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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Golden age: Roll call


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#21 TopBilled

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 02:23 AM

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Belfast native Una O’Connor is remembered for her expressive eyes. The stage-trained actress did not begin her career until she was in her early 30s. She learned how to create flesh-and-blood characters in the theater, often with the most minimal script description or direction. This skill would serve her well when she started making movies.
 

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An early sound picture for Una was Alfred Hitchcock’s MURDER!, made in Britain in 1930. It didn’t take long for other directors to see what a valuable addition she was to any feature film in which she was cast. Though she had spent many years struggling to get noticed, her talent was obvious. And eventually Noel Coward wrote the part of an independent maid for her in his play CAVALCADE, which brought her real and lasting success. Fox made the story into a motion picture, and Una gladly repeated the performance in the studio’s screen adaptation.
 

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After CAVALCADE, Una decided to remain in Hollywood. She hit her stride playing quirky comical characters in films with spooky settings during the mid-1930s. At Universal she worked with director James Whale in THE INVISIBLE MAN and in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Both became cult classics and her acting in them stands out. She went on to appear in other notable Hollywood productions, including a role in David Selznick’s version of LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
 

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In between films Una continued to work on stage. She had become typecast in servant roles but didn’t seem to mind. When television came along in the late 1940s, many film stars felt the new medium was beneath them. Not Una. She saw it as an important field of employment which allowed her to play in a variety of productions. She also liked how television required her to combine the skills she had developed on the stage and in films. Occasionally, she still made movies. Though failing health curtailed her activities in the last few years of her life, she did manage turn up in Billy Wilder’s WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION as (what else) a prosecution witness, a role she had also done in the theater.
 

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  1. murder! (1930); british international; crime; herbert marshall; 98 mins.
  2. cavalcade (1933); fox; drama; diana wynyard; 150 mins.
  3. the invisible man (1933); universal; horror; claude rains; 71 mins.
  4. david copperfield (1935); mgm; drama; edna may oliver; 129 mins.
  5. the bride of frankenstein (1935); universal; horror; elsa lanchester; 75 mins.
  6. the informer (1935); rko; drama; victor mclaglen; 91 mins.
  7. little lord fauntleroy (1936); ua; drama; freddie bartholomew; 98 mins.
  8. the plough and the stars (1937); rko; drama; barry fitzgerald; 72 mins.
  9. the sea hawk (1940); warners; adventure; flora robson; 127 mins.
  10. witness for the prosecution (1957); ua; crime; norma varden; 116 mins.

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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#22 rayban

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 04:38 PM

If I had to make a list of interesting actors, who were just interesting on their own, with all the movie star quirks pushed off to the side, Richard Todd would be near the top of the list. His persona is very enigmatic, hard to pinpoint-- and in real life, he was a perfect storm of vulnerable and brutal.

In "The Battle of The Villa Fiorita", in which he played Maureen O'Hara's husband, you could only by mystified by what she saw in her lover, Rossano Brazzi.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#23 TopBilled

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 12:46 PM

Who could forget him in "The Hasty Heart"?

 

If I had to make a list of interesting actors, who were just interesting on their own, with all the movie star quirks pushed off to the side, Richard Todd would be near the top of the list. His persona is very enigmatic, hard to pinpoint-- and in real life, he was a perfect storm of vulnerable and brutal.


  • rayban likes this

"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#24 rayban

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 11:30 AM

 

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Richard Todd was born in Dublin, the son of a doctor. He spent part of his childhood in India and learned to appreciate what the world had to offer. When he was old enough, he briefly considered a military career, but then decided on acting and went to London to study. In the late 1930s he was gaining experience in Shakespearean roles when the war intervened.
 

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After his military service Richard went back to the theater. He continued to hone his craft and in the process was discovered by a talent agent for a British film studio. They signed him to a long-term contract in 1948. Things moved quickly after this– he appeared in his first film, then was given the lead in a stage production of THE HASTY HEART. Jack Warner saw Richard’s performance and requested his services for the Hollywood movie version. Soon Richard left England and arrived in Los Angeles.
 

