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The Films of George C. Scott

article and interview by Paul Riordan -- page 3 of 5
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With Petulia in 1968, Scott returned to drama. This underrated, offbeat movie starred Julie Christie, Richard Chamberlain, Arthur Hill and Shirley Knight. "Richard Lester directed that; he had recently had tremendous success with A Hard Day's Night. That (Petulia) was a strange little picture. I don't think any of us, including Julie Christie, really knew what it was about."

George C. Scott with Julie Christie in Petulia.

In 1969, Scott appeared in This Savage Land, a theatrical release of several episodes of the TV series The Road West cobbled together.


Scott's next role was a career high-point, his Oscar-winning portrayal of the controversial World War II General, George S. Patton, in Franklin Schaffner's 1970 classic, Patton. The script was adapted by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, from several books on the soldier. "That was a once in a lifetime part," Scott said. "I believe that Bob Mitchum recommended me for that, and I'm very grateful." The actor later played this role again, in a made-for-TV sequel, The Last Days of Patton (1986). "I had bought the rights to that myself."

George C. Scott in Patton.

View an animated GIF of the opening sequence of Patton (21 frames, 115KB) and hear an audio clip (20 seconds, 221 KB).


After Patton, Scott was a busy actor, starring in three movies in the next year. First, he starred in the cult classic, They Might Be Giants. Scott played a widowed lawyer, Justin Playfair, who imagines that he's Sherlock Holmes, complete with deerstalker cap and Inverness coat. A psychiatrist, Dr. Mildred Watson, attempts to cure his madness, but soon finds herself caught up in Playfair's whimsical world. "Paul Newman produced that picture; his wife, Joanne (Woodward) was in it (as Dr. Watson). It was directed by Anthony Harvey, a British director. I don't know why it wasn't more successful." When asked how he had approached the part, the actor replied, "I didn't play the character as if I were portraying Sherlock Holmes. I played him as a delusional man who fantasized that he was Sherlock Holmes."

George C. Scott with Diana Rigg in The Hospital.

Also in 1971, Scott starred as frustrated surgeon Dr. Herbert Bock in The Hospital: "Arthur Hiller directed that; Paddy Chayefsky wrote the script--great writing. I enjoyed making that film very much. I enjoyed working with Diana Rigg very much." In addition, Scott appeared as retired gangland driver Harry Garmes in The Last Run: "I played a wheel man. That was lovely; it was shot in Spain by Richard Fleischer, who I worked with again on another picture."

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© 1997 Paul Riordan. All rights reserved.


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