A Yank at Oxford, 1938, Is Playing on TCM on April 2 (USA)

A Yank at Oxford, 1938, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday April 2 at 6:15 a.m. est.  Closed captioned.

RT6528A Yank at Oxford is one of several films intended to “toughen up” Robert Taylor’s image after his success in a number of boudoir romances. Taylor plays Lee Sheridan, a college boy who has been spoiled rotten by his newspaper owner father, played by Lionel Barrymore. Father Sheridan’s habit of holding the presses for Lee’s latest athletic triumph has only contributed to the boy’s swollen head.

Despite his lack of academic focus, Taylor is offered a place at Oxford. Upon his arrival, he immediately encounters a group of his fellow students, who begin a campaign to humiliate him. He also meets the leading lady, Maureen O’Sullivan.

The rest of the delightful and humorous picture focuses on the relationships among three people: Taylor and O’Sullivan, boyfriend and girlfriend; Taylor and Griffith Jones, his leading tormentor; O’Sullivan and Jones, brother and sister. A nymphomaniac Vivien Leigh adds spice to the mix.

A Yank at Oxford allows Robert Taylor to show that he is not only a fine actor but also a fine athlete. Granted that the script specified that he would always win, Taylor is believable as a runner and as a rower. He can also swim.

O’Sullivan is a charming coed torn between her boyfriend and her loyalty to her brother. Jones and Taylor cover up for one other for different peccadilloes. They evolve from antagonists to teammates to friends. A remarkable scene that deserves special mention concerns the venerable English tradition of “debagging.”

The cast is uniformly good. Taylor looks and acts younger than his twenty-seven years. Jones is one of a fine contingent of British actors including Edmund Gwenn, Robert Coote and Edward Rigby. Lionel Barrymore shines as the older Sheridan. A pre-Scarlett Vivien Leigh is lovely and engaging.

A Yank at Oxford was MGM’s first British-made film. Jack Conway, the American director keeps things moving at a brisk pace. Harold Rosson’s photography has a newsreel-like immediacy. And Oxford, of course, looks wonderful. Review by me for the IMDB.

1938

1938

Some behind the scenes photos:

At Home in England. RT, while appearing in MGM's British Studios' "A Yank at Oxford," made his home at a 15th centur farmhouse near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. There, when hehad any spare time, he lived the lifeof an English county squire.

At Home in England. Robert Taylor, while appearing in MGM’s British Studios’ “A Yank at Oxford,” made his home at a 15th century farmhouse near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. There, when he had any spare time, he lived the life of an English county squire.

Rt and Edmund Gwenn, seen here with Director Jack Conway, discussing a scene of MGM British Studios' "AYaO," in which Maureen O'Sullivan and Lionel have leading roles.

Robert Taylor and Edmund Gwenn, seen here with Director Jack Conway, discussing a scene of MGM British Studios’ “A Yank at Oxford,” in which Maureen O’Sullivan and Lionel Stander have leading roles.

Robert Taylor and British Sculling Champion Ted Phelps during the filming of "A Yank at"Oxford.

RT and British Sculling Champion Ted Phelps during the filming of “A Yank at”Oxford.

Director Jack Conway & producer Michael Balcon with Robert Taylor on the set of film "A Yank at Oxford" filming in England.

Director Jack Conway and producer Michael Balcon with Robert Taylor on set of film “A Yank at Oxford” filming in England.

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Left to right: working out at USC; early in the film.

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Left to right: Maureen O’Sullivan and Mr. Taylor, with William Powell and another man on the set; with Griffith Jones.

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A very cold dip in the Thames (or Isis as it’s called at Oxford).

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During filming.

 

 

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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