IMDb error or missing cast credits at end of old Fox films?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Dan McW, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    Lately I've watched several films in Fox's outstanding noir DVD series, and it's gotten me wondering about something I've noticed in the past regarding Fox films in general from c. 1945-55. Many of these films list only 6-10 names in the opening credits, although at least 12-20 people had significant speaking roles that would seemingly deserve credit. I know you really had to have a major speaking part to be credited in those days in an A or B film at any studio, but it seems like Fox-film actors got especially short shrift.

    One example is the just-released "Where the Sidewalk Ends." Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney drew above-the-title billing. Gary Merrill, Tom Tully and four others are credited on the next "page" or card after the title.

    The IMDb entry for this film, under "rest of cast listed alphabetically," shows that 21 other actors are supposedly credited. Included in this group are some who had numerous lines throughout the movie or several lines within one scene, such as Don Appell, Robert F. Simon, Neville Brand, Harry von Zell and Grayce Mills. All of these are uncredited, going by the DVD. IMDb, however, says that Simon is credited as "Robert" (no "F.") and Mills as "Grace" instead of "Grayce." In the commentary, Eddie Muller mentions that actor Phil Tully (who is among the group of 21 I mentioned) is receiving one of his few screen credits in this film.

    Some 30 actors beyond these 21 are listed on IMDb as uncredited, and most of these people had few if any lines.

    I know IMDb is not perfect and may be the source of Muller's info, but I've seen this same situation on other Fox films they list. Could there possibly be cast credits at the end of these films that have gotten lost over the years? Could there have been closing cast credits created for old TV broadcasts that listed more actors and which might have been the source of IMDb's info?

    One odd thing: when the words "the end" appear on "Where the Sidewalk Ends," the music continues to its proper conclusion, but the picture appears to freeze (the minor film artifacts on the transfer stop moving, as if I had paused the DVD).

    Many Fox films from before the mid-'40s have a few actors credited in the main title but have a musical fanfare at the end as a list of up to 20-30 actors rolls up the screen. Seems like the character actors of the day would have raised heck if they suddenly began going uncredited despite doing the same amount of work.
     
  2. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

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    For What Its Worth: "Robert Simon" & "Grace Mills" are credited thusly in my copy of Silver's Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style. "Robert Simon" is credited in my 8th edn of Halliwell's.

    On the larger issue of on-screen credits during the Studio era, I would imagine this would have been carefully controlled by the studio. I have run into numerous uncredited performances in other studios' films of that era as well.

    Tim

    ps. I just checked AMG, & it shows the credits as you have listed, too.
     
  3. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    Fox almost never used credits after the end title in their film releases.

    Ted
     
  4. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Lack of end credits for older films was certainly not unique for Fox. From memory I don't recall United Artists using them. Many MGM films didn't - even major films such as Ben-Hur.
     
  5. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    While I'm sure there were others, Universal was big on running a full cast at the end of the film. Remember their slogan? "A good cast is worth repeating." I believe that in those days the Screen Actors Guild contract only called for actors to receive on-screen credit if they had a certain number of lines in the film. Today, of course, it looks like everybody in front of or behind the camera gets credit.
     

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