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Bogart Vs. Cagney Vs. Robinson


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"Seinfeld" was a show about nothing, so if you don't think nothing is funny, you probably won't laugh.

 

In a recasting I'd make Bogie be George Constanza wearing the glasses from TBS, Cagney of course would play Kramer but on stilts and Eddie would be the wry Jerry.

 

I can just see Cagney bursting in Jerry's doorway with the energy he used in WH when he went nutso.

 

I like to cast against type.

 

Mary Astor could play Elaine.

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I might be a bigger fan of Kid Galahad than you are but I agree with what you said here about the movie. The reason being is that the movie was one of the first movies I saw that got me into studio era movies, especially WB movies.

 

My mom's boyfriend got me to watch Bogie movies like The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. After that I was on a mission to see as many Bogie movies as I could find. So I checked out Kid Galahad and Marked Women. These movies made me want to check out E.G. and Bette movies as well as becoming more interested in the WB style of film making of the 30s and 40s.

 

As you noted the talent of these 3 stars in Kid Galahad is first rate all done in that WB 30s style. It was a while longer before I discovered Cagney. The trigger for that was seeing Davis and Olivia DeHavilland in It's Love I'm After and falling hard for Olivia. So I checked out The Strawberry Blonde and from there every Cagney and Olivia movie I could find.

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In view of the fact that TCM is broadcasting THE SEA WOLF this Saturday at 8am (EST), I thought I'd re-post a review I did of the film two months ago. I continue to be amazed that this film has so little recognition among many film buffs to this day. Hopefully, with tomorrow's broadcast, it will be a wee bit better known and recognized by some for the moody, rich literary film adaption that it is:

 

edward-g-robinson-7.jpg

 

SPOILER ALERT:

A film that has long been a Robinson favourite of mine is THE SEA WOLF. But this highly skillful adaption of the Jack London novel has always been a bit neglected, I strongly believe. It also has one of Eddie G.'s most convincing performances (and that is saying a lot, considering out brilliant he often was in his other roles).

 

Director Michael Curtiz and cinematographer Sol Polito are in peak form here, with a constantly moving camera always reminding the viewer, even if subliminally, that the action is set on board a vessel.

 

Robinson's brutish portrayal of Wolf Larsen, the sadistic captain who enjoys inflicting misery upon those helpless under his command, is no simple two dimensional characterization of a stock villain. Quite the opposite, the screenplay makes a point of a psychological study of him. He is portrayed as a well read, highly intelligent man who, in essence, failed to succeed on land so became the captain of a ship where he could rule with a iron (and, at times, very nasty) fist.

 

"Better to reign IN HELL than serve in heaven," Robinson proclaims, a line he borrows from John Milton's Paradise Lost, because it so sums up his own life and philosophy.

 

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!

 

Robinson has a magnificent supporting cast in the film, too. John Garfield and Ida Lupino are both highly effective, portraying two outcasts of society, now finding themselves under Larsen's tyranny, combining forces for survival. There is an tough unsentimental "love" scene between the two actors at one point in the film that is genuinely touching for the honesty of emotions so eloquently expressed by two hurting souls.

 

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!

 

Canadian actor Alexander Knox brings intelligence to his role as Van Weyden, the seemingly wimpy pulp fiction writer who finds himself as one of the helpless under Robinson's authority on the vessel. Knox realizes that some of his best chances for survival are if he plays up to Robinson's ego, as well as his intelligence, by trying to psychoanalyze the complex captain, who desires to better understand himself, in his cabin.

 

At first contemptuous of Knox, because he is "soft, like a woman," Robinson's respect for his character starts to grow as he realizes that Knox is the only person on the vessel with whom he can make an intellectual connection.

 

Two of the film's best performances, as well, come from the character support. There is Barry Fitzgerald, as the knife wielding, cackling "Cookie." A corrupt, evil little man who plays secretive informer on the crew in an attempt to curry the captain's favour, he would just as soon turn on the captain.

 

One of the film's most memorable scenes occurs when Robinson decides, much to the crew's joy, to teach Fitzgerald a lesson by tying a rope to him and throwing him into the sea, to be dragged, screaming, through the water. Suddenly the fin of a shark appears. I'll say no more but what follows is truly gripping.

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRYFFl0NTolot0oLRPbqIT

 

And then there's another Canadian actor, Gene Lockhart, giving, perhaps, the performance of his career as the ship's doctor who has taken to drink and is the butt of everyone's humour. Lockhart remembers when he was on land, treated with respect. He at one point stops drinking, cleans himself up and in a sensitive moment pleads with Larsen to have the crew treat him with respect, an acknowledgement that he feels he deserves as ship's physician.

