Robert Taylor in Paris, 1949

This gallery contains 41 photos.

While in England to appear in M-G-M’s Conspirator, Robert Taylor pays a weekend visit to Paris, France, with his old flying pal, Ralph Couser, who accompanied him on the trip abroad. Left to right: Robert Taylor pauses to admire the … Continue reading

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“I Love Melvin” Is Playing on TCM on December 4 (USA)

I Love Melvin (1953) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thu, December 04, 2014 10:15 AM est.  Closed captioned.

Okay, I Love Melvin isn’t a Robert Taylor movie.  It is a fun movie with a delightful cameo by Mr. Taylor.

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Robert Taylor and Debbie Reynolds in “I Love Melvin.”

This film is an absolute delight from the pre-credit sequence where Debbie Reynolds writes the title of the film in lipstick on a mirror to the hilarious chase through Central Park at the end. In between Debbie dreams of becoming a Hollywood star in some magnificently staged dream sequences, thanks to the genius of Cedric Gibbons, in one of which she meets Robert Taylor as Robert Taylor! In another sequence she dances with three dancers in Fred Astaire masks and three in Gene Kelly masks – before winning an Oscar! Great stuff.

Debbie is perfect as both great movie star and girl next door. Her Broadway performance as a football is a riot. Equally good is Donald O’Connor as her lover and aspiring photographer. His roller-skate sequence is brilliant, as is a dance sequence in which he travels the world and plays numerous characters (again thanks to Gibbons). There is great support from Allyn Joslyn, as Debbie’s exasperated father, and from Jim Backus as a crabby photographer. And the little girl has a good song too.

The score is jazzy and upbeat, and it’s great to see the real Central Park and other New York locations, shot in gorgeous technicolor. I think this terrific musical is very under-rated.
Review by David Atfield (bits@alphalink.com.au) from Canberra, Australia for the IMDb.
ist2_3198263-decorative-swirl-motifTrivia:
Howard Keel was to have originally been the star in Judy (Debbie Reynolds)’s dream, but Keel and his song “And There You Are” were cut after previews and replaced with a brief scene between Reynolds and ‘Robert Taylor’.

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“The Gorgeous Hussy” Is Playing on TCM on December 1 (USA)

The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Mon, December 01, 2014 09:45 AM est. Closed captioned.

RT and Joan Crawford in "The Gorgeous Hussy." 1936

Robert Taylor and Joan Crawford in “The Gorgeous Hussy.” 1936

It’s a story about Washington D.C. It’s about dirty tricks, sleazy operatives, scurrilous personal attacks and lies. The 2014 mid-term elections? No, The Gorgeous Hussy.

The story centers around Peggy O’Neill, Joan Crawford, an innkeeper’s daughter called “Pothouse Peg,” for her politics and her men. The men are a list of Metro’s best—Robert Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Franchot Tone, Melvyn Douglas and Lionel Barrymore. Robert Taylor dominates the first quarter of the picture with his enormous energy, his playfulness, his rapport with Crawford and his skin-tight costume. Taylor even sings and dances.

After Bow Timberlake’s (Taylor’s) heroic off screen death, things settle down. Andrew Jackson (Barrymore) dominates every scene he’s in. Beulah Bondi, as Rachel Jackson, is equally good. She won an Oscar nomination for her role. Joan Crawford is usually criticized for appearing in an historical picture because she was too “modern.” Here she handles her costumes beautifully, using her skirts to express a range of emotions. While her acting is fine, she is overwhelmed by the male contingent.

Franchot Tone, Crawford’s husband at the time, is quietly effective as Peg’s second husband John Eaton. Melvyn Douglas brings strength and intelligence to his role as Virginian John Randolph. Jimmy Stewart is wasted as Peg’s failed suitor. “The Gorgeous Hussy” is fun, sometimes moving and a reminder that political behavior wasn’t all that different in the 1820s.  Review by me for the IMDB.

 

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Robert Taylor in Europe 1937

This gallery contains 68 photos.

At the age of 27, Robert Taylor had never been outside of the United States. In August of 1937 he traveled to England aboard the liner Berengaria to make MGM’s first British feature, A Yank at Oxford. (Some accounts say … Continue reading

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Broadway Melodies of 1936 and 1938 Are Playing on TCM November 21 (USA)

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Robert Taylor, June Knight and the chorus.

Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Fri, November 21, 2014 08:30 AM est and Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Fri, November 21, 2014 10:15 AM est.  Both are closed captioned.

“Broadway Melody of 1936″ is a confection of a movie, meant to sweeten the lives of Depression weary Americans. It stars the unlikely triumvirate of Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell and Robert Taylor. The plot is flimsy, involving the parallel efforts of a columnist (Benny) trying to save his career, a Broadway producer (Taylor) trying to find a star for his new show and a dancer (Powell) trying to get her big break on Broadway.

All this is secondary to the wonderful songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed: “I’ve Got a Feelin’ You’re Foolin'”; “Broadway Rhythm”; “You Are My Lucky Star”; “On a Sunday Afternoon”;” Sing Before Breakfast.” The production numbers for each song range from clever to spectacular. “I’ve Got a Feelin’ You’re Foolin” is sung by Taylor and New York actress June Knight. The special effects are a delight, especially as they are done so long before CGI.

Powell proves, as always, that she is unmatched as a dancer—her energy, grace and strength are a marvel. She dances solo, with Buddy and Vilma Ebsen, with Nick Long, Jr. and with huge choruses.

Nor can the acting be faulted. Jack Benny is excellent as the gossip-obsessed wise-cracking and scheming columnist. Robert Taylor is remarkably poised and mature for his years (24) and even has a nice singing voice. The second banana roles are filled admirably by Sid Silvers and Una Merkel. If Powell and Knight are less impressive when their feet are still, it doesn’t matter—their dancing more than redeems them.