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Richard’s work in Warners’ adaptation of THE HASTY HEART earned him an Oscar nomination. His new studio then cast him in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller STAGE FRIGHT where he acted opposite Jane Wyman and Marlene Dietrich. There was another follow-up at Warners in King Vidor’s LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE. He continued to make American films during the next few years– after Warners, he worked for Disney and also for 20th Century Fox. At Fox he appeared with Bette Davis and Joan Collins in THE VIRGIN QUEEN; and he also portrayed the title character in A MAN CALLED PETER.
 

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Eventually Richard returned to Britain where he would have even greater success on the big screen. He did a fine job in the British war film THE DAM BUSTERS; there was a memorable turn in THE YANGTSE INCIDENT for producer Herbert Wilcox; and he did another picture for Fox supporting Jean Seberg in SAINT JOAN. Fox also hired him to play a soldier in its all-star war film THE LONGEST DAY.
 

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In later years, after his movie career had gone into decline, Richard did voice-over narration and took special guest roles on television series like Murder, She Wrote.
 

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  1. the hasty heart (1949); warners; drama; patricia neal; 102 mins.
  2. stage fright (1950); warners; crime; jane wyman; 110 mins.
  3. flesh and blood (1951); british lion; crime; glynis johns; 102 mins.
  4. lightning strikes twice (1951); warners; crime; ruth roman; 91 mins.
  5. the story of robin hood and his merrie men (1952); disney; adventure; peter finch; 84 mins.
  6. the sword and the rose (1953); disney; adventure; glynis johns; 92 mins.
  7. a man called peter (1955); fox; drama; jean peters; 119 mins.
  8. the dam busters (1955); british pathe; war; michael redgrave; 124 mins.
  9. the virgin queen (1955); fox; historical biopic; bette davis; 92 mins.
  10. chase a crooked shadow (1958); warners; crime; anne baxter; 87 mins.

 

Who could forget him in "The Hasty Heart"?


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#25 TopBilled

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

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Richard Todd was born in Dublin, the son of a doctor. He spent part of his childhood in India and learned to appreciate what the world had to offer. When he was old enough, he briefly considered a military career, but then decided on acting and went to London to study. In the late 1930s he was gaining experience in Shakespearean roles when the war intervened.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-07-at-2-31-03-pm.png


After his military service Richard went back to the theater. He continued to hone his craft and in the process was discovered by a talent agent for a British film studio. They signed him to a long-term contract in 1948. Things moved quickly after this– he appeared in his first film, then was given the lead in a stage production of THE HASTY HEART. Jack Warner saw Richard’s performance and requested his services for the Hollywood movie version. Soon Richard left England and arrived in Los Angeles.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-07-at-2-30-47-pm.png


Richard’s work in Warners’ adaptation of THE HASTY HEART earned him an Oscar nomination. His new studio then cast him in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller STAGE FRIGHT where he acted opposite Jane Wyman and Marlene Dietrich. There was another follow-up at Warners in King Vidor’s LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE. He continued to make American films during the next few years– after Warners, he worked for Disney and also for 20th Century Fox. At Fox he appeared with Bette Davis and Joan Collins in THE VIRGIN QUEEN; and he also portrayed the title character in A MAN CALLED PETER.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-07-at-2-29-20-pm.png


Eventually Richard returned to Britain where he would have even greater success on the big screen. He did a fine job in the British war film THE DAM BUSTERS; there was a memorable turn in THE YANGTSE INCIDENT for producer Herbert Wilcox; and he did another picture for Fox supporting Jean Seberg in SAINT JOAN. Fox also hired him to play a soldier in its all-star war film THE LONGEST DAY.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-07-at-2-29-58-pm.png


In later years, after his movie career had gone into decline, Richard did voice-over narration and took special guest roles on television series like Murder, She Wrote.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-07-at-2-29-30-pm.png

09d8a-screen2bshot2b2016-12-192bat2b2-00

  1. the hasty heart (1949); warners; drama; patricia neal; 102 mins.
  2. stage fright (1950); warners; crime; jane wyman; 110 mins.
  3. flesh and blood (1951); british lion; crime; glynis johns; 102 mins.
  4. lightning strikes twice (1951); warners; crime; ruth roman; 91 mins.
  5. the story of robin hood and his merrie men (1952); disney; adventure; peter finch; 84 mins.
  6. the sword and the rose (1953); disney; adventure; glynis johns; 92 mins.
  7. a man called peter (1955); fox; drama; jean peters; 119 mins.
  8. the dam busters (1955); british pathe; war; michael redgrave; 124 mins.
  9. the virgin queen (1955); fox; historical biopic; bette davis; 92 mins.
  10. chase a crooked shadow (1958); warners; crime; anne baxter; 87 mins.

