It’s not that I find Rex Harrison particularly swoony. Fun fact: I’m not especially attracted to the vast majority of the subjects I write about for MCMs or WCWs. Instead, I like to use these posts to feature actors whose work is somehow relevant to frock flicks over the course of time, both the big names and the lesser known. Sir Reginald Carey “Rex” Harrison (March 5, 1908 – June 2, 1990) is famous for his roles in a couple of the biggest and most popular historical films ever made, yet he was, according to most reports, a total asshole of a person and, IMO, fairly limited as an actor. His fourth wife Rachel Roberts told Harrison: “You’ve no idea how the people hate you!”, and director Patrick Garland talked of the actor’s selfishness, arrogance, and unreasonableness, according to the Telegraph. In historical costume movies, he plays the same sort of charming, scornful, caddish know-it-all whether he’s wearing a Victorian suit or a Roman toga. But I’ve grown accustomed to, well, not his face, but more the talking on pitch, speaking-to-the-music style of so-called singing he does in My Fair Lady and Doctor Dolittle. I aspire to that, as a born non-singer like Harrison. And his ashes have long since been buried, so he doesn’t need much praise anyway.
King Mongkut in Anna and the King of Siam (1946)
Captain Daniel Gregg in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Stephen Fox in The Foxes of Harrow (1947)
Emir Hderim Sultan Saladin in King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)
Julius Caesar in Cleopatra (1963)
Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964)
Pope Julius II in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
Dr. John Dolittle in Doctor Dolittle (1967)
Don Quixote in BBC Play of the Month, “The Adventures of Don Quixote” (1973)
The Duke of Norfolk in Crossed Swords (1977)
Colbert in The Fifth Musketeer (1979)
Grand Duke Cyril Romanov in Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986)
What do you remember of Rex Harrison?