Cattle King, 1963, Is Playing on TCM on June 11 (USA)

ck01ck02

Cattle King, 1963 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday, June 11 at 3:30 p.m. est.  Not closed captioned.

Cattle King is the last film Robert Taylor made under his MGM contract. His full-time contract had ended in 1959 but he agreed to do three more pictures. Cattle King is the third. Mr.Taylor plays a large scale cattle rancher whose living is being threatened by a Texas cartel who want to build a cattle highway from Texas to Canada. This would bring thousands of undesirable cattle to Mr. Taylor’s Wyoming home. It’s a nice twist on the old cattle ranchers vs. sheep herders story. Instead of wanting to leave the range free for cattle to roam, Sam Brassfield (Mr.Taylor) wants to fence in land for the controlled  breeding of high quality bovines. The only sheep herder in the picture ends up siding with Brassfield. The cinematography is outstanding with a pallette that brings out the beauty of the area near Yellowstone Park. There are numerous scenes of groups of people riding which must have looked wonderful on the big screen.

RT6915RT30RT7315kimg
Left to right: a French poster and three promotional photos.

The acting is done by seasoned professionals like Robert Middleton, Ray Teal and William Windom and a newcomer, Robert Loggia. They are all excellent. As usual in westerns, Joan Caulfield as the love interest for Sam isn’t given enough to do. President Chester A. Arthur (Larry Gates) plays a pivotal role. In many ways Robert Taylor’s colleagues at MGM made this a warm farewell. The name Robert Taylor fills the screen from top to bottom in the credits. He is photographed lovingly with numerous close-ups. There’s a wonderful scene where Mr. Taylor stands proudly, legs apart in the western stance facing his enemy when the camera slides into a screen filling close-up. Robert Taylor was very good at playing characters who were larger than life, people who made a difference without losing their integrity. There’s even a bit of humor as he spends a fair amount of time fussing with his various ties. “Cattle King” is a solid, well-acted, beautifully photographed western.

ist2_3198263-decorative-swirl-motif
RT6778RT7161RT3059
Left to right: who, me?; on horseback with Robert Loggia; with Joan Caulfield and William Windom.

abc????RT2435
Left to right; with Ursula Thiess, Terry and Tessa Taylor on the set; taking his place in the chow line like anyone else; with Maggie Pierce, Robert Ivers and Virginia Christine.

Frame grabs:

RT6783RT6780RT6782RT6781

RT6779RT5901RT6421RT4749

RT6266RT6198RT6058RT4403

RT6549RT5534RT2754RT5029

RT4379RT2823RT1034

RT919RT878RT361

 

 

 

Posted in Films | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

June 5 Is Robert Taylor Day on TCM (USA)

For some reason Turner Classic Movies likes to celebrate Robert Taylor on June 5, which is neither his birthday (August 5) or the date of his death (June 8). So here’s a terrific opportunity to see Mr. Taylor in many of his best films.

6:00 a.m. est. Westward the Women, 1951. 

John McIntire approaches wagonmaster Robert Taylor with an interesting job and challenge. He wants to bring brides west to the settlement he’s founded in [California]. Taylor hires on a bunch of hands to escort the women and issues a no fraternization policy. When one of them tries to rape [a woman], [Taylor] shoots him out of hand. It’s the unsettled frontier and as wagonmaster he’s the law on that train as much as a captain on a ship at sea. Of course the hands mutiny and strand Taylor, McIntire, cook Henry Nakamura and the women.

This was a perfect western film for the post Rosie the Riveter generation. No reason at all why women couldn’t deal with the rigors of a wagon train. Of course it helped to have the formidable Hope Emerson along.

Of course men and women will be men and women and Taylor breaks his own no fraternization policy with Denise Darcel. Of course this is away from the train when Darcel runs off.

William Wellman delivers us a no frills unsentimental western with gritty performances by Robert Taylor and the rest of the cast. In a bow to his colleague John Ford, Wellman does have a courtship dance at the settlement. I liked the use of the fiddle music playing “Believe Me With All Those Endearing Young Charms” and “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.”: Ford couldn’t have staged it better.

Henry Nakamura had made a big hit in MGM’s “Go For Broke” about the Nisei division in Italy. He was a funny little guy, I’m not sure he was even five feet tall. I loved the scene when he and Taylor find a stash of buried liquor and proceed [to go] on a toot. This was his last film though, roles for Oriental players were hard to come by. I wonder whatever happened to him.

