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Let Us Now Praise...Paul Douglas

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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...


It would be just elegant if they could do both.

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[nobr]It occurred to me that it might be fun to consider what Paul Douglas films are available on dvd or vhs and which ones don't seem to be around at all--though one hopes that 20th Century Fox will air them on FMC or consider issuing them on dvd someday. Of those that are not available anywhere, (according to most sources), there may be bootleg copies or home recordings around on the internet, but who knows if the video quality is adequate and the purchase of such copies seems legally suspect.[/nobr]


[nobr]Btw, there are numerous tv programs that Douglas appeared in throughout the roughly 10 year span of his movie career, including an appearance on Hallmark Hall of Fame as Harry Brock in a Born Yesterday production, but access to them seems remote, at best. I've included a few notes on the motion pictures that we haven't discussed previously in this thread. I've tried to list all upcoming airings of Douglas movies as well. Btw, some of the film choices listed below make me realize that Mr. Douglas must've owed quite alot of alimony to those four previous wives--yikes. [/nobr]



[nobr]Here are the ones that are available on Dvd in North America:[/nobr]

[nobr]A Letter to Three Wives (1949)[/nobr]


[nobr]It Happens Every Spring (1949)[/nobr]


[nobr]Panic in the Streets (1950)[/nobr]


[nobr]The Big Lift (1950)[/nobr]


[nobr]Fourteen Hours (1951)

Please Note: this film will be on FMC on Tue., Apr. 10th at 10am EDT[/nobr]


[nobr]Never Wave at a WAC (1952)-an indifferent service comedy with Rosalind Russell & Marie Wilson. They've all been better elsewhere.[/nobr]


[nobr]We're Not Married! (1952): an enjoyable anthology film directed by Edmund Goulding. A fine cast includes Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, Fred Allen, Marilyn Monroe, David Wayne, Eve Arden, Paul Douglas, Eddie Bracken, Mitzi Gaynor.

Five couples find themselves illegally wed in this occasionally hilarious comedy. 105 minutes. Douglas & Eve Arden make a nice, bored married pair.[/nobr]

[nobr]Please Note: This is being aired on Sun., April 1st at 11:30am EDT on AMC.[/nobr]


[nobr]Angels in the Outfield (1951)[/nobr]

[nobr]Please Note: this film will be on TCM on May 2nd at 6:15PM EDT & on June 30th at 6AM EDT. [/nobr]


[nobr]Clash by Night (1952)[/nobr]


[nobr]Executive Suite(1954):[/nobr]

[nobr]Please Note: this film will be on TCM on Apr 17th at 1:00PM EDT[/nobr]


[nobr]The Maggie (1954): The captain of a dilapidated old 'puffer' boat off Scotland,(Peter MacTaggert) "The Maggie", tricks an American businessman(Douglas) into letting them carry his valuable cargo. The movie is really interesting to me because, in addition to Douglas' presence, it was directed by the underrated Alexander MacKendrick, who also guided the excellent Alec Guinness films with a dark edge, The Man in the White Suit (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955) and the American acid-etched portrait of fame and power, Sweet Smell of Success(1957) . The Maggie film is sold as part of the Ealing Studios Comedy Collection (The Maggie / A Run for Your Money / Titfield Thunderbolt / Whisky Galore! / Passport to Pimlico) and can be had for about 33 bucks, used on the web. Great collection, but the movie, The Maggie (aka High & Dry) doesn't seem to be available separately in the states! I've posted a picture from it below.[/nobr]


[nobr]The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)[/nobr]



[nobr]Films available on VHS only:[/nobr]


[nobr]Forever Female (1953): with Ginger Rogers as an aging actress buoyed by Douglas. Haven't seen it, but it sounds kind of interesting.[/nobr]


[nobr]Green Fire (1954): with Grace Kelly & Stewart Granger, along w/ Mr. D. looking for emeralds in South America. Paul has a role that might be described as "the George Tobias-William Bendix part" as a stalwart partner of Granger. Shown on TCM from time to time. Rather dull, I thought, unless I'm missing something?[/nobr]


[nobr]Adventure Theater (1956) aka Calling Scotland Yard: a pricey vhs taken from a tv program. Here's the synopsis that I came across: Hosted by storyteller Paul Douglas, this summer series started each episode with Douglas holding some artifact from England, which he would then use as the basis for a long, involved tale of adventure explaining how the object came to be in his possession.[/nobr]