  • rayban likes this

"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#26 TopBilled

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:58 AM

Can you guess the ones I will be spotlighting..?

 

In Hollywood from Ireland

 

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Tuesday March 14-- #486: He dealt with a hasty heart.

Wednesday March 15-- #487: She appeared in James Whale horror films.

Thursday March 16-- #488: Bing was going his way.

Friday March 17-- #489: Ireland's most beautiful lass of the 1940s.

Saturday March 18-- #490: He played Robinson Crusoe.

Sunday March 19-- #491: She owned a baseball team in Flatbush.

Monday March 20-- #492: He played Count Vronsky in ANNA KARENINA.

 


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#27 TopBilled

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 09:48 AM

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Nancy Kelly’s brother was actor Jack Kelly, and their mother was silent film actress Nan Kelly. Mrs. Kelly gave up her career to focus on her children and ensure they had a career on screen like she did. It was an admirable goal and it paid off for both offspring. As a child Nancy worked on radio programs, and she was also featured in countless print advertisements.
 

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By the time she was in her late teens, Nancy had considerable experience. Her skillful deliveries on radio and her photogenic face gave an advantage when she was competing against other hopefuls for a motion picture contract. She had also done parts as a little girl in some of her mom’s silent films, so being on a sound stage was not new to her. Soon she signed with 20th Century Fox and began to appear in hit films directed by John Ford and Henry King. For King, she costarred in JESSE JAMES with Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda.
 

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The studio kept her busy for the next few years. She worked with Richard Greene and Spencer Tracy in the adventure drama STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE; she appeared alongside Randolph Scott in FRONTIER MARSHAL; and she was a comic foil for Joel McCrea in the delightful romp HE MARRIED HIS WIFE. These were high profile roles in prestigious pictures. After Fox dropped her, Nancy began to freelance. Initially she went to RKO, where she played a love interest for Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller).
 

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During the mid-40s, Nancy became a mainstay in modestly budgeted action pictures at Paramount. She also had a memorable role as a woman accused of being a witch in Republic’s WOMAN WHO CAME BACK. Eventually her character in that picture overcame all “evil” tendencies. But the same could not be said for Patty McCormack’s character in the stage and feature film versions of THE BAD SEED, where Nancy played the troubled girl’s mother. For her work on Broadway in this production there was a Tony award; and for her performance in the movie, Nancy was nominated for an Oscar.
 

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  1. jesse james (1939); fox; western; tyrone power; 106 mins.
  2. tailspin (1939); fox; drama; alice faye; 84 mins.
  3. frontier marshal (1939); fox; western; randolph scott; 71 mins.
  4. stanley and livingstone (1939); fox; adventure; richard greene; 101 mins.
  5. he married his wife (1940); fox; comedy; joel mccrea; 83 mins.
  6. one night in the tropics (1940); universal; comedy; abbott & costello; 82 mins.
  7. parachute battalion (1941); rko; war; robert preston; 75 mins.
  8. to the shores of tripoli (1942); fox; war; john payne; 86 mins.
  9. woman who came back (1945); republic; horror; john loder; 68 mins.
  10. the bad seed (1956); warners; drama; patty mccormack; 129 mins.

  • rayban likes this

"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#28 TopBilled

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 09:15 AM

Add 1956's No Down Payment to the list of must-see Sheree North films.  This is the one I wrote about seeing in the morning then that night catching her on her series, Movin' On 20 years later.  Guess which one she was more beautiful in?  She made getting older not seem so bad.  And, yes, she was quite an actress; her TV work in the 70's and 80's had her playing all types of roles and she delivered every time.

 

Nice comment. I think her skills improved. She was an excellent character actress in those later decades. And from personal accounts I read about her, she was a sweet person off-camera and everyone adored her.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#29 wouldbestar

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 07:46 AM

Add 1956's No Down Payment to the list of must-see Sheree North films.  This is the one I wrote about seeing in the morning then that night catching her on her series, Movin' On 20 years later.  Guess which one she was more beautiful in?  She made getting older not seem so bad.  And, yes, she was quite an actress; her TV work in the 70's and 80's had her playing all types of roles and she delivered every time.


