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Pat O'Brien Gets No Love


lydecker
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So . . . why doesn't Pat O'Brien get any respect?? Veteran of over 100 pix, some of which

he held leading man status, yet, to my knowledge he has never been SOTM. Hell, I'd rather

Pat O'Brien be SOTM than, say . . . Paul Henreid or Eleanor Powell.

 

Just sayin' . . .

 

Perhpas TCM needs to recognize him one of these days!

 

Lydecker

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I can see what you mean, lydecker. O'Brien did a lot of well respected movies that certainly ARE classics. Sure, over time, he failed or refused to adjust his acting style to the changes of acting styles over the years, but so did many others who fare better on TCM when it comes to this sort of thing. Your complaint is valid.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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> {quote:title=lydecker wrote:}{quote}So . . . why doesn't Pat O'Brien get any respect?? Veteran of over 100 pix, some of which

> he held leading man status, yet, to my knowledge he has never been SOTM. Hell, I'd rather

> Pat O'Brien be SOTM than, say . . . Paul Henreid or Eleanor Powell.

>

> Just sayin' . . .

>

>

> Perhpas TCM needs to recognize him one of these days!

>

>

> Lydecker

>

I'd second the motion, and I'd much rather watch 90% of Pat O'Brien's movies than about 80% of Paul Henreid's. But I can see why O'Brien doesn't get full props in the spotlight of hindsight. I like his "character", and his movies are nearly always entertaining, but he usually seems like a lesser version of either Spencer Tracy (pigheaded Irishman who thinks the world revolves around him) or Lee Tracy (fast talking con man who pretty much defined that archtype). O'Brien played both of those types very well in many movies, but if you watch him along with Lee Tracy in Jean Harlow's classic Bombshell, you see that Tracy brings a sort of 110% manic intensity to his character that O'Brien can never quite muster. It's a fine distinction I'm drawing, but I never saw O'Brien stepping beyond it. He's pretty much a King of the B's with a few lesser roles in a handful of A movies like Angels With Dirty Faces.

 

That said, O'Brien's certainly worthy of a SUTS day, and at some point maybe even a SOTM. He'd certainly bring better movies to the schedule than Esther Williams or Teen Idols.

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Love him in "Torrid Zone" where he is doing a great combination of Fast Talker and SOB and

actually seems to be doing a much better job than Cagney in that film where Cagney (who didn't

want to do the movie) seem to be "phoning it in." Also like the performances in "China Clipper"

and "Oil For the Lamps of China" where he was pretty much of a selfish SOB which was definitely

casting against type. Good guy performances which I would give a thumbs up are: "The Fighting

69th" (notable for casting every Irish guy on the Warners' lot but mostly patriotic drivel) and

"Til We Meet Again" ("One Way Passage" remake) where his performance as the cop is a major

improvement from that of Warren Hymer's in the original.

 

Lydecker

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*lydecker wrote:{font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}Love him in "Torrid Zone" where he is doing a great combination of Fast Talker and SOB and{font}*

*{font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}actually seems to be doing a much better job than Cagney in that film where Cagney (who didn't{font}*

{font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}*want to do the movie) seem to be "phoning it in."*

 

If Cagney was "phoning it in" in Torrid Zone, I wish more actors would have used that phone line. Cagney had a chemistry with Ann Sheridan in that film that Pat O'Brien would never have had.

 

Having said that, I do enjoy O'Brien's fast patter performances, and he is good in Torrid Zone. {font}

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Well in Torrid Zone Cagney is somewhat more low key than he was in those 30's WB pictures but I think he has just the right balance. Also how Cagney plays his part allows O'Brien's part to be the over the top one and that really makes the picture. But most reviews of the movie do say that Ann stole the show even from Cagney and I think this relates to how Cagney played his part.

 

O'Brien is great in Torrid Zone playing a persona that wasn't much different than his lead in Slightly Honorable.

 

 

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lydecker, I coudn't agree with you more. Ann Sheridan had the best lines in Torrid Zone and that beautiful lady made the most of them with her pungant delivery. Sheridan was also allowed to show a softer side to her character in that film, bringing a slight sense of vulnerability to the role, as well.

 

One of the film's best one liners occured when Sheridan was in jail, having made friends with bandito George Tobias in an adjacent cell. After Tobias is removed from his cell, because he is about to face a firing squad, he removes a ring from his finger and hands it to Sheridan.

 

"Here, seniorita," he says, "I will not need this where I am going."

 

Sheridan accepts the ring.

 

"Afraid it will melt?" she asks.

 

I just love that one liner. On paper it may look a little nasty but it doesn't play that way on film. Tobias laughs in response and beautiful Annie has such a look of concern on her face as she says it that you just know it's her way of trying to lighten an otherwise dark moment.

 

Ann Sheridan, the only co-star of James Cagney during his prime years as a mega star who stole a film from him.

 

2538333571_c103728e5e_m.jpg

 

The great Ann Sheridan in Torrid Zone

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Does anyone remember when he was on WKRP. He played a rich man who dies and leaves Jennifer as executrix of his estate.

 

 

I remember that episode. It was hilarious, the video being played as they were reacting to it, and he was reacting to their reactions. Really a high spot.

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Well I for one thought Pat O'Brien was adorable and sorry he never got any "leading man" type roles. He comes across as thoughtful and sensitive in most of his roles.

I never understood why he wasn't better appreciated for his contribution to film either. Supporting roles are just the unsung heros of classic film.

 

When I first saw George Clooney, although yes, he somewhat resembles Gable, (esp in attitude) I see a stronger resemblance to Pat O'Brien

 

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When I first saw George Clooney, although yes, he somewhat resembles Gable, (esp in attitude) I see a stronger resemblance to Pat O'Brien.

 

When I first saw Pat O'Brien, he was starring in a Serutan commercial. That's "Natures" spelled backwards, folks. B-)

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The only thing I can offer is that Warner Bros. used to have year-end "blooper" reels done of all the films they'd done that year and (I think?) screened them privately at studio affairs (as they are *filled* with cuss words, and from some of your favorite stars.)

 

However, *they are all now on youtube in full and they are HIGHLY entertaining.* Just type in "Breakdowns of 1935-48" into the search engine, and you'll find years worth of blooper reels featuring Bette Davis, Cagney, Bogart, etc.

 

Pat O'Brien is featured *prominently* in all of them- usually for messing up or forgetting a line *multiple times*, although occasionally it's because his toupee comes loose. He has a really good sense of humor about it, but I think it probably led to the a general impression by the studio folk that he wasn't natural, didn't take the job seriously, or a film with him as a lead would be an uphill, re-take laden battle.

 

 

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Yet he did get many, many leading man roles. Whatever Warner Bros thought of him

in terms of "blooper fodder" they used him again and again and TCM should be giving

him his moment in the sun. Ahh . . . they have made Esther Williams SOTM a zillion times

but not Pat O'Brien???? God bless her, she could swim but act?? Not so much!

 

Addison D -- Thanks for the heads up about the blooper reels on YouTube. That will

be fun to watch!

 

Lydecker

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

> Addison D -- Thanks for the heads up about the blooper reels on YouTube. That will

> be fun to watch!

>

> Lydecker

Make sure you have a free afternoon, because they are addictive as hell and about 7-8 minutes each.

 

I recommend the Breakdowns of 1939 one especially, it has a really funny blooper where Bette Davis' wig gets caught on some part of Brian Aherne's costume while filming Juarez and she (I think?) ad-libs at the end of the line "I can't go with you..." to include "because if I do, my **** wig is going to come right off."

 

 

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