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Great unsung screen pairings


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Everybody knows about Hepburn & Tracy and Lassie & Liz, I mean Richard & Liz...but there are some other classic duos that don't get the due they deserve.

 

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Yesterday TCM aired LADY BE GOOD in honor of Eleanor Powell's birthday. As good as she is, my focus was on the movie's main couple, *Ann Sothern & Robert Young*. There's something fun about these two-- who so convincingly play star-crossed lovers and can straddle the fence between comedy and drama so easily. It is not surprising that both had long motion picture careers and extended their respective winning streaks on television.

 

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Watching Sothern and Young in LADY BE GOOD made me want to look at what else they may have costarred in together. I vaguely remembered them in MAISIE from two years prior, but I had forgotten they first worked together in MGM's charming romantic comedy DANGEROUS NUMBER. Fortunately, I had recorded this one a year or two ago when TCM last aired it, and I am watching it right now as I write this.

 

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Those are excellent pairs. There are a bunch of great pairs we don't hear about. The one that I thought of first was this:

 

Claudette Colbert & Don Ameche had lots of chemistry in MIDNIGHT

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But of course are we only talking about romatic pairs? Because here are two great unsung screen pairings of guys who should have made more movies together:

 

Cary Grant & Jimmy Stewart are so great together in PHILADELPHIA STORY

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Danny Kaye & Bing Crosby were a brilliantly funny pair in WHITE CHRISTMAS

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Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole in How to Steal a Million (1965). It was nice to see them clown around. I also loved Ginger Rogers and Joel McCrea in Primrose Path (1940). They were great with the one liners. Then I always personally thought that Judy Garland and Robert Walker were smooth in The Clock (1945).

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By the time I was 11 or 12 years old, I saw almost all of the 7 films that Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray made together. In fact, I didn't see FAMILY HONEYMOON until fairly recently.

 

Back then, the Paramount pre-49s were well in evidence and to my sister and I, Claudette and Fred were as common as Bob and Bing as far as scheduling on the Late Show was concerned.

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Good choices.

 

Kay Francis and William Powell appeared together in some earlier films when both were under contract in the early 1930s at Paramount. I do not know what their availability is, but they are: STREET OF CHANCE (with Jean Arthur); BEHIND THE MAKE-UP (with Fay Wray); LADIES' MAN (with Carole Lombard); and FOR THE DEFENSE.

 

Meanwhile, Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda also made another picture together. It was for Columbia after THE LADY EVE. It is called YOU BELONG TO ME, and it airs occasionally on TCM.

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Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, Some Like It Hot, The Great Race

 

Also Edna May Oliver and James Gleason in the Hildegard Winters series. Although he played a similar role in many other movies, their paring was one of the best

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Ginger Rogers and Henry Fonda have amazing chemistry in TALES OF MANHATTAN. They appear in one of the segments of this portmanteau. I am surprised Zanuck did not put them together again in a movie all their own.

 

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They would both appear years later on a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast for Lucille Ball. And in 1966 Ginger served as a hostess of the 20th Annual Tony Awards where Hank was a presenter.

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*Ginger Rogers and Henry Fonda have amazing chemistry in TALES OF MANHATTAN. They appear in one of the segments of this portmanteau. I am surprised Zanuck did not put them together again in a movie all their own.*

 

Well, Ginger Rogers was at Fox in 1942 when Alice Faye became pregnant,and thus unable to film ROXIE HART. Since she was on the lot filming, so fell into the multi-episode TOM. Henry Fonda finished a couple of commitments, and left for WWII, as did Zanuck. Ginger moved on to commitments at other studios. After WW2, Fonda did only two movies at 20th, then refused to re-sign. So it would have been hard to have gotten them together.

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I always enjoyed Loretta Young and Tyrone Power together, especially in their three costarring screwball/romantic comedies from 1937. They always made a breathtaking couple, even in SUEZ, an epic where Loretta's less than epic role had her soon refusing to extend her contract with Fox. Earlier she had turned down LLOYD'S OF LONDON when she correctly figured that she would be secondary, as it was to be a starmaking role for Power. Later,she would refuse DAY-TIME WIFE at the point of leaving the studio.

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Yes, there is something magical about Loretta and Tyrone on screen together. I like them best in LOVE IS NEWS. According to the IMDB, they costarred in five pictures altogether.

 

She was also paired with David Niven for five films.

 

Her most frequent screen partner was Douglas Fairbanks Jr. They made six features together, appeared in a few shorts and a revue.

 

She seemed to do best with these suave leading men.

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