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#30 TopBilled

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 09:02 AM

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Victor Mature was born in Kentucky, the son of an Italian immigrant. He planned to be a businessman, but after a failed attempt at running a restaurant, he headed to California. For the next three years he was practically homeless, as he studied to become an actor at the Pasadena Playhouse. A talent scout for Hal Roach spotted him, and he was signed to a contract. He was now in business for Roach.
 

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He had a supporting role in a Joan Bennett comedy in 1939 (his debut) then Roach gave him the lead in ONE MILLION B.C., which turned him into an immediate sensation. RKO asked to borrow him and ended up buying half his contract. During this early phase of Vic’s career, he was not really taken seriously as a performer, though studio bosses liked him and audiences adored him. He went to New York and appeared in a Broadway musical to prove he could do more legitimate roles. He went back to Hollywood, but now Roach had sold the other half of his contract to Fox.
 

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At Fox he was paired with Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable. Most of the films Vic made during these years were big hits. Then the war intervened, and he enlisted in active duty. After his discharge he jumped right back into movies as if he’d never been away. Fox was now casting him in crime dramas and hard-hitting westerns. He still had to go back over to RKO to fulfill his contractual obligations there, where he appeared with people like Jane Russell and Jean Simmons. In the meanwhile MGM and Universal were now interested in him.
 

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But Vic’s career took on a whole new dimension when Paramount requested him for Cecil B. DeMille’s SAMSON AND DELILAH. It was a blockbuster, and it ushered in a new era of biblical epics. Back at Fox, Vic was put into CinemaScope productions like THE ROBE and DEMETRUIS AND THE GLADIATORS; and for the rest of the 1950s, he would continue to be very popular with moviegoers. A few years later Vic ended up retiring early with $18 million to his name. And to think he spent three years homeless living in a tent, before Hal Roach’s talent scouts changed the direction of his life.
 

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  1. one million b.c. (1940); ua; fantasy; carole landis; 80 mins.
  2. captain caution (1940); ua; adventure; bruce cabot; 86 mins.
  3. i wake up screaming (1941); fox; crime; betty grable; 82 mins.
  4. my gal sal (1942); fox; musical; rita hayworth; 103 mins.
  5. my darling clementine (1946); fox; western; henry fonda; 97 mins.
  6. kiss of death (1947); fox; crime; brian donlevy; 99 mins.
  7. cry of the city (1948); fox; crime; richard conte; 95 mins.
  8. samson and delilah (1949); paramount; drama; hedy lamarr; 128 mins.
  9. million dollar mermaid (1952); mgm; musical; esther williams; 115 mins.
  10. the robe (1953); fox; drama; richard burton; 135 mins.

  • rayban likes this

"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#31 TopBilled

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:42 AM

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When Marilyn Monroe became a huge star at Fox in the mid-5os, the bosses had a problem on their hands when she began rejecting the scripts they were asking her to do. Their solution was to create successors– Marilyn knock-offs– who would take over if she proved too uncooperative. These “ladies in waiting” included Jayne Mansfield and Sheree North. Jayne Mansfield made a career out of spoofing the glamorous Monroe image, but Sheree didn’t like being cast this way and she worked hard to overcome it.
 

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Initially Sheree was a dancer and she had entertained the troops when the war was ending. She wound up on Broadway and became a sensation. Fox was eager to sign her to a contract, and her first movie was a raucous college comedy opposite Betty Grable. It was a hit, and soon after this, Sheree took another script intended for Marilyn– the comedy THE LIEUTENANT WORE SKIRTS with Tom Ewell. She was on her way. But these parts were forced on her, and she wouldn’t have a chance to shine until later.
 

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When her contract at Fox ended, her image evolved radically. And with the cosmetic changes, came significant changes in her performances. It is remarkable to see how Sheree blossomed as a performer after those early films. She came into her own in westerns and crime dramas– usually playing variations of the dangerous or deceptive female. Robert Ryan, Burt Lancaster and John Wayne enjoyed working with her. She grew with each subsequent role and never really lost her looks.
 