[nobr]The Gamma People (1956): this doozie was shown on TCM within the last year, and features Paul as a reporter who's investigating a commie dictator zapping kids with gamma rays to turn them into his malleable henchmen--oh, yeah, the little squirts turn into mutants too. Must be seen to be believed. Douglas doesn't even have a chance to inject any intentional laughs into the plot, alas.[/nobr]


[nobr]This Could Be the Night (1957): with direction by Robert Wise, and cast member such as Jean Simmons this isn't bad, but might've been better, with a rather sheltered Jean working in Douglas' colorful nightclub. TCM trots it out from time to time.[/nobr]


[nobr]The Mating Game(1959)[/nobr]

Please Note: this film will be on TCM on Apr 20th, at 10:15AM EDT.[/nobr]




[nobr]Not available anywhere: according to most sources, but of course bootleg copies or home recordings might be around:[/nobr]


[nobr]Calling All Tars (1935) (uncredited): a Vitaphone short with Bob Hope and Paul allegedly in the background somewhere![/nobr]


[nobr]Everybody Does It (1949)[/nobr]


[nobr]Love That Brute (1950): Directed by Alexander Hall. Starring Paul Douglas, Jean Peters, Cesar Romero, Keenan Wynn, Joan Davis, Arthur Treacher. Great cast of character actors swirl around softhearted gangster Douglas in the 1920s who presents a tough facade while pursuing Miss Peters.[/nobr]

[nobr]Please Note: being shown on Tue. Mar. 27th at 10:30am on FMC.[/nobr]


[nobr]The Guy Who Came Back (1951)[/nobr]


[nobr]Rhubarb (1951) (Douglas in uncredited bit): alot of fun about a cat who inherits a baseball team. Jan Sterling was one of the stars opposite Ray Milland, while in reality married to Paul Douglas. At the end of Rhubarb she and Milland stroll through a park, with Rhubarb the cat, followed by three female cats, each with several kittens following them. As they pass a man, sitting, reading a newspaper on a park bench, he looks up - it is Paul Douglas who comments about the cat having a litter by three wives, (clearly a reference to A Letter To Three Wives). Wish this would be resurrected.[/nobr]


[nobr]When in Rome (1952): charming Clarence Brown directed movie with Douglas as a career criminal who disguises himself in priest Van Johnson's robes to elude arrest. During wanderings around the Holy City, Douglas is impressed with quiet spirituality he encounters and he has an epiphany. Lovely, gentle comedy and nice views of Rome at that time, which happened to be a Papal Holy Year. Shown on TCM from time to time. [/nobr]


[nobr]The Javanese Dagger (1954), The Final Twist (1954) , Present for a Bride (1954): these are three British made mysteries that Douglas narrated. He didn't appear in them.[/nobr]


[nobr]Joe MacBeth (1955) [/nobr]


[nobr]The Leather Saint (1956): a fight picture with Douglas providing the realistic acting for then pretty boy actor John Derek. Not good, if memory serves.[/nobr]


[nobr]Beau James (1957): a bio pic about the roaring 20s NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker as played by Bob Hope. Quite an entertaining film, though a glossy history lesson drawn from Gene Fowler's nostalgic book. With Hope never better, a great supporting cast, Paul Douglas as a Tammany Hall type & nice location shots of NY. Has played on TCM in the past, hopefully will again. Seems odd that this isn't available on some sort of home video. [/nobr]


[nobr]The link below will take you to site that gives a rundown of Paul Douglas movies that are on cable within the next four weeks. If you save the link, you can check periodically to see what might show up:[/nobr]





Paul and friend having a fine time in The Maggie (1954).

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> [nobr]Rhubarb (1951) (Douglas in uncredited

> bit): alot of fun about a cat who inherits a baseball

> team. Jan Sterling, was one of the stars

> opposite Ray Milland, while in reality married

> to Paul Douglas. At the end of Rhubarb she and

> Milland stroll through a park, with Rhubarb the cat,

> followed by three female cats, each with several

> kittens following them. As they pass a man, sitting,

> reading a newspaper on a park bench, he looks up - it

> turns out to be Paul Douglas who comments about the

> cat having a litter by three wives (A Letter To Three

> Wives being a film Douglas had previously starred

> in). Wish this would be resurrected.[/nobr]


My brother found a VHS version of "Rhubarb" available at Movies Unlimited:




The quality of the video isn't the best, but it is a cute story and I loved the Paul Douglas cameo at the end.



