Undercurrent, 1946, Is Playing on TCM on June (USA)

Undercurrent, 1946, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, June 7 at 11:45 a.m. est.  Closed captioned.

Director Vincente Minneli said of Undercurrent : He [Robert Taylor] out acted her [Katharine Hepburn] and stole the picture as the demanding and sadistic husband.  It was Kate who was miscast. (Charles Tranberg, Robert Taylor: a Biography, BearManor Media, 2011, pages 176-177.) 

abcAll of the criticisms of this movie might well be flushed down the loo. This is one powerhouse of an interesting movie.  Call it Film-Noir. Call it Mystery/Suspense. Call it Psychological Thriller. Call it what you may…I call it: absorbing drama.  It moves very deliberately…and the facts are revealed one by one, in true mystery fashion, until the fantastic, thrilling ending.

Those who say that Hepburn and Mitchum were miscast are just so wrong. Hepburn wasn’t playing Hepburn here…she wasn’t Tracy Lord here. She wasn’t a know-it-all New England uppity snob here. Not a worldly character at all. She played a different character than I’ve ever seen her do. Hepburn doesn’t rely on her stable of clichés to capture our imagination here. She does it with imagination and as few of the Hepburn cornerstone mannerisms as possible. Good result!

Und23 (10)Robert Taylor is fascinating to watch. He has so many secrets in this role. And they reside behind his facade for us to watch and enjoy. He slowly swirls into controlled mania and desperate determination. Very fine, indeed. He should have been nominated for this one.

And then there’s Mitchum! What can one say about Mitchum without gushing foolishly. Gee whiz…the first time you see him…he shows us a side of him we have hardly ever seen! He seems at peace, mild in character, mellow in mood…pensive…other worldly. Likable even! Never gruff or abrasive like we’ve seen him so many times before.

What is unique about this story is that we really do not know what is going to happen next. We spend most of the movie residing in Hepburn’s character’s mind. Her wondering, her confusion, her search for the truth — at all costs.

I was expecting not to like this movie. I was expecting it to be another formulaic Hepburn vehicle about high society. But this is where this movie takes a left turn into an underrated mystery.  I enjoyed the use of the theme to the Third Movement of Johannes Brahms’ Third Symphony throughout the movie. RT677It lent a delicious air of mystery, love and luscious pastoral passion to the whole affair.

And to say that Vincente Minnelli was WRONG for this movie? Gee whiz! He was perfect! Why compare him to Hitchcock? Minnelli has manufactured a mystery world all his own. Sure there are devices. All movies have devices. But they are handled so deftly…we don’t rely on them to make us aware of the story — they don’t get in our way. They heighten our interest and this very absorbing plot.

Well done. I wish it had been a longer movie…it was THAT kind of movie. I recommend this one…Review by Enrique Sanchez, Miami, FL for the IMDB.

Some behind the scenes photos:


Left to right: Katharine Hepburn, Robert Taylor, Karl Freund; Ms. Hepburn & Mr. Taylor; Ms. Hepburn, Mr.  Taylor, Mr. Freund; Mr. Taylor.


Left to right: Robert Taylor with Crew Members; Mr. Taylor, Robert Mitchum, Mr. Minelli;  Ms. Hepburn, Mr. Taylor & 2 others.

1946
Left to right: Ms. Hepburn and others; Mr. Minelli and Mr. Taylor; Ms. Hepburn, Mr. Minelli, Mr. Taylor.


Left to right: Ms. Hepburn, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Freund; Mr. Taylor and Cinematographer Karl Freund.

Back home..and happy, Robert Taylor, back at MGM and before the cameras again after 3 years as an officer in Navy, finds huge satisfaction relaxing between scenes of his first postwar picture, Undercurrent. During such moments away from the camera, he likes the pickup of cup coffee. (original caption)

 

 

 

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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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5 Responses to Undercurrent, 1946, Is Playing on TCM on June (USA)

  1. All the stars were cast against “type” & performed well, but the mystery was all over for me when Hepburn’s dog didn’t like Taylor (old cliche used here), I was absolutely fascinated by the way he seemed to stay on that horse at the end. Did not look like a stunt double was used.

  2. Hi, Dianne. Mr. Taylor liked to do his own horse work so you could be right. It’s nice to hear from you. Judith

  3. Fulvia says:

    Very good the picture of Mr.Taylor and Mrs. Hepturn.

  4. I’m glad you like it.

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