexpected, but right on.

    Another one that cam to mind earlier today: Anthony Quinn as Kristatos.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited October 2015 Posts: 26,477
    Well, I've updated the master list with all suggestions included (almost all, sorry @BondJasonBond006 , but I'm omitting Shatner and Nimoy as they were not "film stars" until the STAR TREK films of the '80s, despite appearing in supporting roles earlier on). I'm going to bold the ones that I think are most appropriate thus far. Feel free to do the same . I'm adding Kirk Douglas to the Scaramanga group.

    Fleming Villains:

    Le Chiffre - Charles Boyer, John Barrymore
    Mr. Big - Sidney Greenstreet, Rex Ingram, Noble Johnson
    Hugo Drax - Dwight Frye, Laurence Olivier, James Mason, Lon Chaney, Terry Thomas
    Krebbs - Peter Lorre
    Mr. Wint - Eli Wallach, Edward Arnold
    Mr. Kidd - Paul Muni, Rudolph Valentino
    Serrafimo Spang - Jack Palance, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson
    Red Grant - Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, Charles Bronson, Richard Harris, James Cagney, Max Von Sydow, Burt Lancaster
    Dr. No - Boris Karloff, Yul Brenner, Conrad Veidt, Akihiko Hirata, Christopher Lee, Stewart Granger, Sidney Toler, Christopher Plummer
    Auric Goldfinger - Marlon Brando, Walter Berry, Charles Laughton, Peter Lorre, Jan Werich, Peter Ustinov, Ray Milland
    Pussy Galore - Greta Garbo, Marlene Deitrich, Julie Christie
    Gonzales - Francisco Rabal (not sleazy enough for my tastes, still open)
    Kristatos - Anthony Quinn
    Milton Krest - Lon Chaney Jr., Broderick Crawford
    Emile Largo - Richard Conte, Ronald Coleman, Claude Raines, Martin Landau
    Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Bela Lugosi, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Yul Brenner
    Horror - Raymond Massey, Richard Widmark
    Sluggsy - Peter Lorre, Dwight Frye
    Francisco Scaramanga - Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Clark Gable, Vincent Price, Richard Widmark, Humphrey Bogart, Fernando Rey, Kirk Douglas

    Post-Fleming villains: (I added a few here, as well)

    Karl Stromberg - James Mason, Vincent Price (I'd love to see Vincent somewhere, but this one doesn't really work for me)
    Jaws - Raymond Massey
    Kamal Khan - Conrad Veidt
    Elektra King - Jean Tierney, Joan Crawford
    Alec Trevelyan - Cary Grant, Ronald Coleman, Richard Burton
    Silva - Marlon Brando, Vincent Price, Robert Donat, Montgomery Clift
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Back on Earth
    Posts: 33,006
    Robert Loggia as Gonzalez
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    edited October 2015 Posts: 15,423
    Alright. I've got an idea.

    If GoldenEye was made in the 1960s, I'd cast Italian Eurospy star, Roger Browne (who awfully looks like Sean Bean, and played loads of superspies in the decade) as Alec Trevelyan, with Daliah Lavi as Xenia Onatopp, and Ian Hendry as General Ouromov.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    Ian Hendry sounds the most interesting of that group. I don't know if Daliah has the craziness in her.
  • edited October 2015 Posts: 766
    Robert Loggia as Gonzalez

    That fits nicely. And I have another name: Mexican actor Emilio González (yep, the guy they say they modeled the Oscar after), I just love how crooked he was on The Wild Bunch and Bring Me The Head of Alfredo García. Another guy for the part could be French-italian star Lino Ventura.

    Another one I would like for Milton Krest if we want a less imposing actor: Peter Falk.

    Post-Fleming villains:

    - Stromberg: Orson Welles, Emil Jannings, Charles Laughton
    - Max Zorin: Jean Marais. I don't think you will accept Peter O'Toole, because he achieved stardom in 1963.
    - Franz Sánchez: José Ferrer, Ben Gazzara.
    - Alec Trevelyan: Anthony Perkins, Vincent Price, Lee Van Cleef.
    - Silva: What about a hammy actor? Patrick Magee, for instance.

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    I've hidden her in the spoiler in my OP, but Jane Russell as Pussy Galore, what do you think @Birdleson?
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    That could work. She is actually much closer to the Pussy from the novel.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 26,477
    @bigladiesman , all solid ideas. Particularly Emil Jannings. Two good ones for Sanchez, as well.

    I see Anthony Perkins as more of a Silva.
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