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In the 70s and 80s, she was a sought-after character actress. She turned up in popular films and television shows. She gave an outstanding performance in an episode of Kojak as a mobster’s wife with betrayal on her mind. And a late career episode of Hunter had her playing a trashy mother aiding a son’s run from the law. She had gone from pretty to gritty and had a career that long outlasted Marilyn or Jayne.
 

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  1. how to be very, very popular (1955); fox; comedy; betty grable; 89 mins.
  2. the lieutenant wore skirts (1956); fox; comedy; tom ewell; 99 mins.
  3. the best things in life are free (1956); fox; musical; gordon macrae; 104 mins.
  4. the way to the gold (1957); fox; drama; jeffrey hunter; 97 mins.
  5. in love and war (1958); fox; war; robert wagner; 111 mins.
  6. mardi gras (1958); fox; musical comedy; pat boone; 107 mins.
  7. the trouble with girls (1969); mgm; musical; elvis presley; 99 mins.
  8. lawman (1971); ua; western; burt lancaster; 99 mins.
  9. the outfit (1973); mgm; crime; robert ryan; 103 mins.
  10. the shootist (1976); paramount; western; john wayne; 100 mins.

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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#32 TopBilled

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 06:56 AM

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Sometimes studios and production companies shared the contracts of top movie stars. For instance, Dana Andrews’ services in the 40s were split by Fox and producer Samuel Goldwyn. And Fox shared the contract of matinee idol Cornel Wilde with Columbia.
 

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Cornel Wilde was born in eastern Europe, but at a young age he was brought to New York City which is where he grew up. During the early days of his life, he showed an aptitude for sports and book learning. But he knew he wanted to be an actor and turned down a chance to go to the Olympics, so he could pursue jobs in the theater.
 

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Cornel began acting on stage in the mid-30s. He came to Hollywood n the early 40s, and he paid his dues in B films. His range as a performer and his handsome looks helped establish him with audiences. Cornel was accomplished in many languages, had skills in fencing (used to great advantage when he made swashbucklers); and he was a writer. His seriousness at mastering the movie business impressed his bosses.
 

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After he was promoted to ‘A’ films, he earned an Oscar nomination in 1945 for his work in Columbia’s musical biopic A SONG TO REMEMBER (he played Chopin). He followed this up with strong performances in several postwar crime dramas. At Fox he was Gene Tierney’s object of desire in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN; and back at Columbia, he costarred with his first wife Patricia Knight in SHOCKPROOF, a noir by esteemed director Douglas Sirk.
 

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In the 50s Cornel transitioned to more colorful movie fare. He made THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH for Cecil DeMille, and there was a Technicolor adventure with Maureen O’Hara– AT SWORD’S POINT. Gradually, he was given the chance to start directing. He turned out decent films like STORM FEAR and MARACAIBO, though it wouldn’t be until the 60s when he made his mark with THE NAKED PREY and the war film BEACH RED. Some of these productions featured his second wife Jean Wallace. He and Wallace had previously appeared in a gritty crime drama, THE BIG COMBO.
 

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  1. life begins at eight-thirty (1942); fox; drama; ida lupino; 85 mins.
  2. the bandit of sherwood forest (1945); columbia; adventure; anita louise; 86 mins.
  3. a song to remember (1945); columbia; musical biography; merle oberon; 113 mins.
  4. leave her to heaven (1945); fox; drama; gene tierney; 110 mins.
  5. forever amber (1947); fox; drama; linda darnell; 138 mins.
  6. shockproof (1949); columbia; crime; patricia knight; 79 mins.
  7. two flags west (1950); fox; western; joseph cotten; 92 mins.
  8. at sword’s point (1952); rko; adventure; maureen o’hara; 81 mins.
  9. the greatest show on earth (1952); paramount; drama; charlton heston; 152 mins.
  10. the big combo (1955); ua; crime; jean wallace; 87 mins.

  • rayban likes this

"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#33 TopBilled

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 09:50 AM

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Jean Peters lived a real-life Cinderella story. She was a midwestern farm girl who planned to become a teacher but was persuaded to enter a beauty contest while in college. She won the contest and a screen test at 20th Century Fox (where she would go on to make almost all her films). She impressed the higher-ups at Fox and was given star treatment while making her first picture, an adventure story with Tyrone Power.
 

