Three Comrades, 1938, Is Playing on TCM on January 30 (USA)

Three Comrades

Robert Young, Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone, Margaret Sullavan

New York Times Review (summary):  Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Three Comrades represented one of the few successful screenwriting efforts of  F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set  in Germany in the years just following World War I, the film stars Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young as three battle-weary, thoroughly disillusioned returning soldiers. The three friends pool their savings and open an auto-repair shop, and it is this that brings them in contact with wealthy motorist Lionel Atwill–and with Atwill’s lovely travelling companion Margaret Sullavan.  Taylor begins a romance with Sullavan, who soon joins the three comrades, making the group a jovial, fun-seeking foursome Though Sullavan suffers from tuberculosis (her shady past is only alluded to), she is encouraged by her male companions to fully enjoy what is left of her life. This becomes increasingly difficult when one of the comrades, Young, is killed during a political riot (it’s a Nazi riot, though not so-labelled by ever-careful MGM). In the end, the four comrades are only two in number, with nothing but memories to see them through the cataclysmic years to come. Despite its Hollywoodized bowdlerization of the Remarque original, Three Comrades remains a poignant, haunting experience. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Some promotional material:

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Behind the scenes:


Bottom to top: Director Frank Borzage and Robert Taylor; Robert Young, Franchot Tone, Robert Taylor

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Waterloo Bridge, 1940, Is Playing on TCM on January 21 (USA)

Waterloo Bridge, 1940 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m. est.

This was both Robert Taylor’s and Vivien Leigh’s favorite film.  Waterloo Bridge cost  $1,164,000.00 to make and made a profit of  $491,000.00.

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Robert Taylor was an inspired choice for the role… Not only does he have an imposing screen presence, but he brings the perfect mix of enlightenment, humor, compassion and emotion to the part…

Opposite him, Oscar Winner Vivien Leigh, perfect in her innocent lovely look, radiantly beautiful, specially that evening in a trailing white chiffon gown… Leigh floods her role with personal emotion giving her character a charismatic life of its own… As a great star, she delivers a heartfelt performance turning her character into a woman who undergoes an emotional awakening…

In this sensitive motion picture, Mervyn LeRoy captures all the tenderness and moving qualities… He makes every small thing eloquent, concentrating the highly skilled efforts of many technicians on the telling of a very simple bittersweet love story… Vivien Leigh paints a picture that few men will be able to resist… Her performance captures the audience to the point of complete absorption… Robert Taylor (carrying sympathy all the way) quietly throws all his vitality as an ambitious actor into the task… Their film, a credit to both, is a heavily sentimental tale about the vagaries of wartime…

Love is the only thing this movie is about… The story is simple: Myra Lester (Leigh) is a frail creature, an innocent young ballet dancer and Roy Cronin (Taylor) is an aristocratic British army officer… When their eyes met it took no time at all for their hearts to feel the loving call… They meet on London’s Waterloo Bridge during an air raid, and fall deeply in love… Their romance is sublime, and they soon agree to marry…

The lover’s marriage has to be postponed when the handsome officer is suddenly called to the front… Sadly, the sweet ballerina misses her performance to see her captain off at Waterloo Station… Fired from the troupe, she is joined by her loyal friend, Virginia Field (Kitty Meredith), and the two vainly try to find work, finally sinking into poverty and the threatening fear that goes with it…

The film is replete with beautiful and poignant scenes, specially the ‘Auld Lang Syne’ waltz scene in the Candlelight Club, before Taylor leaves for France…

Seen today, Waterloo Bridge has retained all its charm and power, all its rich sentiment, and tragic evocations…  Review by Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico for the IMDB.

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Some behind the scenes photos:

Mervyn LeRoy, Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor.
With Olivia deHavilland.
Helping a lady out.
circa 1940: British actors Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) and Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) entertaining millionaire Sir Victor Sassoon on the set of ‘Waterloo Bridge’, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer film in which Leigh is currently starring. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Mr. Taylor, Mr. LeRoy, Ms. Leigh.

