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Gilbert Roland - A Latin Performer Unbounded

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}



> Ursula Theiss was bland and boring and I felt they were trying to evoke a Euro-Jane Russell

> with her look.


Isn't *Ursula Theiss* the actress for whom Robert Taylor divorced Barbara Stanwyck? what a dope!

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Isn't Ursula Theiss the actress for whom Robert Taylor divorced Barbara Stanwyck? what a dope!


Really? I didn't know that. Well, maybe she had talents that didn't show on screen. :)

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Well, let's see, if a whole night were devoted to shrinks on film redeeming the criminals there is the Phyllis Thaxter as the psycho and Edmund Gwenn as the quack liberating her from criminal psychosis through hypnosis in the flick, Bewitched (1945). There's the movie The Dark Past with Lee J. Cobb & William Holden (in a brush-cut) going mano y mano to cure Bill's psyche and the earlier version of the same movie, Blind Alley (1939) with dear Chester Morris being treated (whether he knows it or not) by Dr. Ralph Bellamy, and then there's Pressure Point (1962) with head case Bobby Darin being analyzed and possibly redeemed by prison shrink Sidney Poitier. What other prison shrink movies am I forgetting?


Fabulous line-up! How about THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS? With Lizbeth Scott trying to

keep Jane Greer "reformed"?

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> Who's the lucky girl on Roland's lap. Ouch! Mmmmm.


I believe that is Ramsay Ames. We had a discussion about her many moons ago.

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> {quote:title=moirafinnie6 wrote:}{quote}

> Has anyone seen *My Six Convicts* (1952)?

> It may have been on TCM before, but it doesn't seem to have been released on any video.


Based on the fact that the TCM database has an article about it, I guess they almost certainly played it at some point:



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Another week, and that jones for more Gilbert Roland movies just won't go away.


You know, I suspect that 1940 must have been a tense year in the Gilberto-Constance household. Sure, Mr. Roland was getting a few choice roles such as a part in Juarez (1939) and Captain Lopez in The Sea Hawk (1940), a clip of which you can enjoy here.


But some days all he could get was a role as a dashing smuggler on Isle of (No) Destiny (1940), which can be seen below in all its dismal cheesiness or as a third lead after Wayne Morris and Jane Wyman in Gambling on the High Seas. ?Ay, caramba! No wonder he enlisted when the war broke out.


Maybe a bargain-priced newcomer like Anthony Quinn was getting all those potential Gilbert Roland parts that were around then, and maybe the public had its fill of Latins for awhile, though he certainly tried to be versatile.


One other film that I've just discovered from this pre-war period sounds very promising. It is Thunder Trail (1937) with Charles Bickford and Marsha Hunt in a Zane Grey story made at Paramount. It was a B movie that has some very good reviews on IMDb, and with that cast and this terrific poster, I wonder...must track this one down.



[isle of Destiny (1940)|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X1aH9s3nEY] (full movie)


[Gambling on the High Seas|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu16QW2eGvo] (1940) (trailer)


Still, despite any temporary setbacks at least GR had a few good movies in his future, one of which will be on TCM later this month. Here are a couple of images from The Bad and the Beautiful (1953) on June 21st at 11:15PM EDT to tide us over.



Showing his dancing (and comedic skills).



Victor 'Gaucho' Ribera reads the script, while the girl continues dancing.



Shaking some sense into a discontented extra, (Elaine Stewart).



Dying nobly, as the script of an "epic" comes to life for the camera while Lana Turner mourns.


If you just can't wait until then, you may wish to join me over in viewing The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952), directed by *John Brahm*. You can see the movie in its entirety [here|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N5xqIinSy0] .


GR plays an interesting, fairly earthy role as a shiftless agnostic peasant who is a skeptical friend of a group of children. His humorous (and historically fictitious) presence gives what might have been a ponderous holy card of a movie great humanity and surprising depth of feeling.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, KR! I've seen Crisis a while ago, before I was really a fan of Roland. Thankfully,

I got it recorded last night and I hope I can re-watch it soon.


A GR film I've never seen is scheduled for November: Ten Tall Men (1951). The

cast also has Burt Lancaster and Kenneth More, looks pretty good so I'll hopefully

be recording that, too.


4:00 PM November 7th: Ten Tall Men (1951)

A Foreign Legion sergeant leads ten volunteers against a mighty Arab army. Cast: Burt Lancaster, Gilbert Roland, Kieron Moore. Dir: Willis Goldbeck. C-97 mins, TV-G

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  • 2 months later...

This is really last minute, but I just saw that *Gilbert Roland* is in the cast of tonight's Glory Alley (1952), airing in a few minutes (8:00 p.m., EST). I've never seen the film, which also stars Leslie Caron and Ralph Meeker.

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  • 4 months later...

Okay, so I come home from a busy morning and what do I discover?