If you like traditional cowboy films, this one ain’t for you, but given the constraints of 19th century society for the role of woman Westward the Women is quite a revelation. Review by bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York for the IMDb.

8:00 a.m. est.  A Wicked Woman, 1934. Closed Captioned. Very early Taylor, rarely shown.

A Wicked Woman (1934) was Robert Taylor’s first feature film for MGM.  Previously he had played a small part in Will Rogers’  Handy Andy (1934) for Twentieth-Century Fox.  This was followed by the lead in an MGM short, Buried Loot.

In A Wicked Woman Mr. Taylor plays Bill Renton, the local cad.  He is overly made up as was the fashion at the time and his hair is slicked flat against his skull.  He has only three scenes in the film, all of them with Jean Parker. First he is trying to arrange an assignation with Ms. Parker against her mother’s wishes.  Second, he and she wake up in Mr. Taylor’s car and realize it is four a.m.  She tries to sneak in the house and is caught by her mother.

Third, Ms.Parker has left home and gone to be with Mr. Taylor.  He, unfortunately, was only looking for fun, not a relationship.  A fight starts between Mr. Taylor and Ms. Parker’s brother (William Henry).  The brother gets the worst of it and Mr. Taylor exits.

The following is the review of A Wicked Woman I wrote for the imdB:

A Wicked Woman hit the screens in 1934. It is a melodrama with a solid core of morality. Nono Trice (Mady Christians) is a young woman living in extreme poverty with her moonshiner husband. On the run from the sheriff, the husband is going to dump Nono and take the eldest boy with him. She can’t allow this and ends up shooting the drunken husband and dumping his body in the bayou. The next day she gives birth to her fourth child, a boy with a deformed leg.

The young mother leaves town with the children and begins to turn herself into a different woman through education. She is an extremely strict disciplinarian–so harsh that a modern viewer would disapprove. She changes her name to Naomi Stroud and eventually becomes a high end dressmaker.

When the children grow up, Naomi cannot let go of them, trying to hold them in childhood for their own protection. They, naturally, rebel– discovering alcohol, dancing and dating. Naomi herself acquires a boyfriend in the person of a local newspaper editor (Charles Bickford). The youngest girl (Jean Peters) is dating a young, sleek and villainous Robert Taylor. Taylor is a louse who ends up injuring Curt (William Henry), the oldest boy. Naomi bargains with God (for the second time) that if Curt lives she will go back and turn herself in for murder.

Naomi’s defense is that she was protecting her children but she produces no children in court and is about to be convicted. At the last moment her whole family arrives, with her boyfriend, and she goes free and marries the boyfriend. The cast also includes Betty Furness as the older daughter and Sterling Holloway as her boyfriend.

So why is this more than a soap opera? Because Naomi is self-sacrificing (perhaps a bit much so) but she is determined to better herself and bring her children up to be responsible citizens. In our current era of anything goes, this message probably seems laughable to many viewers. Education, honesty, propriety and courage may seem out of date, but they are not.

Note: At this point MGM did not know what to do with Robert Taylor. No one anticipated that he would eventually earn the studio well over $150,000,000.

ist2_3198263-decorative-swirl-motif9:15 a.m. est. High Wall, 1947.  Not closed captioned.

I highly recommend this film.  Robert Taylor is playing totally against type as an injured war veteran who has a haematoma on his brain that is causing him to act irrationally.  This is so far from the glamorous Taylor we know and love and demonstrates his amazing range as an actor.

High Wall is a departure for Robert Taylor. In the 30’s he portrayed mostly handsome society boys. In 1941 he toughened up his image with Johnny Eager. This is an entirely different path. The lead character, Steven Kenet, has returned from a job flying freight in Asia after his service in WW II. He’s eager to see his wife and displeased to find out she has a job. Kenet is even more displeased when he discovers she is having an affair with her boss. To complicate matters, he has a brain injury and is suffering blackouts and other symptoms. Seeing his wife in her lover’s apartment triggers rage and violence. The wife is dead and Kenet is the only suspect. He confesses and is committed to a mental institution for psychiatric evaluation. The unique thing about the film to me is Taylor’s ability to play vulnerability. Kenet is neither a pretty boy nor a villain. He is a man in torment.

