Ivanhoe, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on March 3 and March 14 on TCM (USA)

Ivanhoe is listed as playing twice in March on Turner Classic Movies. The first showing is on March 3 at 9:30 a.m. est.  The second is on March 14 at 2:45 a.m. est.  Both are 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.

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A A 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:

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

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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

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

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Broadway Melody of 1936, 1935, Is Playing on TCM on February 28 (USA)

Broadway Melody of 1936, 1935, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on February 28 at 9:45 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 difficult times. Review by me for the IMDB.

Robert 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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Johnny Eager, 1941, Is Playing on TCM on February 18 (USA)

Johnny Eager, 1941, is playing on Sunday, February 18 at 9:15 a.m.  Closed captioned.  This is one of Mr. Taylor’s best. Don’t miss it.

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Robert Taylor and Lana Turner in “Johnny Eager.”

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 1972425_924571320890637_3709082624071824968_nwas 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).

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: Robert Taylor and Meryn LeRoy; Mr. Taylor and Lana Turner; filming

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor and Director LeRoy; Mr. LeRoy directs Mr. Taylor and Ms. Turner; Mr. Taylor and Mr. LeRoy go over the script.

 

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Knights of the Round Table, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on Feb. 10 (USA)

Knights of the Round Table, 1953, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on February 10 at 12:15 p.m. est. Closed Captioned.

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 Secret Land, 1948, Is the Only Robert Taylor Film Playing on TCM in January (USA)

This a sad month on Turner Classic Movies for Robert Taylor fans.  There is only one film, The Secret Land, where he is one of three narrators.   I attribute this to the changes at the top at TCM.  Robert Osborne, who, from his writings in Now Playing, was a Taylor fan.  Ben Mankiewicz doesn’t seem to be one.  They are also stressing more recently films.  It’s a little bit off-putting to see a film you saw in its first run labeled a classic.  Nonetheless, please e-mail or write to TCM and ask for more Taylor films.

The Secret Land, 1949, is Playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday January 12 at 4:15 am est.(Actually January 13 ) Not closed captioned.

The Secret Land, 1948, is a documentary about Admiral Richard Bird and his explorations of the Antartic.  It is narrated by Cmdr. Robert Montgomery USNR, Lt. Robert Taylor USNR and Lt. Van Heflin AAFR. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film in 1948.

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Here are two synopses:

  • This documentary, filmed entirely by military photographers, recounts the U.S. Navy’s 1946-47 expedition to Antarctica, known as Operation High Jump. The expedition was under the overall command of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, no stranger to the Antarctic. This was a large undertaking involving 13 ships and over 4000 thousand men. The fleet departed from Norfolk, Virginia traveling through the Panama canal and then southward to their final destination. The trip through the ice pack was fraught with danger and forced the submarine that was part of the fleet to withdraw. The trip was a success meeting all of its scientific goals. The film is narrated by three Hollywood stars, all of whom served in the US Navy: Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery and Van Heflin (I)’.Written by garykmcd

  • This film documents the largest expedition ever undertaken to explore Antarctica. The expedition, code named “Operation High Jump,” was made by the U.S. Navy and involved 13 ships (including one submarine), 23 aircraft, and about 4700 men. The film was shot by photographers from all branches of the U.S. military. One purpose of the expedition was to explore and photograph several thousand square miles of inland and coastal areas that had not been previously mapped. Additionally, military planners wanted to evaluate whether military troops could successfully perform against an adversary in such an environment.Written by David Glagovsky <dglagovsky@verizon.net>

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    Robert Taylor in the Navy, with Lucille Ball and Kathryn Grayson, ca. 1943.

  • and one Review:
     Some Real Heroes

    Back in the day when documentary film making was more than some obnoxious twit sticking a video camera in front of celebrities and then editing the content for a political agenda, MGM contributed this classic about Admiral Byrd’s post World War II expedition to Antarctica. The film was narrated by three WWII veterans with MGM, Robert Montgomery, Van Heflin, and Robert Taylor.

    The men here are assigned some of the most hazardous peace time duty the United States Navy ever had to perform. The polar regions are some of the most forbidding area on our globe. The film captures some real dangers the Navy faced. We see a submarine caught in a frozen ice flow, a rescue of a man being transferred from ship to ship via breecher’s buoy when the line snaps and he’s tossed into the frozen sea, a crash of one of the planes. This film captures all the hazards of the expedition and the forbidding beauty of Antarctica.

    From his transatlantic flights and his early polar expeditions Admiral Richard E. Byrd was a genuine American hero. We probably know more about the geography of the polar regions due to his work than any other individual. After this expedition, Byrd in fact did return to the South Pole as late as two years before he died in 1957. Review for the Imdb by bkoganbing (Buffalo, New York).

 

 

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Broadway Melody of 1936, 1935, Is Playing on TCM on December 28 (USA)

Broadway Melody of 19136, 1935, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on December 28 (actually December 29) at 4:30 a.m. est.  Not 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 difficult times. Review by me for the IMDB.

Robert 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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The Youngest Profession, 1943, Is Playing on TCM on December 13 (USA)

The Youngest Profession, 1943, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on December 13 at 12 noon est.  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.

On the set with Virginia Weidler:

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