Valley of the Kings, 1954, Is Playing on TCM on March 23 (USA)

Valley of the Kings, 1954, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday, March 23 at 4:15 p.m. p.m. est. Closed captioned.  Mark Brandon, the ruggedly handsome archaeologist played by Robert Taylor is thought to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones.

RT5571This is one of my favorite Robert Taylor pictures. Eleanor Parker and he had wonderful chemistry and both of them looked their best in this exotic action-adventure film.  The following is my review for the IMDb.

This isn’t a serious or “meaningful” film. It is pure entertainment, beautifully photographed on location in Egypt. The stars, Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker, had great chemistry both off-screen and on. Taylor manages to be glamorous even when trapped in a sandstorm. The plot is relatively thin with Parker seeking to validate part of the Old Testament by finding the tomb of the Pharaoh who reigned in the time of the Biblical Joseph. She bats her eyelashes at Taylor who comes along happily. Then she introduces her husband, Carlos Thompson. There are horse and carriage chases, murders, the aforementioned sandstorm, a spectacular fight at Abu Simbel, a scorpion attack–all in ninety minutes. Given the slower pace of movies in the 1950s, there is also time for Taylor and Parker to discover each other more thoroughly (over some fermented goat). Egyptian belly dancer Samia Gamal shakes her stuff at the demure Parker. Highly enjoyable.

RT2304One of the best screen kisses–ever!

Some behind the scenes photos:

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From left: Robert Taylor horsing around with a donkey; looking insecure on a camel.

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From left: Robert Taylor with belly dancer Samia Gamal; with Kurt Kazsnar and Carlos Thompson; at the sphinx.

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From left: Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker at the Mena House Hotel; touring by carriage.

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From left: Mr. Taylor and Ms. Parker in Egypt.

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From left: Mr. Taylor and Ms. Parker, taking pictures; with director Robert Pirosh; saying hello to a camel.

Actress Eleanor Parker, on her kneels, helps Robert Taylor, dressed up as an archaeologist, to lace up a boot on the set of the movie 'Valley of the Kings'. Egypt, 1954. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Actress Eleanor Parker, on her knees, helps Robert Taylor, dressed up as an archaeologist, to lace up a boot on the set of the movie ‘Valley of the Kings’. Egypt, 1954. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Mr. Taylor injured his knee jumping off a camel and may have had difficulty lacing his boots.  They both look happy about it.

 

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Westward the Women, 1951, Is Playing on TCM on February 22 (USA)

Westward the Women (1951) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday February, 22 at 6:00 p.m. est. Closed captioned.

4410Robert Taylor and John McIntire interview the women who want to go west.

John McIntire approaches wagonmaster Robert Taylor with an interesting job and challenge. He wants to bring brides west to the settlement he’s founded in [California]. Taylor hires on a bunch of hands to escort the women and issues a no fraternization policy. When one of them tries to rape [a woman], [Taylor] shoots him out of hand. It’s the unsettled frontier and as wagonmaster he’s the law on that train as much as a captain on a ship at sea. Of course the hands mutiny and strand Taylor, McIntire, cook Henry Nakamura and the women.

This was a perfect western film for the post Rosie the Riveter generation. No reason at all why women couldn’t deal with the rigors of a wagon train. Of course it helped to have the formidable Hope Emerson along.

Of course men and women will be men and women and Taylor breaks his own no fraternization policy with Denise Darcel. Of course this is away from the train when Darcel runs off.

William Wellman delivers us a no frills unsentimental western with gritty performances by Robert Taylor and the rest of the cast. In a bow to his colleague John Ford, Wellman does have a courtship dance at the settlement. I liked the use of the fiddle music playing “Believe Me With All Those Endearing Young Charms” and “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.”: Ford couldn’t have staged it better.

Henry Nakamura had made a big hit in MGM’s “Go For Broke” about the Nisei division in Italy. He was a funny little guy, I’m not sure he was even five feet tall. I loved the scene when he and Taylor find a stash of buried liquor and proceed [to go] on a toot. This was his last film though, roles for Oriental players were hard to come by. I wonder whatever happened to him.

If you like traditional cowboy films, this one ain’t for you, but given the constraints of 19th century society for the role of woman Westward the Women is quite a revelation. Review by bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York for the IMDb..

