Ivanhoe, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on October 25, (USA)

Ivanhoe, 1952, is playing on Turner Classic Movies at 4 p.m. est on October 25. 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 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:

ustinovRT45941952
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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The Secret Land, 1948, Is Playing on TCM on October 19 (USA)

The Secret Land, 1949, is Playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday October 19 at 6:45 a.m. est. 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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Personal Property, 1937 Is Playing on TCM on October 15 (USA)

Personal Property, 1937, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on October 15 at 7:15 a.m. est.  Closed captioned.

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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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Camille, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on October 2 (USA)

Camille, 1936, will be playing on Turner Classic Movies on October 2, 2017 at 3:00 est.   This actually means the morning of October 3.  Closed captioning.  This is the love story of all love stories and shouldn’t be missed.

???? This film further proves that the assembly-line system of Hollywood studios back then should also be taken seriously in terms of artistry. Just because movies were produced run-of-the-mill doesn’t mean that they weren’t paid critical attention to by their makers. The usual impression on studio-era Hollywood is: take a formulaic narrative style, maybe adapt a stage play for the screen, blend in a handful of stars from the stable and the films rake in the profit at the box office. Not quite, that’s the easy perception. George Cukor, another of those versatile directors, made it apparent with Camille that filmmaking as an art may still flourish despite (and even within) certain parameters. Camille is beautiful, in so many respects. And it’s not just because of Greta Garbo.

Sure, the acting is amazing, the casting is perfect. Garbo is luminous, mysterious, cruel, and weak at the same time. Robert Taylor surrenders himself to be the heartbreakingly young and vulnerable Armand. Henry Daniell’s coldness and sadism is utterly human and familiar. The others are just plain wonderful. The writing contains so much wit and humor, devotion and pain – but it never overstates anything. The rapport and tensions between lovers, friends, and enemies are palpable and consistent. The actions flow so naturally, just like every scene, that checking for historical inconsistencies seem far beside the point.

There is so much that I love about Camille that it’s hard to enumerate them all, but with every little discovery comes the realization that this is “but” a studio production, so it makes the experience more exquisite. Camille is a gentle, poignant romantic movie that, like Garbo, takes its place delicately and self-effacingly in the history of American cinema, but makes itself indelible in the heart and mind of the lovelorn individual viewer. Review by tsarevna for the IMDb.

Some behind-the scenes photos from Camille.

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RT649019361936He also plays baseball-in costume on the set.

19361936cukor-rt11936 taking pills (Vitamin?)

Camille-behind-the-scenesRT646RT27911936; original caption--time out for movie idols

RT3881RT7407Greta Garbo Pointing at George Cukor

Making Marguerite’s Dresses:

RT7386936: A dressmaker working on one of Greta Garbo's dresses for the MGM film 'Camille' which were designed by Adrian. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)circa 1936: Seamstresses working on a dress to


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Broadway Melody of 1938, 1937, Is Playing on TCM on September 30 (USA)

Broadway Melody of 1938, 1937, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on September 30 at 6:00 a.m. est. Closed Captioned.   The film cost $1,588,000 and made a profit of $271,000 or $4,609,188.57 in today’s money.  This has been a hard month for Taylor movies as this is the only one.  However, as now scheduled, there will be 3 in October and 4 in November.

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Broadway Melody of 1938 is one of those pure escapist type films that folks in the Thirties paid their money to see. It’s a nice film combining both a backstage and a racetrack story with one of the most eclectic casts ever assembled for a film.

What can you say when you’ve got dancing covered by Eleanor Powell, George Murphy and Buddy Ebsen, the varied singing styles of Judy Garland, Sophie Tucker, and Igor Gorin and such incredible character actors as Raymond Walburn, Charley Grapewin, Billy Gilbert, and Robert Benchley. All of them such great performers and such vivid personalities there’s no way that the film could be bad.

Almost lost in the shuffle are Robert Taylor and Binnie Barnes who don’t sing or dance and aren’t colorful. But Binnie Barnes is one fine actress and she’s the villain of the piece as Raymond Walburn’s wife who was once part of the chorus, but wants not to be reminded of from where she came. She’s jealous of Eleanor Powell and has a thing for Taylor, As did half the young women in America in 1937. Though the part doesn’t call for any kind of real acting, Robert Taylor shows every bit as to why he was such a screen heart throb that year. He’s the nice guy producer/director who gets caught in a crunch between his financial backer Raymond Walburn and his wife and the girl of his dreams, Eleanor Powell. Walburn is in the role that Guy Kibbee had in 42nd Street and he does it well with his own avuncular touches.

