Robert Taylor All-Time Hero

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Note:  I’ve added a page called Fan Art which currently shows the works of two  visual artists and Robert Taylor fans.  Click on Fan Art below the header picture. The source of this article is unknown. The photo captions are … Continue reading

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Party Girl, 1958, Is Playing on TCM on August 14 (USA)

Party Girl, 1958, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on July 31 at 6.15 p.m. est.   Closed captioned.

1958 --- American actors Cyd Charisse and Robert Taylor on the set of Party Girl, directed by Nicholas Ray. --- Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

1958 — American actors Cyd Charisse and Robert Taylor on the set of Party Girl, directed by Nicholas Ray. — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

Nicholas Ray uses color in this movie like some directors use dialogue. It is spectacular to look at with reds and blacks predominate all through the film. It is old-fashioned in it’s appeal to the film noir lover. This is the last film Robert Taylor did for MGM, and it is a great performance. The character of Tommy Farrell is, if you excuse the pun, tailor made for Taylor. Again he is the man with a secret past, as he has been in other film noir classics such as the High Wall, and Rogue Cop, two of his better roles. He is a mob attorney who is drawn to the “fastest way,” which in this case is working for Rico Angelo (Lee J Cobb). Cobb is always wonderful to watch and his role here is one of overstated ignorance, and brutal power. Tommy walks with a limp due to a childhood accident, and hates women because of his ex-wife’s repulsion of his crookedness. She destroyed his masculinity, by denying him access to both her bed and her love. He meets Vicki, played well by Cyd Charisse, at a party given by Angelo, takes her home to find her room mate dead in a bloody tub scene. He is drawn to her, but chases her away telling her “a girl deserves what she can get,” after Vicki wants him to return money given to her by John Ireland at the party. She follows him to court and watches as he uses his limp to get sympathy from the jury, freeing murderer Ireland. His unique approach also includes the use of an old simple watch that he tells the jury was given to him by his father while he was in the hospital as a boy. It is the secret to his success with the jury. She tells him if that is what he wants “pity” then he has hers. He snarls at her telling her to get out. Afterwards he goes to the club where she is a dancer, every night finally taking her home, and telling her about his past with the wife. They fall in love and that is the beginning of the end for Farrell. She wants him to quit, he can’t. He does go to Europe to have his hip fixed and they vacation, until Rico summons him back to Chicago.

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There he finds that Rico has a job for him, defending a young gangster who Farrell refers to as a “dog with  rabies.” He tries to leave only to find that Rico will disfigure Vickie if he doesn’t go along. Reluctantly he agrees and in the pursuit there is a massive machine gunning down of the young gangster and his associates. Farrell escapes unharmed, and goes to Vicki, telling her they must run. She refuses, and the cops take them both to jail. In the end he rats on Rico to save Vicki, he thinks, until he is taken to a broken down meeting hall, where Rico presents Vicki to him, wrapped in bandages. They unveil her still perfect face, but also a bottle of acid, which Rico tells Tommy he will use if he doesn’t take back the testimony. The cops were tipped where to find Rico, and they attack the hall with a hail of bullets causing Rico to tip the acid on his own face, falling to his death through a plate glass window. Vicki and Farrell leave, meeting the District Attorney on the way, with Farrell giving his watch to Kent Smith, “as a remembrance.” The wonderful thing about this performance by Taylor is that his looks only add to the sadness of the character, his blue eyes showing the conflict within this man. Still magnificent to look at we feel for his plight with the crooked body, not be able to love again until Charisse loves him as is. Taylor is just great here, a mature, restrained Tommy Farrell, in love at last but conflicted about his job, and how he gets his money. A must see film noir.  Review by mamalv from the U.S. for the Imdb.

A few behind-the-scenes photos:

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Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse–I love the way she looks at him.

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From left:  Mr. Taylor was an avid photographer.  There should be a book of his photos and letters; with other actors listenig to the script girl.

