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Today was Van Heflin day and I didn't even know it!


misswonderly3
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I just noticed, looking at today's schedule (even though today is almost over) that there were a lot of Van Heflin films playing.

So I looked him up, and sure enough, today was his birthday (December 13th.)

 

Van is definitely deserving of TCM's attention. I love this guy. He can do drama, noir, Westerns - he was even in a musical ! (although I cannot answer for its quality, I missed it- "Presenting Lily Mars".)

 

Anyone know if he's been Star of the Month? Probably has. Anyway, there are several campaigns on the go here for other worthy candidates to be SoTM, so I'm not going to suggest that at this point.

 

Anyone else a Van fan?

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Alan Ladd was a Van fan, MissW. Or, at least, Heflin the man. They became the best of friends while making Shane together, and Heflin would remain one of his two best friends (along with William Bendix) until Ladd's death in 1964.

 

Aside from that, yes, Heflin was a solid character actor who worked quite successfully in a number of film genres, with his work in film noirs and westerns seeming to stand out, in particular.

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He's one of my favorites. He could handle any kind of role. He was never a rilly big star, but he had some fine roles in Act of Violence, 3:10 to Yuma, and Shane.

 

One of the movies shown today, Grand Central Murder, is a fun spoofy murder mystery with lots of familiar faces. Try to catch it if you can.

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Heflin was SOTM in September of 2002, but hasn't had even a SUTS day since then. He's had a few truly memorable roles, but one that stands out for its sheer risibility* is when he played a commie hunting FBI agent in Robert Walker's last movie, My Son John. It's truly a jaw-dropping film

 

*Caused by the script, not by any bad acting on Heflin's part. The over-the-top acting performances were by Dean Jagger, Helen Hayes, and Walker himself, along with a typically goofy priest part played by (who else) Frank McHugh.

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I agree that Van Heflin is a fine actor and I'm a big fan, but unlike many others, Heflin doesn't need a tribute as a means for TCM to show more films with Heflin (i.e. these films would NOT be shown unless there was a tribute).

 

Heflin was often a 'third wheel' so when TCM features the other stars we get to see Heflin (and many times he is the best actor in the bunch). The good thing being we get a good amount of Heflin on TCM.

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I agree that many of Heflin's films, at least those in the Turner Library, air frequently on TCM. But it is still nice to promote the idea that as an individual artist, he deserves a bit of special featuring and recognition. I'd even settle for an evening where they show his three films with Stanwyck. Great stuff!

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