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[nobr]Oh Dianabat,[/nobr]

[nobr]Thanks to you & your brother for taking the trouble to post about tracking down Rhubarb (1954) on Movies Unlimited! And it's only $14.99. Gotta save my pennies. Even though it's only on vhs, at least it's new.[/nobr]


[nobr]I should also mention that, as many realize, even though films were often issued cheaply on vhs some time ago and they may no longer be available as new, they do often show up on a secondary market through such sources as ebay, Amazon & other video outlets around the web. [/nobr]


[nobr]It was my pleasure to compile this list, SueSue,

I got a real kick out of lining up our pal Paul's movies--especially since, as Miss Goddess and I were lamenting yesterday, a boxed set of his best stuff doesn't seem likely.[/nobr]



Mr. Douglas, looking to heaven for some career guidance: "Please, whoever you angels are, no more scripts like The Gamma People, okay, huh?"

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[nobr]An unhappy looking Paul Douglas and the fine comic actor, Leslie Phillips, in The Gamma People, a film that was a shade ahead of that nifty 50's British sci-fi wave, but reflected some of the now quaint paranoia of the West toward Communism. Come to think of it, maybe it was a very subtle comedy?[/nobr]

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  • 5 months later...

Well, let's see if I can post anything using this "upgraded" format that's been provided for the stalwarts! I'm sorry if any of this fails to come out correctly.



Paul Douglas, rediscovering life's prosaic sweetnesss in The Maggie (1954).


I've recently seen the dvd of the Ealing Studios film, The Maggie. Written and directed by Alexander Mackendrick, the picaresque story is slight, centering around the ragtag crew of a Scottish "puffer", (an antiquated, ramshackle coal powered boat used as a small barge to transport goods along the Northern coast of the UK.) Despite, or because of the necessity of slowness inherent in this mode of transportation, bigshot American businessman Paul Douglas is forced to re-examine his own life and values during the time that he spends with the rascally, old, alcoholic of a skipper(Alex Mackenzie), and the wee boy (Tommy Kearins) who crews loyally under the captain. Douglas is desperately attempting to mend his failing marriage to a high maintenance spouse by bringing such luxuries as large, modern bath fixtures to their remote island home. Needless to say, he is sidetracked repeatedly by carelessness, willful incompetence, out-of-date equipment, and numerous sojourns ashore for poaching and attending a centenarian's birthday party.


All this begins to affect the loudmouth Douglas, and he finds his inner clock slowing down throughout his trip as he also rediscovers some of his soul. The story does have heaps of charm, and Douglas is especially good in his quieter moments with the boy and with an appealing young woman who gives him some insight into life's sweeter moments by using him as a sounding board for her own concerns. The bombastic moments in the script did, I confess, wear on me, since Mr. D. sometimes seems to be approaching that powerful, perennial stereotype, the know-it-all American through the louder moments in the script. Fortunately, by the wind-up, Douglas, his altered perceptions and his acceptance (or is it resignation?) of life's vicissitudes and the filmmaker's decision to end his story quietly redeemed the film for me.


Ostensibly a comedy, it will make you chuckle, or smile wryly, but probably not guffaw. The elegiac thread running through the story is too strong for that. This is the quality of the story that I found lingered.


It's this lack of neat resolution that won me. The viewer knows that the alkie crew and captain of the Maggie will never meet the modern world and conquer it. They will probably cling to the rusting hulk and each other and the old ways as long as they can. The touching character of the earnest, protective boy in the crew may or may not be dragged down by his companions. It's also possible that he will adapt and still carry something of his experiences through life with him. It's even possible that Douglas' character may change, but we can only guess.


As a rambling travelogue of a rural Scotland it has great charm. And, if you like Paul Douglas, it may also appeal to you.


N.B. My only wish is that the thick Scottish burrs throughout the script might've prompted the packagers of this dvd to include subtitles. They would help one's appreciation of the film's nuances. This film is often packaged as part of the wonderful if pricey Ealing Studios boxed set. It can be acquired separately through Netflix and other sources for a rental and may turn up separately on such sites as Ebay for purchase.

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