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Small Town Girl, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on August 12 (USA)

Small Town Girl, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday August 12 at 6:00 a.m. est. Closed captioned.

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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

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Taylor has Gaynor upside-down.

 

Some behind-the-scenes photos:

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

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Lady of the Tropics, 1939, Is Playing on TCM on August 10 (USA)

Lady of the Tropics (1939) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday August 10 at 9:45 p.m. est.  Not closed captioned.

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Robert Taylor and Hedy Lamarr.

For those who don’t realize it the Lady of the Tropics we’re referring to is Hedy Lamarr who falls big time for visiting playboy Robert Taylor in Saigon. Of course one look at Hedy Lamarr and his romantic goose is cooked as well. But there’s is a forbidden love and sad to say the message in Ben Hecht’s screenplay is stick to your own kind.

Lady of the Tropics was shot while Hedy Lamarr was on hiatus from the ill-fated I Take This Woman. Louis B. Mayer nor any of the other movie moguls believed in letting their players sit idly by. So Lady of the Tropics became Lamarr’s second film and her only pairing with that other screen beauty Robert Taylor.

Taylor plays a very honorable character here or at least more honorable than most. He’s part of a visiting party of tourists off a yacht that lands in Saigon right before World War II starts. As we well know Vietnam was then under that colonial umbrella known as French Indo-China and Saigon was its capital. Among others Taylor is with is his American fiancé Gloria Franklin.

Of course the romantic sparks start the second that Lamarr and Taylor catch sight of each other in that Saigon café. Taylor does an unheard of thing, he breaks it off with Franklin and weds Lamarr post haste.

Sad to say, but implicit is the message that what you do with exotic beauties not 100% Caucasian is bed them don’t wed them. But Taylor and Lamarr don’t see it that way. As was said by Queen Latifah in the recent Hairspray, they’re in for a whole world of stupid.

This was 1939 not 1967 in America. We still had miscegenation laws in most states at the time so the message of sticking to your own kind was in keeping with 1939 mores. This is the exact opposite message the screen would give in 1967 in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

Taylor and Lamarr are stunning, no two ways about that. The sets showing tropical Saigon are great and the film did get an Oscar nomination for cinematography. But the story is both melodramatic and thank God, dated. Review by BKoganbing, Buffalo, New York,  for the IMDb.

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: Hedy Lamarr and Robert Taylor; unknown, Ms. Lamarr, Mr. Taylor; unknown, Mr. Taylor; Ms. Lamarr and Mr.Taylor

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Personal Property, 1937 Will Play on TCM on Demand Until August 14

Personal Property, 1937, will be playing on Turner Classic Movies until August 14.  Closed Captioned.  Search for TCM Movies on Demand and you will see all of the films available.  You can click on Personal Property any time to play it.

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Robert Taylor, Jean Harlow and Reginald Owen

I’m a sucker for this movie. I’ve watched it many times and never fail to enjoy the excellent visuals, the superior acting and just the general silliness of it all. Robert Taylor is wearing much too much makeup but looks great anyway, especially in the bathtub scene!  Harlow’s cough is real and is a sad reminder of her fatal disease. The hat “business” with the bailiff is truly charming as is Raymond’s reaction to the news that the bailiff is expecting a baby that night. The centerpiece is, of course, the dinner party. The superb timing by all the actors pulls off a series of sight gags (pepper in the cocktail, the over-filled wine glass, the missing dinner, the dressing). I especially like the interaction between Raymond and his mother. It seems so natural. Highly recommended.  Review I wrote for Amazon.com.

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Jean Harlow and Robert Taylor

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: Ms. Harlow photographs Mr. Taylor; Mr. Taylor, Mara Shelton, script girl; Ms. Harlow, script girl; Mr. Taylor.  (The original caption says script girl.  I don’t know her name.)