“Broadway Melody of 1936″ was a high budget, high gloss, pull out all the stops, MGM production. No expense was spared for the costumes, sets, choreography or photography. The direction by Roy del Ruth is crisp and effective. We could use more films like this in our own economically challenged times. Review by me for the IMDb.

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Robert Taylor and Eleanor Powell in “Broadway Melody of 1938″

Broadway Melody of 1938 is one of those pure escapist type films that folks in the Thirties paid their money to see. It’s a nice film combining both a backstage and a racetrack story with one of the most eclectic casts ever assembled for a film.

What can you say when you’ve got dancing covered by Eleanor Powell, George Murphy and Buddy Ebsen, the varied singing styles of Judy Garland, Sophie Tucker, and Igor Gorin and such incredible character actors as Raymond Walburn, Charley Grapewin, Billy Gilbert, and Robert Benchley. All of them such great performers and such vivid personalities there’s no way that the film could be bad.

Almost lost in the shuffle are Robert Taylor and Binnie Barnes who don’t sing or dance and aren’t colorful. But Binnie Barnes is one fine actress and she’s the villain of the piece as Raymond Walburn’s wife who was once part of the chorus, but wants not to be reminded of from where she came. She’s jealous of Eleanor Powell and has a thing for Taylor.

As did half the young women in America in 1937. Though the part doesn’t call for any kind of real acting, Robert Taylor shows every bit as to why he was such a screen heart throb that year. He’s the nice guy producer/director who gets caught in a crunch between his financial backer Raymond Walburn and his wife and the girl of his dreams, Eleanor Powell. Walburn is in the role that Guy Kibbee had in 42nd Street and he does it well with his own avuncular touches.

Powell is not just an ambitious hoofer as are Ebsen and Murphy. She’s also the owner of race horse upon whose performance everyone’s future eventually rides. Just how the racetrack and backstage are woven into the same plot you have to see the film for.

Vocal highlights are provided by Judy Garland who sings her famous Dear Mr. Gable version of that old Al Jolson song, You Made Me Love You. She also sings Everybody Sing which is a number I personally like a whole lot better. Honest Indian.

Sophie Tucker is her mother who owns and operates a theatrical boarding house where half the cast lives. She’s an old trooper herself and of course she gets to sing her famous theme, Some of These Days.

Other material that the MGM songwriting team of Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown did not provide for this film are a couple operatic arias sung by the great concert singer Igor Gorin. He sings Largo Al Factotum from The Barber of Seville and the Toreador Song from Carmen. I’d venture a guess that Louis B. Mayer signed Gorin for this as an effort to keep his other two singers Nelson Eddy and Allan Jones in line. In fact Eddy and Mayer did not get along and Jones would be leaving MGM the following year. Gorin is in fine voice, but did not have much screen presence and has very few spoken lines. I don’t think that was an accident.

Broadway Melody of 1938 is one of MGM’s best musicals from the Thirties and how can you not like a film with as much talent as this one is loaded with?  Review by bkoganbing from Buffalo, NY for the IMDb.

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“The Youngest Profession,” 1943, Is Playing on TCM on November 14. (USA)

The Youngest Profession  (1943) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thu, November 13, 2014 04:30 AM est. *NOTE*:A TCM programming day begins at 6:00am EST on the calendar day listed and runs to 5:59am EST in the morning on the next day. Hours listed at 12:00am to 5:59am EST in your reminder will be shown on the NEXT calendar day. Therefore, The Youngest Profession will actually be shown on Friday, November 14.  Closed captioned.  Strictly speaking, this isn’t a Robert Taylor movie but it’s fun and he does appear in it.

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Jean Porter discovers Robert Taylor at her door.

Virginia Weidler and Jean Porter are part of a young girls’ fan club of the stars who collect their autographs. In fact, Virginia is the president of the club, who outlines the rules and lengths one must go through to get the most famous and desired John Hancocks. They must live in a big city like New York, because how else could they come across celebrities like Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, and Robert Taylor! All these make brief appearances, plus another of whom Virginia has a crush on, but, while we get to see him, she never does, in a clever way of closing the film. But, we begin the film in Hollywood, as Lana Turner is dictating a response to a fan’s letter, one that they call a very gracious letter. And, Lana calls the young stargazers “the youngest profession.” The plot revolves around the escapades they go on to get their target and the appeal of the film is just how star-crazy they really are. Jean Porter is a hoot as she goes all agog over Walter Pidgeon and Robert Taylor. I’m surprised to see the low rating of this film, because it was a very funny film and I had a blast. Maybe it seemed rather trivial to everyone else, but sometimes the simpleness of a film is what makes it so enjoyable and laid-back. I do admit though that the humor was not very subtle as most of the characters here get really loud and outrageous, including child actor Scotty Beckett as Virginia’s brother. Another plus is the presence and performance of Edward Arnold as Virginia’s father, who through no fault of his own, is thought to be straying with his secretary. But that is encouraged by character actress Agnes Moorehead. If you want an old-fashioned and very funny film, then hang out with those of The Youngest Profession. Review by allaboutlana for the IMDb.

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Robert Taylor Behind the Scenes: “Ivanhoe” and “Rogue Cop”

This gallery contains 58 photos.

Ivanhoe 1952 Robert Taylor enjoyed making Ivanhoe.  He told Hedda Hopper: “It went very well.  It was the most pleasant picture I’ve ever made over there [England].  Dick Thorpe, who directed is fast and efficient. We really worked.  There was … Continue reading

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