Saddle the Wind, 1958, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday July 27 at 6:30 p.m. est. Closed captioned.
Saddle the Wind is the result of a creative conflict between golden era Hollywood and the cool method acting world of New York in the late 1950’s. Both the writer, Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame) and John Cassavetes represented the new, “cool” world of New York. Robert Taylor, holder of the record for the longest employment by one studio) represented Hollywood with a capital “H.” The director, Robert Parrish, was more on the New York wavelength.
From what I’ve read, Cassavetes tried to antagonize Taylor with his difficult behavior and, when he failed, got even more outrageous. The New York crew regarded Taylor as incredibly “square.”
The result of all this is a fascinating conflict of styles. Taylor prided himself on not “mugging” and here his reserved style worked well as Cassavetes’ older brother, a retired gunman. The pain of a man watching someone he brought up as son, not a younger brother, turn into an unstable, erratic killer is evident on Taylor’s craggy face. The younger brother is in constant motion–he seems to mistake activity for accomplishment.
Through a number of plot twists including disputed land ownership, romance (with Julie London) and brother-to-brother conflict, the film moves quickly and stylishly towards its inevitable end. The photography is excellent, making the best of the glorious scenery. Julie London is underused but does what she can.
In the end, New York and Hollywood work well together to make a highly watchable film. Review by me for the IMDB.
Behind-the scenes photos:
Left to right: Robert Taylor eating with stepson Michael Thiess; Mr. Taylor with wife Ursula Thiess.
Left to right: Rod Serling, Robert Parrish, Armand Deutsch, John Cassavetes, Julie London, Robert Taylor; Mr. Parrish, Mr. Cassavetes, Mr. Taylor; Mr. Cassavetes, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Parrish.
Alas, TCM is no longer available for me, but I always enjoy your posts on his films.
Hi, June. I always like the backstage photos–Ursula has a remarkable hat in one of them. Good to hear from you. Judith
Good movie. I’m sure Taylor’s professionalism saved it from becoming chaos.
Once again, our favorite star has been excluded from the August Summer Under the Stars. TCM won”t give him a birthday tribute, because his birthday is in August, & they just won’t give him a day on their sacrosanct “Summer.” Meanwhile,
Dianne, oh, I know. It is so frustrating! One year they did a birthday tribute in June. Why just not make him the Star for August 5? There are 4 Taylor movies in August all because of his co-stars.
It’s good to hear from you. How is your health? Judith
Also, they have included lesser known (to me anyway) stars every year; this year, Ann Harding, Marion Davies, Dennis Morgan & Slim Pickens. Do they still think RT “named names?” Or that he couldn’t act? There was a very nice Star of the Month tribute in April 2010 but other stars have been honored by both a month & an August day.
Re my health, I’ve been in remission from Stage 3 ovarian cancer for more than 5 years now but still have pain & difficulty walking from spinal stenosis aggravated by a left hip break in 2013 & a right hip break in 2016. PT doesn’t seem to help much; I’m trying to avoid back surgery. Thanks for asking.
Hi, Dianne. I’m so sorry to hear about your health problems. Thank God at least for the remission from the cancer. As for RT, I think the diminishing influence and then loss of Robert Osborne is a problem. He seemed to be a Taylor fan from what he wrote in Now Playing when Mr. Taylor was Star of the Month. Probably all the younger ones know is that he supposedly “named names.” I hope not, though. Ben Mankiewicz seems pretty savvy. I hate losing Now Playing–I still prefer paper to digital but what can you do? Please keep in touch. Judith
I like Taylor’s photo with Ursula.Thanks .