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.