Robert Taylor Can Act – “This Is My Affair”
The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Monday August 16, 1937
For a young man whose face is his fortune and who hitherto has starred as the answer to a maiden’s prayer, Robert Taylor shows surprising ability to act in the tense drama and poignant tragedy of Twentieth Century Fox’s His Affair [later This Is My Affair], even more so perhaps than in those romantic scenes of love where he is so seasoned and polished a performer.
Though crime and its motifs provide the lurid and passionate settings to this remarkably vivid film, free from that morbid taint which has marred so many fine pictures recently. It is entertainingly diverted, for example, to the presentation of songs and dances of 1901. In that year President McKinley was assassinated, leaving the young naval lieutenant whom he had recently commissioned to track a gang of bank robbers convicted of complicity and about to be executed without ability to prove his secret agent’s commission. Even admitting that Taylor as the debonair young detective went a great deal further in love and in war than his commission warranted, the story rings true. The director spares no one’s feelings in the scenes portraying the condemned cells where Taylor, still confident in his mission, forces the simpleminded giant (Victor McLaglen), murderer and robber, to reveal the name of the State official who keeps the gangsters so well informed. Taylor, in fact, rises to McLaglen’s histrionic heights in one of Hollywood’s finest achievements.
There is said to be a real-life romance between Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck, and certainly they make love on the screen with enthusiasm. She is dazzlingly beautiful in this film, streamlined despite the early century costume, and with the massed ringlets of hair in the coiffure of that era enhancing her charm. It is true that she sings, but many a crooner has done no better without being half so decorative. Frank Conroy is impressive as President McKinley, and there is a dynamic portrayal by Sidney Black as Theodore Roosevelt, with his vivid teeth and picturesque phrases. The anticlimax is a triumph for the director in a film of many successes.
Left to right: Taylor and Stanwyck, Taylor in prison, with Victor McLaglen
Left to right: with McLaglen; with Brian Donleavy and McLaglen
Left to right: missing her encore; getting acquainted; a little anger
Left to right: at the white house; meeting President McKinley (Frank Conroy)
Left to right: Love triangle; getting ready to rob a bank; being arrested.
Left to right: at the music hall; getting even closer
Left to right: robbing a jewelry store; in prison; being caught out
Left to right: at the music hall; rowing; reading the paper
Left to right: on and off-screen lovers; Victor McLaglen receiving an award
Left to right: filming outdoors; enjoying one another’s company; with unknown men
5/4/1937. Crossing the picket line at Grauman’s Chinese for a preview of This Is My Affair
Wow Judith, where did you source this from? The Argus newspaper “died” a long time ago, and in truth I did not recall reading it at the time. I suppose the fact that I was but 6 months old at the time had something to do with it !
Seriously is is a very good read with so many new (to me) photos.
I have not seen this movie for years and will keep looking out for it to play perhaps on a late night channel. Thank goodness I have 50 GB of recording for my TV. Thanks once more, you must have to do a lot of research these days to come up with new material to post.
Hi, June, I found this online somewhere. I’ve spent a lot of time just following threads anywhere I could and have amassed a three inch thick notebook of articles. I’ve posted about 2/3 of them and will do the rest as the spirit moves me. It is a good movie. I remember reading that when Ms. S. was recording her songs, Mr. T hid in the orchestra and made faces at her. They had to throw him out. BTW, is it a sign of age that I still trust the printed word more than anything in cyberspace? Best wishes, Judith