Tuesday, November 19, 2013
A video featuring stills and photos of Robert Taylor, his co-stars: Eleanor Powell & June Knight ("Broadway Melody of 1936"), Vivien Leigh ("A Yank at Oxford", "Waterloo Bridge"), Lana Turner ("Johnny Eager), Greer Garson ("Remember?"), Audrey Totter ("High Wall), Ava Gardner ("The Bribe", "Ride Vaquero", "Knights of the Round Table"), Deborah Kerr ("Quo Vadis), Eleanor Parker ("Above and Beyond", "Many Rivers to Cross"), Elizabeth Taylor ("Conspirator", "Ivanhoe"), Cyd Charisse ("Party Girl"), Nicole Maurey & Linda Christian ("The House of the Seven Hawks"), Tina Louise ("The Hangman"), Dana Wynter ("D-Day The Sixth of June"), Jean Harlow ("Personal Property"), Hedy Lamarr ("Lady of the Tropics"), Maureen O'Sullivan ("The Crowd Roars", "A Yank at Oxford"), Dorothy Malone ("Tip on a Dead Jockey"), Esther Williams ("A Guy Named Joe"), Janet Leigh ("Rogue Cop"), Marilyn Maxwell ("Stand by for Action"), Virginia Bruce ("Times Square Lady"), Arlene Dahl ("Ambush"), Katharine Hepburn ("Undercurrent"), Florence Rice ("Stand Up and Fight"), Glenda Farrell & Patricia Dane ("Johnny Eager"), Janet Gaynor ("Small Town Girl"), Joan Crawford ("The Gorgeous Hussy"), Myrna Loy ("Lucky Night"), Norma Shearer ("Escape"), Irene Dunne ("Magnificent Obsession"), Barbara Stanwyck ("My Brother's Wife", "This is My Affair"), Denise Darcel ("Westward the Women"), Loretta Young ("Private Number"), Greta Garbo ("Camille"), Margaret Sullavan ("Three Comrades"), Ann Blyth ("All the Brothers Were Valiant"), Helen Twelvetrees ("Times Square Lady"), Julie London ("Saddle the Wind"), etc. Also pictures of Ursula Thiess (Robert Taylor's second wife), son Terry Taylor and daughter Tessa 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.
Darryl F. Zanuck wanted Gene to play the part of Ellen Berent. This was a role much different from any she had ever played before. The personality of Ellen was a long way from the real life personality of Gene Tierney. The part of Ellen called for Gene to play the bitchy, psychotic wife of Cornel Wilde's character, Richard Harland.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
A video featuring stills and photos of Robert Taylor, his co-stars: Eleanor Powell, Barbara Stanwyck, June Knight, Vivien Leigh, Lana Turner, Audrey Totter, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, Eleanor Parker, Elizabeth Taylor, Cyd Charisse, Nicole Maurey, Linda Christian, Jean Harlow, Maureen O'Sullivan, Greer Garson, Dorothy Malone, Norma Shearer, Esther Williams, Julie London, Margaret Sullavan, Arlene Dahl, Hedy Lamarr, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Glenda Farrell, Janet Gaynor, Myrna Loy, Denise Darcel, etc. and family (wives Barbara Stanwyck and Ursula Thiess, son Terry and daughter Tessa Taylor). Soundtrack: "My Memories of You" by Hank Snow, "Paradise" by Helen Forrest, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra, "Our Love Can Still Be Saved" by Jeff Barry, and "My Ideal" by Artie Shaw.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Bob’s arrival in New York on August 19, 1937, in preparation for his leaving for Europe, was met by screaming fans and a sneering press corp. They tried again with, “Would you rather be brainy or beautiful?” in which he replied, “I haven’t much choice in the matter.” He then did something he would do throughout his career: downplay his own talent. “You know I’m really lucky to be where I am. All I play is straight stuff—I’m not much of an actor, you know.” And (as usual) he was asked about Barbara. “She calls me Bob —and I call her Boobs. That’s all I can say about it now.” By the time he returned to the United States in mid-December he was ready to come home. He and other cast members departed on the Queen Mary. When the ship arrived in New York, he met the press wearing candy-striped pajamas and a stubble. One reporter got a little tough. “Come on, Taylor, Let’s get this thing settled. Did you or did you not say you were beautiful?” Bob handled that with aplomb. “I’ll ask you one. Would a man say that about himself? Would you?” Lionel Barrymore, also on board, came to Bob’s defense. “Bob is a fine lad. He has no vanity at all.”
The summer months of 1938 came to a close with Hollywood being targeted by Washington for political fodder, with Bob, among others, at the center of the controversy. Robert Taylor was anything but a Communist supporter, socialist, liberal, or Democrat. A former member of the Boy Scouts of America and the Order of DeMolay, Taylor, foursquare Republican and patriot, like Barbara, was anti-Roosevelt and anti–New Deal, raised a Nebraska heartland Methodist from a long line of Methodists and German Baptists and, like his mother, didn’t trust Catholics, Jews, or Italians. (from "A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940" by Victoria Wilson)
Bob told reporters that he had wanted to make a Western ever since he began working in films. “In fact, if I had my choice I’d never have done anything else. Bill Hart and Tom Mix were my earliest film idols. When I was a kid I would see their films over and over again. One day I took my lunch to the movie theatre and stayed through nine showings of a Mix picture.” He also was so taken with Arizona that he said he is considering buying a ranch there. “I want a practical cattle ranch and the more acreage the better.”
Bob’s testimony in October is remembered primarily today because he “named names” of people who he suspected might be Communists. What is forgotten about his testimony is that it differed somewhat from his testimony in Los Angeles the previous May in one important respect. He softened the assertion that he had been pressured to make Song of Russia. Was Bob saying that Howard Da Silva was a Communist? No, he clearly states that he is somebody who "always seems to have something to say at the wrong time."