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pandorainmay

Let Us Now Praise...Paul Douglas

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>>"Thank you Moira, Your giving Mongo a little competition."<<

 

I know what you mean about the forums treasure (Mr. Mongo)

I said that with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

But I did like your Kudos to Mr. Douglas...

 

vallo

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His pairing with Judy Holliday makes me wish Columbia had seen fit to let him reprise his Broadway role in "Born Yesterday."

 

Might not have been a bad idea! :)

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[nobr]Paul Douglas was offered the opportunity to recreate the part of Harry Brock in Born Yesterday that he had created on Broadway. He turned it down, since he did not wish to repeat himself, become a contract player at Columbia nor did he want to become typecast. As seen in a perusal of his life and work, Mr. Douglas liked variety.[/nobr]

 

[nobr]His chemistry with Judy Holliday, as seen in The Solid Gold Cadillac, makes that what-might-have-been casting of the earlier film very appealing, though.[/nobr]

[nobr]Paul%20Douglas.jpg[/nobr]

Paul Douglas and Judy Holliday

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That is a good point, Moira. One aspect of Douglas' body of work is the variety

of choices he seemed to have made. The Solid Gold Cadillac was a relatively

successful stage play, and choosing to venture into unknown territory,

as opposed to clinging to Born Yesterday was really a maverick's motion professionally, and he

was also afforded the opportunity to appear with Judy Holliday.

 

Message was edited by:

SueSueApplegate

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> [nobr]Paul Douglas was offered the

> opportunity to recreate the part of Harry Brock in

> Born Yesterday that he had created on

> Broadway. He turned it down, since he did not wish to

> repeat himself, become a contract player at Columbia

> nor did he want to become typecast. As seen in a

> perusal of his life and work, Mr. Douglas liked

> variety.[/nobr]

>

 

What a consummate professional! :D

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Paul Douglas was offered the opportunity to recreate the part of Harry Brock in Born Yesterday that he had created on Broadway. He turned it down, since he did not wish to repeat himself, become a contract player at Columbia nor did he want to become typecast. As seen in a perusal of his life and work, Mr. Douglas liked variety.

 

His chemistry with Judy Holliday, as seen in The Solid Gold Cadillac, makes that what-might-have-been casting of the earlier film very appealing, though.

 

Thanks for the clarification, Moira. Given that it was very early in his film career I can certainly understand why Paul Douglas would choose to stretch himself by taking on new roles instead of just repeating a past success. And I guess being under Harry Cohn's thumb wasn't exactly the stuff of dreams...more like nightmares. ;)

 

Di

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A very nice tribute to a great actor. He was one of a kind. A wonderful, informative post moira! Thanks.

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> Thanks for the clarification, Moira. Given that it

> was very early in his film career I can certainly

> understand why Paul Douglas would choose to stretch

> himself by taking on new roles instead of just

> repeating a past success. And I guess being under

> Harry Cohn's thumb wasn't exactly the stuff of

> dreams...more like nightmares. ;)

>

> Di

 

I can't really comment on working for Harry Cohn, as I haven't really read much about him and Columbia while he was running it. However, for whatever reason, I think it was a great thing for PD to stretch his acting ability! :D

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It was such fun to see Mr. Douglas today in the Mating Game. His puzzlement as the 'trader' and failure to understand why he should pay tax was his usual treatment of such a situation. Also, he showed such devotion, in little things, to his 'wife' Una Merkel, as to make you think, gee, I wish I could find a guy like that.

 

Just love the man!

 

Anne

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> It was such fun to see Mr. Douglas today in the

> Mating Game. His puzzlement as the 'trader' and

> failure to understand why he should pay tax was his

> usual treatment of such a situation. Also, he showed

> such devotion, in little things, to his 'wife' Una

> Merkel, as to make you think, gee, I wish I could

> find a guy like that.

>

> Just love the man!

 

Anne, my niece is in her late twenties and she's constantly talking about actors she thinks are 'hot.' Her mind simply can't comprehend how someone (me!) could find Paul Douglas attractive. ::::sigh:::: I suspect she'll never understand.

 

Di

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I find him attractive because of the roles he portrayed: gruff, at times, sweet,

cuddly, do the right thing and stand up for what you believe in!

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Heh heh I thought I wouldn't be the first to mention PD's performance in that cute little movie with such nice cast! B-)

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Hi Anne,

I can't share the enthusiasm that others feel for The Mating Game (1959), though I'd like to see Paul Douglas' work more, generally. However, as Paul Douglas last feature film, it is far from being enjoyable viewing for me. Based on an entertaining British novel by H.E. Bates, there's just too much of the aggressively cute Debbie Reynolds' highly resistable charm for me, and not enough of Douglas, Merkel and the other character actors.

 

It is also troubling to see Mr. D. looking quite so florid and he gives what might be described as a "pressured" performance--all his lines seemed delivered in a rush or in a manner that seems to signal his comprehension that things have come to a pretty pass in his career if he's reduced to playing a faux-na?f such as this happy hick. But, as always, no argument, to each his or her own. Just my subjective reaction, and, of course, I'm glad that someone derives pleasure from this entertainment.

 

Btw, I think that Douglas was quite an attractive fellow, and find that many women do find him endearing. Maybe his appeal is something that one appreciates over time.

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> Btw, I think that Douglas was quite an attractive

> fellow, and find that many women do find him

> endearing. Maybe his appeal is something that one

> appreciates over time.