 

In a truly agonizing scene Robinson makes a point of humiliating Lockhart by tripping him in front of the ship's crew, who all burst into laughter. Lockhart, in one of the great dramatic moments of Mike Curtiz films, then starts to climb the vessel's mast to get away from his tormentors. When he gets to the top of the mast, Robinson and the crew, having had their fill of laughing at him, yell for Lockhart to come back down. Lockhart, instead, yells defiantly at Robinson.

 

Then, in what is probably the most electrifying closeup in the entire film, Lockhart proclaims, "I'll come down, Larsen. IN MY OWN WAY."

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR8f4cYRloYjvMU2G7WU4U

 

Not to be forgotten, as well, is a moody, evocative musical score by the great Erich Wolfgang Korngold, which adds immeasurably to this atmospheric production.

 

In the true tradition of Warner Brothers, this film touches on the subject of oppression, a theme to which the studio returned time and again in its dramas. Even in a highly charged drama, set at sea, such as this, the human element is not lost, adding immeasurably to the power of the production.

 

The Sea Wolf is a great film, in my opinion, which, fortunately, does appear on TCM on occasion. I can't recommend the movie enough, not only to Robinson fans, but anyone who enjoys highly dramatic and, at times, even unexpectedly moving, filmmaking.

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Tom, I agree with you 1000% about *The Sea Wolf* . I wish it would get more airings and in a prime time 8 or 10 pm time slot. How about the great special effect scene at the beginning (the boat collision)? Rivals anything you can see today in a film. And for my money NO actor was ever better in films than Edward G Robinson and this is him at his best (the other actors in this film ain't bad either :) )

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In many respects, mrroberts, I think that the Sea Wolf is one of those films, like a Casablanca or Robin Hood or Angels with Dirty Faces, that is representative of Warner Brothers at the peak of its craftsmanship as a studio. But, unlike those three films just named, The Sea Wolf doesn't get much attention.

 

Everybody is really at a peak here, director Curtiz, cinematographer Polito, musical composer Korngold, the great ensemble cast, all working with a fine, literate script. Then there are the wonderful sets of Anton Grot, much of it steeped in fog. Really, the best of the studio all combined their talents on this one and all made sterling contributions

 

Terrific as the entire cast is, no one takes the film away from Robinson, who gives a powerful, brooding, masterful performance, clearly as powerful a performance as any he gave in his entire career, in my opinion. People remember Robinson for his still-powerful performance as Little Caesar.

 

In many respects, however, that early pioneer gangster drama is a terribly dated film. The same is not true, in my opinion, of The Sea Wolf. It's as powerful a production as the studio produced but, unlike Little Caesar, it is hardly remembered today. And that is a terrible injustice to a film that I think deserves the status of being ranked as a classic.

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TomJH wrote:

>...The Sea Wolf. It's as powerful a production as the studio produced but, unlike Little Caesar, it is hardly remembered today. And that is a terrible injustice to a film that I think deserves the status of being ranked as a classic.

 

While I agree completely that *The Sea Wolf* is all you say it is, I think the main reason it isn't as well remembered as *Robin Hood*, *Casablanca*, etc., is that it is so incredibly bleak, much bleaker than *Little Caesar.*

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In many ways, VX, I think that The Sea Wolf is representative of the studio that produced it, Warner Brothers. Not just because of the cast and behind-the-scenes professionals who were so expert at what they did, but also in much of the theme of the film.

 

And much of that was about oppression, carrying on a tradition of that studio that had distinguished it during the '30s. The studio of the poverty that drove men to crime in The Public Enemy and Angels with Dirty Faces, of chain gangs in I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, of an innocent man being sentenced to slavery before turning pirate in Captain Blood. Even the fantasy of The Adventures of Robin Hood touches on this theme, though that is not the emphasis of the film.

 

In the case of The Sea Wolf I think this is continued, with the sub plot of two outcasts of society (John Garfield and Ida Lupino) both of whom find themselves trapped by circumstances on a sealing vessel ruled by a martinet megalomaniac with a streak of sadism running through his personality. He is their oppressor on board this ship.

 

The most poignant scene in Sea Wolf, I feel, is that one set below deck when Ida Lupino visits John Garfield in the hold after he was beaten following his landing a marlinspike near Wolf Larsen's head following the captain's laughing torment of her.

 

Composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold's slow melodic score includes the melancholy sounds of a harmonica playing in the background as these two lonely people open up to one another. Lupino is tired and disillusioned, ready to give up, while Garfield is angry, bitter but refuses to let the Larsens of the world defeat him. They share cigarettes. A bond begins to form between them, these two battered souls who feel lost, lonely and at times overwhelmed by a hostile world.