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Two Robert Taylor Movies Are Playing on TCM on January 6, 2023 (USA)

Flight Command 1940

Flight Command is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday. January 6, at 11:15 a.m.

This is the film that got Robert Taylor hooked on flying.  Mr. Taylor started taking flying lessons right away.  His devotion to flying was so intense that Barbara Stanwyck, his wife, felt neglected.

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Lots of fun. Wells Root and Commander Harvey Haislip penned this screenplay from an original story Haislip also co-authored about an eager Naval Flight School cadet (Robert Taylor) in Pensacola flying solo out to Southern California to join Hellcat Fighters who have just lost one of their beloved teammates; he makes a colorful entrance (having to ditch his plane and parachute into the ocean because of fog!) and finds an early friend in a somewhat-emotional woman…the Skipper’s wife! Camaraderie between the pilots on the ground is enjoyably written and played, with Taylor’s charming self-assurance an interesting dynamic within the group (he isn’t cocky, he’s careful–though anxious to fit in). Subplot with Ruth Hussey’s lonesome wife is soapy yet surprisingly skillful, while the aerial maneuvers are nicely photographed. An extra bonus: Red Skelton as a joshing lieutenant…and Walter Pidgeon looking younger than I have ever seen him.  Review by monspinner55 on IMDB

Some more photos.  Ruth Hussey and Walter Pigeon appear in some of them:

photo by Clarence Bull
Actor Robert Taylor Posing by Airplane from Movie Scene
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Clarence Sinclair Bull
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Three Comrades, 1938

Three Comrades, 1938, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, January 6 at 4:30 p.m. est.

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Margaret Sullavan, Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young.

New York Times Review (summary):  Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Three Comrades represented one of the few successful screenwriting efforts of  F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set  in Germany in the years just following World War I, the film stars Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young as three battle-weary, thoroughly disillusioned returning soldiers. The three friends pool their savings and open an auto-repair shop, and it is this that brings them in contact with wealthy motorist Lionel Atwill–and with Atwill’s lovely travelling companion Margaret Sullavan.  Taylor begins a romance with Sullavan, who soon joins the three comrades, making the group a jovial, fun-seeking foursome Though Sullavan suffers from tuberculosis (her shady past is only alluded to), she is encouraged by her male companions to fully enjoy what is left of her life. This becomes increasingly difficult when one of the comrades, Young, is killed during a political riot (it’s a Nazi riot, though not so-labelled by ever-careful MGM). In the end, the four comrades are only two in number, with nothing but memories to see them through the cataclysmic years to come. Despite its Hollywoodized bowdlerization of the Remarque original, Three Comrades remains a poignant, haunting experience. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Some promotional material:

RT7012
RT6245
1938
RT4852

Behind the scenes:


Bottom to top: Director Frank Borzage and Robert Taylor; Robert Young, Franchot Tone, Robert Taylor

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Ambush, 1950, Is Playing on TCM on December 26 (USA)

Ambush (1950) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday, December 26 at 2 p.m.

There are at least two versions of Ambush. The longer one contains the opening scene with an Indian attack on a wagon train and the kidnapping of a woman. It also has a fairly long scene of Robert Taylor and John Hodiak in the shower, behind a modesty wall. However, for us of the female persuasion, they both appear to be nude and Mr. Taylor moves slightly out of the shower which shows him nude. Prurient, perhaps, but I was so surprised, having only seen the shorter version.

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Ambush is a gripping, authentic, action-packed, dramatically compelling picture of the United States Cavalry in the 1870’s Arizona territory. It was producer/director Sam Wood’s final movie, filmed shortly before his sudden death in September 1949 and released in January 1950. For top star Robert Taylor, now in his early forties (actually 38), weathered but gracefully aged, it was an auspicious beginning to what would be a close association with the Western genre for the rest of his career.

