As in all walks of life, there's just sometimes when we don't click with someone else. Sometimes there is absolutely no reason why and sometimes it's because of plain simple rivalry in work or love. The movies were not only a hot bed of steamy romances and flings, but also jealousy and competitiveness for prize roles, beautiful partners or red carpet attention. Here are a few examples where the term Best Friends Forever probably didn't apply!
When Marlene Dietrich was cast opposite Ray Milland in "Golden Earrings" after a 3 year lull in her American movie career, he supposedly tried to get out of his contract by calling her an 'old bag' at the age of 45! The fact that Mr. Milland was 43 himself did not seem to matter. The hostilities grew between them well into filming and the cast and crew did not find the experience a great one. Ms. Dietrich got her own back by keeping in character and putting a whole fish head into her mouth in the stirring stew scene making Milland extremely sick.
Apart from the famous brawls of Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins in "Old Acquaintance", the next most known Hollywood fued was between three stars of the screen, namely Claudette Colbert, Veronica Lake and Paulette Goddard appearing together in "So Proudly we hail". Trying to light three different women three different ways proved extremely hard and tempers frayed. When Ms. Goddard was asked which of her co-stars she preferred, she replied "Veronica, I think. After all, we're closer in age" . Ms. Colbert was not happy!
Poor Jeanette MacDonald didn't fair very well with her famous co-star, Maurice Chavalier who it was said thought her so prim and apple cheeked that it diluted his on-screen romantic presence and sex appeal! The slightly wooden partnership of Nelson Eddy also brought it's own problems in that he accused her of obvious scene stealing in all their musical numbers. And Jeanette, well she just thought that she was the star and probably quite rightly so.
So let's go back to some good old gangster films. Wonderful James Cagney, a Patchwork Peggy's favourite, Edward G. Robinson and George Raft. The latter two actors though allowed their characters usual loathing for each other to bleed into real life. Two men who's off screen personalities were completely different. Edward G. known for being a thoughtful, educated man and George Raft as a man about town escorting the loveliest ladies. Putting them together in 'Manpower' battling for the affections of Marlene Dietrich was a recipe for arguments and rivalry so much so a fight during rehearsals was captured by Life Magazine.
Miriam Hopkins playing a southern belle in "Barbary Coast", her aim to captivate Edward G. Robinson's character with her charms. Quite the contrary in fact as Mr. Robinson thought her "puerile, silly and snobbish". It did not help that Ms. Hopkins insisted on her costumes being altered and elaborated on making Edward G. look even more smaller than he was and insisted that he stand on a box for their scenes together. When his character had to deliver a hearty slap to her, the crew apparently burst into a spontaneous round of applause.
Another huge star of the wartime years was Greer Garson who was cast opposite Clark Gable in his first film on his return from the war. It's rumoured that Mr. Gable flinched at the very thought of the slogan conjured up for the film "Adventure" that Gable's back and Garson's got him. It is well documented that Mr. Gable preferred down to earth women, Carole Lombard being the obvious example, but he also got on well with his co-star in the same film, Joan Blondell. Unfortunately Ms. Garson and another ultra feminine screen presence, Jeanette MacDonald didn't quite fit the bill.