Above and Beyond, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on Sept. 9 (USA)


Above and Beyond, 1952 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, September 9 at 6:30 a.m.  This is one of several roles for which Robert Taylor should have won an Oscar.  He was outstanding.

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Larry Keating and Robert Taylor

Considering that  Above and Beyond was made during the height of the hysteria now known as McCarthyism, one would have expected a jingoistic flag-waver out of Hollywood. Instead, surprisingly, the screenplay as written allows the Paul Tibbets character (Robert Taylor) the opportunity to register a variety of emotions, in a most realistic and compelling performance.

This is ironic, seeing as the real Tibbets, decades after the event (the bombing of Hiroshima), is to this day unrepentant. Not to criticize his position in any way, because that was a different time and place, and it’s Tibbets’ view that he had a job to do, and the morality of it all, he has stated, is best debated by others.

Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker

But the film is all the more compelling because of the ambivalence written into the Tibbets character, and Taylor’s especially fine work. There are uniformly strong performances throughout the cast, notably those of Eleanor Parker (Lucy Tibbets), James Whitmore (the security officer) and Larry Keating (General Brent).

Another surprise: the team of Melvin Frank and Norman Panama (screenplay, direction) had been best known for their Bob Hope comedies, when under contract at Paramount. Their first dramatic effort was “Above and Beyond,” and they acquitted themselves admirably.

Final note: the musical score by Hugo Friedhofer is immensely satisfying: stirring in an emotional sense, with just a touch of, but not too much of, militaristic flavor.

Dore Schary, a Democrat, had succeeded fervent Republican Louis B. Mayer at MGM in 1951, and had encouraged the production of Above and Beyond. One wonders if (a) the film would have been made at all on Mayer’s watch, and (b) if it had, would it have been more of a cornball, John Wayne-type flag-waver. Thankfully, those questions are moot. “Above and Beyond” is a stirring, finely-crafted film. I would stress again the unusual nature of the protagonist’s ambivalence as portrayed in a film made during a very sensitive time in America’s history.  Review by Alan Rosenberg, Toronto, Canada for the imdb.

Note: I don’t agree with some of this reviewer’s comments but I thought the review is worth reading.  Judith

Some behind the scenes photos:

Actor Robert Taylor, seated on a chest, entertains his colleagues Eleanor Parker, Ricardo Montalban, Jonathan Cott and James Whitmore during a break from shooting the movie ‘Above and Beyond’. USA, 1952. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

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Poster.

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Ivanhoe, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on Sept. 6 (USA)

Ivanhoe, 1952, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday, September 6 at 2 p.m.

Ivanhoe was one of the most successful films of the year and brought in over $10 million at the box office, about $89,823,018.87 in 2015.

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Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor in Ivanhoe.

Wonderful movie! This film is an exciting adventure-romance which never once loses its pace or feel. Robert Taylor brings depth to a potentially dull lead character. Jean Fontaine is great as his love, the Lady Rowenna. Elizabeth Taylor, though, steals the show with her stunning portrayal of Rebecca of York! This film has aged very well and shows first-hand to a young generation just why Elizabeth Taylor was such a star.

Although this film is an extremely enjoyable adventure, it also has the guts to tackle some complicated issues and resolve them in a very non-Hollywood fashion. As Ivanhoe feels his love for the beautiful Rebecca grow will he defy convention and pursue the lovely Jewish girl or remain with the safe charms of the blond, Anglo-Saxon Rowena?  The answer is intelligently handled and surprising. This film is one of the greatest examples of the classic adventure.  Review by David Arbury for the IMDB

Here are a few behind the scenes photos:

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Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor

George Sanders, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor, Joan Fontaine, Richard Thorpe (dir.)
Van Johnson, Elizabeth Taylor
Peter Ustinov, Robert Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
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Camille, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on September 5 (USA)


Camille
, 1936, Is Playing on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday, September 5 at 6:00 a.m. This is the love story of all love stories and shouldn’t be missed.

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This film further proves that the assembly-line system of Hollywood studios back then should also be taken seriously in terms of artistry. Just because movies were produced run-of-the-mill doesn’t mean that they weren’t paid critical attention to by their makers. The usual impression on studio-era Hollywood is: take a formulaic narrative style, maybe adapt a stage play for the screen, blend in a handful of stars from the stable and the films rake in the profit at the box office. Not quite, that’s the easy perception. George Cukor, another of those versatile directors, made it apparent with Camille that filmmaking as an art may still flourish despite (and even within) certain parameters. Camille is beautiful, in so many respects. And it’s not just because of Greta Garbo.

Sure, the acting is amazing, the casting is perfect. Garbo is luminous, mysterious, cruel, and weak at the same time. Robert Taylor surrenders himself to be the heartbreakingly young and vulnerable Armand. Henry Daniell’s coldness and sadism is utterly human and familiar. The others are just plain wonderful. The writing contains so much wit and humor, devotion and pain – but it never overstates anything. The rapport and tensions between lovers, friends, and enemies are palpable and consistent. The actions flow so naturally, just like every scene, that checking for historical inconsistencies seem far beside the point.

here is so much that I love about Camille that it’s hard to enumerate them all, but with every little discovery comes the realization that this is “but” a studio production, so it makes the experience more exquisite. Camille is a gentle, poignant romantic movie that, like Garbo, takes its place delicately and self-effacingly in the history of American cinema, but makes itself indelible in the heart and mind of the lovelorn individual viewer. Review by tsarevna for the IMDb.

