WEIRDLAND: "This is My Affair" starring Barbara Stanwyck & Robert Taylor

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"This is My Affair" starring Barbara Stanwyck & Robert Taylor



"This Is My Affair" (1937), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, was originally intended to be about the McKinley assassination; then the career of the detective Allan Pinkerton; and then the sinking of the Maine. It ended up a romantic secret agent saga called The McKinley Case from a story by Melville Crossman, a.k.a. Darryl F. Zanuck, set at the turn of the century in the midwestern United States. Zanuck used it to write a story about the young nation’s stability being threatened by a gang of bank robbers, about President McKinley enlisting the help of a young naval officer (Taylor) in a secret mission to find the robbers, with those in government believed to be involved. Barbara was the nightclub singer implicated in the plot.

Barbara believed that friendship was more powerful than love, that when one reached the heights of romantic love,there was no place to go but back, but with friendship there was a goal that could never be completely attained. It could be built upon by years of devotion, but it was always possible to intensify it; friendship grew with the years, “while love can only lose,” she said. She believed her friendship with Bob could withstand the inevitable loss of the passionate nature of their love. “If you could fall in love with your best friend,” she said, “I suppose such a marriage would come as close to perfection as marriage can come.”

Barbara was wary of marriage, even in her present state of happiness. Bob’s idea of marriage was based on his memory of his parents’ love for each other. He wanted a married life to be as happy and loving as theirs had been. “I’m finding it a little difficult,” said Barbara, “to keep from being skeptical that such marvelous happiness can last—but I’ll try not to tempt Fate.” -"A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940" (2013) by Victoria Wilson

-Q: You did an amazing job showing Robert Taylor's personal growth throughout his lifetime. Whether it be because of the domineering personalities of his mother and Louis B. Mayer, I had the feeling Taylor didn't really have the opportunity to sew his oats and enjoy a true adolescence until the time of his marriage to Barbara Stanwyck. Was it this relationship more than other life experiences which helped Taylor evolve most finally reaching a point in his life where he truly was comfortable in his own skin?

-Linda Alexander: That’s exactly what I intended. If a biography simply lists facts, basically a chronological recitation of stats, it’s too easy. When I read a life story, I want to find out what make that person tick, and that’s what I wanted to do with Taylor. Putting pieces together, it became evident to me that he never really had a childhood. He’d never been allowed to as you put it, sow his wild oats. He wasn’t even allowed to really play with children when he was young, and even when he developed friendships in later school years, they were metered, adult-like. It was only a few years later when he was under contract to MGM and while everything was offered to him, he was carefully monitored by Louis B. Mayer and as someone who lived to that point as a rule-follower, it never crossed his mind to do much otherwise. Marrying Barbara Stanwyck was, again, a move of self-control, in my opinion.

-She was a dominant figure and helped him learn the ropes of Hollywood, expecting his love and loyalty, and in some ways obedience, in return. He grew up while he was married to her and the result was that they no longer fit. It wasn’t that he didn’t love her. He truly loved her. Yet he had become his own man, finally, and it was something of an epiphany for him that he could run his own life, and he enjoyed doing so. Source: immortalepherema.com

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