Above and Beyond, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on May 26 (USA)

Above and Beyond, 1952 is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, May 26 at 12:30 a.m. est. (which is actually May 27).  Closed captioned.  This is one of several roles for which Robert Taylor should have won an Oscar.  He was outstanding.


Larry Keating and Robert Taylor


Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker

Considering that  Above and Beyond was made during the height of the hysteria now known as McCarthyism, one would have expected a jingoistic flag-waver out of Hollywood. Instead, surprisingly, the screenplay as written allows the Paul Tibbets character (Robert Taylor) the opportunity to register a variety of emotions, in a most realistic and compelling performance.

This is ironic, seeing as the real Tibbets, decades after the event (the bombing of Hiroshima), is to this day unrepentant. Not to criticize his position in any way, because that was a different time and place, and it’s Tibbets’ view that he had a job to do, and the morality of it all, he has stated, is best debated by others.

But the film is all the more compelling because of the ambivalence written into the Tibbets character, and Taylor’s especially fine work. There are uniformly strong performances throughout the cast, notably those of Eleanor Parker (Lucy Tibbets), James Whitmore (the security officer) and Larry Keating (General Brent).

Another surprise: the team of Melvin Frank and Norman Panama (screenplay, direction) had been best known for their Bob Hope comedies, when under contract at Paramount. Their first dramatic effort was “Above and Beyond,” and they acquitted themselves admirably.

Final note: the musical score by Hugo Friedhofer is immensely satisfying: stirring in an emotional sense, with just a touch of, but not too much of, militaristic flavor.

Dore Schary, a Democrat, had succeeded fervent Republican Louis B. Mayer at MGM in 1951, and had encouraged the production of Above and Beyond. One wonders if (a) the film would have been made at all on Mayer’s watch, and (b) if it had, would it have been more of a cornball, John Wayne-type flag-waver. Thankfully, those questions are moot. “Above and Beyond” is a stirring, finely-crafted film. I would stress again the unusual nature of the protagonist’s ambivalence as portrayed in a film made during a very sensitive time in America’s history.  Review by Alan Rosenberg, Toronto, Canada for the imdb.

Note: I don’t agree with some of this reviewer’s comments but I thought the review is worth reading.  Judith

Some behind the scenes photos:

Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker signing autographs for fans.

Left to right: hanging out on the set; lunchtime

More hanging out.


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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26 Responses to Above and Beyond, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on May 26 (USA)

  1. Margaret Gaffney says:

    This is one of my favorite movie starring Robert Taylor which I also agree that he should have gotten an Oscar.

  2. It’s so ridiculous that Mr. Taylor was never even nominated for an Oscar. He should have been for Bataan, Waterloo Bridge, Johnny Eager, High Wall, The Last Hunt, Rogue Cop, to mention a few. Thanks for writing.

    • Fulvia says:

      I also wanted to say that I have often thought about the fact that Mr. Taylor has never been nominated for an Oscar. Why? That’s not fair. I read that critics hated him, but why? There were Actors less good than him who won the Oscar. Upon him, then, there are few biographies, while for Others there are so many texts. Even this fact is unexplainable.

  3. Hi, Fulvia. I think two things are influencing this. The first was his extraordinary good looks. Many people believe that if a man or a woman is beautiful, they can’t be smart or talented, despite the evidence to the contrary. The other thing is that Mr. Taylor was forced to testify before the US Congress in 1947 about communist influence in Hollywood. The left hated what he said and tried to make him a non-person. You can read about it on this blog under HUAC, which stands for House Un-American Activities Committee. Nice to hear from you. Judith

    • Fulvia says:

      Yes, I also think tha one reason was that his beauty. In a man it has always been looked with suspicion (or, perhaps, he refused the homosexual advances of someone very powerful , who was also a politician man. But on the second point, I don’t agree,, because even Donald Reagan testified against communism and Gary Cooper. I am rather convinced that behind there is a boycott caused by personal reasons. But who can tell us more?

  4. Ronald Reagan and others did testify but Mr. Taylor mentioned some names of people, not that they were communists, but that they had been difficult at meetings etc. At the time he was widely applauded but after that the left tried to make him a non person. The fans, of course, continued to love him.

  5. Martha Crawford Cantarini says:

    The average film goer does not understand just how political the awards are. Studios control most
    of it with what films they want to promote. I was making films for many years a member SAG and
    never once got a chance to vote on any film.

  6. Fulvia says:

    Hi, Judith,
    it was a long time since I wanted to talk about a very delicate and involving the family of Mr.Taylor. I, as a sincere fan di R.T., have always been surprised a bit by the silence upon him of his sons, though I understand that when their father disappeared, they were small. Many children of famous actors like him, though, they always remembered their father in many ways. An example? The children of Gregory Peck, who came to Rome to remember their father.