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She worked for the same director (Henry King) on her next picture, and critics wrote favorably about her. A short time later, there was a change-of-pace comedy with Ray Milland, but by the end of her third year at Fox, Jean was relegated to lesser roles. In 1951 she rebounded with ANNE OF THE INDIES, a swashbuckler where she had the lead; and this led to one of her best roles the following year in VIVA ZAPATA!, opposite Marlon Brando. To her great relief, Jean was now allowed to specialize in earthier characters that downplayed her glamorous looks– something she also did in APACHE with Burt Lancaster.
 

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Fox renewed her contract and kept her in leads. Jean wasn’t always pleased with the scripts that came her way but she made the best of them. She took piano and dance lessons if a part called for her to have those skills. During these years she worked with Marilyn Monroe several times; and with Joseph Cotten twice. Also, she forged a lifelong friendship with Jeanne Crain. And when there were breaks between films, the time was used to go back to college to finish a degree.
 

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After 1955 Jean stopped making movies. She had only been on screen for about eight years at this point, but she struggled to find roles where she could be a serious actress and not a sex object. Interestingly one of her more successful films was Sam Fuller’s noir PICK UP ON SOUTH STREET where she played a tough siren. But by the middle of the decade, her heart was not in it anymore; and after filming a religious drama with Richard Todd she called it quits. She had also married Howard Hughes and that became a career unto itself.
 

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  1. captain from castile (1947); fox; adventure; tyrone power; 141 mins.
  2. deep waters (1948); fox; drama; dana andrews; 85 mins.
  3. it happens every spring (1949); fox; comedy; ray milland; 87 mins.
  4. anne of the indies (1951); fox; adventure; louis jourdan; 81 mins.
  5. viva zapata! (1952); fox; drama; marlon brando; 113 mins.
  6. lure of the wilderness (1952); fox; romance; jeffrey hunter; 93 mins.
  7. pickup on south street (1953); fox; crime; richard widmark; 80 mins.
  8. vicki (1953); fox; crime; jeanne crain; 85 mins.
  9. a blueprint for murder (1953); fox; crime; joseph cotten; 77 mins.
  10. a man called peter (1955); fox; drama; richard todd; 119 mins.

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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#34 TopBilled

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:11 AM

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George Montgomery’s upbringing in rural Montana gave him an appreciation for the great outdoors and ranch life. As a kid he learned how to handle horses and cattle, which came in handy when he went to Hollywood as a young man and found work in westerns and serials at Republic Pictures. In those days he was usually hired as a stunt rider.
 

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But George’s handsome looks made him a natural for more on-camera exposure, and the stunt work quickly led to small acting parts. At Republic he found work in a variety of B westerns, some with the studio’s top star Gene Autry. Eventually George was able to secure bigger roles, especially when he moved over to 20th Century Fox in 1940. Fox also placed him in westerns, but he was also allowed to take roles in other genres.
 

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George was paired with most of the studio’s leading ladies. One costar was beautiful Gene Tierney– they appeared in CHINA GIRL together. He also worked with Betty Grable (in CONEY ISLAND) and with Maureen O’Hara (in TEN GENTLEMEN FROM WEST POINT), as well as Ginger Rogers (in ROXIE HART). Most of these pictures did well at the box office, and George remained at Fox for most of the 1940s. By the early 1950s he had gone over to Columbia, working primarily westerns.
 

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When he wasn’t on movie sets, he turned his attention towards making furniture. He also took up painting. For twenty years he was married to singer Dinah Shore, and they had two children together. After their divorce, the couple remained good friends.
 

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  1. orchestra wives (1942); fox; musical; ann rutherford; 98 mins.
  2. ten gentlemen from west point (1943); fox; war; maureen o’hara; 102 mins.
  3. roxie hart (1942); fox; comedy; ginger rogers; 75 mins.
  4. coney island (1943); fox; musical; betty grable; 96 mins.
  5. the brasher doubloon (1947); fox; crime; nancy guild; 72 mins.
  6. lulu belle (1948); columbia; drama; dorothy lamour; 86 mins.
  7. cripple creek (1952); columbia; western; jerome courtland; 78 mins.
  8. jack mccall, desperado (1953); columbia; western; angela stevens; 76 mins.
  9. the battle of rogue river (1954); columbia; western; richard denning; 71 mins.
  10. masterson of kansas (1954); columbia; western; nancy gates; 73 mins.