Behind the scenes photos from Camille: The heavy set man in several pictures is Director George Cukor.

This film further proves that the assembly-line system of Hollywood studios back then should also be taken seriously in terms of artistry. Just because movies were produced run-of-the-mill doesn’t mean that they weren’t paid critical attention to by their makers. The usual impression on studio-era Hollywood is: take a formulaic narrative style, maybe adapt a stage play for the screen, blend in a handful of stars from the stable and the films rake in the profit at the box office. Not quite, that’s the easy perception. George Cukor, another of those versatile directors, made it apparent with Camille that filmmaking as an art may still flourish despite (and even within) certain parameters. Camille is beautiful, in so many respects. And it’s not just because of Greta Garbo.

Sure, the acting is amazing, the casting is perfect. Garbo is luminous, mysterious, cruel, and weak at the same time. Robert Taylor surrenders himself to be the heartbreakingly young and vulnerable Armand. Henry Daniell’s coldness and sadism is utterly human and familiar. The others are just plain wonderful. The writing contains so much wit and humor, devotion and pain – but it never overstates anything. The rapport and tensions between lovers, friends, and enemies are palpable and consistent. The actions flow so naturally, just like every scene, that checking for historical inconsistencies seem far beside the point.

here is so much that I love about Camille that it’s hard to enumerate them all, but with every little discovery comes the realization that this is “but” a studio production, so it makes the experience more exquisite. Camille is a gentle, poignant romantic movie that, like Garbo, takes its place delicately and self-effacingly in the history of American cinema, but makes itself indelible in the heart and mind of the lovelorn individual viewer. Review by tsarevna for the IMDb.

Behind the scenes photos from Camille: The heavy set man in several pictures is Director George Cukor.

He also plays baseball-in costume on the set.
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1936
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1936

Making Marguerite’s dresses:

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1936: A dressmaker working on one of Greta Garbo’s dresses for the MGM film ‘Camille’ which were designed by Adrian. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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circa 1936: Seamstresses at work cutting and sewing a dress to be worn by actress Greta Garbo in the film ‘Camille’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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circa 1936: Seamstresses working on a dress to be worn by Greta Garbo in the MGM film ‘Camille’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)



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Knights of the Round Table, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on Sept. 5 (USA)


Knights of the Round Table
, 1953, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday, September 5 at 2:15 a.m.

The film was highly successful costing $2,616,000.00 and making a profit of $1,641,000.00 or $14,536,985.95 in today’s money.

1953 — American actors Ava Gardner and Robert Taylor on the set of Knights of the Round Table, directed by Richard Thorpe. — Image by © Kobal/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

This is a fine example of ’50’s style epics. Big name cast, colorful costumes,

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Mel Ferrer
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And Waiting.
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And Waiting.



  • flashy swordplay, beautiful damsels and wild inaccuracies. The great Robert Taylor, who starred in several historical movies, is the honorable Sir Lancelot, a far more noble and pure portrayal than was recorded in all the legends, Ava Gardner is the stunningly beautiful Queen Guinevere, the ever dependable Felix Aylmer is the mysterious Merlin, Mel Ferer is a somewhat subdued and less than charismatic King Arthur. See it for the spectacle, costumes, word-play filled dialog and over the top Stanley Baker as Sir Mordred. Lancelot’s joust with Niall Mac Ginnis is very well done. 8 stars for pure eye filling entertainment value. Review by Wayner50 (United States) for the IMDB.

More behind-the-scenes photos:

coffee
Coffee with Ava Gardner
Phoning.
Big Horse
Robert Taylor hated armor.
Waiting

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Buried Loot, 1935, Is Playing on TCM on September 4 (USA)

September is a good month for Robert Taylor movies in the USA. 9 films will be playing on Turner Classic Movies

“Buried Loot,” 1935, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday September 4 at 11:30 a.m. 

“Buried Loot” was the first in a series of quarterly MGM short subjects called Crime Does Not Pay. The series ran until 1947.  None of the actors were credited.  After “Buried Loot” the movie-going public began to ask who the handsome young leading actor was.  The Astudio noticed the volume of letters and realized that they had a hot property on their hands.  Robert Taylor’s career took off from there with such films as Magnificent Obsession (1935) and Camille (1936).

In “Buried Loot,” a young bank clerk embezzles $200,000 then confesses to his boss.  He is sent to prison but not before burying the money to enjoy after his release.  A cellmate talks the clerk into escaping.  I won’t spoil it by telling the rest.

A DVD set of the whole Crime Does Not Pay series is available from Warner Archive and other online retailers.

James Ellison and Robert Taylor in “Buried Loot.”
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