 

"There's something in me that tells me I have to keep on fighting," Garfield says, "Tells me there is something for people like us."

 

"Like us?" Lupino asks.

 

"Yeah, like us. Men like Larsen can't keep on grinding us down because we're nobodies. That ain't true. We're somebodies."

 

He tells her of a plan to get off the boat, a plan that he wants to include her.

 

And then there is a remarkable closeup of Lupino.

 

"Inside or out, it's all the same," she says, "To be free, to be let alone, to live in peace - even if only for a little while . . ."

 

She looks around the hold she shares with Garfield, and says, "Like this. I don't expect anything more."

 

And the actress breaks your heart with the simplicity of her delivery, and the beautiful pain of a tired soul she captures at that moment.

 

I can't say, however, that this film is totally bleak. There is, after all, an ending for these two which indicates that things may turn out positively for them. As they near that island in their lifeboat, that there may be a fresh start for them.

 

But, bleak or not, The Sea Wolf remains a powerful film, with, if you look for it, some social comment mixed in. On a more melodramatic level, it is something of a kindred soul to I Am A Fugitive. And bleak as that chain gang drama is, particularly with its uncompromising ending, it is rightfully regarded as a classic. I think The Sea Wolf is fully deserving of that status, as well.

 

seawolf2.jpg

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Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate bleak. I was only thinking of it's effect on the appreciation of the general public. *IWaFFaCG* is about as bleak as it gets, but it was also about a publicly prominent problem. Wolf Larsens aren't that well recognized as a problem.

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I have been rereading parts of my copy of "All My Yesterdays" , an autobiography of Edward G Robinson, researched and written in the later days of his life. The book was released soon after his death in 1973. Robinson talked very candidly about the events in his professional and personal life. He was a rather modest man and not overly judgmental about others, but on occasion he does speak his mind. He mentions little about Cagney, they only did that one film together, but Eddie greatly admired Cagney and always considered him a friend. It seems surprising that they didn't work together in the later years. Eddie talks more about Bogart, of course in the late 30's they did several films together, Robinson the lead, Bogie in support. Again they got along well on the sets. Years later when Bogart was the big star and Robinson was more of a supporting player they made *Key Largo* . Eddie readily states that Bogart insisted that he (Robinson) be treated as an equal costar (watch the way the titles list the names) and that the Rocco character drives most of the action in the film. Both Robinson and Bogart also treated Lionel Barrymore with the highest respect. Sounds like a very smooth production in making this film. Robinson credits Bogart for that.

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Sep 19, 2013 1:48 PM

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But by 1942/43 Cagney and Robinson were getting free of their contracts with Warner Bros. And Cagney started his own production company. He and Eddie could have had a number of opportunities to work together. As an independent Cagney had an uphill battle doing films that could make money. Having EGR as a costar would have been a big draw for the public. And Eddie was resigned to being "a supporting actor" in those years. But I don't think Cagney would have minded sharing a top billing with Robinson. In any event, the two were always on good terms.

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mrroberts, it is a shame that Robinson and Cagney never did have a great co-starring vehicle, as Eddie G. would enjoy with Bogart in Key Largo. I've never seen any indication, however, that either Warners or the actors themselves ever tried to make a project of that nature become a reality. However, your speculation about Cagney possibly having done so during his financially shakey independent period in the mid-40s is interesting.

 

As for your statement of Robinson having resigned himself to playing supporting parts, the reality is that he only did it once during the '40s (Double Indemnity). Key Largo had him getting prominent second billing to Bogart, which really doesn't qualify as such though, admittedly, getting second billing is not the same as top.

 

I've heard that Robinson expressed regret about having accepted a supporting role in 1955's The Violent Men. He felt that it permanently impacted studios' perceptions of him as a lead actor afterward. The reality, though, is that the '50s and the unofficial blacklisting of Robinson from major film projects had put his career into a dramatic slump. Whether getting top billing in a "B" or support in an "A", Eddie G.'s reign as a Hollywood heightweight was clearly a thing of the past by then.

 

The one time during the '50s that Robinson did get to co-star with another big star was when he appeared in Hell on Frisco Bay. It was made by Alan Ladd's own production company, Jaguar, to be released through Warners. Ladd was still big box office then, even if his films were usually dismissed as programmers.