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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#35 TopBilled

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 01:13 PM

As a second lead in mainstream musicals, Vivian Blaine was "superlative".

 

That's a great way to describe her.


"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#36 rayban

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 11:42 AM

 

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Vivian Blaine started performing professionally as a young teenager. By sixteen she was touring around the country as a lead singer for a popular band. It wasn’t long afterward when her agent landed her a lucrative contract with 20th Century Fox.
 

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In her first picture at Fox, Vivian costarred with Laurel & Hardy in JITTERBUGS. The light escapist fare was a good wartime diversion and did well with audiences. In the next few years, moviegoers enjoyed seeing Vivian in other musical comedies. She supported Carmen Miranda in several films; and she also had a role in a musical drama with George Raft and Joan Bennett. In the meantime she married her agent, and he continued to negotiate other jobs for her at Fox.
 

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Probably one of her best loved musicals was the second version of STATE FAIR where she sang opposite Dick Haymes. There was also a memorable turn in another picture with Perry Como. But after the war, movie tastes were changing, so Vivian left Hollywood to return to the stage. Also she remained busy in nightclubs where she was usually billed over fellow performers like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
 

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One of Vivian’s greatest successes occurred when she wowed Broadway audiences with her work in the original stage version of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ She was one of the few original performers to recreate her role in the 1955 film version produced by Sam Goldwyn. She didn’t make too many more movies after this, but occasionally she would turn up on television. In the early 1980s she had a guest role on the short-lived sitcom Amanda’s where she played Bea Arthur’s aunt.
 

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  1. jitterbugs (1943); fox; comedy; laurel & hardy; 74 mins.
  2. greenwich village (1944); fox; musical comedy; carmen miranda; 82 mins.
  3. something for the boys (1944); fox; musical comedy; carmen miranda; 87 mins.
  4. nob hill (1945); fox; musical drama; george raft; 95 mins.
  5. doll face (1945); fox; musical comedy; dennis o’keefe; 80 mins.
  6. if i’m lucky (1946); fox; musical comedy; perry como; 78 mins.
  7. three little girls in blue (1946); fox; musical; june haver; 93 mins.
  8. skirts ahoy! (1952); mgm; musical; esther williams; 109 mins.
  9. guys and dolls (1955); ua; musical; frank sinatra; 150 mins.
  10. public pigeon no. 1 (1957); rko/universal; comedy; red skelton; 79 mins.

 

As a second lead in mainstream musicals, Vivian Blaine was "superlative".


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#37 TopBilled

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 09:37 AM

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-7-31-31-am.png

 

Vivian Blaine started performing professionally as a young teenager. By sixteen she was touring around the country as a lead singer for a popular band. It wasn’t long afterward when her agent landed her a lucrative contract with 20th Century Fox.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-5-14-01-pm1.pn


In her first picture at Fox, Vivian costarred with Laurel & Hardy in JITTERBUGS. The light escapist fare was a good wartime diversion and did well with audiences. In the next few years, moviegoers enjoyed seeing Vivian in other musical comedies. She supported Carmen Miranda in several films; and she also had a role in a musical drama with George Raft and Joan Bennett. In the meantime she married her agent, and he continued to negotiate other jobs for her at Fox.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-5-05-54-pm.png


Probably one of her best loved musicals was the second version of STATE FAIR where she sang opposite Dick Haymes. There was also a memorable turn in another picture with Perry Como. But after the war, movie tastes were changing, so Vivian left Hollywood to return to the stage. Also she remained busy in nightclubs where she was usually billed over fellow performers like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-5-02-49-pm.png


One of Vivian’s greatest successes occurred when she wowed Broadway audiences with her work in the original stage version of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ She was one of the few original performers to recreate her role in the 1955 film version produced by Sam Goldwyn. She didn’t make too many more movies after this, but occasionally she would turn up on television. In the early 1980s she had a guest role on the short-lived sitcom Amanda’s where she played Bea Arthur’s aunt.
 