While there is plenty of action in Ambush, its intense, nuanced character studies are what sets this dynamic Western apart from the crowd. Taylor plays a tough, savvy civilian scout at odds with by the book Army captain John Hodiak, both over campaign strategy and the affections of gorgeous Arlene Dahl, a late general’s daughter hoping the cavalry can rescue her sister from Apache captivity. As if one love triangle were not enough for a dusty, little Army post, the first lieutenant Don Taylor is madly and hopelessly in love with the beautiful Irish laundress (Jean Hagen), the loyal Catholic wife to a drunken lout of an enlisted man (Bruce Cowling), who frequently socks her around. When a disabling injury to the major in command of the post (Leon Ames) puts the spit-and-polish captain temporarily in charge, everything comes to a boil. Not as soapy as it sounds but sensitively directed by Wood and perfectly acted by all concerned. The scenes of poignant longing tinged with guilt between Don Taylor and Ms. Hagen nearly steal the show. The rich supporting cast includes, as well as Ames and Cowling, John McIntire as an older scout, Pat Moriarity as the top sergeant, and also Charles Stevens, who claimed descent from Geronimo, as the vicious, resourceful Apache leader Diablito.

The script by Marguerite Roberts from a Luke Short story is intelligent and engaging with clever, brisk, colorful dialog. Harold Lipstein’s moody black and white cinematography and Rudolph G. Kopp’s textured score enhance the gritty, realistic, yet slightly nostalgic ambiance. Editing is silky smooth, as in almost any big studio picture of this era. The all important pacing is perfect. The compact 89-minute running time moves along at a brisk pace, building suspense, never dragging, but taking enough breathers to build character and create atmosphere. Costumes and sets are first-rate and authentic. Real-life western Army forts during the Indian War era did not have palisade walls, and, refreshingly, neither does the one in this handsomely turned out Western. More importantly, the characters act like nineteenth century people, with the social attitudes of the time, yet without seeming stiff.

With apologies to John Ford fans, which includes yours truly, Ambush is the best of its type. Whereas Ford, who liked to portray everything bigger than life, tended to make the cavalry too grand and romantic, Wood gives us the real Old West Army — long-service soldiers serving loyally but thanklessly at dusty, out of the way posts neither finding nor expecting much in the way of comfort or glory.

Ambush is a thrilling, dramatic, atmospheric, authentic adult Western, engaging, charming, and entertaining from beginning to end. The opening and closing scenes of this picture are both real knockouts! This is an unappreciated classic. Top-notch entertainment from Old Hollywood’s Golden Era.  Author: oldblackandwhite from North Texas stocks for the IMDb.

Behind the scenes photos:

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck
Mr. Taylor and unknown person.
Mr. Taylor and James Mason
Mr. Taylor and unknown actor.
Birthday Party.

And the shower:

The Shower.
Mr. Taylor, John Hodiak.
Messrs. Taylor and Hodiak.
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Ride Vaquero, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on December 9 (USA

Ride, Vaquero! (1953) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, December 9 at 10 a.m.

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Ava Gardner and Robert Taylor

By keeping quiet, speaking only when necessary Robert Taylor as Rio gives one of his best performances. All through the film you try to guess what he is thinking. He was adopted by the mother of Esqueda (Anthony Quinn) and Quinn loves and respects him. The real surprise is Howard Keel, who only used to do musicals, coming out so well as King Cameron, a man who is obstinate about building a cattle empire. Cameron is married to Cordelia (Ava Gardner) and as soon as she arrives in a river boat, and they go to their ranch, trouble starts because it has been burnt by Esqueda. Why did Esqueda do it? Because he knows that if he allows anybody to do well in business in that area, others will come and eventually he, who is a bandit will have to run away or be hanged. Quinn is great as Esqueda, just that makes the film worth seeing. Taylor, who was the second man to Quinn in the gang, eventually leaves him to help Keel, because deep down he knows his brother is becoming a crazy monster and unconsciously he is in love with Ava. But when she kisses him, he slaps her because he knows it is wrong. He is a torn man, with all those feelings and not knowing exactly what to do about it. Excellent film, not to be missed. IMDB review by tmwest from Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Some behind-the-scenes photos:

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Left to right: Robert Taylor, Dore Schary, J. Farrow, Howard Keel; Robert Taylor; J. Farrrow, Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner


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