Taylor uses his shoulders beautifully to portray hopelessness. They droop in the scenes where the character is locked in solitary confinement. After his operation they are straight. The confusion on his face when he’s offered an opportunity to see his son at the hospital is masterful as he passes through a range of emotions moving from delight to doubt to anger to confusion. There is a remarkable sequence in which Kenet is dragged off after attacking a visitor. Taylor’s body positions change constantly–this is hardly the “wooden” acting for which he is so often condemned. Another great sequence is his walk up the stairs at the end to see his son. Kenet’s face radiates joy. The camera work is stylish and the chiaroscuro is masterful. This movie was apparently not well received in its time probably because it isn’t the “Robert Taylor” people expected and it is largely forgotten now. It deserves to be remembered. Review by me for the IMDb.

1100:00 a.m. est. Conspirator, 1949. Closed Captioned

Most of the anti-Communist films of the 1940s – 1950s are crap. No doubt about that. Thrown together they had preposterous plots emanating from the Kremlin to sap our national resources or strength. For example one film has Lee Marvin heading a major atomic spy ring outside a missile range from a hamburger/hash stand! The best films of the period dealing with communist threats were the science fiction films like The Thing or Them wherein the monster was a symbol for the threat to Americans (from an “alien” source). Occasionally a semi-documentary might attract attention, but not much.

Oddly enough this early movie was somewhat above average. First it correctly looked at our wartime friend and partner England as a possible source of leakage. This turned out to be somewhat true (but the Rosenberg Case would soon show homegrown spy rings existed as well). Secondly it showed something usually ignored or rendered minor in most of these films. Here it is developed into the issue: who are you going to show greater loyalty to, the Communist Party or your naive spouse?

What I really like about Conspirator is that Robert Taylor plays the central figure. He had tackled a few ambiguous characters before World War II, most notably William Bonney in  Billy the Kid (but that screenplay, like Darryl Zanuck’s film of Jessie James, whitewashed a great deal of the bad out of the central character). But after the war MGM treated Taylor (now a seasoned leading star of theirs) to a wider variety of parts, including more villainous characters. Think of him in the somewhat earlier Undercurrent with Kate Hepburn and Robert Mitchum. Both of these films could not have been made with Taylor in the 1930s.

I also sort of enjoy the idea that Taylor, a friendly [No-this has been disproved, see my posts here under HUAC], but sincere witness for the H.U.A.C subcommittee against Communist infiltration into the movie industry actually did this film. It is his only chance to show what he thought of a Communist agent, and his interpretation (and the screenplay’s) show he saw them as naive fools.

Also it is the first time in his career that Taylor starred with the only female star of his rank with the same last name: Elizabeth Taylor. Just leaving such films as National Velvet, Little Women and Life with Father, she finally came of age here as a young bride. In some ways I have always felt that Ms Taylor’s glorious beauty was at a pristine height in films of the early 1950s like this one or Father of the Bride. Here she is in love with her dashing wartime hero husband, whom she gradually realizes is not as heroic (for England) as she thought (though he would disagree – witness his scene telling her about how he has joined one of the great causes of all time!).

The film follows their courtship, their marriage, and the discovery of his treason by her. The issue of course is whether or not he will be turned in by her, or will he love her enough to withstand pressure by his Kremlin bosses to (errr)…eradicate his error totally.

The film (as mentioned in another recent review) is above average. Taylor does play this English “Col. Redl” (of an earlier war, in a different country – but serving another Russia) as a man torn apart, but refusing to acknowledge his error of judgment. In fact his final decision puts to stop to any type of acknowledgment. The one flaw in this film is similar to the later, wretched Rogue’s March with Peter Lawford and Leo G. Carroll. The omnipotence of the British Secret Service in ferreting out traitors is shown at the tale-end. I may add that in 1949 that Secret Service (MR5) contained such “patriots” as Burgess, McClean, and Philby. Yeah they really would have been watching Taylor closely! Review by Theo Winthrop for the IMDb, 2009.

12:30 p.m. est. Undercurrent, 1946. Closed Captioned.

Director Vincente Minneli said of Undercurrent : He [Robert Taylor] out acted her [Katharine Hepburn] and stole the picture as the demanding and sadistic husband.  It was Kate who was miscast. (Charles Tranberg, Robert Taylor: a Biography, BearManor Media, 2011, pages 176-177.) 

All of the criticisms of this movie might well be flushed down the loo. This is one powerhouse of an interesting movie.  Call it Film-Noir. Call it Mystery/Suspense. Call it Psychological Thriller. Call it what you may…I call it: absorbing drama.  It moves very deliberately…and the facts are revealed one by one, in true mystery fashion, until the fantastic, thrilling ending.