Some behind-the-scenes photos:


From left: William Wellman and Robert Taylor; Mr. Taylor outside of his dressing room.

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From left: Polly Burrows and Robert Taylor; Mr. Taylor with sound technician Voss.

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Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, Is Playing on TCM on March 22 (USA)

There is a trifecta of excellent Robert Taylor movies on March 22 and 23: Many Rivers To Cross, Westward the Women and Valley of the Kings.

Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, March 22 at 7:45 a.m.  Closed Captioned.  This outrageous farce is one of my favorites–tremendous performances from both of the leads.

This wonderful rollicking comedy set in the early days of the republic, roughly sometime in the Federalist era had to take its inspiration from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers from the year before. In fact two of the brothers, Jeff Richards and Russ Tamblyn are featured in Many Rivers to Cross.

The surprise to me in this film is Robert Taylor. At the time he did this film Taylor had been doing dramatic parts for many years. He did some comedy roles in his early days at MGM, but they were the modern sophisticated sort of stuff.

Robert Taylor is Bushrod Gentry, a frontier trapper who’s a pretty fancy free and footloose sort of character very much like Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. But while it was Howard Keel who was looking for a wife in that film, here it’s the woman who does the chasing and it’s the woman who comes from a pretty frisky frontier family herself. Eleanor Parker is Federalist era Calamity Jane who takes a real shine to Taylor.

Of course she pursues Taylor through out the film, try as he may to get back to his trapping. Their last escape from some pursuing Shawnee Indians is an absolute comic riot.

Good as Taylor and Parker are, Many Rivers to Cross almost cries for a song or two other than the theme about the Berry Tree. In a musical I could have seen Howard Keel and Doris Day doing it easily.

In any event I’m sure that when Taylor and Parker settle down and commence to having children that they were the ancestors a hundred years later of that Pontipee clan in the Pacific Northwest.  Review by bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York for the IMDb.

Some behind-the-scenes photos:


Left to right: Newlyweds Ursula and Robert Taylor; getting bullwhip instruction from Abel Fernandez(?); with co-star Eleanor Parker.


Left to right: with Katie the dog and the picture’s original caption; with director Roy Rowland.

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Loew’s Weekly Vol. 18 Friday August 28, 1936

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Loew’s Weekly was a free publication for moviegoers at Loew’s theatres.  This is from their August 28, 1936 edition. Bob Taylor Takes New York with New Hit by Max Miles Broadway has become a one-way street called “Lovers Lane!”  All … Continue reading

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Robert Taylor: The Last Matinee Idol

This gallery contains 21 photos.

This is from a movie magazine under the category “Nostalgia.”  The year is 1974, based on some obituaries in it.  I couldn’t find the name of  the magazine on any of the pages.  I don’t agree with the premise of … Continue reading

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Party Girl, 1958, Is Playing on TCM on March 8 (USA)

Party Girl, 1958, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, March 8 at 6:45 a.m. est.  Not closed captioned.

On the set of Party Girl

Cyd Charisse and Robert Taylor in Party Girl.

Nicolas Ray uses color in this movie like some directors use dialogue. It is spectacular to look at with reds and blacks predominate all through the film. It is old-fashioned in it’s appeal to the film noir lover. This is the last film Robert Taylor did for MGM, and it is a great performance. The character of Tommy Farrell is, if you excuse the pun, tailor made for Taylor. Again he is the man with a secret past, as he has been in other film noir classics such as the High Wall, and Rogue Cop, two of his better roles. He is a mob attorney who is drawn to the “fastest way,” which in this case is working for Rico Angelo (Lee J Cobb). Cobb is always wonderful to watch and his role here is one of overstated ignorance, and brutal power. Tommy walks with a limp due to a childhood accident, and hates women because of his ex-wife’s repulsion of his crookedness. She destroyed his masculinity, by denying him access to both her bed and her love. He meets Vicki, played well by Cyd Charisse, at a party given by Angelo, takes her home to find her room mate dead in a bloody tub scene. He is drawn to her, but chases her away telling her “a girl deserves what she can get,” after Vicki wants him to return money given to her by John Ireland at the party.