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Left to right: Henrietta Crossman, Mr. Taylor, director W.S. Van Dyke; Barnett Parker, Mr. Taylor, Ms. Crossman, E.E. Clive, Ms. Harlow, Reginald Owen, Ms. Shelton; Mr. Taylor, Ms. Shelton, Mr. Van Dyke, Ms. Harlow.

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Left to right: Mr. Clive and Mr. Taylor; Mr. Taylor and Mr. Van Dyke; unknown, Mr. Taylor, photographer.

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Left to right: Ms. Crossman, Mr. Gardner, Ms. Harlow; Ms. Harlow; Ms. Harlow, Una O’Connor, Forrester Harvey, Mr. Taylor.

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Left to right: Mr. Van Dyke; Ms. Harlow; Mr. Taylor;  Mr. Van Dyke; Mr. Taylor; Mr. Van Dyke, Ms. Harlow, Mr. Taylor.

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August 5th Is Robert Taylor’s 105th Birthday

This gallery contains 20 photos.

August 5th would have been Robert Taylor’s 105th Birthday.  His career spanned 4 decades and he was one of the most loved and respected men in Hollywood.  Mr. Taylor was also one of the most professional, putting up with all … Continue reading

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Twinkle, Twinkle Little TV Star–But for How Long?

Matt128Twinkle, Twinkle Little TV Star
But for How Long?

By Charles Denton
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
TV Weekly
Jan.28-Feb.3 1962

An argument that has understandably preoccupied TV actors almost since the inception of the medium has to do whether or not the little lens can make a genuine, 14-karat star of the old galaxy?

Because of its strongly economic nature, the term “star” has a definition in this debate which is markedly different from the general public’s conception of the term. Among actors, it means one of their fraternity whose name on a marquee means money in the till. And on that basis, television has created a dictionary of “names,” but shockingly few real “stars.” Indeed, an impressive number of its “names” have proven in their attempts at motion picture making that they aren’t actually “stars” in the monetary definition, while only a meager few have managed to establish themselves as stars in the eyes of the bankers.

And in the opinion of a man who was one of the movies’ “super-stars” before he ever RT2662 (4)moved into television, Robert Taylor, very few of them ever will. More than that, Taylor is convinced that TV’s stars cannot even hope to enjoy the longevity in their own medium of the film stars of his era.

“I’m probably sticking my neck out a mile,” the boss of NBC’s Detectives series said good-naturedly, “but I honestly don’t believe there will ever be a star in television who will last as long as, say, Gable did in motion pictures. The reason is simply that people get tired of seeing the same face every week.

“It’s easier to become a working actor today because there are more jobs, thanks to television. But I strongly doubt that it’s easier to become a so-called star. There are lots of good people in TV. We’re constantly finding new ones—new to me, anyway—who are really fine. But TV simply hasn’t developed many stars of the sort who can go into motion pictures and pull customers by themselves. Dick Boone can, and James Garner has made the transition beautifully, but who else is there?”

Despite the fact that there are more acting jobs today than ever before, Taylor said, the opportunities for a young performer to develop are less than they were when he began his climb toward matinee idol status back in 1934.

Matt846“Actually,” he explained, “TV is lot like the picture business was when I started. By that I mean that in those days we were making lots of B, C and D pictures. We made them fast and we had to make them at a price to realize any profit. And they would use anyone, whether they’d heard of him or not, including me.

The difference is that even in those B, C and D pictures, there wasn’t the rush there is in television.

“And in those days you didn’t have to be a star right away, which seems to be the case in TV. It was a long-term thing. A lot of work and planning by your studio went into it. Today you’re on your own.”

Taylor conceded that if TV wears out an actor’s welcome, he could be endangering his own almost three decades of stardom by continuing on the small screen. “Sure,” I’m gambling a little bit, except that I don’t have that much life expectancy in pictures anyway. I’ve been on borrowed time for he last 20 years—well, five at least.”

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