An Emergency Comes to a Mountain Cabin

This is from a 1950s movie magazine. I don’t know which one.  If it’s true, it’s a look into movie making back then.

Notified that he’d star in a modern story, Irwin Shaw’s 32nd Day, (it’s about pilots flying between France and North Africa) Bob Taylor was jubilant. “I don’t have to run around in a clanking suit of armor or in buckskin and coonskin hats.” (Taylor clanks in Quentin Durward and wears buckskin in The Last Hunt.) It’s been a jubilant year for Taylor anyway, since he became a father in June, and the father of a son, at that.  (Barbara Stanwyck, his ex-wife, was among the many who wrote to congratulate Bob on this joyous event.)  In August, right after he would up The Last Hunt, Bob set out for Buffalo, Wyoming, with the whole family in tow.  The Taylors have a ranch and a mountain cabin there and Robert figured to play with the new baby and get in some pheasant shooting, too. He, Ursula and the kids had no sooner got settled down in Wyoming, when he got an emergency call from Hollywood.  They needed him to re-record one line of dialogue for Quentin Durward.  Reporter Joe Hyams, discovering that the line of dialogue contained twenty words, and that the trip between Buffalo and Hollywood was 1200 miles, wrote that Bob, upon returning to his vacation lodge, had put in “more than 100 miles of flight for every word he recorded.”  Terrence Taylor, incidentally, the boy born to Bob and Ursula one day before Father’s Day, was a plenty healthy specimen, weighing in at seven pounds, eight ounces, and he’s picked up a-plenty since.  Ursula’s two children by an earlier marriage, Manuela and Michael, adore the baby as much as they adore their new pop, which is quite a lot. MGM promised him a long vacation and his friend Gov. Joe Foss of South Dakota is joining him for pheasant shooting.

Other photos that seem to be from the same shoot:


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Ivanhoe, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on August 31 (USA)

Ivanhoe, 1952, is playing on Turner Classic Movies at 12 noon est on August 31. Closed Captioned.

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.


Robert Taylor and Liz 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:

Left to right: Mr. Taylor and Peter Ustinov; waiting; with unknown person.

Left to right: with Joan Fontaine who played Rowena; with Ms. Fontaine and director Richard Thorpe.

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Left to right: with Elizabeth Taylor; with Liz and Emlyn Williams

Left to right: with George Sanders and Liz Taylor; with Liz Taylor.

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Remember?, 1939, Is Playing on TCM on August 23

Remember?, 1939 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday August 23 at 4:30 a.m. (actually August 24) est.  Closed captioned.

RT5521Greer Garson was a rising star in 1939 and this film was her follow up to “Goodbye Mr. Chips.” She had proved unexpectedly popular and the studio hurried this into production. Robert Taylor was in a slump after Lady of the Tropics and before Waterloo Bridge. Robert Osborne, on Turner Classic Movies, commented that the screenwriters were either extremely clever or drunk. I tend to the latter interpretation.

The plot involves a love triangle consisting of Taylor, Garson and Lew Ayres. Taylor steals Garson from his old friend Ayres and the two marry. Subsequently Taylor neglects Garson by concentrating on his career. When he misses the boat for their honeymoon, she leaves him and they begin a divorce. Ayres, either to get Garson back or to help the couple, slips each of them an amnesia drug, so that they forget the last six months. It works and, in a manner reminiscent of Groundhog Day, they repeat their initial meeting and fall in love again, marry again and leave poor Ayres in the dust.

The entire cast is very smooth and professional, with Taylor and Ayres both outshining the still new Garson. Supporting actors include Billie Burke and Reginald Owen, both of them doing their signature type of character. Sara Haden is excellent as Taylor’s secretary.

There is a lot of good dialog, some genuinely funny situations and the usual MGM high gloss. Remember? is like a good dessert: rich, tasty but not substantial. Review by me for IMDB.

Some behind-the scenes photos:

Left to right: Director Norman Z. McLeod, Robert Taylor, Lew Ayres; Ayres and Taylor; Taylor, McLeod, Greer Garson, Lew Ayres.

Promotional materials:





Scenes that didn’t make it into the film:



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Happy Birthday, Robert Taylor!

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Happy Birthday, Robert Taylor On August 5, 1911 a movie star was born.  His name was Spangler Arlington Brugh.  MGM changed it to Robert Taylor.  For 3 decades Robert Taylor brought quality entertainment to the public.  He changed from gorgeous … Continue reading

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Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker: 2 Films Are Playing on TCM on August 7

Two films are playing on Turner Classic Movies on August 7.  The first is Many Rivers To Cross at 6:00 p.m. est and the second is Valley of the Kings at 12:15 a.m. est. (Actually August 8) Both are closed captioned.

Many Rivers To Cross.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.

Valley of the Kings.  Mark Brandon, the ruggedly handsome archaeologist played by Robert Taylor is thought to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones.
RT5571This is one of my favorite Robert Taylor pictures. Eleanor Parker and he had wonderful chemistry and both of them looked their best in this exotic action-adventure film.  The following is my review for the IMDb.

This isn’t a serious or “meaningful” film. It is pure entertainment, beautifully photographed on location in Egypt. The stars, Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker, had great chemistry both off-screen and on. Taylor manages to be glamorous even when trapped in a sandstorm. The plot is relatively thin with Parker seeking to validate part of the Old Testament by finding the tomb of the Pharaoh who reigned in the time of the Biblical Joseph. She bats her eyelashes at Taylor who comes along happily. Then she introduces her husband, Carlos Thompson. There are horse and carriage chases, murders, the aforementioned sandstorm, a spectacular fight at Abu Simbel, a scorpion attack–all in ninety minutes. Given the slower pace of movies in the 1950s, there is also time for Taylor and Parker to discover each other more thoroughly (over some fermented goat). Egyptian belly dancer Samia Gamal shakes her stuff at the demure Parker. Highly enjoyable.

RT2304One of the best screen kisses–ever!

Some behind the scenes photos:

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From left: Robert Taylor horsing around with a donkey; looking insecure on a camel.


From left: Robert Taylor with belly dancer; with Kurt Kazsnar and Carlos Thompson; at the sphinx.

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From left: Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker at the Mena House Hotel; touring by carriage.

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From left: Mr. Taylor and Ms. Parker in Egypt.


From left: Mr. Taylor and Ms. Parker, taking pictures; with director Robert Pirosh; saying hello to a camel.

Actress Eleanor Parker, on her kneels, helps Robert Taylor, dressed up as an archaeologist, to lace up a boot on the set of the movie 'Valley of the Kings'. Egypt, 1954. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Actress Eleanor Parker, on her knees, helps Robert Taylor, dressed up as an archaeologist, to lace up a boot on the set of the movie ‘Valley of the Kings’. Egypt, 1954. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Mr. Taylor injured his knee jumping off a camel and may have had difficulty lacing his boots.  They both look happy about it.



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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:

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

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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