Fredric March - Rotten Tomatoes

Fredric March



Born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel in Racine, WI, he aspired to a career in business as a young man, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in economics after serving in the First World War as an artillery lieutenant. He entered the banking business in New York in 1920, working at what was then known as First National City Bank (now Citibank), but while recovering from an attack of appendicitis, he decided to give up banking and to try for a career on the stage. March made his debut that same year in Deburau in Baltimore, and also began appearing as an extra in movies being shot in New York City. In 1926, while working in a stock company in Denver, he met an actress named Florence Eldridge. At the very end of that same year, March got his first Broadway leading role, in The Devil in the Cheese. March and Eldridge were married in 1927 and, in lieu of a honeymoon, the two joined the first national tour of the Theatre Guild. Over the next four decades, the two appeared together in numerous theatrical productions and several films.



March came along as a leading man just as Hollywood was switching to sound and scrambling for stage actors. His work in a West Coast production of Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman's satirical stage work The Royal Family in 1929, in which he parodied John Barrymore, got him a five-year contract with Paramount Pictures. March repeated the role to great acclaim (and his first Oscar nomination) in George Cukor's and Cyril Gardner's 1930 screen adaptation, entitled The Royal Family of Broadway. Over the next few years, March established himself as the top leading man in Hollywood, and in 1932, with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), became the first (and only) performer ever to win the Best Actor Academy Award for a portrayal of a monster in a horror film. He excelled in movies such as Design for Living (1933), The Sign of the Cross (1932), Death Takes a Holiday (1934), and The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934).



He showed off his skills to immense advantage in a pair of color productions in 1937, A Star Is Born and Nothing Sacred. In A Star Is Born, March was essentially reprising his Barrymore-based portrayal from The Royal Family of Broadway, but here he added more, most especially a sense of personal tragedy that made this film version of the story the most artistically successful of the four done to date. He received an Oscar nomination for his performance and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award. In the screwball comedy Nothing Sacred, by contrast, March played a brash, slightly larcenous reporter who cons, and is conned by, Carole Lombard, and who ends up running a public relations scam on the entire country. He also did an unexpectedly bold, dashing turn as the pirate Jean Lafitte in Cecil B. DeMille's The Buccaneer (1939).



In 1937, March was listed as the fifth highest paid individual in America, earning a half-million dollars. Unfortunately for his later reputation, A Star Is Born, Nothing Sacred, and The Buccaneer, along with his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Les Miserables, and Smilin' Through, were all the subjects of remakes in the 1940s and '50s that came to supplant the versions in which he had starred in distribution to television; most were out of circulation for decades.

March moved between big studio productions and independent producers, with impressive results in Victory (1940), So Ends Our Night (1941), I Married a Witch (1942), The Adventures of Mark Twain, and Tomorrow the World (both 1944). March's performances were the best parts of many of these movies; he was a particularly haunting presence in So Ends Our Night, as an anti-Nazi German aristocrat being hounded across Europe by the Hitler government. Although well-liked by most of his peers, he did have some tempestuous moments off-screen. March didn't suffer fools easily, and had an especially hard time working with neophyte

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Death of A Salesman
  • Actor
2013
88% The Iceman Cometh
  • Harry Pope
1973
No Score Yet Tick...Tick...Tick...
  • Mayor
1970
100% Hombre
  • Dr. Alex Favor
1967
100% Seven Days in May
  • President Jordan Lyman
1964
No Score Yet The Condemned of Altona
  • Albrecht von Gerlach
1962
No Score Yet The Young Doctors
  • Dr. Joseph Pearson
1961
91% Inherit the Wind
  • Matthew Harrison Brady
1960
No Score Yet Middle of the Night
  • Jerry Kingsley
1959
No Score Yet Albert Schweitzer
  • Narrator
1957
75% The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
  • Ralph Hopkins
1956
0% Alexander the Great
  • Philip of Macedonia
1956
83% The Desperate Hours
  • Dan Hilliard
1955
100% Executive Suite
  • Loren Phineas Shaw
1954
78% The Bridges at Toko-Ri
  • Rear Adm. George Tarrant
1954
No Score Yet Man on a Tightrope
  • Karel Cernik
1953
No Score Yet Death of a Salesman
  • Willy Loman
1951
No Score Yet It's a Big Country
  • Papa Esposito
1951
No Score Yet The Titan: Story of Michelangelo
  • Director
  • Narrator
1950
No Score Yet Christopher Columbus
  • Christopher Columbus
1949
96% The Best Years of Our Lives
  • Al Stephenson
1946
No Score Yet Tomorrow the World!
  • Mike Frame
1944
No Score Yet The Adventures of Mark Twain
  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)
1944
95% I Married a Witch
  • Wallace Wooley
1942
No Score Yet Bedtime Story
  • Lucius 'Luke' Drake
1941
100% One Foot in Heaven
  • William Spence
1941
No Score Yet So Ends Our Night
  • Josef Steiner
1941
No Score Yet Susan and God
  • Barry Trexel
1940
No Score Yet Land of Liberty
  • Actor
1939
No Score Yet Trade Winds
  • Sam Wye
1938
No Score Yet There Goes My Heart
  • Bill Spencer
1938
No Score Yet The Buccaneer
  • Jean Lafitte
1938
100% Nothing Sacred
  • Wally Cook
1937
100% A Star Is Born
  • Norman Maine
1937
No Score Yet Mary of Scotland
  • Earl of Bothwell
1936
No Score Yet The Road to Glory
  • Lt. Michel Denet
1936
13% Anthony Adverse
  • Anthony Adverse
1936
No Score Yet The Dark Angel
  • Alan Trent
1935
100% Les Miserables
  • Jean Valjean
1935
100% Anna Karenina
  • Count Vronsky
1935
No Score Yet We Live Again
  • Prince Dmitri Nekhlyudov
1934
71% The Barretts of Wimpole Street
  • Robert Browning
1934
No Score Yet The Affairs of Cellini
  • Benvenuto Cellini
1934
83% Death Takes a Holiday
  • Prince Sirki
1934
75% Design for Living
  • Thomas B. "Tom" Chambers
1933
No Score Yet The Eagle and the Hawk
  • Jerry H. Young
1933
No Score Yet The Royal Family of Broadway
  • Tony Cavendish
1933
No Score Yet Smilin' Through
  • Jeremy Wayne
1932
No Score Yet Make Me a Star
  • Guest Star
1932
No Score Yet Merrily We Go to Hell
  • Jerry Corbett
1932
33% The Sign of the Cross
  • Marcus Superbus
1932
93% Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Mr. Hyde
1931
No Score Yet Laughter
  • Paul Lockridge
1930
No Score Yet Sarah and Son
  • Howard Vanning
1930
No Score Yet Paramount on Parade
  • Guest Star
1930
No Score Yet Paris Bound
  • Jim Hutton
1929
No Score Yet The Wild Party
  • James 'Gil' Gilmore
1929

Quotes from Fredric March's Characters