A Yank at Oxford, 1938, Is Coming Out on DVD. You can buy it at WB Shop and other retailers.
A Yank at Oxford is one of several films intended to “toughen up” Robert Taylor’s image after his success in a number of boudoir romances. Taylor plays Lee Sheridan, a college boy who has been spoiled rotten by his newspaper owner father, played by Lionel Barrymore. Father Sheridan’s habit of holding the presses for Lee’s latest athletic triumph has only contributed to the boy’s swollen head.
Despite his lack of academic focus, Taylor is offered a place at Oxford. Upon his arrival, he immediately encounters a group of his fellow students, who begin a campaign to humiliate him. He also meets the leading lady, Maureen O’Sullivan.
The rest of the delightful and humorous picture focuses on the relationships among three people: Taylor and O’Sullivan, boyfriend and girlfriend; Taylor and Griffith Jones, his leading tormentor; O’Sullivan and Jones, brother and sister. A nymphomaniac Vivien Leigh adds spice to the mix.
“A Yank at Oxford” allows Robert Taylor to show that he is not only a fine actor but also a fine athlete. Granted that the script specified that he would always win, Taylor is believable as a runner and as a rower. He can also swim.
O’Sullivan is a charming coed torn between her boyfriend and her loyalty to her brother. Jones and Taylor cover up for one other for different peccadilloes. They evolve from antagonists to teammates to friends. A remarkable scene that deserves special mention concerns the venerable English tradition of “debagging.”
The cast is uniformly good. Taylor looks and acts younger than his twenty-seven years. Jones is one of a fine contingent of British actors including Edmund Gwenn, Robert Coote and Edward Rigby. Lionel Barrymore shines as the older Sheridan. A pre-Scarlett Vivien Leigh is lovely and engaging.
“A Yank at Oxford” was MGM’s first British-made film. Jack Conway, the American director keeps things moving at a brisk pace. Harold Rosson’s photography has a newsreel-like immediacy. And Oxford, of course, looks wonderful. Review by me for the IMDb.
Some behind the scenes photos:
Left to right: training at USC; with director Jack Conway and actor Edmund Gwenn.
Left to right: Possibly William Powell, Maureen O’Sullivan, Robert Taylor, Griffith Jones; filming 2 scenes; British Sculling champion Ted Phelps and Robert Taylor.
Left to right: Jack Conway, director, Michael Balcon, producer, Robert Taylor; into the cold Thames.
Left to right: Maureen O’Sullivan and Robert Taylor; Griffith Jones, Maureen O’Sullivan, Robert Taylor
I agree with you. Robert Taylor was and is one of the best, a fine actor and a gentleman. God rest his soul.
Amen. Have you ever drawn Mr. Taylor? I like your drawings a lot.
The “unknown” in the first picture of the second row may be William Powell.
I think you’re right. I’ll change it. Thanks for writing.
When is this coming out? Do you know if it will be available on Region 2?
It is available now at the WBshop and other retailers. Thanks for writing.
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Okay, will seek it out. I’m a Vivien Leigh fan, but couldn’t get this or Deep Blue Sea on DVD in Europe.