Those who say that Hepburn and Mitchum were miscast are just so wrong. Hepburn wasn’t playing Hepburn here…she wasn’t Tracy Lord here. She wasn’t a know-it-all New England uppity snob here. Not a worldly character at all. She played a different character than I’ve ever seen her do. Hepburn doesn’t rely on her stable of clichés to capture our imagination here. She does it with imagination and as few of the Hepburn cornerstone mannerisms as possible. Good result!

Robert Taylor is fascinating to watch. He has so many secrets in this role. And they reside behind his facade for us to watch and enjoy. He slowly swirls into controlled mania and desperate determination. Very fine, indeed. He should have been nominated for this one.

And then there’s Mitchum! What can one say about Mitchum without gushing foolishly. Gee whiz…the first time you see him…he shows us a side of him we have hardly ever seen! He seems at peace, mild in character, mellow in mood…pensive…other worldly. Likable even! Never gruff or abrasive like we’ve seen him so many times before.

What is unique about this story is that we really do not know what is going to happen next. We spend most of the movie residing in Hepburn’s character’s mind. Her wondering, her confusion, her search for the truth — at all costs.

I was expecting not to like this movie. I was expecting it to be another formulaic Hepburn vehicle about high society. But this is where this movie takes a left turn into an underrated mystery.  I enjoyed the use of the theme to the Third Movement of Johannes Brahms’ Third Symphony throughout the movie. It lent a delicious air of mystery, love and luscious pastoral passion to the whole affair.

And to say that Vincente Minnelli was WRONG for this movie? Gee whiz! He was perfect! Why compare him to Hitchcock? Minnelli has manufactured a mystery world all his own. Sure there are devices. All movies have devices. But they are handled so deftly…we don’t rely on them to make us aware of the story — they don’t get in our way. They heighten our interest and this very absorbing plot.

Well done. I wish it had been a longer movie…it was THAT kind of movie. I recommend this one…Review by Enrique Sanchez, Miami, FL for the IMDB.

2:30 p.m. est. Johnny Eager, 1942.  Closed captioned.

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Cast: Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Edward Arnold, Van Heflin, Robert Sterling, Patricia Dane, Glenda Farrell, Barry Nelson. Slick MGM melodrama with convoluted plot about sociology student (and daughter of D.A. Arnold) Turner falling in love with unscrupulous racketeer Taylor. Heflin won Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Taylor’s alcoholic friend.(TCM)

Having only been familiar with Robert Taylor’s body of forgettable [humpf!] work from the thirties (The Broadway Melodies, Camille, etc), seeing him in the title role of Johnny Eager was stunning. Tom Hanks’s 180 degree turn from silly comedies to Philadelphia might be a modern day equivalent. Taylor steps into a role that would seem tailor made for Bogart, Cagney or Robinson, and does an arguably better job than any of them could have. Yes, Lana Turner is present, and yes, Van Heflin won a supporting Oscar, but Taylor owns this film.

Johnny Eager is one of the best films of the 40s, as well as one of the all time greats.
(Taken from a review by Justin Behnke on the IMDB).

4:30 p.m.  Escape, 1940.  Closed captioned

This relatively unknown star vehicle is unusual for a number of different reasons. Although top billed, MGM Studio Queen, Norma Shearer’s role is substantially smaller than co-star Robert Taylor’s heroic turn as an American son desperately attempting to save his mother from a German Concentration camp. His mother is wonderfully played (and occasionally overplayed) by Nazimova, one of the great theatrical legends of the early 20th century. It’s an interesting footnote, that it was Irving Thalberg who helped cut short the meretricious Nazimova’s strange film career while his widow, Shearer, graciously allowed the former star to appear to great advantage in one of Shearer’s last screen appearances. Conrad Veidt plays Shearer’s Nazi lover and while he appears as icy and unyielding as he would two years later in “Casablanca”, his character is softened somewhat by his un-disclosed illness and by Shearer’s devotion to him. This film was one of the few made in Hollywood prior to the war which was openly critical of the Nazis (although they do hedge their bets by having a sympathetic German doctor, which gives the impression that more than a few intelligent German’s disagreed with the Nazis. Significantly, this character does appear in full Nazi drag towards the end of the picture). Robert Taylor is given a very tricky part to play as a man determined to save his mother against all odds. With his masculine demeanor and his controlled sensitivity he gives a performance of great passion and conviction. Norma Shearer, looking regally beautiful and every bit the Countess, manages to convey the situation of a woman who desperately wants to help Taylor and leave her adopted country, but realizes that she must stay out of duty to Veidt, in spite of her true feelings. Felix Bressart also appears as the Nazimova’s frightened but faithful servant, who helps Taylor escape. Bressart, who made a career of playing befuddled foreigners, is best known as one of the three Russian Communists in Ninotchka. Interesting casting was Bonita Granville, best known as the screen’s all-American girl detective, Nancy Drew, here playing the role of a pro-Nazi student at Miss Shearer’s finishing school (she would play a similar role in 1943’s wartime propaganda film, “Hitler’s Children”). The film was sumptuously mounted and stylishly directed by Mervyn Leroy the same year as he directed “Waterloo Bridge” also starring Taylor with Vivien Leigh. “Escape” is effective, at times shocking, but always vastly entertaining. Interesting footnote: Norma Shearer would turn down “Pride & Prejudice” and “Mrs. Miniver” both of which would turn Greer Garson into an MGM star much in the the same vein as Miss Shearer. Norma Shearer’s last film, “Her Cardboard Lover” would also be opposite Robert Taylor.  Review by brisky from Glendale, CA for the IMDB.