Gilbert Roland singing in The French Line (1953-Lloyd Bacon) on TCM!


Maybe this is a deep dark secret that RKO hid from the public, but according to IMDb (and they are never wrong, right?), G.R. does his own singing in this film!!! And he sounds good! No, the Ralph Blane and Robert Wells songs are not too demanding vocally, but so far "With a Kiss", "Wait Till You See Paris" and "Comment Allez Vous" have been rendered with quite a bit of unforced charm.


Even if the sole reason for this movie is to show off Jane Russell's anatomy--in 3D yet, a cinematic fad that seems to be returning now with the success of Avatar. Btw, RKO, under the tasteful guidance of Howard Hughes advertised this film's star as a woman who "will knock both your eyes out." Jane's such a good-natured broth of a girl, the color in this film is muddy, and the script is one step up from a burlesques skit, but hey, it's a chance to see Gilberto at play!



Here's the plot, such as it is:

Texas heiress Mary 'Mame' Carson (Jane Russell) strikes oil twice in one day, and her wealth scares away her fiance; so she decides to take a boat trip incognito to Paris and snare a husband using only her own abundant natural charms. To this end, she switches identities with model Myrtle Brown, and sets sail with her bosom pal Annie...and French revue star Pierre DuQuesne (Gilbert Roland), who has been hired to keep a watchful eye on "Mary Carson" a perfect setup for Musical Comedy misunderstandings


Two other pluses: Arthur Hunnicutt plays the Western guy who hires G.R. to chaperone and Kim Novak's first screen appearance comes during a fashion show sequence.


Here are some recent photos unearthed of *Gilbert Roland* for your delectation:



With Norma Talmadge in a very early still, which I believe is from Camille (1926).



With a very young Claire Trevor in Elinor Norton (1934). Henrietta Crossman of Pilgrimage and The Royal Family of Broadway fame is also in the cast! Never heard of this movie before. Check out G.R.'s eyelashes, for gosh sakes.



With Lee Bowman and Karen Morley in Last Train to Madrid (1937). Again with the eyelashes.



Not crazy about this stiff photo. G.R. looks a bit too much like Milburn Stone here, don't you think?



With Anna Lee in My Life with Caroline (1941)



As the Cisco Kid.



As Cisco in South of Monterey (1946) with Marjorie Riordan.



With Spencer Tracy in Malaya (1949).



Tripping the light fantastic in Underwater! (1955).



With Joann Dru in The Wild and the Innocent (1959).



Suffering under the gaze of Yvette Mimieux in The Reward (1965).



Going the holy joe route in an 1973 episode of Kung Fu.


Here's the best for last. Another portrait by George Hurrell:


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Moira you must have been reading my mind because on my lunch break I literally had to TEAR myself away from watching THE FRENCH LINE (and kicking myself for not recording it) and wanted to come here to post about this one. I was breaking up over Hunnicut and all the wonderful schtick in this sort of knock-off of Lana Turner's LATIN LOVERS (both are from 1953, so I'm not really sure if it was just serendipity or they really used the same plot)---and much as I love Lana, this version looks way more fun. Dang! Jane looked really pretty, too. It's so nice seeing a voluptuous WOMAN, too. Gilbertito had to have been having a ball, dancing with all those pretty girls. I think I missed Kim or I didn't recognize her!!


That was Gilbertito's voice? I was laughing because it seemed such a phony dubbing but I guess I couldn't recognize any trace of him. I hope I can see it again one day to really pay more attention.


Thanks for all the STUNNINGLY SCRUMPTIOUS photos... and for getting me all hot and bothered here at work. :D


Thank you very much for posting this here, Moira. :)

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I have Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef in my DVD collection because Tarpon Springs is in the next county from mine and it accurately portrays the Greek sponge culture that is so much a part of life there. Mr. Roland is very convincing and likable in the role of the father. I have seen him in many other roles and he always stands out. The Wild and the Innocent is my favorite Sandra Dee and I found it hard to dislike his character even if he was the villain. Holly, thank you for that wonderful article.

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not many people know that Roland had a very interesting relationship with Garbo! she was quite found of him it has been said (he strikingly resembled her long lost love, John Gilbert) for whom GR took his first name!

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I came across a story in Leatrice Gilbert Fountain's fine book about her father, John Gilbert, Dark Star (St. Martin's Press), that might interest those of us who enjoy this thread. In the summer of 1931, Leatrice's mother rented a cottage on the beach at Malibu, where her daughter and she lived, allowing the child the freedom to play pirates, bury treasure in the dunes and tease the waves with minimal supervision from a nearby nurse. Leatrice's father, John Gilbert, had also rented a house at the beach that summer, living there with his Scotch Terrier, Bunty for company. The girl's parents, separated and divorced but still drawn to one another even though their marriage was over, did not see each other nor was Jack Gilbert a presence in the life of young Leatrice, who was six that summer. She could barely remember what he looked like. Another boy she played with regularly told her about her father's presence in the Malibu colony and said that he'd point him out to her if he saw him, since he knew that he sometimes sat out front of his house. Here's how Leatrice described what happened next:




"After that, I haunted the place every day. I was too shy to go up and ring the doorbell; I'm not sure my nurse would have allowed it anyway. But I looked for him every time I went out. Late one afternoon, I was coming in from swimming, all covered with sand and my long hair matted down and tangled, and I saw him. He was walking allong right towared me with a glittery-looking blonde woman on his arm. I gathered up my courage and approached him.




