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Gilbert Roland - A Latin Performer Unbounded

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A little bump for this thread to remind those who might be interested that Gilbert Roland appears as one of Captain Kidd's band of cutthroats early Saturday 4/10/10 at 6am EDT. If you long for more pirate movies in one week on TCM than we normally see in a year, you might want to catch this one. It might just sate your appetite for yo-ho-ho-ing.





Having a good time playing a baddie, GR clashes with a curiously subdued Randolph Scott (though Randy has a nice scene as a malcontent in prison before encountering Charles Laughton's rascal). Roland does a great job in the fencing department, though his character's efforts to endear himself to a fair maiden are rebuffed. Said maiden was played by Barbara Britton, who struck me as kinda stiff in this role. Maybe she should've checked out Maureen O'Hara's work in The Black Swan to see how it should be done.


Come to think of it, isn't everyone subdued when *Charles Laughton* is on screen in a movie?

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Moira, thank you so much and thank you for the earlier post about Leatrice Gilbert and about The Torch, which I am SO very anxious to watch. I am sorry I didn't reply to it before, I honestly didn't see your post here, it evidently was buried by forces out of control.


I love Pedro Armendiarez ever since I watch The Fugitivie and Robert Parrish's The Wonderful Country. Something about his wonderfully expressive eyes and voice seems so noble. He had exquisite eyes. I understand his son is a huge and respected star in Mexico.

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*Pedro Armendariz Jr.* (b. 1940) is a familiar face, though I never associated him with his father before! Thanks for pointing his heritage out to me, Miss G. From what I could gather, he not only appeared in films such as *Once Upon a Time in America*, *The Legend of Zorro* and many others, but on stage in Mexico City he is noted for his portrayals of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Max Bialystock in The Producers.


I suspect that the blend of the serious and comic comedic so readily found in his Dad's characterizations might be evident in his son's work too.

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Marvelous Moira! Thanks for posting that picture and filling me in on Pedro, jr's successes. Ha! I can easily see him in Fiddler on the Roof, believe it or not! My friend who is from South America told me about him and how well known and respected he is. She had never heard about his father! I want to show her The Fugitive one day.


I forgot that Gilbert also worked with Pedro in We Were Strangers, that odd little Cuban-set movie John Huston directed.

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Above: GR with Barbara Britton in Captain Kidd (1945).


After watching Captain Kidd (1945) on Sat. morning on TCM, I kept wondering about the mutterings that must have occurred among the actors gathered around the craft table on the set of this movie. I realize that Charles Laughton made such movies to finance his theatrical adventures, but did he have to own every scene? ;)


Around this period, Laughton and Bertolt Brecht were mounting the world premiere of the playwright's Galileo on stage in Hollywood and NYC with the help of John Houseman, but the grand old ham in Charles Laughton couldn't resist being the center of this adventure. Still--only Henry Daniell as William III and Reginald Owen as Cary Shadwell, the valet hired by Kidd to give him a gentlemanly polish, were victorious in wresting scenes away from Laughton. Even scene stealer John Carradine was at a loss when appearing as one other cutthroat in league with Kidd.


Perhaps Gilbert Roland's somewhat distracted air had its roots in his real life. Except in the scene where he duels with Randolph Scott, GR seemed a bit subdued. Just returned from his service in Air Force intelligence, he found--according to Brian Kellow's bio of the Bennett family--that his marriage was over and his career prospects looked quite dim. GR's clothes had disappeared from his closets, his wife had hubby #5 in her sites, (she was also absent from their home on the day of his return, probably out playing cards with movie moguls, as she often did in her spare moments). And his career had lost its momentum, though it had begun to peter out just as the war began, when he was reduced to quickies and serials at Monogram! He probably thought he was washed up.


Here are some pictures from Thunder Trail (1937), a Paramount movie that has been described as a "thoughtful, intelligent adaptation of the Zane Grey" novel. The film concerns two brothers who were raised separately. One becomes a good cowboy and the other an outlaw. (Guess which GR plays?). Great cast includes Charles Bickford, J. Carrol Naish, Marsha Hunt, and James Craig (who plays GR's anglo-raised bro). Trying to find a copy...it looks like fun.




Above and Below: The brothers James Craig & GR.




J. Carrol Naish (who plays GR's foster father), GR and Monte Blue (I think?).



James Craig, GR, & J. Carrol Naish



James Craig, Marsha Hunt, GR.



New York Nights (1929) lobby cards:




A very early portrait of GR in the '20s. Glad he lost the lipstick asap.



A still from Rose of the Golden West (1927). Sorry about the watermark


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Oh, MOira. You are a treasure to find and post all this delicious information and

brilliant pictures of Gilbertito. I am beginning to think I will never have enough

time to see all his movies, to really appreciate him but I am DETERMINED to try! :D


I am so, so saddened to read about the cold shoulder Connie gave him on his

return. I mean that sincerely---I'm floored and flumoxed. WHAT a nitwit she was,

to put it mildly. And Gilbert was husband NUMBER FOUR???? Yikes!!