6:15 p.m.   A Yank at Oxford, 1938. Closed Captioned.

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.

 

 

Posted in Films | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Small Town Girl, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on June 1 (USA)

Small Town Girl, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday, June 1 at 6:00 a.m. est.  Not closed captioned.

abc

Robert Taylor and Janet Gaynor

For most of her career Janet Gaynor did nothing but play small town girls, the best known being Esther Blodgett. But I’ve seen her in films like State Fair and Three Loves Has Nancy and it’s the same part, the girl from the tiny hamlet who conquers the big city and the men in it. With a title like this, there was only one casting possibility.

Janet’s a girl who’s thoroughly stuck in a rut in her New England hamlet and yearns for a little adventure. She finds it in the person of Robert Taylor, a young doctor who comes from a wealthy Boston family. After a night’s carousing Gaynor and Taylor are married, to the chagrin of his fiancée, Binnie Barnes and her boyfriend James Stewart.

Remember this is Boston so Taylor’s father Lewis Stone prevails on Taylor to give the marriage a few months trial. Of course this is where the balance of the story comes in. In many ways this plot seems like a harbinger of The Way We Were.

Taylor’s career was now in full swing as Small Town Girl was the next film after his breakout performance in Magnificent Obsession. Remember in that film he was a playboy who became a doctor. Here’s he’s a doctor who doubles as a playboy. Never mind though, feminine hearts all over the English speaking world were fluttering over MGM’s latest heartthrob. My mother who was a juvenile at this time told me that Taylor’s appeal back in these days was just about the same as Elvis’s.

James Stewart was at the beginning of his career as well as MGM had him in about seven features in 1936, mostly in support. Interesting though with worse career management, he could have gone on playing hick roles like Elmer the boyfriend. But it was also obvious there was a spark of stardom with him as well.

Gaynor would leave the screen a few years later, Taylor was at the beginning of his career. He’d have better acting roles in his future, but for now Small Town Girl is a great example of the screen heartthrob he was at the beginning of his stardom. Fans of both stars will like what they see in Small Town Girl. Review by bkoganbing from Buffalo, NewYork

RT3610

Taylor has Gaynor upside-down.

 

Some behind-the-scenes photos:

small-town (2)RT47881940765

Left to right: Robert Taylor and Janet Gaynor taking a break on the set; filming a scene; Taylor and Gaynor with singer Frances Langford.

Posted in Films | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Flight Command, 1940 Is Playing on May 26 on TCM (USA)

Flight Command, 1940, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday, May 26 at 12 noon est.  Closed captioned. This is the film that got Robert Taylor hooked on flying.  Mr. Taylor started taking flying lessons right away.  His devotion to flying was so intense that Barbara Stanwyck, his wife, felt neglected.

 RT1455Lots of fun. Wells Root and Commander Harvey Haislip penned this screenplay from an original story Haislip also co-authored about an eager Naval Flight School cadet (Robert Taylor) in Pensacola flying solo out to Southern California to join Hellcat Fighters who have just lost one of their beloved teammates; he makes a colorful entrance (having to ditch his plane and parachute into the ocean because of fog!) and finds an early friend in a somewhat-emotional woman…the Skipper’s wife! Camaraderie between the pilots on the ground is enjoyably written and played, with Taylor’s charming self-assurance an interesting dynamic within the group (he isn’t cocky, he’s careful–though anxious to fit in). Subplot with Ruth Hussey’s lonesome wife is soapy yet surprisingly skillful, while the aerial maneuvers are nicely photographed. An extra bonus: Red Skelton as a joshing lieutenant…and Walter Pidgeon looking younger than I have ever seen him.  Review by monspinner55 on IMDB

Some more photos.  Ruth Hussey and Walter Pigeon appear in some of them:

photo by Clarence BullActor Robert Taylor Posing by Airplane from Movie Scenert4546Clarence Sinclair Bull

rt6758rt4518rt1600f-com

1940rt1601

Posted in Films | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Waterloo Bridge, 1940, Is Playing on TCM on April 29 (USA)

Waterloo Bridge, 1940, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on April 29 at 10:30 a.m. est.  Closed Captioned.

