Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, Is Playing on TCM on July 8 (USA)

Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday July 8 at 2:3 est.  Closed Captioned.  This outrageous farce is one of my favorites–tremendous performances from both of the leads.

This wonderful rollicking comedy set in the early days of the republic, roughly sometime in the Federalist era had to take its inspiration from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers from the year before. In fact two of the brothers, Jeff Richards and Russ Tamblyn are featured in Many Rivers to Cross.

The surprise to me in this film is Robert Taylor. At the time he did this film Taylor had been doing dramatic parts for many years. He did some comedy roles in his early days at MGM, but they were the modern sophisticated sort of stuff.

Robert Taylor is Bushrod Gentry, a frontier trapper who’s a pretty fancy free and footloose sort of character very much like Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. But while it was Howard Keel who was looking for a wife in that film, here it’s the woman who does the chasing and it’s the woman who comes from a pretty frisky frontier family herself. Eleanor Parker is Federalist era Calamity Jane who takes a real shine to Taylor.

Of course she pursues Taylor through out the film, try as he may to get back to his trapping. Their last escape from some pursuing Shawnee Indians is an absolute comic riot.

Good as Taylor and Parker are, Many Rivers to Cross almost cries for a song or two other than the theme about the Berry Tree. In a musical I could have seen Howard Keel and Doris Day doing it easily.

In any event I’m sure that when Taylor and Parker settle down and commence to having children that they were the ancestors a hundred years later of that Pontipee clan in the Pacific Northwest.  Review by bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York for the IMDb.

Some behind-the-scenes photos:


Left to right: Newlyweds Ursula and Robert Taylor; getting bullwhip instruction from Abel Fernandez(?); with co-star Eleanor Parker.


Left to right: with Katie the dog and the picture’s original caption; with director Roy Rowland.

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Knights of the Round Table, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on July 11

Knights of the Round Table, 1953, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday, July 11 at 12:45 a.m. est.

The film was highly successful costing $2,616,000.00 and making a profit of $1,641,000.00 or $14,536,985.95 in today’s money.

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Mel Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Stanley Baker, Anne Crawford, Felix Aylmer, Robert Taylor and Maureen Swanson.

This is a fine example of ’50’s style epics. Big name cast, colorful costumes,flashy swordplay, beautiful damsels and wild inaccuracies. The great Robert Taylor, who starred in several historical movies, is the honorable Sir Lancelot, a far more noble and pure portrayal than was recorded in all the legends, Ava Gardner is the stunningly beautiful Queen Guinevere, the ever dependable Felix Aylmer is the mysterious Merlin, Mel Ferer is a somewhat subdued and less than charismatic King Arthur. See it for the spectacle, costumes, word-play filled dialog and over the top Stanley Baker as Sir Mordred. Lancelot’s joust with Niall Mac Ginnis is very well done. 8 stars for pure eye filling entertainment value. Review by Wayner50 (United States) for the IMDB.

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left to right: phoning; photos; coffee; Mr. Taylor with Stanley Baker

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor in armor (which he hated).

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor with Mel Ferrer; Maureen Swanson; waiting for instructions.

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Left to right: Robert Taylor and his co-star and friend and sometime lover Ava Gardner.

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor with Richard Thorpe; taking a break; enjoying a ride on his huge horse.

 

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The Bribe, 1949, Is Playing on TCM on July 3 (USA)

The Bribe, 1949, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday July 3 at 10:15 a.m. est. Closed captioned.  The Bribe has a minimal story but great actors including Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton and Vincent Price.  The chemistry between Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner  is sizzling.  They became lovers during the production and had to go to his mother’s house to make love because they would have been recognized anywhere else.

????“The Bribe” is one of the forties film noir entries, and I love it! Top stars of the era include Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, and Vincent Price. It is a story of an honest cop, Rigby played with remarkable insight, by Robert Taylor, who falls in love with a suspect (Ava Gardner), and can’t make up his mind on if she is guilty or innocent. John Hodiak is the husband, who is a former fly boy turned crook. Charles Laughton is at his sinister best as the “pie shaped man” who is hired by Vincent Price to pay off Rigby. Laughton dogs Rigby, knowing that he is in love with Gardner, till he caves in and decides to take a bribe to save his love. As in many film noir, only Taylor’s last name is used, we never know Rigby’s first name, interesting. Taylor is very convincing as a man torn between love and honor. He is so conflicted, that you feel sorry for him, wishing that Ava would just run away with him before he turns crook himself. She drugs him and makes sure he can’t stop the crooks, but he recovers, and confronts her, not realizing the trouble she is in herself. In the end, love and honor conquer all. There is a spectacular fireworks ending, that is reminiscent of “Ride the Pink Horse.” All in all the love scenes are sincere, probably because Taylor and Gardner were having an affair at the time of filming, despite the fact that Taylor was very married to Barbara Stanwyck. Quintessential film noir. Review by mamalv for IMDB.

Some behind the scenes photos:


Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner rehearsing a beach scene.


Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner


Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner with director Robert Z. Leonard.

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Left to right: Mr. Taylor with Vincent Price; Charles Laughton; John Hodiak


Robert Taylor

 

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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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Fulvia’s Graphic Novel

Robert Taylor fan Fulvia, who lives in Rome, has written a graphic novel about Mr. Taylor.  I have posted it under Fan Art.  The view it, click on Fan Art above.  The text is in Italian but the pictures alone are worth a look.  Enjoy.

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Ivanhoe, 1952, Is Playing on TCM on June 10 (USA) and can be seen on demand until June 17

Ivanhoe, 1952, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday June 10 at 12 noon est. and can be seen on TCM on demand until June 17.

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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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:

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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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Robert Taylor Can’t Remember

A letter from Robert Taylor has recently appeared on eBay.  As usual, he hasn’t included the year but has noted the month and day.

ROBERT TAYLOR

Mr. Taylor looking like he can’t remember (from Lucky Night).

February 4

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Essig—-

When I got back from Webster City last September I had every intention of sending you a picture!

Maybe I did send you one!  For the life of me I can’t seem to remember.

In any case, if I did send you one previously you can tear this one into small pieces.  And my thanx to you for the very pleasant stay I had with you at the Shady Oaks Motel.

See ya again soon I hope.

There is no signature.  This is the actual letter.

 

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