  7. Ciao, Fulvia. Robert Taylor’s children are very private people. His son Terry is a successful businessman living on the east coast of the USA. Tessa lives in Washington state and is also very private. Both of them went to a celebration of their father’s 100th birthday in 2011 in Nebraska and signed autographs and met with fans. Otherwise, like their father, they enjoy not being in the public eye. What I do wish they would do, though, is a film about him for Turner Classic Movies the way Peter and Jane Fonda did for their father. That would be fascinating. Judith

  8. Fulvia says:

    Ciao, Judith. I know I read that children of R.T. are very sensitive, as was their father, and I read that they celebrated the centeneray of his Birth in 2011. However, he was a man and a star so big, perhaps the last true Hollywood star, that would deserve an effort on the part of his sons to be remembered in some way, even with a movie. It would be wonderful.

  9. Yes, Fulvia, it would be wonderful. But I doubt that it is going to happen, and it’s too bad. Judith

    • Fulvia says:

      Yes, it is sad to know that an actor as Robert Taylor not only has never been valued in life but even after his death. I think, if I can express my opinion on it, that his family should have, somehow, to revalue him in all possible ways, overcoming the confidentiality and all other reasons also psychological. This had also to fans of Robert Taylor and even to themselves, because I understand that Mr.Taylor was a great father and that worked until the last for his family. I do not think it absolutely right that R.T. has only two biographies that here in Italy are not even ever exits(Marylin Monroe , that me dont’like, is traslated in Italian language until to the sick). The life of R.T. is very charming(his childhood, his youth) and deserved to be told better, both in books and in a movie.

  10. Ciao, Fulvia. I’m sorry to hear that you can’t get the biographies in Italian. To me, he was not only a great actor and a good man, husband and father, but also incredibly sexy. Marilyn Monroe, in my opinion, wasn’t much of an actress and is only remembered for her sex appeal. should think Italians should enjoy both biographies. Judith

  11. Fulvia says:

    Ciao, Judith. Yes, the two biographies of R.T. have not been translated in Italian Language and even the book by Ursula Thiess. I brought all three at Amazon, in English Language and I read them. But several thinghs are unable to understand them well since my knowledge of English is very limited and, in any case, read a book in the native Language is very different than read it in a foreign Language. No biographer or historian of cinema has never concerned itself with Taylor in Italy. Even here in Italy, R.T. has always been considered more beautiful man than a good actor. Then, the left in its criticism of cinema, boycotted him, because Taylor was considered a right man. But for us who truly admire him, he is not a beautiful man only , but also a very good actor and good in any role.
    Thanks for the long talk and my dearest greetings, prayer to apologize for my English ungrammatical.

  12. Ciao, Fulvia. Don’t worry about your English. It’s a lot better than my Italian. If you have specific questions about things in either biography, I would be glad to answer them. In this country, I think the biographies plus how often his films play on Turner Classic Movies have found Mr. Taylor a new audience. Thanks, as always, for writing. Judith

  13. Fulvia says:

    Thank you, Judith. There are many difficult points on the biographies and maybe ask you something later. I saw “The detectives” when I was a little girl and I remember Mr Taylor. My father say me that Taylor was a great actor and a beatiful man. After, I forgot him because I was in love with Kirk Douglas. My comic story is almost over and I’m proud of it, even if it cost me many hours of work. Now I salute you and send you my best wishes and thanks for your responses!

  14. Ciao, Fulvia. Kirk Douglas????? Just teasing. I would love to read your whole comic story. I have parts of it now. All the best, Judith.

  15. Fulvia says:

    Ciao, Judith. Regarding the history of R.T., it seems to me that you already have 5 episodes. I can send you the others way we-transfer? Or do you prefer with regular email? I miss the latest episode, which I have yet to finish. I hope you’ll understand something of the italian texts. Best wishes.

  16. I’d rather get them by e-mail, if that’s all right with you.

  17. Fulvia says:

    Then, I send you by email, but by many emails.

  18. Grazie mille, Fulvia. I look forward to seeing them. Judith

  19. I’ve seen some of them. I’m thinking about how to put them on the blog, if you want to do that.

    • Fulvia says:

      ciao, Judith.
      It seems to me, from your laconies words, that my work did not like you.
      I have done it because I am fan of R.T. You don’t put it, if you don’t want. Then, nobody goes on the Fan Art.
      Thanks for everything.
      Sincerely, Fulvia.

  20. You misunderstand me, Fulvia. I haven’t had a chance to look at everything but I like what I see. Just please be patient. Judith

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