 

I do think his appeal is somewhat of an acquired taste, which is why it's great to have threads like this! B-)

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I agree with you, Moira. Yesterday was the first time I've seen the movie in its entirety, and I was disappointed. I don't think this movie could make up its mind what genre it was going to be: a "You Can't Take It With You" or Ma and Pa Kettle clone, or a farmer's daughter joke, or maybe a Three Stooges spin-off. Despite the presence of so many skillful comic performers, I found the whole thing labored and badly executed. I very much like Paul Douglas, but you're right, he seemed to be trying a bit too hard in a part that should have called for Will Rogers- (or at least Pat Buttram)- type acting. I kept thinking all the way through the movie how old he looked, when he was barely middle-aged. Una Merkel, who was a few years older than Douglas, looked a decade younger.

Too bad.

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The first film I noticed Paul Douglas in was "Clash By Night", with Barbara Stanwyck.

 

What a great film!!!!

 

Now, I'm a pretty huge Babs fan...but Paul Douglas was AT LEAST as good in this film. I was very impressed.

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Moira,

I do agree with your on-target assessment of Mr. Douglas in The Mating Game.

His reponses seemed rushed as if he was , at time, hunting the punch.

My fondness for Mr. Douglas originally stems from his debut role

in A Letter To Three Wives as Porter Hollingsway. But I also love

that movie because of Kirk Douglas' speech about the media, and I feel

it's still true today.

 

But Porter Hollingsway was a "class" act. And I've enjoyed Paul Douglas

ever since. In any just about any role he played. The Mating Game,

however, was mostly a Debbie and Tony party.

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> The first film I noticed Paul Douglas in was "Clash

> By Night", with Barbara Stanwyck.

>

> What a great film!!!!

>

> Now, I'm a pretty huge Babs fan...but Paul Douglas

> was AT LEAST as good in this film. I was very

> impressed.

 

I think I also noticed him for the first time in Clash by Night, and it couldn't have been an easy thing to be noticed when surrounded by such a special and very talented cast! B-)

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> Hi Anne,

> I can't share the enthusiasm that you, SueSue and

> Dianabat feel for The Mating Game (1959),

> though I'd like to see Paul Douglas' work more,

> generally. However, as Paul Douglas last feature

> film, it is far from being enjoyable viewing for me.

> Based on an entertaining British novel by H.E. Bates,

> there's just too much of the aggressively cute Debbie

> Reynolds' highly resistable charm for me, and not

> enough of Douglas, Merkel and the other character

> actors.

 

Actually, I didn't say I was a big fan of "The Mating Game." I agree his performance in that film left a lot to be desired. It's Paul Douglas himself that I find totally appealing, and because of that I will watch anything he's in.

 

Di

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Just out of curiosity, did you see the film during its original release, or did you catch one of the recent showings on TCM?

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> Yes, very true. That was an outstanding cast in

> CLASH BY NIGHT. But Paul Douglas contributed greatly

> to that film. Plus, I think he might have played the

> only truly NICE character in that entire film! *lol*

 

 

Don't forget Marilyn Monroe's character, who was probably the only character in the film besides Douglas' character without an ulterior motive. I thought she was quite good in the part - she was so darn cute.

 

Douglas' performance in Clash By Night just tears my heart out - he's such a big, dumb cluck. The expression of utter devotion on his face when he looks at his best friend and his wife makes you want to cry. When he finally asserts himself at the end, you really cheer for him. Actually, although all the performances are really first-rate, in a film that isn't all that great (but not as bad as it might have been in the hands of a lesser director), I think Douglas and J. Carrol Naish are the strongest. I wonder if Naish ever played Iago in Othello - he would have been pretty darn good.

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Miss G.,

What a pleasant surprise to find that several others have discovered Paul Douglas and his films. I agree about the marvelous chemistry between Douglas and Linda Darnell. As she matured as an actress, he seemed to be an odd choice for the exquisite, and very young woman on screen, but, in addition to A Letter to Three Wives, they were paired in Everbody Does It (1949) and The Guy Who Came Back (1951) while they both toiled at 20th Century Fox.

 

Though I think that the Lora Mae-Porter coupling* is their finest, I also like the other films very much--in both of those, btw, Darnell plays the temptress to the married Douglas. She is very foxy in Everybody Does It as a predatory glamour-puss from the opera world, but I prefer her sympathetic adultress in the sometimes touching The Guy Who Came Back, who actually loves the big lug enough to send him home. Much of Miss Darnell's best mature work was done opposite Douglas. I think that his maturity, grounded masculinity and the humorous undertone that lay beneath much of his work brought out something better in her in their movies.

 

Thanks very much for that naughty Lora Mae picture, showing that 'tycoon of industry' Porter her, um, wares!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Letter to Three Wives, with the great ensemble playing, dialogue and, as SueSue pointed out earlier, the fine speech that Kirk Douglas makes about commercialism, scholarship, and values that really count, is probably one of the best written screenplays ever, imo. It's right up there, with Mr. Mankiewicz's 1950 project, All About Eve. Mankiewicz, you may notice when viewing his films, often features teachers and their slight remuneration for the gift of civilization that they pass on to their students. This may, in part, be because the director-screenwriter's father was, for many years struggling to raise a family in Pennsylvania and later NYC as a high school teacher and professor.

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Hi Moira,

 

Nice analysis of the Douglas/Darnell chemistry and why it worked so well. I happen to be a big fan of movies featuring love stories between (superficially) oddly matched couples, and they are one of my favorties in that group.

 

I hope the Fox Movie Channel airs those other two movies or that they turn up one day on dvd because I am dying to see them.

 

Miss G

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While FMC rarely shows these films, I'm holding my breath until a Paul Douglas box set is issued! Okay, how about a Linda Darnell box set? Hey, I'm turning blue...

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