Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, Is Playing on TCM on March 18 (USA)

According to reports Turner Classic Movies will be playing a 48 hour tribute to Robert Osborne on March 18 and 19.  Therefore it is likely that this will not play.

Many Rivers To Cross, 1955, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday March 18 at 8:45 a.m. est.  Closed Captioned.  This outrageous farce is one of my favorites–tremendous performances from both of the leads.

 

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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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A Gracious Letter from Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor

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United States Lines

S.S. America

To the Crew of the S.S. America

1947-ship

Viewing presents aboard ship.

This is to thank each and every one of you for the wonderful trip on board your S.S. America.

The food was excellent and we enjoyed your fine services.

We shall look forward to sailing with you again  in the not too distant future.    Good luck to all of you.

Sincerely, (signed)

Barbara Stanwyck

Robert Taylor

April 3/47

This letter dates from the transatlantic cruise Taylor and Stanwyck made in April of 1947.  Barbara said in an interview that it was really their honeymoon since they hadn’t had one when they actually got married.  It turned out to be a difficult trip and didn’t help to solidify the already rocky marriage.

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Party Girl, 1958, Is Playing on TCM on March 8 (USA)

Party Girl, 1958, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, March 8, at 4:15 p.m. est.  Closed captioned.  (Now Playing magazine)

On the set of Party Girl

Cyd Charisse and Robert Taylor in Party Girl.

Nicolas Ray uses color in this movie like some directors use dialogue. It is spectacular to look at with reds and blacks predominate all through the film. It is old-fashioned in it’s appeal to the film noir lover. This is the last film Robert Taylor did for MGM, and it is a great performance. The character of Tommy Farrell is, if you excuse the pun, tailor made for Taylor. Again he is the man with a secret past, as he has been in other film noir classics such as the High Wall, and Rogue Cop, two of his better roles. He is a mob attorney who is drawn to the “fastest way,” which in this case is working for Rico Angelo (Lee J Cobb). Cobb is always wonderful to watch and his role here is one of overstated ignorance, and brutal power. Tommy walks with a limp due to a childhood accident, and hates women because of his ex-wife’s repulsion of his crookedness. She destroyed his masculinity, by denying him access to both her bed and her love. He meets Vicki, played well by Cyd Charisse, at a party given by Angelo, takes her home to find her room mate dead in a bloody tub scene. He is drawn to her, but chases her away telling her “a girl deserves what she can get,” after Vicki wants him to return money given to her by John Ireland at the party.

She follows him to court and watches as he uses his limp to get sympathy from the jury, freeing murderer Ireland. His unique approach also includes the use of an old simple watch that he tells the jury was given to him by his father while he was in the hospital as a boy. It is the secret to his success with the jury. She tells him if that is what he wants “pity” then he has hers. He snarls at her telling her to get out. Afterwards he goes to the club where she is a dancer, every night finally taking her home, and telling her about his past with the wife. They fall in love and that is the beginning of the end for Farrell. She wants him to quit, he can’t. He does go to Europe to have his hip fixed and they vacation, until Rico summons him back to Chicago. There is finds that Rico has a job for him, defending a young gangster who Farrell refers to as a “dog with the rabies.” He tries to leave only to find that Rico will disfigure Vickie if he doesn’t go along. Reluctantly he agrees and in the pursuit there is a massive machine gunning down of the young gangster and his associates.

Farrell escapes unharmed, and goes to Vicki, telling her they must run. She refuses, and the cops take them both to jail. In the end he rats on Rico to save Vicki, he thinks, until he is taken to a broken down meeting hall, where Rico presents Vicki to him, wrapped in bandages. They unveil her still perfect face, but also a bottle of acid, which Rico tells Tommy he will use if he doesn’t take back the testimony. The cops were tipped where to find Rico, and they attack the hall with a hail of bullets causing Rico to tip the acid on his own face, falling to his death through a plate glass window. Vicki and Farrell leave, meeting the District Attorney on the way, with Farrel giving his watch to Kent Smith, “as a remembrance.”

The wonderful thing about this performance by Taylor is that his looks only add to the sadness of the character, his blue eyes showing the conflict within this man. Still magnificent to look at we feel for his plight with the crooked body, not be able to love again until Charisse loves him as is. Taylor is just great here, a mature, restrained Tommy Farrell, in love at last but conflicted about his job, and how he gets his money. A must see film noir. Revew by Mamalv, United States for the IMDB.

Some behind-the-scenes photos:

Off-Stage Star: The cameraman catches Robert Taylor during some "away from the camera moments" on the set of "Party Girl." The film, which stars Taylor, Cyd Charisse and Lee J. Cobb, is a Euterpe production produced by Joe Pasternak for MGM release. Nicholas Ray directed. (original caption).********: Taylor Robert. Rome, Leonia Celli Collection*** Permission for usage must be provided in writing from Scala.19581958
Left to right: Off-Stage Star: The cameraman catches Robert Taylor during some “away from the camera moments” on the set of “Party Girl.” The film, which stars Taylor, Cyd Charisse and Lee J. Cobb, is a Euterpe production produced by Joe Pasternak for MGM release. Nicholas Ray directed. (original caption); Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse.

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Robert Taylor, Cyd Charise, Leon Alton and Herb Armstrong.

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His Brother’s Wife, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on March 7 (USA)

His Brother’s Wife, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday March 7 at 9:15 a.m. est.  Closed Captioned.  Mr. Taylor was actually a fan of roller coasters and often dragged Ms. Stanwyck off to ride them with him.

RT6346Folks, this one is from 1936 so we have to take it for what it is. During the early years of talkies, Hollywood came up with some very interesting tales to tell. His Brother’s Wife is one of them. Robert Taylor plays the younger brother to the brother that Barbara Stanwyck marries in retaliation for Taylor’s going into the depths of the Jungle to find a cure for some god-awful plague. Confusing? It is? Confusing and almost silly. Yet, there is a touch of that old classic film magic that makes it a delight to watch.

