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Dmallon

McLaglen and Bartholomew

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Just watched "Professional Soldier" for the first time. I thought there was a nice chemistry between the two. I don't know if McLaglen gets the recognition he deserves.

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Maybe he was good. My impression of Victor McLaglen is based mainly on his work in John Ford films, particularly the Westerns, in which, I'm afraid, I found him annoying and hammy. But this might have been due more to Ford's direction than to McLaglen having questionable acting ability.

 

I did like him in an early (ish) John Ford film, *The Informer*. He was quite good in that, come to think of it. I don't know why Ford encouraged him, in his later movies, to play that silly un-funny ( but supposed to be hilarious) good-hearted but dopey Irishman, with a "Hollywood" Irish accent. He wasn't even Irish, at least not according to what I looked up about him on wikipaedia.

 

That image he has, as a big, slow-witted, fast-fisted ,more Irish than the Irish sidekick to John Wayne, is the Victor McLaglen I don't care for. I concede he may have been better in other directors' work.

( and yes, I know *The Informer* was directed by John Ford. The exception that proves the rule? )

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I couldn't agree more. Whenever I think of McLaglen I automatically think of that same character played over and over again. I was surprised to see how appealing he was with a gentler characterization, not over the top.

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You should see him as Mae West's love interest in Klondike Annie. I think she should have chosen Phillip Reed.

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He lived quite an exciting life before his film career and surprisingly wasn't Irish. I'd like to see more of his early work.

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Some trivia:

 

This film was intended for Wallace Beery, to be borrowed from MGM. In lieu of Beery's usual weekly $6,000 payday, he would make PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER for a flat $75,000 fee (meaning that if it took less than 12 and a half weeks to film, he would be getting a temporary raise).

 

At the last minute, Zanuck switched him to A MESSAGE TO GARCIA and gave this role to McLaglen.

 

PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER was completed in 35 days, exactly 5 weeks. A MESSAGE TO GARCIA began principal photography exactly one week later and took about seven weeks to film (part of that time included Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Years holidays).

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Arturo, this is another example of you trying to correct previous posts and insincerely try to show up a fellow poster, though you were careful with how you phrased it.

 

You and I both know that Zanuck was a workaholic, so I bet he worked on it for 35 consecutive days, including Sundays. Did Beery film on Sundays? Probably not, but maybe there was an occasional extra day for retakes. Since we are not privy to the actual contracts or invoices for payment, we would have to look at the production logs at UCLA in the 20th Century Fox collection.

 

I think it probably was a case of Beery finishing another picture at MGM, and I am going to do some more research and report my findings in a future post. One thing we do know is that Louis Mayer only hired his contract stars for 40 weeks a year. They had 12 weeks off per year where they could freelance at other studios, provided Mayer approved of the project.

 

As for McLaglen, he would film WEE WILLIE WINKIE at Fox with Ford the following year. He probably had a multi-picture deal with the studio at this time.

 

Edited by: TopBilled on Aug 19, 2012 11:26 AM

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*Arturo, this is another example of you trying to correct previous posts and insincerely try to show up a fellow poster,*

 

TB, my intent is not to "correct previous posts", and definitely not to 'insincerely try to show up' anyone. I was happy with TCM showing PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER, and I found your information very interesting. It just struck me odd that fo one movie you state 35 days, exactly 5 weeks, while for the other you are much less definite, mentioning holidays that fell within that period. Yes Zanuck was a workaholic, but I remember reading that it was normal practice at his studio to not film on Sundays, hence my question to you. Sometimes, it was required to film on the 7th day, to catch up, or maybe meet a certain release schedule, or whatever. I think that stars' contracts probably had provisions re; this, and especially in the case of a child actor, with child labor laws, this must have been a must. So I was curious to know if your research had suggested the seven day work week for PS....nothing more.

 

*One thing we do know is that Louis Mayer only hired his contract stars for 40 weeks a year. They had 12 weeks off per year where they could freelance at other studios, provided Mayer approved of the project.*

 

Now, I do feel compelled to point out something that may be misleading, imcomplete, inconsistent or flat-out wrong (not that this can't happen to me either). Such as this statement. My understanding is that most long-term studio contracts (from any of the majors) was for 40 weeks. The other 12 weeks were vacation. Usually, it was during the 40 weeks that a player would be loaned out to another studio. Thus the loanout would count to whatever projects the player was contracted to his home studio, and the studio would receive (usually lucrative) remuneration. So they normally went on loan during their regular 40 weeks.

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Let me try to make it clear. What I meant a few posts back is that the Beery picture took a bit longer than the McLaglen picture probably because there were more breaks (holidays) during those weeks. It could be that much of the same crew was used for both pictures, despite different directors, and the 'unit' had to finish with SOLDIER before it could start shooting GARCIA.

 

It looks like OLD HUTCH was made before GARCIA. Principal shooting ended in July, and Beery did not head over to Fox until November for GARCIA. So it is possible that he either took some vacation time or else waited while Zanuck shuffled the deck. His next MGM production would not be until 13 months later when he stepped before cameras for THE GOOD OLD SOAK. It is possible that he had been suspended if he refused some scripts, but I cannot find documentation of that.

 

On the subject of the 40-week work year, I am sure that some stars picked up extra jobs during those other 12 weeks, not necessarily acting but maybe producing or writing or radio gigs...and when television came along, they could do a few guest appearances on friends' shows in that medium.

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