She follows him to court and watches as he uses his limp to get sympathy from the jury, freeing murderer Ireland. His unique approach also includes the use of an old simple watch that he tells the jury was given to him by his father while he was in the hospital as a boy. It is the secret to his success with the jury. She tells him if that is what he wants “pity” then he has hers. He snarls at her telling her to get out. Afterwards he goes to the club where she is a dancer, every night finally taking her home, and telling her about his past with the wife. They fall in love and that is the beginning of the end for Farrell. She wants him to quit, he can’t. He does go to Europe to have his hip fixed and they vacation, until Rico summons him back to Chicago. There is finds that Rico has a job for him, defending a young gangster who Farrell refers to as a “dog with the rabies.” He tries to leave only to find that Rico will disfigure Vickie if he doesn’t go along. Reluctantly he agrees and in the pursuit there is a massive machine gunning down of the young gangster and his associates.

Farrell escapes unharmed, and goes to Vicki, telling her they must run. She refuses, and the cops take them both to jail. In the end he rats on Rico to save Vicki, he thinks, until he is taken to a broken down meeting hall, where Rico presents Vicki to him, wrapped in bandages. They unveil her still perfect face, but also a bottle of acid, which Rico tells Tommy he will use if he doesn’t take back the testimony. The cops were tipped where to find Rico, and they attack the hall with a hail of bullets causing Rico to tip the acid on his own face, falling to his death through a plate glass window. Vicki and Farrell leave, meeting the District Attorney on the way, with Farrel giving his watch to Kent Smith, “as a remembrance.”

The wonderful thing about this performance by Taylor is that his looks only add to the sadness of the character, his blue eyes showing the conflict within this man. Still magnificent to look at we feel for his plight with the crooked body, not be able to love again until Charisse loves him as is. Taylor is just great here, a mature, restrained Tommy Farrell, in love at last but conflicted about his job, and how he gets his money. A must see film noir. Revew by Mamalv, United States for the IMDB.

Some behind-the-scenes photos:

Off-Stage Star: The cameraman catches Robert Taylor during some "away from the camera moments" on the set of "Party Girl." The film, which stars Taylor, Cyd Charisse and Lee J. Cobb, is a Euterpe production produced by Joe Pasternak for MGM release. Nicholas Ray directed. (original caption).********: Taylor Robert. Rome, Leonia Celli Collection*** Permission for usage must be provided in writing from Scala.19581958
Left to right: Off-Stage Star: The cameraman catches Robert Taylor during some “away from the camera moments” on the set of “Party Girl.” The film, which stars Taylor, Cyd Charisse and Lee J. Cobb, is a Euterpe production produced by Joe Pasternak for MGM release. Nicholas Ray directed. (original caption); Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse.

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Robert Taylor, Cyd Charise, Leon Alton and Herb Armstrong.

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The Crowd Roars, 1938 Is Playing on TCM on March 4 (USA)

The Crowd Roars, 1938, is showing on Monday, March 4 at 11:45  a.m. est.  Closed captioned.  Although I am not a boxing fan, I love this film.

Boxing doesn’t appeal to me, either for real or on screen so I approached The Crowd Roars with some trepidation. However, boxing is only the excuse for a film on the Depression, on corruption, on poverty and crime. Robert Taylor is superb as Tommy “Killer” McCoy, a young man who enters the ring strictly for the money. He has had the wolf at the door and doesn’t want to see it again. His distaste for being a “pug” and his longing for respectability come into play as he meets Maureen O’Sullivan and gets a glimpse of how “the other half” live. The fight scenes are exciting and vivid but not glamorized. A scene in the gym introduces a cast of brain-damaged pugs as Taylor prepares for his first big fight. The cinematography is excellent as is the lighting. There are no bad performances. Frank Morgan is the drunken father, Maureen O’Sullivan is the love interest, Edward Arnold the gangster, Lionel Stander the trainer. Jane Wyman has a small but pivotal role as a southern airhead. Highly recommended.  Review by me for the Imdb.

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: unknown; Gene Reynolds, Robert Taylor; Frank Morgan, Mr. Taylor, Lionel Stander; Frank Morgan, Mr.Taylor, Edward Arnold

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Left to right: Robert Taylor, unknown; unknown, Margaret Sullavan, Mr. Taylor; Richard Thorpe, Mr. Taylor

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A break on the set.

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