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Horrible, horrible Alan Ladd western


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The shots of Olivia from THE PROUD REBEL that were posted above conveniently do not include the close up of her at the end of the movie. It's one of the most unflattering images of the actress to appear in any of her films. Special care should have been taken to make her look more glamorous. There is no reason why they couldn't have done something extra with the make up and lighting. As I said earlier in the thread, it's on a par with that dreadful close up of Kate in SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER.

My theory is that some of these male directors were misogynistic and in order to punish outspoken female actresses of a certain age, they got revenge by retaining an unflattering closeup of said actress to tell the rest of the world she was getting older and past her prime.

THE PROUD REBEL is a film with flaws. The director and lead actress were not collaborating well.

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18 hours ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

Jean Arthur was 52 when she made Shane.     That is too old to have a son especially in the west at during that time period.     (de Wilde was 10 when the film was made).    

It would have been more realistic if he was the last child she had after a brood of kids, at age 40.

But I think the screenplay was written with a 30 year old actress in mind, not a 50 year old actress. Jean Arthur is miscast. Logically she would have been the boy's grandmother. Especially since women in the west often started having kids in their mid-teens. 

We have the same problem with Lucille Ball as Mame. She should have been the boy's grandmother or great-aunt, not his aunt.

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

The shots of Olivia from THE PROUD REBEL that were posted above conveniently do not include the close up of her at the end of the movie. It's one of the most unflattering images of the actress to appear in any of her films. Special care should have been taken to make her look more glamorous. There is no reason why they couldn't have done something extra with the make up and lighting. As I said earlier in the thread, it's on a par with that dreadful close up of Kate in SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER.

My theory is that some of these male directors were misogynistic and in order to punish outspoken female actresses of a certain age, they got revenge by retaining an unflattering closeup of said actress to tell the rest of the world she was getting older and past her prime.

THE PROUD REBEL is a film with flaws. The director and lead actress were not collaborating well.

Interesting theory:   I suspect it has more to do with the breaking down of the studio-system.    I.e.  films such as The Proud Rebel,   produced by Sam Goldwyn,  were independent productions;  the actors, directors,  crew were all hired for the film instead of using under contract by the studio staff.  

Of course director Curtiz and DeHavilland made a lot of films while they both were under contract at Warner Bros.     I would like to believe Curtiz didn't make Olivia more glamorous because he wished to focus on realism (a women living a fairly rough life in the west without access to beauty parlors,  hair dressers,  make-up etc...).     AND when he made those other films with Olivia the studio protected her image as a glamorous movie star.  

 

 

 

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There's an erroneous impression being presented on this thread (Lord knows why) that Olivia de Havilland is unflatteringly photographed in The Proud Rebel. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but the statement in simply not true, including the very final shots of her in the film. Keep in mind that she is playing a farm woman so there is an attempt at reality in her appearance but she still looks quite lovely, especially for a woman in her early 40s.

And no matter how much friction may have existed on the set between Olivia and director Curtiz she still contributes a fine, sensitive performance that adds immeasurably to the film's impact.

I wish I had the technical know how to copy images from my computer to this thread of her appearance at the end of the film.

 

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1 hour ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

Interesting theory:   I suspect it has more to do with the breaking down of the studio-system.    I.e.  films such as The Proud Rebel,   produced by Sam Goldwyn,  were independent productions;  the actors, directors,  crew were all hired for the film instead of using under contract by the studio staff.  

Of course director Curtiz and DeHavilland made a lot of films while they both were under contract at Warner Bros.     I would like to believe Curtiz didn't make Olivia more glamorous because he wished to focus on realism (a women living a fairly rough life in the west without access to beauty parlors,  hair dressers,  make-up etc...).     AND when he made those other films with Olivia the studio protected her image as a glamorous movie star.  

I would like to think you are right...but I sincerely doubt Curtiz put that much thought into the woman's role in this picture, beyond her being an emotional appendage to the lead male character. I regard Curtiz as a sexist and misogynist. 

THE PROUD REBEL would have been a better picture if Ida Lupino had directed it.

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3 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

There are passive aggressive posts being written in the third person by a poster who goes out of his way to slam posts that espouse opinions which go counter to his. You would think after years of posting that person would know how to agree to disagree. 

I stand by my opinion that Olivia has a terrible close up at the end of THE PROUD REBEL and that it compromises the value of the film, regardless of how good the story may be or how good the performances may be. 

