Scooperoo! Movie Life Magazine, ca. 1944

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Been wondering what goes with Lt. Robert Taylor since he swapped his civvies for a naval uniform? Well, here he is, snapped eclusively for Movie Life when he turned up in New York recently do do a pitch for the … Continue reading

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Saddle the Wind, 1958, Is Playing on TCM on July 27 (USA)

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:

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Left to right: Robert Taylor eating with stepson Michael Thiess; Mr. Taylor with wife Ursula Thiess.

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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.

 

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Broadway Melody of 1936, 1935, Is Playing on TCM on July 16

Broadway Melody of 1935, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday July 16 at 6:15 a.m. est.  Closed captioned.

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Robert Taylor, Eleanor Powell, Jack Benny, Una Merkel, June Knight, Buddy Ebsen, Vilma Ebsen

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.

swirlRobert Taylor and June Knight filmed a dance sequence for Broadway Melody of 1936 that did not appear in the final film.  These pictures are all that is left.

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All the Brothers Were Valiant, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on July 15 (USA)

All the Brothers Were Valiant, 1953 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday July 15 at 6:30 A.M. est.  Closed captioned.  This film was very successful, bringing in $4,628,000.00 or $41,258,706.67 in today’s money.

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Robert Taylor and Ann Blyth.


This film has quite a good story by Ben Ames Williams, which was competently brought to the screen. Robert Taylor is the “good” brother and Stewart Granger the “bad” one. Ann Blyth is the woman who marries Taylor thinking Granger is dead. Three years later Granger and Taylor would star in The Last Hunt with a reversal of roles: Granger as the “good” guy and Taylor the “bad”. There are two aspects of this film which create a strong impression:1)the destructive relationship between the brothers, which started in childhood with Granger always taking for himself Taylor’s toys. Now Granger wants to take away Taylor’s ship and also his wife. 2)How Granger is able to seduce Ann Blyth by making her think her husband is a coward. Blyth is a bit too “angelical” for her role, when you see the ship you have the feeling you are seeing a miniature on MGM’s tank, but both Granger and Taylor are excellent. Great entertainment. Review for the IMDB by tmwest from S Paolo, Brazil.

Here are some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right:  Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger; Mr. Granger and Mr. Taylor; Mr. Taylor, Lewis Stone, Director Richard Thorpe.

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Left to right:  Dore Schary and Robert Taylor; Mr. Taylor, Ann Blyth and a guest; Messrs. Granger and Taylor with Jean Simmons.

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Left to right: Joan Crawford and Robert Taylor; Richard Thorpe, Ms. Crawford, Ann Blyth, Mr. Taylor.  The original caption for the first photo: Joan Crawford, returning to MGM for the first time in a number of years to star in Torch Song, visited an old friend, Robert Taylor, on his set.

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Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, Is Playing on TCM on July 8 (USA)

Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday July 8 at 2:3 est.  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.

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Knights of the Round Table, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on July 11

Knights of the Round Table, 1953, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday, July 11 at 12:45 a.m. est.

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.

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Mel Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Stanley Baker, Anne Crawford, Felix Aylmer, Robert Taylor and Maureen Swanson.

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

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: phoning; photos; coffee; Mr. Taylor with Stanley Baker

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor in armor (which he hated).

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor with Mel Ferrer; Maureen Swanson; waiting for instructions.

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Left to right: Robert Taylor and his co-star and friend and sometime lover Ava Gardner.

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor with Richard Thorpe; taking a break; enjoying a ride on his huge horse.

 

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The Bribe, 1949, Is Playing on TCM on July 3 (USA)

The Bribe, 1949, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday July 3 at 10:15 a.m. est. Closed captioned.  The Bribe has a minimal story but great actors including Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton and Vincent Price.  The chemistry between Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner  is sizzling.  They became lovers during the production and had to go to his mother’s house to make love because they would have been recognized anywhere else.

????“The Bribe” is one of the forties film noir entries, and I love it! Top stars of the era include Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, and Vincent Price. It is a story of an honest cop, Rigby played with remarkable insight, by Robert Taylor, who falls in love with a suspect (Ava Gardner), and can’t make up his mind on if she is guilty or innocent. John Hodiak is the husband, who is a former fly boy turned crook. Charles Laughton is at his sinister best as the “pie shaped man” who is hired by Vincent Price to pay off Rigby. Laughton dogs Rigby, knowing that he is in love with Gardner, till he caves in and decides to take a bribe to save his love. As in many film noir, only Taylor’s last name is used, we never know Rigby’s first name, interesting. Taylor is very convincing as a man torn between love and honor. He is so conflicted, that you feel sorry for him, wishing that Ava would just run away with him before he turns crook himself. She drugs him and makes sure he can’t stop the crooks, but he recovers, and confronts her, not realizing the trouble she is in herself. In the end, love and honor conquer all. There is a spectacular fireworks ending, that is reminiscent of “Ride the Pink Horse.” All in all the love scenes are sincere, probably because Taylor and Gardner were having an affair at the time of filming, despite the fact that Taylor was very married to Barbara Stanwyck. Quintessential film noir. Review by mamalv for IMDB.

Some behind the scenes photos:


Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner rehearsing a beach scene.


Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner


Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner with director Robert Z. Leonard.

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor with Vincent Price; Charles Laughton; John Hodiak


Robert Taylor

 

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