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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Knights of the Round Table, 1953, Is Playing on TCM on February 14 (USA)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day. Knights of the Round Table, 1953, the love story of Lancelot and Guinevere, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday, February, 14 at 2:00 p.m. est.  Closed captioned.

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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Ava Gardner and Robert Taylor in “Knights of the Round Table.”

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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Robert Taylor Trivia: S.A. Brugh, Murder Suspect

estleman-2Loren Estleman’s Brazen is the latest of his Valentino Hollywood mystery series.  In this excellent read, one of the suspects is calling himself S. A. Brugh.  I won’t say any more so as not to ruin the mystery.

There is a mistake in the book, though.  Mr. Estleman says that Jerry Lewis’ original name was Joe Yule, Jr.  That, of course, was Mickey Rooney’s original name.

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The Gorgeous Hussy, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on February 10 (USA)

The Gorgeous Hussy, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, February 10 at 1:00 pm est.  Closed captioned.  It’s a story about Washington D.C. It’s about dirty tricks,sleazy operatives, scurrilous personal attacks and lies. The 2016 election?  No, The Gorgeous Hussy.

Robert Taylor & Joan in "The Gorgeous Hussy," (Photo colorized)

Robert Taylor & Joan Crawford in “The Gorgeous Hussy,” (Photo colorized)

The story centers around Peggy O’Neill, Joan Crawford, an innkeeper’s daughter called“Pothouse Peg,” for her politics and her men. The men are a list of Metro’s best—Robert Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Franchot Tone, Melvyn Douglas and Lionel Barrymore. Robert Taylor dominates the first quarter of the picture with his enormous energy, his playfulness, his rapport with Crawford and his skin-tight costume. Taylor even sings and dances.

After Bow Timberlake’s (Taylor’s) heroic off screen death, things settle down. Andrew Jackson (Barrymore) dominates every scene he’s in. Beulah Bondi, as Rachel Jackson, is equally good. She won an Oscar nomination for her role. Joan Crawford is usually criticized for appearing in an historical picture because RT2329she was too “modern.” Here she handles her costumes beautifully, using her skirts to express a range of emotions. While her acting is fine, she is overwhelmed by the male contingent.

Franchot Tone, Crawford’s husband at the time, is quietly effective as Peg’s second husband John Eaton. Melvyn Douglas brings strength and intelligence to his role as Virginian John Randolph. Jimmy Stewart is wasted as Peg’s failed suitor. The Gorgeous Hussy is fun, sometimes moving and a reminder that political behavior wasn’t all that different in the 1820s.  Review by me for the IMDB.

Some behind the scenes photos:

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Left right: Joan Crawford serves ice cream to Robert Taylor; Mr. Taylor laughing; a close shave.

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Left to right: Ms. Crawford and Mr. Taylor; Mr. Taylor and Ms. Crawford playing parchesi; Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Robert Taylor, Joan Crawford, Melvin Douglas and Franchot Tone.

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Left to right: Joan Crawford and friend Barbara Stanwyck; Jimmy Stewart,  Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda.

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Flight Command, 1940, Is Playing on TCM on February 8 (USA)

Flight Command, 1940, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, February 8 at 12 noon.  Closed captioned. This is the film that got Robert Taylor hooked on flying.  Mr. Taylor started taking flying lessons right away.  His devotion to flying was so intense that Barbara Stanwyck, his wife, felt neglected.

 RT1455Lots of fun. Wells Root and Commander Harvey Haislip penned this screenplay from an original story Haislip also co-authored about an eager Naval Flight School cadet (Robert Taylor) in Pensacola flying solo out to Southern California to join Hellcat Fighters who have just lost one of their beloved teammates; he makes a colorful entrance (having to ditch his plane and parachute into the ocean because of fog!) and finds an early friend in a somewhat-emotional woman…the Skipper’s wife! Camaraderie between the pilots on the ground is enjoyably written and played, with Taylor’s charming self-assurance an interesting dynamic within the group (he isn’t cocky, he’s careful–though anxious to fit in). Subplot with Ruth Hussey’s lonesome wife is soapy yet surprisingly skillful, while the aerial maneuvers are nicely photographed. An extra bonus: Red Skelton as a joshing lieutenant…and Walter Pidgeon looking younger than I have ever seen him.  Review by monspinner55 on IMDB

Some more photos.  Ruth Hussey and Walter Pigeon appear in some of them:

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Camille, 1936, Is Playing on TCM on February 5 (USA)

Camille, 1936, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on February 5 at 1.45 pm est. Closed captioned.   This is the best romantic movie ever and you can watch it before the Super Bowl!

???? This film further proves that the assembly-line system of Hollywood studios back then should also be taken seriously in terms of artistry. Just because movies were produced run-of-the-mill doesn’t mean that they weren’t paid critical attention to by their makers. The usual impression on studio-era Hollywood is: take a formulaic narrative style, maybe adapt a stage play for the screen, blend in a handful of stars from the stable and the films rake in the profit at the box office. Not quite, that’s the easy perception. George Cukor, another of those versatile directors, made it apparent with Camille that filmmaking as an art may still flourish despite (and even within) certain parameters. Camille is beautiful, in so many respects. And it’s not just because of Greta Garbo.

Sure, the acting is amazing, the casting is perfect. Garbo is luminous, mysterious, cruel, and weak at the same time. Robert Taylor surrenders himself to be the heartbreakingly young and vulnerable Armand. Henry Daniell’s coldness and sadism is utterly human and familiar. The others are just plain wonderful. The writing contains so much wit and humor, devotion and pain – but it never overstates anything. The rapport and tensions between lovers, friends, and enemies are palpable and consistent. The actions flow so naturally, just like every scene, that checking for historical inconsistencies seem far beside the point.

There is so much that I love about Camille that it’s hard to enumerate them all, but with every little discovery comes the realization that this is “but” a studio production, so it makes the experience more exquisite. Camille is a gentle, poignant romantic movie that, like Garbo, takes its place delicately and self-effacingly in the history of American cinema, but makes itself indelible in the heart and mind of the lovelorn individual viewer. Review by tsarevna for the IMDb.

Some behind-the scenes-from Camille.

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RT649019361936He also plays baseball-in costume on the set.

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Making Marguerite’s Dresses:

RT7386936: A dressmaker working on one of Greta Garbo's dresses for the MGM film 'Camille' which were designed by Adrian. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)circa 1936: Seamstresses working on a dress to


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He Said, She Said Part One: Stanwyck on Taylor

This gallery contains 8 photos.

A movie magazine published both articles around 1947.  They are as told to Gladys Hall.  How much is real, I don’t know.  But they are fun. Barbara Stanwyck on Robert Taylor Oh brother, can you sleep!  Not criticism, this.  Envy, … Continue reading

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