Thank goodness he found someone really right later on. I like Connie a lot,

but that news really bothered me. I don't like to think after all he'd been through

he came home to nothing. And where were his clothes??? Did she throw them



Well, let me stop sounding judgmental. Who knows what goes on behind

closed doors with married people.


I want to see THUNDER TRAIL, too---I'm trying to recall what the plot was----I read

just about all of Grey's novels years ago, but I mix the plots up all the time.


Thank you again, I can't take my eyes off the pictures.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a bump to note that The Wild and the Innocent (1959-Jack Sher) with Audie Murphy, Sandra Dee, Jeanne Crain and Gilbert Roland is on tomorrow, Sat., May 1st, at 11:15 AM EDT on AMC.


I believe that GR is a bad lawman who tries to seduce little Sandra into a life of sin in this film. Others have told me that this is one of Audie Murphy's better films. This movie comes from the same period when Murphy did some of his best work with John Huston in The Unforgiven (1960), (a director who had previously brought out the best in him in The Red Badge of Courage in 1951), so perhaps that makes it worth a look.


The Wild and the Innocent looks like the sort of movie where GR might have gotten up in the morning, combed his mustache, put on his leather wrist band, his scarf, hat and positive attitude, (even after reading his script), and went to work. And, of course, as we can surmise from the photos below, it might be fun to see *Gilbert Roland* be naughty again. :

The Wild and the Innocent (1959)


e Wild and the Innocent (1959) with Jeanne Crain


e Wild and the Innocent (1959) with Sandra Dee1


The Wild and the Innocent (1959) publicity still

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Yee Haw!! Thanks for the reminder, Moira! I'm going to try to record it (if I'm awake, hopefully I can edit out the 8,000 commercials). I've never seen little Sandra in a western and I like the rest of the cast enough that this should not disappoint no matter how cheesy the script may prove to be.


I love the picture of Gilbert on the merry-go-round, ha! Thanks so much!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

MissG - I got to see Gilbert Roland the other night in *Underwater.* The focus was on Jane Russell, of course, but from what I could see, he was quite a dancer - dancing to Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White played by Perez Prado




He sure had the moves. Cha cha, mambo, I don't know, but it sure looked good. I almost forgot Richard Egan, looking at him.


Here are a few photos I found.


*Gilbert Roland and Norma Talmadge*




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I wish I had stayed awake for Underwater, I saw it a long time ago

and thought it was a fun lark. Gilbertito was very handsome in it and

I am sure he was a genuinely superb dancer. He had a natural grace

and rhythm.


Beautiful pictures, thank you so much!

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"For you, CinemAva, 'THE FURIES'....I believe you'd eat it up. Lady Barbara Stanwyck in one of her most relished roles and she's toe to toe with Walter Huston at his most crafty, charming and wicked. For a little bit of soul and to remind you some people have a heart, there is the wonderful Gilbert Roland. Wrapped up in uber-noirish cinematography and pitched to an operatic key, it's all right up your alley."


Will you please forgive me for a (possible) breach in cyber 'netiquette by quoting you here from another thread? I have a date with him on July 6th at the Film Forum. I know he's not long in the

film, but wanted to let you know, I look forward to taking him in.


By the by, does Roland have a picture of Dorian Grey in his closet? If he's starting out his career with one of the Talmadge sisters, I must say, he looked very very good long long into his career.

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  • 7 months later...

MISS G.! I can only hope you're out there somewhere watching your Gilbertito in "THE SEA HAWK" tonite on...what else? TCM. He's a little too covered up in Spanish armor. I'm hoping for better things as the movie plays out. It's got to be hot out there sailing the seven seas in all that armor.

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JACK??!! Holy Moley filmlover, I didn't...wait a sec...another poster in the Rambles thread wrote this:


"I caught Edgar Buchanan as one of Thorpe?s men, Jack ?Lash? LaRue as a Spanish officer..." - <<< (( wouldbestar )) >>>


I did see "Petticoat Junction's" Edgar Buchanan as one of the bucaneers...but I didn't stay to watch the whole film. And I see I already missed seeing the great Flora Robson make her mark

as Elizabeth R. But...is it Lash or luscious Jack?

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Since I'm the one who made the error, thank you for the correction. There's already way too much identity theft going on without my adding to it.


Old Edgar had one line in the movie which was how I knew. Nobody sounded like he did.


Edited by: wouldbestar on Jan 24, 2011 5:22 PM

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I just caught him on Wagon Train episode 24, "The Bernal Sierra Story" which he also wrote. He plays a Mexican patriot trying to help Juarez topple Maximillian and become president which he did. There is a lot of comparison of him to Abraham Lincoln which I never thought of. I suppose he is to the people down there.

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I watched it again today, too (it also aired during the New Year's day marathon).


I thought it one of the more interesting episodes and one of Gilbert's best television roles. Nice twist to the mystery of the gold.

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