High Wall, 1947, Is Playing on TCM on June 25 (USA)

High Wall, 1947, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday, June 25 at 10:00 a.m. est.  Closed captioned.

1947I highly recommend this film.  Robert Taylor is playing totally against type as an injured war veteran who has a haematoma on his brain that is causing him to act irrationally.  This is so far from the glamorous Taylor we know and love and demonstrates his amazing range as an actor.

High Wall is a departure for Robert Taylor. In the 30’s he portrayed mostly handsome society boys. In 1941 he toughened up his image with Johnny Eager. This is an entirely different path. The lead character, Steven Kenet, has returned from a job flying freight in Asia after his service in WW II. He’s eager to see his wife and displeased to find out she has a job. Kenet is even more displeased when he discovers she is having an affair with her boss. To complicate matters, he has a brain injury and is suffering blackouts and other symptoms. Seeing his wife in her lover’s apartment triggers rage and violence. The wife is dead and Kenet is the only suspect. He confesses and is committed to a mental institution for psychiatric evaluation. The unique thing about the film to me is Taylor’s ability to play vulnerability. Kenet is neither a pretty boy nor a villain. He is a man in torment.

Taylor uses his shoulders beautifully to portray hopelessness. They droop in the scenes where the character is locked in solitary confinement. After his operation they are straight. The confusion on his face when he’s offered an opportunity to see his son at the hospital is masterful as he passes through a range of emotions moving from delight to doubt to anger to confusion. There is a remarkable sequence in which Kenet is dragged off after attacking a visitor. Taylor’s body positions change constantly–this is hardly the “wooden” acting for which he is so often condemned. Another great sequence is his walk up the stairs at the end to see his son. Kenet’s face radiates joy. The camera work is stylish and the chiaroscuro is masterful. This movie was apparently not well received in its time probably because it isn’t the “Robert Taylor” people expected and it is largely forgotten now. It deserves to be remembered. Review by me for the IMDb.

Some behind-the-scenes photos:

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Robert Taylor with co-stars Audrey Totter and  Bobby Hyatt.

 

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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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9 Responses to High Wall, 1947, Is Playing on TCM on June 25 (USA)

  1. Fulvia says:

    Hi Judith,
    I like the photos you posted.

  2. Ciao, Fulvia. I’m glad. Have you seen the movie? Judith

  3. Fulvia says:

    Unfortunately I did not see the movie because here in Italy it does not exist. On Robert Taylor i have many movies in dvd, but some are not found (The Bribe, The high wall, The song of Russia, The killers of Kilimangjaro, Magnificent obsession and others.). This makes me feel annoying because I’m a fan of Robert Taylor and I would like to see all his movies.As I told you there is not a biography about him traslated into italian.

  4. That’s a shame, Fulvia. Maybe things will change in the future. Judith

    • Fulvia says:

      Good news! I bought on Amazon three Dvd of R.Taylor that I missed: one in Italian language((Stand by for Action) and the others two (The bribe and Undercurrent) with subtitles in Italian (better than nothing!).
      Fulvia.

  5. Fulvia. says:

    I hope so. But I know that’s difficult for a maket law. Nobody here is interested in Robert Taylor, unfortunately. Anyway, thank you.

  6. Fulvia says:

    As soon as I have seen them, I’ll let you know my impressions.
    Grazie,
    Fulvia.

    • Fulvia says:

      Ciao, Judith,
      I have seen two movies that came to me with Amazon: The Bribe and Undercurrent.
      The first I liked for inusual part that recited R.T, but, in my opinion, the director of this movie gave too much space to Katherine Hepburn and too little space to him. His character deserved more importance.
      The Bribe, instead, I liked more, especially in the pursuit scene in the middle of the fire works. I’m always convinced that Mr.Taylor was not valuedas he deserved by the directors.
      Fulvia.

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