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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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#1201 TopBilled

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 03:33 PM

Can you guess the ones I'll be spotlighting?

jarrodpic6.jpg

In the week ahead:

 

Saturday February 20th: Married to screenwriter Robert Riskin.

 

Sunday February 21st: British character actor and actress, this married couple made several films together.

 

Monday February 22nd: An actress at Columbia in the 1940s who became an acting teacher.
 

Tuesday February 23rd: Good looking actor who had secondary parts and occasional leads in comedies.

 

Wednesday February 24th: Actress who checked into the Holiday Inn with Bing & Fred.

 

Thursday February 25th: Gena Rowlands' husband.

 

Friday February 26th: Ellery Queen and Nikki Porter in the 1940s.

 

***


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#1202 TopBilled

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 10:34 AM

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Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon were married from 1930 until her death in 1971. During that time, they performed in movies, did radio shows together and television. Bebe had started appearing on screen at age 7, way back in 1908, in what was a leading role. In her teens, she was doing comedies with Harold Lloyd and after that she became a serious dramatic actress working for Cecil B. DeMille. By the time she married Ben Lyon she was starring in musicals at the newly formed studio RKO. When musicals temporarily went out of fashion, she landed at Warner Brothers where she made the first version of THE MALTESE FALCON and also appeared in the smash hit 42ND STREET, singing again on screen. By the mid-1930s, she and Ben had moved to England where they found success on stage and radio. The Lyons came back to Hollywood after the war. Bebe was hired as a movie producer at Eagle-Lion; and Ben worked at 20th Century Fox where he helped discover Marilyn Monroe (who had similarities to Jean Harlow, Ben's costar in HELL'S ANGELS). But the couple eventually returned to life in London with their children. The family's tribulations were chronicled on a weekly BBC radio program called Life with the Lyons that was turned into a TV series. 

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Bebe Daniels & Ben Lyon present and accounted for..!


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#1203 rayban

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 11:31 AM

He was so appealing in "So Proudly We Hail", the film that should have made him a BIG MOVIE STAR.

 

He had a very masculine presence and he was very good-looking, too.

 

He also had a great deal of personal charm.

 

He's an example of one of those enduring Hollywood mysteries - Actors who had STAR written all over them, and, yet, didn't become STARS.

 

Although I don't remember him in the TV "Superman" series, I did recently see him in a few very early episodes.

 

He was obviously having a very good time.

 

And his physical presence was so very striking.

 

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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".


#1204 TopBilled

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:16 AM

Here's George Reeves giving Cary Grant a run for the title of Best Cleft Chin in Hollywood:

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-02-18%2Bat%2B8.09.0


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#1205 TopBilled

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:03 AM

 

Thanks for another great career synopsis, TB!

 

Have you read that book on George called:

"Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, the Lady and the Death of Superman"
 

I can highly recommend it as it adds many more layers to what was happening in his life during the Superman tv years.

 

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Thanks CG...will have to check it out. I think he is the most physically striking of all the Supermans/Clark Kents. It's a shame TV wasn't around in 1940 or that someone hadn't thought to make a Superman motion picture when he was younger. He would have been a much bigger star. Look at the pictures of him in some of the war films he made. 

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-02-18%2Bat%2B8.10.1

That's him on the right. 


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#1206 CaveGirl

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for another great career synopsis, TB!

 

Have you read that book on George called:

"Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, the Lady and the Death of Superman"
 

I can highly recommend it as it adds many more layers to what was happening in his life during the Superman tv years.

 

 
 
 
 
  •  
 
 
 
 

 


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#1207 TopBilled

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 09:01 AM

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George Reeves was offered a contract by Warner Brothers in the late 1930s after he had been cast as one of the Tarleton twins in David Selznick's version of GONE WITH THE WIND. It was a promising start for the young actor who first gained experience at the Pasadena Playhouse. For the next two years, Warners gave him minor roles in big budget productions and roles of increasing stature in B pictures. His first lead came opposite Rosemary Lane in the B film ALWAYS A BRIDE in late 1940. The following year, Warners had dropped him and he moved over to 20th Century Fox where he did not fare any better. He went into the Army when war broke out, making training films (one under John Ford) and appearing in the stage and film versions of WINGED VICTORY. But his contract with Fox soon ended and Reeves found himself freelancing in low-budget westerns. His career took an upswing when he landed the lead male role in SO PROUDLY WE HAIL, which meant a new contract, this time with Paramount. He enjoyed his greatest movie success at Paramount, where he had another prominent part in THE SAINTED SISTERS starring Veronica Lake. By the late 40s, he moved over to Columbia where he was cast in a memorable serial called ADVENTURES OF SIR GALAHAD playing the lead character. He soon followed this up with a substantial supporting part in a comedy with Jack Carson. Next, there were assignments in two Fritz Lang pictures and scenes with Burt Lancaster in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. In addition, Reeves was hired for radio shows and live TV programs. This led to a very popular series in which he played a superhero. But he later returned to the big screen as the leader of a wagon train in Disney's WESTWARD HO, THE WAGONS!

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-02-18%2Bat%2B5.52.3

George Reeves present and accounted for...!


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#1208 TopBilled

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 09:21 AM

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Despite her relatively short life, Swedish-born actress Marta Toren managed to make her mark in motion pictures. She had begun performing in the mid-1940s, and by 1947 had arrived in Hollywood, where she was placed under contract with Universal. They called her the new Ingrid Bergman. At the studio, she was quickly typecast and featured in a series of adventure films. Her costars included Dana Andrews, George Brent, James Mason, Jeff Chandler and Humphrey Bogart. Marta experienced such a meteoric rise that by 1949 she was featured on the cover of Life magazine. By 1952, she was back in Europe where she appeared in British, French and Italian films. One of the Italian productions was a musical biopic where she was cast as the wife of composer Giacomo Puccini. She spent the last few years of her life in Italy with her director husband and young daughter, before dying at the age of 30.

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Marta Toren present and accounted for..!


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#1209 TopBilled

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:47 PM

I am a big fan of Dana Andrews.  Too bad he never got to act opposite his brother Steve Forrest.

Glad you mentioned Steve Forrest (I will feature him later on). Maybe they felt their acting styles were too different. Steve did a nice bit of commentary honoring his brother's film legacy in a spot that TCM airs, I think, as one of its Word of Mouth segments. 

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-02-16%2Bat%2B11.42.


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#1210 GregoryPeckfan

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 12:43 PM

 

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He was brought to Hollywood in 1940, when he was signed to a contract with independent producer Sam Goldwyn. Early on, in films like BALL OF FIRE and KIT CARSON, Dana Andrews showed he had the talent to go the distance. And he certainly did. But it wasn't until he was cast as a detective snooping around a society girl's apartment in LAURA that he became a bonafide movie star in 1944. Other more prestigious assignments came his way, notably in Goldwyn's post-war melodrama THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES where he earned praise as a vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the 1950s, he continued in lead roles, though the quality of the scripts being offered had declined. He turned in effective performances in classics like WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS and BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, both for Fritz Lang. There was a radio series and later appearances on television, including the main role on a daytime serial. By the 1970s, he was semi-retired from the screen but occasionally turned up in productions that reunited him with friends from his old Hollywood days.

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Dana Andrews present and accounted for..!

 

 

I am a big fan of Dana Andrews.  Too bad he never got to act opposite his brother Steve Forrest.


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#1211 TopBilled

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 12:00 PM

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Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-02-16%2Bat%2B9.45.3

He was brought to Hollywood in 1940, when he was signed to a contract with independent producer Sam Goldwyn. Early on, in films like BALL OF FIRE and KIT CARSON, Dana Andrews showed he had the talent to go the distance. And he certainly did. But it wasn't until he was cast as a detective snooping around a society girl's apartment in LAURA that he became a bonafide movie star in 1944. Other more prestigious assignments came his way, notably in Goldwyn's post-war melodrama THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES where he earned praise as a vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the 1950s, he continued in lead roles, though the quality of the scripts being offered had declined. He turned in effective performances in classics like WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS and BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, both for Fritz Lang. There was a radio series and later appearances on television, including the main role on a daytime serial. By the 1970s, he was semi-retired from the screen but occasionally turned up in productions that reunited him with friends from his old Hollywood days.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-02-16%2Bat%2B9.46.0

Dana Andrews present and accounted for..!


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#1212 CaveGirl

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 11:52 AM

Yes, to understand the mindset of an earlier era is to understand our evolving history as humanity. On a side note, I tend to get rather annoyed when I read reviews from Leonard Maltin or others who every time they write about a PRC or a Monogram feature, they always use the words 'low budget' or 'poverty row' as if to automatically disqualify it from serious legitimate film talk. All those films represent the mindset of the era in which they were produced, regardless of financial factors, and they are all a window into the past and cultural history.

