The Gorgeous Hussy, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on February 15 (USA)

The Gorgeous Hussy, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday February 15 at 10:30 a.m. est.  Closed captioned.

It’s a story about Washington D.C. It’s about dirty tricks, sleazy operatives, scurrilous

Robert Taylor & Joan in "The Gorgeous Hussy," (Photo colorized)

Robert Taylor & Joan in “The Gorgeous Hussy,” (Photo colorized)

personal attacks and lies. The 2016 primary elections? No, The Gorgeous Hussy.

The story centers around Peggy O’Neill, Joan Crawford, an innkeeper’s daughter called

“Pothouse Peg,” for her politics and her men. The men are a list of Metro’s best—Robert Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Franchot Tone, Melvyn Douglas and Lionel Barrymore. Robert Taylor dominates the first quarter of the picture with his enormous energy, his playfulness, his rapport with Crawford and his skin-tight costume. Taylor even sings and dances.

After Bow Timberlake’s (Taylor’s) heroic off screen death, things settle down. Andrew Jackson (Barrymore) dominates every scene he’s in. Beulah Bondi, as Rachel Jackson, is equally good. She won an Oscar nomination for her role. Joan Crawford is usually criticized for appearing in an historical picture because RT2329she was too “modern.” Here she handles her costumes beautifully, using her skirts to express a range of emotions. While her acting is fine, she is overwhelmed by the male contingent.

Franchot Tone, Crawford’s husband at the time, is quietly effective as Peg’s second husband John Eaton. Melvyn Douglas brings strength and intelligence to his role as Virginian John Randolph. Jimmy Stewart is wasted as Peg’s failed suitor. The Gorgeous Hussy is fun, sometimes moving and a reminder that political behavior wasn’t all that different in the 1820s.  Review by me for the IMDB.

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left right: Joan Crawford serves ice cream to Robert Taylor; Mr. Taylor laughing; a close shave.

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Left to right: Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda; Ms. Crawford and Mr. Taylor; Mr. Taylor and Ms. Crawford playing parchesi.

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Left to right: Joan Crawford and friend Barbara Stanwyck; Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Robert Taylor, Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas and Franchot Tone.

 

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Bob and Ursula: a Love Story for Valentine’s Day

This gallery contains 12 photos.

All of the block quotes here come from Ursula Thiess’ book “…but I have promises to keep.  My Life Before, With & After Robert Taylor, 2007.  The page numbers appear after the quotation.  Although I usually refer to people formally … Continue reading

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All the Brothers Were Valiant, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on February 9 (USA)

All the Brothers Were Valiant, 1953, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday February 9 at 7:15 a.m. est.  Closed Captioned.  This film was very successful, bringing in $4,628,000.00 or $41,258,706.67 in today’s money.

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Robert Taylor and Ann Blyth.


This film has quite a good story by Ben Ames Williams, which was competently brought to the screen. Robert Taylor is the “good” brother and Stewart Granger the “bad” one. Ann Blyth is the woman who marries Taylor thinking Granger is dead. Three years later Granger and Taylor would star in “The Last Hunt” with a reversal of roles: Granger as the “good” guy and Taylor the “bad”. There are two aspects of this film which create a strong impression:1)the destructive relationship between the brothers, which started in childhood with Granger always taking for himself Taylor’s toys. Now Granger wants to take away Taylor’s ship and also his wife. 2)How Granger is able to seduce Ann Blyth by making her think her husband is a coward. Blyth is a bit too “angelical” for her role, when you see the ship you have the feeling you are seeing a miniature on MGM’s tank, but both Granger and Taylor are excellent. Great entertainment. Review for the IMDB by tmwest from S Paolo, Brazil.

Here are some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right:  Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger; Mr. Granger and Mr. Taylor; Mr. Taylor, Lewis Stone, Director Richard Thorpe.

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Left to right:  Dore Schary and Robert Taylor; Mr. Taylor, Ann Blyth and a guest; Messrs. Granger and Taylor with Jean Simmons.

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Left to right: Joan Crawford and Robert Taylor; Richard Thorpe, Ms. Crawford, Ann Blyth, Mr. Taylor.  The original caption for the first photo: Joan Crawford, returning to MGM for the first time in a number of years to star in Torch Song, visited an old friend, Robert Taylor, on his set.

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Johnny Eager, 1942, Is Playing on TCM on February 3 (USA)

Johnny Eager, 1942, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, February 3, at 4:00 p.m. 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).

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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Broadway Melody of 1936, 1935, Is Playing on TCM on February 1 (USA)

Broadway Melody of 1935, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday, February 1 at 10:00 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 economically challenged times. Review by me for the IMDB.

swirlRobert 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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Stand Up and Fight, 1939, Is Playing on TCM on January 14 (USA)

Stand Up and Fight, 1939, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, January 14 at 6 p.m. est.  Closed captioned.

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Cynical Southern gentleman Blake Cantrell (Robert Taylor) is forced to sell his plantation and seek employment with a stagecoach company run by Captain Starkey (Wallace Beery) and owned by lovely Susan (Florence Rice). But is the company actually illegally transporting slaves? And can a leopard, the cavalier Blake, actually change its spots?

I didn’t expect much from this movie, and was thoroughly and positively surprised by the sharp writing and ebullient acting, and contrary to many A-movies of its day its aim is no way an aesthetic ‘arty’ one. Made in 1939, this movie addresses all sorts of controversial issues, and they have a way of taking you by surprise along the way. The movie is really about abolitionism and treats its subject with remarkable subtlety, although why and how the lynch-mob, the one that we encounter in the last third of the film, goes after white man Starkey is never made quite clear. Cantrell’s gradual moral reform is well-explained and plausible, not least because of Taylor’s warmth and humanity in the part. Yes, he is handsome, but here it is almost besides the point. Wallace Beery has a field day with the larger-than-life captain, very cleverly balancing on the edge of buffoonery but with plenty of edge and ambiguity.

See it, it makes a deep impression.  Review by Michael Bo from Copenhagen, Denmark for the IMDb.

Candid calisthenics continue with Robert Taylor of "Stand Up and Fight" taking a stance on the baseball diamond.

Candid calisthenics continue with Robert Taylor of “Stand Up and Fight” taking a stance on the baseball diamond.

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Left to right: Robert Taylor; Wallace Beery with Mr. Taylor; Mr. Taylor, Mr. Beery and Director Woody vanDyke.

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Knights of the Round Table, 1954 Is Playing on TCM on January 16 (USA)

Knights of the Round Table, 1954, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday January 16 at 5:45 p.m. est.  Closed captioned.

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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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