I think it's egregious that this poster keeps trying to perpetuate the stereotype of what a farm woman is and how she should be photographed in a motion picture. I grew up in farm country in Wisconsin and there were many beautifully dressed women in our community. One of them was my father's sister who won a county-wide beauty pageant and was a finalist in the Miss Wisconsin pageant. 

At any rate, I cannot believe the above poster is trying to up-end this thread and cause all sorts of unnecessary friction. Let different opinions, even unpopular opinions, stand on their own merit and co-exist alongside the opinions of others. After all that is the real nature of a message board community, where different (not competing) viewpoints are presented. It does not need to devolve into a spitting contest. Grow up.

So long since I've seen the picture, not sure about Olivia's close-up.   I could only say that I wouldn't think a bad close-up of anybody would "compromise"  any otherwise well presented and filmed story.   And I can agree with that "above poster" and his "eye of the beholder"  claim.   I wasn't brought up in farm country, but my Mother's side were coal miners tuned farmers and I have many old photos from the early 20's into the early '30's of family members,  And the women in those photos run the gamut from heart stopping to clock stopping.  And can agree with Top's disdain for a stereotype of what farm women are supposed to look like.  But then too, as the story supposedly takes place shortly after the civil war, and mid 19th century, there could be a considerable difference as to how a farm woman might have looked in those times compared to how they might have looked in the time TOP grew up in farm country.  And Top's opinion of Olivia's "terrible" close-up might have been the result of the director's attempt at time period "reality".    

But it's all another person's opinion, and really no reason to "fly a rag"  over it.    And really, it does seem difficult to take a bad photographic image of Olivia.  At any age.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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I invite the poster who insists that De havilland had a "terrible" closeup at the end of The Proud Rebel to post an image of her from the ending by which everyone can judge for themselves. Otherwise this is all so much empty "She looks good, she doesn't look good" talk.

It's a shame that you can't have a difference of opinion of these boards without a poster resorting to personal comments, such as calling the other one "passive aggressive" and telling him to "Grow up.' You will note that I made no personal comments about that poster in my disagreement with him. He, on the other hand,  tries to turn it into a spitting contest. I simply stated my opinion and posted images of Olivia from Proud Rebel to back up my point.

To that poster I say skip the personal comments and post a picture of Olivia to support your opinion.

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I see that the above poster is trying to flip things around, twist things and continue to be contentious. I was perfectly fine posting my opinions without referencing said person. It was THAT person who started replying to all my posts in a strange third-person sort of passive aggressive way. And anyone with a modicum of intelligence reading back over the thread will see that. 

I do not need to justify anything I wrote. Especially when that person cannot even quote me directly and never acknowledges me by name...which proves how small and petty he is. Nobody else would feel the need to justify himself/herself in regards to that type of childish behavior.

I just decided that this time I was not going to just let those comments go by without challenging them and calling them out for the rubbish they are.

If said person wanted to have an intelligent respectful conversation with different viewpoints co-existing, it would have happened by now. It's all quite ridiculous and enough is enough already.

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I see that the poster will not be posting a picture of Olivia to back up his assertion. That is all I asked of him. Instead he has resorted to calling my difference of opinion with him "rubbish."

Unlike that poster, I can honestly say that I believe I expressed my difference of opinion without resorting to personal comments or going over-the-top in response.

You will also note, by the way, that I did post images of Olivia to support my assertion that she looks fine in The Proud Rebel.

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I see that the above poster is still intent on his crusade of subtle bullying, of trying to draw me out into some sort of thread war. Why? Is this person jealous of me? Does he not have a life?

I have no obligation to post a picture of Olivia de Havilland just because he thinks I should. 

We all know that if I post a picture, he will use it to continue to argue. 

It is true that I am not a fan of this person's posting style, but I am grounded enough to know that he has a right as a guest of TCM to post his viewpoints. Just like I have a right to post my viewpoints. 

And I don't think anything I've said is over the top. What I have said is counter to this other person, and I am sure it is frustrating for him not to be able to control my responses because I won't "play" the way he plays.