This was both Robert Taylor’s and Vivien Leigh’s favorite film.  Waterloo Bridge cost  $1,164,000.00 to make and made a profit of  $491,000.00.

????Robert Taylor was an inspired choice for the role… Not only does he have an imposing screen presence, but he brings the perfect mix of enlightenment, humor, compassion and emotion to the part…

Opposite him, Oscar Winner Vivien Leigh, perfect in her innocent lovely look, radiantly beautiful, specially that evening in a trailing white chiffon gown… Leigh floods her role with personal emotion giving her character a charismatic life of its own… As a great star, she delivers a heartfelt performance turning her character into a woman who undergoes an emotional awakening…

In this sensitive motion picture, Mervyn LeRoy captures all the tenderness and moving qualities… He makes every small thing eloquent, concentrating the highly skilled efforts of many technicians on the telling of a very simple bittersweet love story… Vivien Leigh paints a picture that few men will be able to resist… Her performance captures the audience to the point of complete absorption… Robert Taylor (carrying sympathy all the way) quietly throws all his vitality as an ambitious actor into the task… Their film, a credit to both, is a heavily sentimental tale about the vagaries of wartime…

Love is the only thing this movie is about… The story is simple: Myra Lester (Leigh) is a frail creature, an innocent young ballet dancer and Roy Cronin (Taylor) is an aristocratic British army officer… When their eyes met it took no time at all for their hearts to feel the loving call… They meet on London’s Waterloo Bridge during an air raid, and fall deeply in love… Their romance is sublime, and they soon agree to marry…

The lover’s marriage has to be postponed when the handsome officer is suddenly called to the front… Sadly, the sweet ballerina misses her performance to see her captain off at Waterloo Station… Fired from the troupe, she is joined by her loyal friend, Virginia Field (Kitty Meredith), and the two vainly try to find work, finally sinking into poverty and the threatening fear that goes with it…

The film is replete with beautiful and poignant scenes, specially the ‘Auld Lang Syne’ waltz scene in the Candlelight Club, before Taylor leaves for France…

Seen today, Waterloo Bridge has retained all its charm and power, all its rich sentiment, and tragic evocations…  Review by Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico for the IMDB.

RT7451Some behind the scenes photos:

circa 1940: British actors Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) and Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) entertaining millionaire Sir Victor Sassoon on the set of 'Waterloo Bridge', a Metro Goldwyn Mayer film in which Leigh is currently starring. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)RT6277RT3894
Left to right: Vivien Leigh, Sir Victor Sassoon, Laurence Olivier; Director Mervyn LeRoy, Ms. Leigh, Mr. Taylor: Mr. Taylor, Mr. LeRoy, Ms. Leigh

1940RT8901940
Left to right: Robert Taylor, Vivien Leigh; Mr. Taylor; Ms. Leigh, Mr. LeRoy, Mr. Taylor

Posted in Films | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bob Taylor Earns His Navy Wings

This gallery contains 6 photos.

This article is from a movie magazine from sometime in the forties. The following article is reprinted from the Bayou Tale Spinner, New Orleans, Louisiana, where Robert Taylor has been a student.  We were very interested to learn what the … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming Robert Taylor Films on TCM (USA)

Just to let people know what will be happening:

May-only one film, Flight Command on May 26

June – a bonanza! On June 5th TCM is showing 9 Taylor films, running from 6 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., including the rarely shown A Wicked Woman, 1934. The films are:

Small Town Girl
Westward the Women
A Wicked Woman
High Wall
Conspirator
Undercurrent
Johnny Eager
Escape
A Yank at Oxford

TCM has done this other years. I think they’ve got Mr. Taylor’s dates mixed up.  He died on June 8, 1969.  His date of birth was August, not June, 5. Who knows? In any case, you can binge watch Robert Taylor.

There are also 4 more films in June:

Cattle King
Bataan
Remember?
Above and Beyond

July – 3 films:

Lucky Night
Lady of the Tropics
Camille

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments