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Eddie G. Films


CaveGirl
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I recently attended an Edward G. Robinson festival of films locally, which included the movie “The Red House”. Though I own this film I had never seen it on the big screen so was delighted to attend. Since I see it is playing on TCM on August 1st this is my recommendation which you are welcome to ignore.

Spoilers Ahead!!!

 

One should always watch who comes calling at their door, just as Eddie G. should have, in this film directed by Delmer Daves and adapted from the novel by George Agnew Chamberlain. “The Red House” [aka “No Trespassing”-1947] stars Robinson as the compelled toward goodness Pete Morgan, whose outer shell perhaps shrouds a deeper secret. With Lon McCallister as the romantic interloper and Oxhouse Woods trail blazer, Nathan Storm, Judith Anderson in a surprising turn as the bucolic and self-abasing Ellen Morgan, who is Pete’s sister, Allene Roberts as the sweet yet troubled adopted Morgan daughter, Meg, and able support by the “Confidential Magazine” cover boy, Rory Calhoun as the rustic ne’er-do-well named Teller, Julie London as the enticing Tibby, Harry Shannon as Doctor Byrne the former suitor of Ellen and last but not least, the lovely Ona Munson showing another side to her more famous role as GWTW’s Belle Watling, this film is packed to the gills with stellar performances.
 

“The Red House” is a swirling, seething maelstrom of repressed passion and bridled lust, set on a seemingly placid Americana farm, which looks not unlike a painting created out of the mind of Grandma Moses. One first encounters the prairie heartland, as the film opens with a voiceover narrator intoning that the Morgan farm is like a “walled castle” with the occupants liking to keep to themselves. And the princess ensconced in this veritable cornucopia of covetousness is young Meg Morgan who is being delivered home from school safe and sound on a rural school bus. Seated by her classmates, Nathan and Tibby, Meg is well aware of the boundless differences between her and her rival for Nathan’s affections, the glamorous and alluring Tibby. As Tibby departs with one backward glance like Lot’s wife, Meg makes known to Nathan her hope that he would be willing to help out her adopted father, Pete on their farm as after school employment. Pete is getting unable to manage, due to his wooden leg and it would be a boon to them if Nathan would oblige this request.
 

After being hired and revealing to them the fact that in town they are known as the Mysterious Morgans, Nathan is informed that Meg is their adopted daughter whose parents died out of town, and that being self- sufficient means, ergo that they like to keep to themselves. All is well until Nathan reveals that after work he intends to go off into the raging storm, and is bound and determined to take the shortcut through the Oxhouse Woods which will “save him time”. Barely able to conceal his trepidation and emotions, Pete is adamant that Nathan not take the shortcut, and with the wind whipping and spitting wildly, Nathan removes himself from Pete’s strong grasp. He is then reviled as he exits with Pete’s stinging words “Stay away from the Red House in the woods…can you save yourself from a scream?”

So begins this journey into the mind of a man obsessed with the past, and fearful of the future, and it is a dark and lonely path that Pete finds himself revisiting daily. Only a master thespian would have been able to so seamlessly portray the many conflicting facets of Morgan’s character, which encompass his kindly, caring side contrasted with the hurtful, volatile and controlling aspects of his enraged persona. This film is about a veiled house of secrets with the Red House possibly representing the corpus delicti or body of crime clues of this perversion. Just as in “The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili” written by the famous Mad Monk, Colonna in the Middle Ages, in which Colonna who was obsessed with architecture described the buildings of his dream in search of his lover, in sexual and most licentious terms, so too in this film the enigmatic Red House, lying just out of reach and bounded on one side by the infamous Ice House, appears to mean more than its literal description. Could Pete’s wooden leg be a symbolic expression of moribund libido which had been cuckolded or is this one step too far in an analysis. Regardless in this day of much discussion about adults preying on children in inappropriate ways, this film seems prescient, in its revelatory stance on how behavior which on the surface may seem to denote honest care and affection, can mask deeper seated subterranean tendencies.
 

In some ways, this film could fit into some noirish guidelines being that it similar themes and has a narration introduction, which mentions that Piney Ridge was originally a place of darkness covered by woods, till the highways and civilization caused some areas to be cleared of the overlying foliage, all except for the area of the dreaded Oxhouse Woods and the Morgan Farm. This amazing case study of textbook delineations concerning repressed sexuality, jealousy, teenage angst, the masks of convention, religious fervor, psychic delusion, fetishism and more, in one fell swoop deserves more recognition. It has enough paradoxical issues to evoke memories of Jean-Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit” and even if one does not go in for all the extraneous medieval symbolic minutiae, this is bottom line a fascinating descent into madness, with great performances by the cast.

 

This is now my favorite Eddie G. film. What's yours and why?

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"The Sea Wolf" (1941)--Edward G. Robinson is "Wolf" Larsen, captain of the "Ghost".  Only after John Garfield and Ida Lupino come aboard, and the Ghost sets sail, do they find out that Larsen is going/is already crazy--and he knows that, and can't/won't do anything about it.  Garfield and Lupino and crew are trapped aboard with Larsen.

 

There is a third character, but I forget him--he's the film's weak point, acting wise.

 

Film is being shown August 1st.  It's definitely worth watching.

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"The Sea Wolf" (1941)--Edward G. Robinson is "Wolf" Larsen, captain of the "Ghost".  Only after John Garfield and Ida Lupino come aboard, and the Ghost sets sail, do they find out that Larsen is going/is already crazy--and he knows that, and can't/won't do anything about it.  Garfield and Lupino and crew are trapped aboard with Larsen.

 

There is a third character, but I forget him--he's the film's weak point, acting wise.

 

Film is being shown August 1st.  It's definitely worth watching.

Ooooh!

 

He is so great in that, FL.

 

I'll have to watch it again; thanks for adding it to the list.

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Well I can't name just one.

 

For a supporting character I pick Double Indemnity.

 

For an early leading part;   The Whole Town's Talking   (with Jean Arthur).

 

For an later leading part, as well as getting in another noir;  Scarlet Street

 

As to why I love Eddie in these films.   Well Double Indemnity is one solid noir with Eddie playing a man of solid character verse that of his junior partner,  MacMurray.     I love the scene where Eddie is mulling over the facts of the insurance case.   One can almost see the gears moving around in his head.

 

The Whole Town's Talking;  well this as Eddie's two most well known screen personas since he plays two very different characters;  that of the meek man and of course the gangster.    Eddie make these characters work perfectly as it relates to the comic moments with the meek man (who does finally grow a spine), and the gangster scenes have the right amount of fear and violence. 

 

Scarlet Street has Eddie playing the meek man again,  but this Lang noir has a lot of sizzle in the performance of Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea who take the meek man for a ride.

 

     

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Well I can't name just one.

 

For a supporting character I pick Double Indemnity.

 

For an early leading part;   The Whole Town's Talking   (with Jean Arthur).

 

For an later leading part, as well as getting in another noir;  Scarlet Street

 

As to why I love Eddie in these films.   Well Double Indemnity is one solid noir with Eddie playing a man of solid character verse that of his junior partner,  MacMurray.     I love the scene where Eddie is mulling over the facts of the insurance case.   One can almost see the gears moving around in his head.

 

The Whole Town's Talking;  well this as Eddie's two most well known screen personas since he plays two very different characters;  that of the meek man and of course the gangster.    Eddie make these characters work perfectly as it relates to the comic moments with the meek man (who does finally grow a spine), and the gangster scenes have the right amount of fear and violence. 

 

Scarlet Street has Eddie playing the meek man again,  but this Lang noir has a lot of sizzle in the performance of Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea who take the meek man for a ride.

Let's face it, Eddie never gave a bad performance probably.

 

It really is impossible to pick just one of his performances but your three choices are top drawer, James!

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I second MovieCollector's recommendation of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. It's a terrific companion piece to Fritz Lang's SCARLET STREET the following year. I know that some people view the ending of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW as somewhat of a copout, with Lang being forced to make an altercation to the film at the behest of the production code. However, I've always preferred the film's delightfully Hollywoodized, vaguely comic conclusion over the considerably more downbeat ending of SCARLET STREET.

 

As for Eddie G.'s best performance, I'd have to go with his part DOUBLE INDEMNITY, the film, story and character from which I have derived my username on here. It marked Robinson's transition to character, supporting roles after he had been an unlikely star in the '30s.  

 

Probably his best-known leading role is in LITTLE CAESAR, and while he's very good in it, getting one of the great last lines in all of filmdom, I must say that the movie as a whole seems a bit too static and antiquated to be regarded as a classic. If you're talking about Eddie G. in leading roles then my recommendation would be for his stellar performance in FIVE STAR FINAL -- a devastating, startlingly relevant condemnation of tabloid journalism.

 

I'm particularly looking forward to taking a look at THE RED HOUSE. I know I saw it many years ago, but it is such a distant memory that I can't honestly render an opinion of it. At any rate, I thank the TCM programmers for allowing me to spend my birthday (August 1) with my favourite movie actor.

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I too, have a problem picking a "favorite", but there are a few I like particularily well...

 

His "out of character" roles, like in BROTHER ORCHID and MR. WINKLE GOES TO WAR and perhaps the earlier TWO SECONDS which show a range far beyond the "hard boiled" gangster type roles he was a master of.

 

I've never seen any of his silents, so I can't speak to ALL of his filmography.

 

All I can submit is my opinion that he was GREAT in whatever role he appeared.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I too, have a problem picking a "favorite", but there are a few I like particularily well...

 

His "out of character" roles, like in BROTHER ORCHID and MR. WINKLE GOES TO WAR and perhaps the earlier TWO SECONDS which show a range far beyond the "hard boiled" gangster type roles he was a master of.

 

I've never seen any of his silents, so I can't speak to ALL of his filmography.

 

All I can submit is my opinion that he was GREAT in whatever role he appeared.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Have you seen The Whole Town's Talking?    In this film he plays two men that lookalike  (yea,  poor fellows both look like Eddie G!).

 

One is a gangster and one is a meek\mellow man.   Eddie pulls of both roles with ease.   I highly recommend this film.

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And Eddie, up to the very end of his life, was probably the best thing in and about that movie where people are turned into food(saaay, should this have been "spoiler alerted" here?...naaah, everybody knows this by now...it's like that whole "rosebud" thing in another flick, right?!) in some imagined future dystopia ...

 

Soylent+Green+301.jpg

 

 

The look on his tired old face as he voluntarily exits this world in his very final cinematic turn in front of the camera and filmed just shortly before his actual death has "haunted" me since my first viewing of this film when it was first released...

800__soylent_green_blu-ray_9_.jpg

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"The Sea Wolf" (1941)--Edward G. Robinson is "Wolf" Larsen, captain of the "Ghost". Only after John Garfield and Ida Lupino come aboard, and the Ghost sets sail, do they find out that Larsen is going/is already crazy--and he knows that, and can't/won't do anything about it. Garfield and Lupino and crew are trapped aboard with Larsen.

 

There is a third character, but I forget him--he's the film's weak point, acting wise.

 

Film is being shown August 1st. It's definitely worth watching.

The unmemorable third character is played by Alexander Knox who later earned a best actor nomination for playing Woodrow Wilson. I have to admit I'm not terribly impressed by him in either film.

 

But yah THE SEA WOLF is great.

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FIVE STAR FINAL- which earned a lone Academy Award nomination for Best Picture ca. 1931 is one of my personal favorite pre codes. I think in all likelihood the script was about 180 pages and the film itself is over in an hour and 20 minutes: that's how fast everyone in it talks.

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?

Like, scenes that were cut for being controversial? Or scenes that were lost?

 

WB did cut political scenes for what they viewed as controversial at the time since America was NOT at war with Germany.

 

Since those scenes were removed prior to the official WB release of the film that means they, like any film, were subject to the typical editing process (I.e ALL films are edited).     I don't think there has been a re-release (e.g. directors cut), of this film.

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No.  The film was released at 100 minutes.  When it was reissued in 1948, Hal Wallis' name was removed and ten minutes were cut to make way for a double bill with THE SEA HAWK (which was also trimmed - though not as severely as the 1956 Dominant reissue).

 

I believe Julie Garfield had her father's uncut 16mm print.  It is now in the NYU film collection.

 

Warners is waiting for 35mm material before they do a restored release.

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No.  The film was released at 100 minutes.  When it was reissued in 1948, Hal Wallis' name was removed and ten minutes were cut to make way for a double bill with THE SEA HAWK (which was also trimmed - though not as severely as the 1956 Dominant reissue).

 

I believe Julie Garfield had her father's uncut 16mm print.  It is now in the NYU film collection.

 

Warners is waiting for 35mm material before they do a restored release.

 

Warners has had that 16mm Garfield version of the film for years now. Unless they have serious hopes of locating a 35mm complete print, I wish they would give us a restoration using the 10 minutes of 16 mm elements.

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No. The film was released at 100 minutes. When it was reissued in 1948, Hal Wallis' name was removed and ten minutes were cut to make way for a double bill with THE SEA HAWK (which was also trimmed - though not as severely as the 1956 Dominant reissue).

 

I believe Julie Garfield had her father's uncut 16mm print. It is now in the NYU film collection.

 

Warners is waiting for 35mm material before they do a restored release.

Thanks Ray!!!!!

 

Oh wow, I really do hope they're able to restore it. The film has always had a slightly truncated feel to it when I've watched it before, but the strength of the ending and the performances of the three principles is good enough to overcome that issue.

 

Did Warner Brothers remove the Wallis credit because he had fallen out with Jack Warner at that time?

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And Eddie G.-(TRIVIA: What *Oscar contending actor: Chazz Palmenteri-(l95l-)often calls his a #1 idol)

 

& out of (101 films) not 1 single *Academy Award nomination??? Especially considering "Little Caesar" & "The Cincinnati Kid"-(TRIVIA/FACTS: A ro0le specifically written,etc for my A #1 idol: *"The Great: Spencer Tracy"-(l900-67)

 

Matter of fact, cameras were already rolling for the 1965 movie, but w/*Tracy as Lancey "The Man" Howard,

Sharon Tate & Sam Peckinpah as director & they were filming it in B & W. When Warner Bros. found out, they pulled the plug & obviously changed quite a bit,etc & ironically, Steve McQueen-(l930-80) was my own very 1st hero/idol & it woulda' been (McQueen vs. *Tracy!)

 

Anyway, Eddie G. not only was "robbed' of a supporting nod. but in my view deserved to also win the *Gold. (P.S. Official winner was: *Martin Balsam-(l9l9-1996) in "A Thousand Clowns" (***1/2 out of 4)

 

His own fav. he ever made though was 1940's "Dr. Erlich's Magic Bullet" (***1/2)

 

& *Cagney & others always said that Edward G. in real life was somewhat of a "milqtoast" Even having to have his eyelids taped open when firing a black gun.

George Raft-(l895-l980) & he detested each other & physically got into it during filming of 1941's "Manpower" (***) Raft even flattened the excellent actor

 

I've always felt that his Johnny Rocco in 1948's superb "Key Largo" was another *Oscar caliber performance.& outright deserved the Best actor *Oscar for 1930's "Little Caesar" (***1/2) But, the winner for that early era of the *Academy (AMPAS) Awards was: *Lionel Barrymore-(l878-l954) in "A Free soul" (MGM) (***)

& nobody had a chance against *LB, considering he was L.B. Mayer's-(l885-l957) own personal favorite actor

Plus, in those days most thought he'd be gone very soon from his arthritis. Even *"The Great: Spencer Tracy" idolized *LB.

 

(TRIVIA: Born (Emmanuel Goldenberg), he was another Hollywood actor in that era that "heighted" barely hitting 5'5 & most always think *James Cagney-(l899-l986) was shorter, but early on *Jim was 5'7.

A Romanian-Jew & chose to be interred in Queens, NY as opposed to HOLLYWOOD. Although his son-(appeared in "Some Like It Hot" as the gangster that popped out of the cake. went early & he chose "Hollywood Forever, cem."

 

AFI-(American Film Institute) voted him at No. 24th out of 25 male movie actors in it's 1999 poll & tv special

 

When I took the Warner Bros. tour-(1999) in it's museum & gift shop, was a very elderly gentlemen who knew a lotta' heavyweights, including: EDWARD G. ROBINSON!!!

 

THANX

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And Eddie G.-(TRIVIA: What *Oscar contending actor: Chazz Palmenteri-(l95l-)often calls his a #1 idol)

 

& out of (101 films) not 1 single *Academy Award nomination??? Especially considering "Little Caesar" & "The Cincinnati Kid"-(TRIVIA/FACTS: A ro0le specifically written,etc for my A #1 idol: *"The Great: Spencer Tracy"-(l900-67)

 

Matter of fact, cameras were already rolling for the 1965 movie, but w/*Tracy as Lancey "The Man" Howard,

Sharon Tate & Sam Peckinpah as director & they were filming it in B & W. When Warner Bros. found out, they pulled the plug & obviously changed quite a bit,etc & ironically, Steve McQueen-(l930-80) was my own very 1st hero/idol & it woulda' been (McQueen vs. *Tracy!)

 

Anyway, Eddie G. not only was "robbed' of a supporting nod. but in my view deserved to also win the *Gold. (P.S. Official winner was: *Martin Balsam-(l9l9-1996) in "A Thousand Clowns" (***1/2 out of 4)

 

His own fav. he ever made though was 1940's "Dr. Erlich's Magic Bullet" (***1/2)

 

& *Cagney & others always said that Edward G. in real life was somewhat of a "milqtoast" Even having to have his eyelids taped open when firing a black gun.

George Raft-(l895-l980) & he detested each other & physically got into it during filming of 1941's "Manpower" (***) Raft even flattened the excellent actor

 

I've always felt that his Johnny Rocco in 1948's superb "Key Largo" was another *Oscar caliber performance.& outright deserved the Best actor *Oscar for 1930's "Little Caesar" (***1/2) But, the winner for that early era of the *Academy (AMPAS) Awards was: *Lionel Barrymore-(l878-l954) in "A Free soul" (MGM) (***)

& nobody had a chance against *LB, considering he was L.B. Mayer's-(l885-l957) own personal favorite actor

Plus, in those days most thought he'd be gone very soon from his arthritis. Even *"The Great: Spencer Tracy" idolized *LB.

 

(TRIVIA: Born (Emmanuel Goldenberg), he was another Hollywood actor in that era that "heighted" barely hitting 5'5 & most always think *James Cagney-(l899-l986) was shorter, but early on *Jim was 5'7.

A Romanian-Jew & chose to be interred in Queens, NY as opposed to HOLLYWOOD. Although his son-(appeared in "Some Like It Hot" as the gangster that popped out of the cake. went early & he chose "Hollywood Forever, cem."

 

AFI-(American Film Institute) voted him at No. 24th out of 25 male movie actors in it's 1999 poll & tv special

 

When I took the Warner Bros. tour-(1999) in it's museum & gift shop, was a very elderly gentlemen who knew a lotta' heavyweights, including: EDWARD G. ROBINSON!!!

 

THANX

Wonderful research, Spence!

 

Perhaps those less flashy are not as appreciated as those who toot their own horn more?

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they're not showing it as part of his SUTS day, but it's worth it to see MANPOWER (1942) at least once, not because it's good but because it is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.

 

TCM has shown it pretty regularly in the past, but a big part of me wonders if they actually watched the content last time it aired and decided to shelve it. It's a bad, badly acted, utterly ridiculous movie- but is notably and memorably offensive for a scene in which Raft (the "hero") HITS** MARLENE DIETRICH HARD IN THE FACE ( possibly several times) and this is portrayed in the film as A GOOD THING!!!!!!

 

this is especially galling considering the film seems like the sort of thing that might've been seen by kids and young men who idolized Raft.

 

**NOT SLAPS: HITS. In real life I would just LOVE to see Raft

try to pull something like this with Marlene. She would've opened up

a CAN OF TEUTONIC WHOOPASS with a side of strudel on Raft.

 

edit- looked up the film on wiki and if any of you needed defiitive proof that Bosley Crowther was a total tool, here is an excerpt from his review of MANPOWER:

 

Bosley Crowther wrote a positive review for the film, noting that the cast of the Warner Bros. film was outstanding. "With such exceptional material, the Warner blacksmiths couldn't help but make good—good, in this sense—meaning the accomplishment of a tough, fast, exciting adventure film."[2]

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Warners has had that 16mm Garfield version of the film for years now. Unless they have serious hopes of locating a 35mm complete print, I wish they would give us a restoration using the 10 minutes of 16 mm elements.

 

AGREE!!

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