Powell is not just an ambitious hoofer as are Ebsen and Murphy. She’s also the owner of race horse upon whose performance everyone’s future eventually rides. Just how the racetrack and backstage are woven into the same plot you have to see the film for.

Vocal highlights are provided by Judy Garland who sings her famous Dear Mr. Gable version of that old Al Jolson song, You Made Me Love You. She also sings Everybody Sing which is a number I personally like a whole lot better. Honest Indian.

Sophie Tucker is her mother who owns and operates a theatrical boarding house where half the cast lives. She’s an old trooper herself and of course she gets to sing her famous theme, Some of These Days.

Other material that the MGM songwriting team of Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown did not provide for this film are a couple operatic arias sung by the great concert singer Igor Gorin. He sings Largo Al Factotum from The Barber of Seville and the Toreador Song from Carmen. I’d venture a guess that Louis B. Mayer signed Gorin for this as an effort to keep his other two singers Nelson Eddy and Allan Jones in line. In fact Eddy and Mayer did not get along and Jones would be leaving MGM the following year. Gorin is in fine voice, but did not have much screen presence and has very few spoken lines. I don’t think that was an accident.

Broadway Melody of 1938 is one of MGM’s best musicals from the Thirties and how can you not like a film with as much talent as this one is loaded with.   Review by bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York for the IMDb.

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: Eleanor Powell and Robert Taylor posing for some photos on the set; Robert Taylor on the set.

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Left to right: Celebrating Sophie Tucker’s birthday.

 

 

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An Emergency Comes to a Mountain Cabin

This is from a 1950s movie magazine. I don’t know which one.  If it’s true, it’s a look into movie making back then.

Notified that he’d star in a modern story, Irwin Shaw’s 32nd Day, (it’s about pilots flying between France and North Africa) Bob Taylor was jubilant. “I don’t have to run around in a clanking suit of armor or in buckskin and coonskin hats.” (Taylor clanks in Quentin Durward and wears buckskin in The Last Hunt.) It’s been a jubilant year for Taylor anyway, since he became a father in June, and the father of a son, at that.  (Barbara Stanwyck, his ex-wife, was among the many who wrote to congratulate Bob on this joyous event.)  In August, right after he would up The Last Hunt, Bob set out for Buffalo, Wyoming, with the whole family in tow.  The Taylors have a ranch and a mountain cabin there and Robert figured to play with the new baby and get in some pheasant shooting, too. He, Ursula and the kids had no sooner got settled down in Wyoming, when he got an emergency call from Hollywood.  They needed him to re-record one line of dialogue for Quentin Durward.  Reporter Joe Hyams, discovering that the line of dialogue contained twenty words, and that the trip between Buffalo and Hollywood was 1200 miles, wrote that Bob, upon returning to his vacation lodge, had put in “more than 100 miles of flight for every word he recorded.”  Terrence Taylor, incidentally, the boy born to Bob and Ursula one day before Father’s Day, was a plenty healthy specimen, weighing in at seven pounds, eight ounces, and he’s picked up a-plenty since.  Ursula’s two children by an earlier marriage, Manuela and Michael, adore the baby as much as they adore their new pop, which is quite a lot. MGM promised him a long vacation and his friend Gov. Joe Foss of South Dakota is joining him for pheasant shooting.

Other photos that seem to be from the same shoot:

 

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Ivanhoe, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on August 31 (USA)

Ivanhoe, 1952, is playing on Turner Classic Movies at 12 noon est on August 31. 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.

RT4867

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:

ustinovRT45941952
Left to right: Mr. Taylor and Peter Ustinov; waiting; with unknown person.

RT7290RT3723RT1852
Left to right: with Joan Fontaine who played Rowena; with Ms. Fontaine and director Richard Thorpe.

RT3296the (69)RT7855
Left to right: with Elizabeth Taylor; with Liz and Emlyn Williams

RT3292RT3294
Left to right: with George Sanders and Liz Taylor; with Liz Taylor.

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