 

But we also have to say that a film like LAURA or SONG OF THE SOUTH should not be over-glorified either. When we see the biases in those texts, we are irresponsible if we gloss over them. It's like saying racism or homophobia or sexism or any other kind of social ill is acceptable because 'that's the way it was back then' (a phrase that is recklessly used by modern audiences who try to excuse ignorance).

I don't have a problem with reviews by Leonard Maltin, TB since I've never thought he had any credibility as a reviewer of films anyway.

 

Don't we all remember how Billy Gray had to sue him to remove false information about him from Maltin's review of a movie Gray was in. Shoddy research, silly reviews, and pedestrian writing by Leonard, long ago removed Maltin from my reading lists.

 

Personally I think he is a bit of a hack and has no credentials to review anything on film.

 

But for those who love him, love on!

 

P.S. All your other less volatile points are well made and I so agree.


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#1213 TopBilled

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 11:36 AM

A film, no matter if its content is not currently politically correct, should be shown as is, or one will never be able to understand the mindset of its makers and their time period is my heartfelt belief. And that is why I watch movies, to get a glimpse of a past I was not living in.

Yes, to understand the mindset of an earlier era is to understand our evolving history as humanity. On a side note, I tend to get rather annoyed when I read reviews from Leonard Maltin or others who every time they write about a PRC or a Monogram feature, they always use the words 'low budget' or 'poverty row' as if to automatically disqualify it from serious legitimate film talk. All those films represent the mindset of the era in which they were produced, regardless of financial factors, and they are all a window into the past and cultural history.

 

But we also have to say that a film like LAURA or SONG OF THE SOUTH should not be over-glorified either. When we see the biases in those texts, we are irresponsible if we gloss over them. It's like saying racism or homophobia or sexism or any other kind of social ill is acceptable because 'that's the way it was back then' (a phrase that is recklessly used by modern audiences who try to excuse ignorance).


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#1214 CaveGirl

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 10:35 AM

Yes. I don't care for scenes that seem quite politically incorrect by modern standards. However, I am not in favor of censorship, unless we are censoring things that threaten human life. So in this case, when we put something like LAURA side by side with SONG OF THE SOUTH, we make it available to modern audiences but we shouldn't glorify it as a culturally valuable work of art. Instead, we should see how minority groups are depicted according to the hegemonist view of white straight men who made these films. It's startling to watch, and it had to be startling for minority viewers to watch on screen when the films were first presented in the 1940s.

Gee, I feel compelled to answer any post which references the word "hegemony" just because it is such a great word and says so much so economically.

I too, like you, TB like to watch my films undiluted, no matter what the subject matter. I read "Mein Kampf" for just such a reason, as how can one understand something unless they see it as it was first presented. It seems to me that I've read that "The Diary of Anne Frank" was bowdlerized  and things that some thought were a bit unseemly, removed. That bothers me, since if I want to understand Anne Frank I want the whole truth.

 

What bothers me more in films, though I still watch them is, hagiography-type biopics. The use of the word "hegemony' made me think of this term, and Hollywood is so often guilty of it. For example, in "The Agony and the Ecstasy" we find Michelangelo as portrayed by Charlton Heston, totally enraptured by some female, when anyone who has read of him knows that he would more likely be dating Raphael Sanzio than a woman of Firenze. But I digress.
 

A film, no matter if its content is not currently politically correct, should be shown as is, or one will never be able to understand the mindset of its makers and their time period is my heartfelt belief. And that is why I watch movies, to get a glimpse of a past I was not living in.


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#1215 TopBilled

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 09:02 AM

Political incorrectness it might be, but the movie Laura was made in the 1940s.  Gay men in Hollywood were given manly names.  Remember that homosexuality was considered a criminal offence until recently.

 

You have to look at movies from an earlier era with the idea in mind that certain things were not taboo in a certain era.  That doesn't mean it isn't difficult to watch:

 

Look at the whole issue of blackface.  Most people in Hollywood musicals did it at least once.  James Cagney refused and he was punished for this.  I have a horrible time watching blackface numbers.  I have to literally remind myself that such movies are not from today.

Yes. I don't care for scenes that seem quite politically incorrect by modern standards. However, I am not in favor of censorship, unless we are censoring things that threaten human life. So in this case, when we put something like LAURA side by side with SONG OF THE SOUTH, we make it available to modern audiences but we shouldn't glorify it as a culturally valuable work of art. Instead, we should see how minority groups are depicted according to the hegemonist view of white straight men who made these films. It's startling to watch, and it had to be startling for minority viewers to watch on screen when the films were first presented in the 1940s.