 

Considering the political climate of the time during that McCarthy era, and how much Robinson's name had been tainted by it, I've wondered if it wasn't a bit of an act of courage on Ladd's part to give Eddie G. such a large co-starring role in one of his own productions. Courageous artistically, too, since Ladd was always painfully aware of his own acting limitations. In any event, it did give Robinson the opportunity to shine once again in a gangster role, and he easily walked away with the picture.

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I remember reading that Robinson was a last minute addition to *The Violent Men* . Eddie seems out of place in a western, but on the surface he could be considered miscast in a lot of his films. Its a tribute to his acting strengths that he could pull off playing those roles so convincingly. Robinson probably was grateful for the work because of his situation (graylisted?) at the time. It was a major picture and he had worked with Glenn Ford and Barbara Stanwyck before. As Eddie often states in his book, he had to accept his fate (his age and the political witch hunting) and make the most of it. As for *Key Largo* I guess technically he is a supporting actor but right from the opening credits he is treated as an equal to Bogart and Lauren Bacall. And he acknowledges Bogart's insistence for that.

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Saturday night at 10pm est, *The Whole Town's Talking* starring my main man Eddie G. Its a rather interesting film with Robinson playing two polar opposite characters, one a very mild mannered somewhat comedic guy and the other a tough as nails thug. Its the classic "mistaken identity" story, directed by John Ford (not in the way most John Ford films are) and Jean Arthur plays a good supporting role. And a number of the familiar Warner Bros stock company are on hand.

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No, I didn't catch The Whole Town's Talking on this broadcast, mrroberts, but I've certainly seen the film in the past. It remains a strong showcase for Eddie G.'s acting range, to be so utterly convincing in two such disparate roles, one as a meek clerk, the other in his then-patented cold blooded killer part.

 

This was, I believe, the first time that Robinson played a mild mannered part, not to be repeated for almost another decade when he worked with Fritz Lang in Woman in the Window.

 

In Jean Arthur, I also feel that Eddie had one of his most sympathetic leading ladies. Arthur is excellent in this film. It's fun to see shy little Eddie bring out the actress' mothering instincts. At the same time, though, she can stand up to Robinson when he's playing it tough. I strongly wonder if Frank Capra was influenced by her performance here before casting her in a similar role in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town the following year.

 

Perhaps because of Arthur's casting this film for some reason always makes me think more of Capra than it does the picture's actual director, John Ford. I could easily envision Capra having taken this material and bringing more humourous touches to Eddie's mild mannered clerk sequences, or those in which his character, machine gun in hand, confronts the gangsters at the end.

 

In any event, The Whole Town's Talking, made on loan to Columbia, remains one of Robinson's better films of the '30s, I feel, more effective in many ways than a lot of the stuff he was doing on the Warners home lot then.

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At least Jean had more screen time than Lucy ;) Look at Jean Arthur's resume. She did a ton of movies before *The Whole Town's Talking* . The girl really paid her dues. She was really good in *The Ex Mrs Bradford* with my main man William Powell. I believe she worked almost as well with him as Myrna Loy did.

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Sep 23, 2013 10:22 PM

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The Ex Mrs Bradford is a very good movie and yes, Jean and William work very well togethere. They would of made a nice team. This is an RKO movie so I assume both stars were loaded out to RKO and this is why they are both in the movie. i.e. if it was an MGM production MGM would of used one of their many female stars.

 

Arthur had a lot of experience and was around 10 years older than many of the other actresses Hollywood would typically cast. That experience shows.

 

She was born in 1900. So she was 36 when The Ex Mrs Bradford was made and in her early 40s when she made that string of great comedies in the early 40s.

 

But to me Jean never looked too old for any of her roles. She had so much spunk and energy. (even Shane where she was 52 and Van Heflin was 42 and Ladd was 39).

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Good point about Jean Arthur, she always looked a little younger than her age (I'm sure she would appreciate that comment). In a number of films she was older than her male costar, how often did that happen, the gal older than the guy?

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Sep 25, 2013 12:40 PM

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Well linking this back to our WB guys here are some of the actresses that had top billing. All were younger: (number of years younger listed below)

 

Bogie:

Ida - 18 years. Ingrid - 15, Lauren - 24, Liz Scott - 22 (and I just found out she is still with us! Now that would be a guest host for RO).

 

Cagney: Ann Sheridan - 15, Loretta - 15, Joan - 6 (Blondell is an outlier!).

 

Robinson: Ann Sothern - 17

 

Of course the above was true for many other non WB star parings like; Powell Loy - 14 years.

 

Tracy Hepburn have a 7 year difference.

 

So a lead actress being older than the lead male star, especially in a romantic situation is very rare. e.g. Jean was 5 years older than McCrea, 8 years older than Jimmy Stewart.

 

,

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