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31 minutes ago, Katie_G said:

Is this the shot in question?  From end of movie on You Tube.   

olivia2.jpg.40eb50cf6b21e9d3d55d1c3a00c4a01b.jpg

 

Thanks very much, Katie. Now I ask, is this a "terrible" image of Olivia de Havilland? If your answer, like mine, is no, then what the heck are others here talking about with Olivia a "victim" of a misogynist director? For all I know he was one but you certainly wouldn't know it by her appearance in this closing shot from The Proud Rebel, in my opinion.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

And I can agree with that "above poster" and his "eye of the beholder"  claim. 

I could agree with such a claim but that wasn't really the comment;  instead it was "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but the statement is simply not true.

Adding 'simply not true' is another way of saying that they, and they alone,    know what "beauty" is and that it is in their eyes and not that of the beholder.

That is  not the same as saying;  we can agree to disagree,  but instead is the polar opposite.   

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On 10/17/2021 at 12:01 PM, NipkowDisc said:

saw the beginning once but last nite sat through the whole thing. One Foot in Hell from 1960. Alan Ladd playing a confederate veteran picks the wrong town to drive his wagon into.

it's late at night and his pregnant wife is in major distress. the hotel clerk doan wanna be bothered this late and lacking 1.87 for medicine the proprieter refuses it causing Ladd to pull a gun on him because he is so stressed out over his wife. the sheriff hinders him also so when he finally gets back to the hotel doc Larry Gates informs him his wife died minutes ago and this sad callous opening sets up the rest of this mean little film. Ladd doan look good in this. he's too puffy and he is wearing a silly-looking toupee. some of his iconic status as Shane is damaged by him doing this film as it is revealed early on that he is now a cold-blooded murderer when he shoots the sheriff...and then takes his job. Ladd's mitch Garrett is completely cold-blooded and devoid of any conscious or did his wife's death bring suppressed yankee-hatred to the surface?

who cares Ladd is a monster in this movie. he shoots down another guy later on again in cold blood and has dandy fop sir Harry played by Dan O'Herlihy gun down the sleepy druggist in his store after mentioning the infamous 1.87...seriously, that alone strains the credibility of this awful aaron spelling exercise. sir O'Herlihy is gonna gun down in cold blood a man who is a complete stranger just to placate Ladd? even westerns have to make some sense. I do agree through most of the film Don Murray overacts something awful but his acting does spruce up torwards the end.

John Wayne would never have beschmirched his image the way that Alan Ladd does here. if you like Alan Ladd as Shane you might find this western appalling.

 

You may have a point there. I just watched a video where the narrator tells the story about Mel Brooks offering Wayne a role in Blazing Saddles. And Wayne told him "the film was too dirty for him" but, he would be first in line to watch it once its finished. He really did care about his image that much.

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3 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

You may have a point there. I just watched a video where the narrator tells the story about Mel Brooks offering Wayne a role in Blazing Saddles. And Wayne told him "the film was too dirty for him" but, he would be first in line to watch it once its finished. He really did care about his image that much.

Wayne was very career oriented. Why else do you think he avoided war service just as his film career was on the rise? Why else do you think he put up with abuse from John Ford when he made films with him? Therefore it's no surprise that Wayne's screen image was of paramount importance to him.

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6 hours ago, TopBilled said:

There are passive aggressive posts being written in the third person by a poster who goes out of his way to slam posts that espouse opinions which go counter to his. You would think after years of posting that person would know how to agree to disagree. 

The projection is strong here.

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

She's gorgeous in LIBEL a year later. Not at all like Jo Van Fleet...right, Nip? 

Screen Shot 2020-06-30 at 5.42.13 PM

Well the make-up department left alone her eyebrows;  They are the same in the two photos.

But all joking aside,  I don't think one can compare how Olivia looks in the two films for the very basic reasons I gave related to a western and the fact that in Libel she lives in London,  a major city, with a well-off husband and such a women can afford to look their best and often do for social status reasons.

Also I wonder if how Olivia looks in The Proud Rebel relates to the plot line;  that Ladd and her form a bond over his son.   Note the town rumors when she hires the proud rebel as a worker.     If Olivia was made to look stunning audiences might focus too much on their relationship,  instead of all focused on the boy and that would distract from the main point line that resolves all around the son.        

I can't recall the ending,  but is it implied that the two will get married?     If yes,  that doesn't mean they love each over;  i.e.  it could still be all about the boy. 

PS:  I actually believe Olivia has the right look for the time period \ setting \ character in The Proud Rebel.   If she looked like she did in Libel it wouldn't have worked especially in color.    (we see this with some early T.V. color westerns where the women look like they just got out of a beauty solon in Beverly Hills,  because,  well,  they did!).