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#1216 GregoryPeckfan

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:09 AM

Right...it doesn't add up. Not for a man like Waldo in the guise of Clifton Webb. This fatal casting mistake unfortunately keeps the film from earning four stars from me (I have to give it 3 stars). 

 

The other implication is that gay men or sissy men are killers because they are abnormal and killers are abnormal. This casting is so politically incorrect that it gets in the way of enjoying the story as it was originally conceived. 

Political incorrectness it might be, but the movie Laura was made in the 1940s.  Gay men in Hollywood were given manly names.  Remember that homosexuality was considered a criminal offence until recently.

 

You have to look at movies from an earlier era with the idea in mind that certain things were not taboo in a certain era.  That doesn't mean it isn't difficult to watch:

 

Look at the whole issue of blackface.  Most people in Hollywood musicals did it at least once.  James Cagney refused and he was punished for this.  I have a horrible time watching blackface numbers.  I have to literally remind myself that such movies are not from today.


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#1217 GregoryPeckfan

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:00 AM

That's exactly how I feel. Webb seems dreadfully miscast. Why would he be so possessive and resort to murder over a woman he's clearly not attracted to...it removes the whole crime of passion angle. Now if Laura Hunt had instead been Hunt Laurence, a hunky boy toy (played by Tyrone Power), then I'd believe it, given this sort of casting.

 

In my opinion, Claude Rains should have been chosen to perform the role of Waldo.

The reason Clifton Webb was cast in the role instead of someone like Claude Rains was because a obvious tough guy would be an obvious person to play the killer.  The idea was for the audience to be surprised by the identity of the killer in an era where character actors played the same type of role over and over again.

 

Clifton Webb had been a stage actor up until then so movie audiences didn't know who he was.  I

 

Lots of gay men in the studio system didn't look sissy - Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter were not sissy. 

 

For example, if Raymond Burr or Laird Craiger had played the killer in Laura, we would have known right away who the killer was.  That is part of the problem that fans of certain genres of movies from the studio era have like myself- I have seen so many movies of certain genres that even if I know nothing about a movie I can usually guess half way through how it ends.

 

It is part of trying to keep the audience guessing.


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#1218 Vautrin

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 12:45 AM

I do agree that the plot isn't so 'out there' when compared to other Hollywood film plots.   But the way Waldo tried to kill Laura with a planned shotgun to the face,  without even looking at her before doing so (which is why he believed he had killed her instead of the other gal),   is a very calculated and controlled way to murder someone  (verses losing it in the moment and going a little bit mad because of rejection and defeat).

I can see him suddenly realizing that Laura will never love him

in the way she loves a guy like McPherson and then calming

down enough to plan the murder, and shooting her where she

lives the most, at least to other people--in her beautiful physical

appearance.


Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#1219 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 07:13 PM

Yes, it was very obvious that Waldo had a Pygmalion thing going for

his "discovery" Laura. And when he found out that not only was

she not interested in him in that way, but was interested in a "vulgarian"

like McPherson, well he went a little crazy and resorted to murder.

To me that's believable, at least as believable as most things in a

Hollywood film. One of those "we all go a little mad sometimes"

situations.

 

I do agree that the plot isn't so 'out there' when compared to other Hollywood film plots.   But the way Waldo tried to kill Laura with a planned shotgun to the face,  without even looking at her before doing so (which is why he believed he had killed her instead of the other gal),   is a very calculated and controlled way to murder someone  (verses losing it in the moment and going a little bit mad because of rejection and defeat).


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#1220 TopBilled

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 09:57 AM

0147 of 1300

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She had been discovered doing a play in the late 1930s by producer Alexander Korda, and soon afterward Patricia Roc was cast in her first leading role. Practically overnight, she became a star, appearing in a succession of hits throughout the 1940s, mostly in melodramas and war-time propaganda pictures. Some of the more memorable ones included TWO THOUSAND WOMEN; THE WICKED LADY; and SO WELL REMEMBERED which was distributed in the U.S. by RKO. In 1946, she was borrowed by Universal and came to Hollywood to make Jacques Tourneur's Technicolor western CANYON PASSAGE. But she was soon back in England where she continued to draw attention for her acting as well as the fact that she had broken up several marriages (her own and others) due to frequent affairs. She remained among the most popular actresses in Britain when she relocated to France in the early 1950s. Other films and affairs followed, with her giving birth to a son. Eventually, she retired to Switzerland, but still made periodic appearances on television as late as 1962. Audiences never forgot Patricia Roc, and in her 80s, years after last appearing on screen, she was still being mobbed by fans at public events.

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Patricia Roc present and accounted for..!


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).





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