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-5-04-55-pm.png

09d8a-screen2bshot2b2016-12-192bat2b2-00

  1. jitterbugs (1943); fox; comedy; laurel & hardy; 74 mins.
  2. greenwich village (1944); fox; musical comedy; carmen miranda; 82 mins.
  3. something for the boys (1944); fox; musical comedy; carmen miranda; 87 mins.
  4. nob hill (1945); fox; musical drama; george raft; 95 mins.
  5. doll face (1945); fox; musical comedy; dennis o’keefe; 80 mins.
  6. if i’m lucky (1946); fox; musical comedy; perry como; 78 mins.
  7. three little girls in blue (1946); fox; musical; june haver; 93 mins.
  8. skirts ahoy! (1952); mgm; musical; esther williams; 109 mins.
  9. guys and dolls (1955); ua; musical; frank sinatra; 150 mins.
  10. public pigeon no. 1 (1957); rko/universal; comedy; red skelton; 79 mins.

  • rayban likes this

"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#38 TopBilled

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 11:00 AM

Can you guess the ones I will be spotlighting..?

 

20th Century Fox contract players

 

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Monday March 6-- #479: costars included Laurel & Hardy and Frank Sinatra

Tuesday March 7-- #480: cowboy and action star of the 40s & 50s

Wednesday March 8-- #481: Mrs. Howard Hughes

Thursday March 9-- #482: actor/director married to Jean Wallace

Friday March 10-- #483: started as a Monroe 'clone'

Saturday March 11-- #484: had his contract shared between Hal Roach, RKO and Fox

Sunday March 12-- #485: Jack Kelly's sister


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#39 wouldbestar

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 07:28 PM

 

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You forgot The High and the Mighty where he played the childish and hedonistic producer "Gustav" who turns into a hero when faced with death.  This was a rather subduded performance for him and he was great.

 

I remember Connie Gilchrist and him in the Long John Silver series.  When he was on screen you couldn't look away.


 


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#40 TopBilled

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:32 AM

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Robert Newton was one of life’s more colorful characters. He brought his vivid personality and unique performance style to stage productions and to the cinema. He was successful in his native Britain as well as in America. He had begun in the British theater during the 1920s and in the 30s began to hit his stride. He occasionally played in Shakespearean roles opposite his friend, Laurence Oliver. Later he appeared on Broadway when he took over a part Olivier originated.
 

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Though there had been small roles in a few earlier films, Robert’s motion picture career didn’t really take off until 1937. He did FIRE OVER ENGLAND with Oliver, and there were follow-up parts in other war films and crime dramas. He had a particularly good time as one of Sir Humphrey’s Gang in Alfred Hitchcock’s JAMAICA INN. Charles Laughton’s scene stealing in that picture would undoubtedly rub off on him.
 

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He continued to make films during the war years, including two more with Olivier (21 DAYS and HENRY V). Usually he was cast as the main ruffian. His on-screen villainy reached absolute perfection with his role as a demented doctor in Edward Dmytryk’s study of abnormal psychology, OBSESSION. Then he achieved cinematic immortality for his over-the-top and comically exaggerated version of the pirate to end all pirates, Long John Silver, in Disney’s TREASURE ISLAND.
 

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He cashed in on pirate mania during the years that followed. While Disney would re-release TREASURE ISLAND, Robert went on to make a Technicolor adventure yarn at RKO where he played BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE. And after that, he did LONG JOHN SILVER’S RETURN TO TREASURE ISLAND in Australia with Rod Taylor. Audiences couldn’t get enough, and it led to a 26-episode TV series.
 

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  1. fire over england (1937); ua; war; laurence olivier; 92 mins.
  2. jamaica inn (1939); paramount; crime; charles laughton; 98 mins.
  3. gaslight (1940); british national; suspense; anton walbrook; 89 mins.
  4. major barbara (1941); general film; drama; wendy hiller; 131 mins.
  5. hatter’s castle (1942); paramount; crime; deborah kerr; 102 mins.
  6. this happy breed (1944); universal; drama; celia johnson; 115 mins.
  7. oliver twist (1948); general film; drama; alec guinness; 116 mins.
  8. obsession (1949); general film; crime; sally gray; 96 mins.
  9. treasure island (1950); disney; adventure; bobby driscoll; 96 mins.
  10. blackbeard the pirate (1952); rko; adventure; linda darnell; 99 mins.

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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.





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