Bataan, 1943, Is Playing on TCM on May 24 (USA)

Bataan (1943) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday May 24 on Turner Classic Movies at 2:00 pm est. Closed captioned.

RT7662This is one of the best war films of its era, and it is actually less anti-Japanese than many that came later, such as John Wayne’s Back to Bataan. But never forget the very real and common – and ubiquitous – Japanese atrocities, which they still are loathe to admit. Here, a small number of Americans are acting as a rear guard preventing the invading Japanese from driving south on Bataan in 1942. They have to blow a bridge and hold a ravine, and are subject to snipers, air attacks, and infantry assaults. It is superbly done with a great cast (Desi Arnaz was quite good too). Robert Taylor cast off forever his pretty boy image of the 1930’s with Garbo in his very tough portrayal of the sergeant.

Most notably, Bataan stands out for perhaps the best and most violent hand-to-hand combat footage ever filmed, certainly the best of its era. Also, and often neglected in reviews, is that Bataan featured a fully INTEGRATED Army: a Jew, a black, an Hispanic, a Filipino, and so on. They were all treated equally and heroically. Bataan could not even be shown in parts of the South in the 1940’s due to this. Only two other movies of the WW II period featured a black fighting bravely – Sahara and Crash Dive, but none as well as here. Bataan is a marvelous film on many levels. A classic. Review by Kirasjeri from Brooklyn, New York for the IMDB.

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Lucille Ball visits the set of “Bataan.”

 

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Small Town Girl, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on May 20 (USA)

Small Town Girl (1936) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Wed, May 20, 2015 07:15 AM 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.

 

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Quentin Durward Is Playing on TCM on May 18 (USA)

Quentin Durward (1955) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Mon, May 18, 2015 12:00 AM est. Closed captioned.  *NOTE*:A TCM programming day begins at 6:00am EST on the calendar day listed and runs to 5:59am EST in the morning on the next day. Hours listed at 12:00am to 5:59am EST in your reminder will be shown on the NEXT calendar day.

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Director: Richard Thorpe. Robert Taylor, Kay Kendall, Robert Morley, George Cole, Alec Clunes, Duncan Lamont, Marius Goring. Taylor plays Sir Walter Scott’s dashing Scots hero in this handsome but static costumer about Louis XI’s reign in 15th- century France. CinemaScope.TCM capsule review.

This is a film to be watched with a wide and affectionate grin. Outstanding are Robert Morley as Louis XI, the infamous and wily ‘Spider’ of France, and Robert Taylor as the eponymous Durward, a would-be chivalrous hero born out of his time who is none too sure of himself. The necessary, and highly satisfactory, heroics are spiced with a rich leavening of humor and some genuine moral questions – how much should a man sacrifice for his country’s sake? His love? His life? His honor?

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But above all it is a joyous and thrilling romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Durward wants to be a knight in shining armor, but circumstances tend to conspire against him, and his lady is definitely the stronger-willed of the two; though like the audience, she cannot resist his puppy dog charm. And ambiguous, cynical, cowardly Louis is often in danger of stealing the show outright, as he sits at the center of his web and pulls the strings that manipulate all the other characters – a far-from-two-dimensional villain after my own heart!

Definitely a superior swashbuckler, with a saving vein of humor. Review by lgenWordsmith on IMDB

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Robert Osborne on Robert Taylor, part 2

This gallery contains 10 photos.

From Now Playing, April 2010 There was a time In Hollywood’s past when the single most essential asset one needed to be a genuine movie star was a near-perfect profile. People primarily went to the movies, it was believed, not … Continue reading

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Taylor and Stanwyck at the Venice Film Festival, 1950

This gallery contains 42 photos.

Recognized as the oldest film festival in the world, the Venice Film Festival began in 1932 in Venice, Italy. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the Festival was originally held at the Hotel Excelsior in Venice. Only a handful … Continue reading

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Robert Taylor Friendship Club, 1939

This gallery contains 7 photos.

This is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen on ebay.  I wasn’t the winning bidder but I can pass it on in this form.  It’s probably the worst written English I’ve ever seen.  But it’s fun–and somebody really … Continue reading

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Johnny Eager, 1941, Is Playing on TCM on April 30 (USA)

Johnny Eager (1942)  is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thu, April 30, 2015 08:15 AM est.  Closed captioned.

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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).

 

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