When Ladies Meet, 1941, Is Playing on TCM on September 29 (USA)

When  Ladies Meet, 1941 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 6 a.m. est.  Closed captioned.

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Mona Barrie, Greer Garson, Robert Taylor in “When Ladies Meet.”

When Ladies Meet is the story of a married couple, a lady author and a charming single journalist. Joan Crawford, the author, considers herself a “modern woman” freed from tiresome conventions and moral imperatives. Despite the movie’s 1941 date, the author’s relativistic attitude toward marriage and fidelity would be right at home in today’s left-wing intellectual circles. Her gradual evolution towards a different attitude is the meat of the movie. Mirroring the situation in her book is the situation of the married couple, Greer Garson and Herbert Marshall. The fourth member of the group is Robert Taylor as a journalist whose surface gaiety hides a serious moral foundation.The four actors make the movie much better than the script. Garson and Crawford strike sparks off each other in every scene they share. Herbert Marshall is suitably smooth and sleazy. But it’s Robert Taylor in a role involving physical comedy whose work is the most impressive. As it turns out, he is the person most grounded in reality–and the hidden hand behind everything.

Everything has the expected MGM gloss–extravagant costumes, beautiful sets, excellent photography. Highly recommended.  Review by me.

Here’s a couple of behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: wardrobe shot; Robert Taylor’s birthday party with Herbert Marshall, Mr. Taylor,  Joan Crawford and L.B. Mayer.

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Three Comrades, 1938, Is Playing on TCM on October 27 (USA)

UPDATE:  Your faithful blogger has screwed up.  This is on OCTOBER 27, not September 27.  Sorry, senior moment.

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There is a serious lack of Robert Taylor movies in September and October of this year. There is only one in each month.  Sadly they are concentrating on more recent films. But this is well worth viewing.

Three Comrades, 1938 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on September 27 at 6 a.m. Closed captioned.

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Margaret Sullavan, Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young.

New York Times Review (summary):  Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Three Comrades represented one of the few successful screenwriting efforts of  F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set  in Germany in the years just following World War I, the film stars Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young as three battle-weary, thoroughly disillusioned returning soldiers. The three friends pool their savings and open an auto-repair shop, and it is this that brings them in contact with wealthy motorist Lionel Atwill–and with Atwill’s lovely travelling companion Margaret Sullavan.  Taylor begins a romance with Sullavan, who soon joins the three comrades, making the group a jovial, fun-seeking foursome Though Sullavan suffers from tuberculosis (her shady past is only alluded to), she is encouraged by her male companions to fully enjoy what is left of her life. This becomes increasingly difficult when one of the comrades, Young, is killed during a political riot (it’s a Nazi riot, though not so-labelled by ever-careful MGM). In the end, the four comrades are only two in number, with nothing but memories to see them through the cataclysmic years to come. Despite its Hollywoodized bowdlerization of the Remarque original, Three Comrades remains a poignant, haunting experience. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Some promotional material:

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Al Perry Worked for Robert and Ursula Taylor

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Al Perry worked as a ranch hand at the Robert Taylor Ranch on weekends from 1962 to 1969. Mr. Perry has been gracious enough to share his recollections of the Taylors in a number of comments on this blog. With … Continue reading

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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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