There is something about the on-screen chemistry between Taylor and Stanwyck, (most likely springing from their real life romance), that makes you keep watching. The scenes between the two stars make the whole twisted tale worth sitting through.

Now, don’t be fooled, there are many more films that have plots that are more contrived than His Brother’s Wife, but there is something about the jump from New York, to the Jungle, and then back to New York, then to the Jungle again, that makes this film a little more silly than most. But, lets face it, if you choose to watch this film you are doing so all for the man with the perfect profile’s smile (Robert Taylor) and The Ball of Fire’s spunk (Barbara Stanwyck).

All and all this is a fun film to watch. It by no means is predictable–most likely due to the fact that the plot is out of this world.

Enjoy. I did. Review by movieblue from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the imdb.

RT6586My take: His Brother’s Wife is the first film in which Mr. Taylor and Ms. Stanwyck co-starred.  Their real life relationship was in its early stages and the love scenes are quite convincing.  Although this film can’t decide whether it wants to be a light hearted love story or a serious medical drama, the uncritical viewer can enjoy it a lot.

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The Tragedy of Time

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Why did they kill Robert Taylor’s show before you had a chance to see it?  What will this disaster mean to a man who, after thirty years as a star, is as broke as ever. by Cindy Adams I have … Continue reading

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Waterloo Bridge, 1940, Is Playing on TCM on March 2 (USA)

Waterloo Bridge, 1940, Is Playing on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, March 2, at 1:15 p.m. est.  Closed Captioned.  This was both Robert Taylor’s and Vivien Leigh’s favorite film.  Waterloo Bridge cost  $1,164,000.00 to make and made a profit of  $491,000.00.

????Robert Taylor was an inspired choice for the role… Not only does he have an imposing screen presence, but he brings the perfect mix of enlightenment, humor, compassion and emotion to the part…

Opposite him, Oscar Winner Vivien Leigh, perfect in her innocent lovely look, radiantly beautiful, specially that evening in a trailing white chiffon gown… Leigh floods her role with personal emotion giving her character a charismatic life of its own… As a great star, she delivers a heartfelt performance turning her character into a woman who undergoes an emotional awakening…

In this sensitive motion picture, Mervyn LeRoy captures all the tenderness and moving qualities… He makes every small thing eloquent, concentrating the highly skilled efforts of many technicians on the telling of a very simple bittersweet love story… Vivien Leigh paints a picture that few men will be able to resist… Her performance captures the audience to the point of complete absorption… Robert Taylor (carrying sympathy all the way) quietly throws all his vitality as an ambitious actor into the task… Their film, a credit to both, is a heavily sentimental tale about the vagaries of wartime…

Love is the only thing this movie is about… The story is simple: Myra Lester (Leigh) is a frail creature, an innocent young ballet dancer and Roy Cronin (Taylor) is an aristocratic British army officer… When their eyes met it took no time at all for their hearts to feel the loving call… They meet on London’s Waterloo Bridge during an air raid, and fall deeply in love… Their romance is sublime, and they soon agree to marry…

The lover’s marriage has to be postponed when the handsome officer is suddenly called to the front… Sadly, the sweet ballerina misses her performance to see her captain off at Waterloo Station… Fired from the troupe, she is joined by her loyal friend, Virginia Field (Kitty Meredith), and the two vainly try to find work, finally sinking into poverty and the threatening fear that goes with it…

The film is replete with beautiful and poignant scenes, specially the ‘Auld Lang Syne’ waltz scene in the Candlelight Club, before Taylor leaves for France…

Seen today, Waterloo Bridge has retained all its charm and power, all its rich sentiment, and tragic evocations…  Review by Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico for the IMDB.

RT7451Some behind the scenes photos:

circa 1940: British actors Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) and Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) entertaining millionaire Sir Victor Sassoon on the set of 'Waterloo Bridge', a Metro Goldwyn Mayer film in which Leigh is currently starring. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)RT6277RT3894
Left to right: Vivien Leigh, Sir Victor Sassoon, Laurence Olivier; Director Mervyn LeRoy, Ms. Leigh, Mr. Taylor: Mr. Taylor, Mr. LeRoy, Ms. Leigh

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Left to right: Robert Taylor, Vivien Leigh; Mr. Taylor; Ms. Leigh, Mr. LeRoy, Mr. Taylor

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Three Comrades, 1938, Is Playing on TCM on February 27 (USA)

Three Comrades, 1938, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday, February 27 at 6:45 a.m. est.  Closed Captioned.

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Margaret Sullavan, Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young.

New York Times Review (summary):  Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Three Comrades represented one of the few successful screenwriting efforts of  F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set  in Germany in the years just following World War I, the film stars Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young as three battle-weary, thoroughly disillusioned returning soldiers. The three friends pool their savings and open an auto-repair shop, and it is this that brings them in contact with wealthy motorist Lionel Atwill–and with Atwill’s lovely travelling companion Margaret Sullavan.  Taylor begins a romance with Sullavan, who soon joins the three comrades, making the group a jovial, fun-seeking foursome Though Sullavan suffers from tuberculosis (her shady past is only alluded to), she is encouraged by her male companions to fully enjoy what is left of her life. This becomes increasingly difficult when one of the comrades, Young, is killed during a political riot (it’s a Nazi riot, though not so-labelled by ever-careful MGM). In the end, the four comrades are only two in number, with nothing but memories to see them through the cataclysmic years to come. Despite its Hollywoodized bowdlerization of the Remarque original, Three Comrades remains a poignant, haunting experience. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Some promotional material:

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