"Hello, Father," I said, extending a formal hand. "They told me you were staying here for the summer and I've been looking for you." I was terribly nervous. I squinted up at his face and saw that he was smiling, but he seemed a little confused.. Then he reached down and swung me, sand and all, up onto his shoulder. He nodded to the blonde lady and she smiled and walked away. Then he started carrying me home, chatting with me all the way. I told him I still had the musical blue teddy bear he had given me, and that I was going to have my hair cut short in the fall when I began a new school. He seemed very interested. I thought I'd pulled off the whole thing pretty well.




My mother was playing backgammon with a friend in front of our house. She looked up as we approached, rather startled. Then from my perch high on his shoulder I heard him whisper, "She thinks I'm her father," and I saw my mother's amused smile. I didn't know whose shoulder I was on, but it was clearly the wrong shoulder and I wished a tidal wave could have swallowed me and ended my embarrassment. Later Mother told me it was
Gilbert Roland
, formerly Jack's stand-in, who'd carried me home."





I found a good version of a very well made Mexican movie made under the aegis of Eagle-Lion that was about the revolution in that country in the early years of the 20th century featuring GR in a fine role. The Torch (1950-Emilio Fern?ndez), which has moments of startling violence, and vivid beauty (check out that opening scene with the glassblowers), gave Gilbert Roland a chance to play against type as a pensive, gentle priest concerned for others, including the revolutionaries who swarm over his town, one of whom is his boyhood friend. He is quietly appalled by the events he witnesses as men grovel to survive, small children seem completely inured to the sights they witness, while he tries to do his duty as a priest as best he can. Underplaying beautifully, his role is one of his most unusual in his long career.



GR with Paulette Goddard in The Torch (1950)


The version of the movie, seen below, which was shot in English with Spanish subtitles, is especially welcome, given the dreadful state of the public domain version on the Internet Archive, (it is also available in a very affordable DVD, which can be easily found online). Well-directed by Fern?ndez, who is probably best known in America as "General Mapache" in Sam Peckinpah's seminal The Wild Bunch (1969), it has a darkly humorous script credited to the director, ??igo de Martino and Bert Granet. The Torch is beautifully photographed by master cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, who may be familiar to Luis Bunuel fans and those who appreciated the look of John Ford's The Fugitive (1948), the movie is set during the most violent years of the Mexican Revolution. Unlike Ford's brooding meditation on Graham Greene's novel, The Torch is fun as well as serious, with a feel that seems old-fashioned yet compelling and filled with some over the top comedy--and with touches of magic realism tossed into the curious movie.


Btw, not one shot in this movie is boring and most scenes are ravishingly framed in glorious black and white.


Roland, witnessing the degradation of his townspeople as a small child who has seen it all looks on impassively.


As Father Serra, Gilbert Roland hopes to restrain his boyhood friend, Pedro Armendariz, a revolutionary general, who, after overtaking the town, soon starts to court the temperamental Paulette. The General metes out some very rough justice, in the presence of his tiny adopted daughter, with little concern for showing mercy. He is glad to see his school chum, Gilbert Roland, but the canny and occasionally tender-hearted Armendariz's belief is in brutal power, based on the myriad injustices around him, until he finds the fiery Paulette Goddard, the local patron's daughter, to be very much to his liking after she slaps him when he approaches her on the street. Okay, Paulette has been around the block a few too many times to be playing a tempestuous, virginal daughter on the cusp of womanhood, (and the bows in her hair and ruffles on her clothes don't help), but she plays this role with considerable brio--just like this movie, which is full of beautiful contradictions. In some ways this movie is a variation on The Taming of the Shrew, with a not very bright but ardent Petruchio courting an impetuous Kate, who rules his heart and helps to make him human again. Armendariz, whose talent was never fully displayed in American movies he made, is wonderful in this movie too.


If you enjoy films that explore Mexican history and culture, and just plain good movies, this 1:15 minute movie may be right up your alley. Btw, it occurred to me while watching this, that some of the experiences shown in this movie probably reflected the events that led Gilbert Roland's family to emigrate, since they were among the many who were compelled to leave Mexico for America during the revolution--reportedly after families of Spanish descent were being targeted by the forces of Pancho Villa and his associates.


[The Torch (1950) on youtube|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4xFIzNNz_c]

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