 

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Lemme see if I can clarify the sitution here for everyone...regarding Olivia, that is.

Olivia de Havilland was never "gorgeous". WHAT she was, OTHER than being a great actress, was kind'a "sexy/cute. Looks-wise, that is.

YOU know. Kind'a like Teresa Wright was.

And there you have it.

Oh, and regarding how Olivia looked in The Proud Rebel, somebody, I think Tom maybe earlier, had it right. She played a frontier woman in that flick, and so NATURALLY they wouldn't have made her up to look the best she could...i.e. "sexy/cute"!

(...and btw Fedya...LOVED your previous comment here...ain't it funny how some people can NEVER EVER seem to recognize their OWN "passive-agressive" tendencies?!)

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Aside from some trivial disagreements, it appears that most, if not all, are in agreement that The Proud Rebel, a gentle human interest drama, is also a good western with fine performances. That is really the bottom line that matters the most. One thing I'd like to add is an endorsement of the film's strong musical score by Jerome Moross, which captures both the sensitivity and dramatics of the story. The scene in which Alan Ladd must tell his son that he sold his dog is quite heart breaking.

The Proud Rebel (1958) - IMDb

 

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24 minutes ago, NipkowDisc said:

I apologize. olivia does not look like jo van fleet...she looks closer to jane withers.

:lol:

olivia2.jpg.40eb50cf6b21e9d3d55d1c3a00c4a01b.jpg

Jane Withers - Wikipedia

Sorry Nip, but not even close.

The actress Olivia looks like in that still from The Proud Rebel, is an actress who would be married to John Huston for a while. Uh-huh and ironically, the very same guy who once during a little Hollywood soiree came to blows with Errol Flynn over Olivia.

(...I'm talkin' about Evelyn Keyes here...uh-huh, THAT'S who Olivia in that pic up there is remindin' ME of, anyway...well, at least a hell of lot more than Jane Withers, anyway)

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4 hours ago, Mr. Gorman said:

So, uh, are there any other "horrible, horrible" ALAN LADD Westerns we should discuss?    :) 

Here's a capsule for everyone's enjoyment:  💊

Cheers. 

Ladd was featured in a lot of programmers during his years at Paramount. Since he was a top box office star during the late '40s, in particular, and early '50s, the studio didn't think it necessary to put any more money into his vehicles than necessary since they were, for the most part, making a very nice profit. The actor himself was dissatisfied with his own films, craving something of greater lasting quality. That he finally got with Shane, a film regarded as a classic today.

Ladd had an increased spurt of popularity in America after that film's release in 1953 at a time when he was in England making three pretty dire films. He returned to America and got under contract to Warners but the mediocre quality of his films didn't improve. One could even say, I suppose, that his post Shane films were even more mediocre than those during his Paramount years. I could name a few of his Paramounts, particularly from the film noir school, as quite good but the question was about his westerns.

Aside from Shane and The Proud Rebel, Whispering Smith is not bad and the same could be said of Drum Beat, co-starring Charles Bronson as an Indian warrior called Captain Jack. His other westerns, such as Branded, (the rarely seen) Red Mountain, Saskatchewan (filmed with Alberta's Rockies in the background, hilarious!), The Big Land and One Foot in Hell, his final foray out west in which he turned villain, all qualify as meh, in my opinion. Some might like The Badlanders, a western remake of The Asphalt Jungle. I recall thinking this film was okay but it's been a while since I saw it.

Ladd was in a lot of westerns, in fact, with one a classic and the sensitive, character driven The Proud Rebel very good. No matter how unsatisfying Ladd's film career may have been, particularly the last decade, sometimes it takes just one special film to keep an actor, if only to hard core studio era film buffs like ourselves, in our memories. Ladd, even if he may be forgotten by the majority of film goers these days, at least had that one film role for us.

Through George Stevens' sensitive direction of Shane he delivered a lovely performance as a loner gunfighter who knows he is living on borrowed time. That underlying sense of sadness that Ladd brought to his roles was never more perfectly utilized than in this film. The actor later said he learned more about acting under Stevens than he ever had before. It's a shame he couldn't have had another role (and director) as good as this one because it's apparent the insecure actor needed it. With The Proud Rebel, at least, he came close.

Watching Westerns: "Shane" - Cowboys and Indians Magazine

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