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The Penalty


Janet0312
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I get a kick out of MGM crime dramas. They stink. Had this been a Warner's vehicle, I bet they would have Billy Hallop as the bad kid. He would have been terrific in this role. There's just something so schmoozie about MGM's crime/bad guy/copper films. They never work for me. When the kid is digging weeds in the cornfield, all I could think of was Dorothy and Kansas and Toto too.

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I get a kick out of MGM crime dramas. They stink. Had this been a Warner's vehicle, I bet they would have Billy Hallop as the bad kid. He would have been terrific in this role. There's just something so schmoozie about MGM's crime/bad guy/copper films. They never work for me. When the kid is digging weeds in the cornfield, all I could think of was Dorothy and Kansas and Toto too.

 

MGM was good with glamor but not with crime dramas.   In the 30s Warner was the studio for crime drama.   But in the 40s and 50s,  with crime and noir films,  other studios like RKO (where most of the Mitchum noirs were made),  20th Century-Fox and United Artist  lead the way.    MGM has a few good noir films (Act of Violence, Force of Evil,  Asphalt Jungle,  and the Taylor noirs of Johnny Eager, The Bribe, Party Girl and Rouge Cop. 

 

Warner of course has the Bogart noir films and a few other major ones like White Heat and Mildred Pierce but otherwise no longer had the same grit they had before the war.

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MGM was good with glamor but not with crime dramas.   In the 30s Warner was the studio for crime drama.   But in the 40s and 50s,  with crime and noir films,  other studios like RKO (where most of the Mitchum noirs were made),  20th Century-Fox and United Artist  lead the way.    MGM has a few good noir films (Act of Violence, Force of Evil,  Asphalt Jungle,  and the Taylor noirs of Johnny Eager, The Bribe, Party Girl and Rouge Cop. 

 

Warner of course has the Bogart noir films and a few other major ones like White Heat and Mildred Pierce but otherwise no longer had the same grit they had before the war.

You missed one of Taylor's best noir assignments at the lion-- HIGH WALL, with Audrey Totter. It's the perfect example of MGM's glossy treatment, coated over a disturbing post-war crime story.

 

You also should mention Universal noir-- they gave us CRISS CROSS, THE NAKED CITY and BRUTE FORCE, among others.

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Are you suggesting he was drinking between takes? Or are you saying he was underused or underutilized in the story.

 

I'm saying it seemed to me to be a wasted role for Lionel. He had a contract with MGM and needed to pay off his debts to the morphine people. Just wasn't his usual good role.

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You missed one of Taylor's best noir assignments at the lion-- HIGH WALL, with Audrey Totter. It's the perfect example of MGM's glossy treatment, coated over a disturbing post-war crime story.

 

You also should mention Universal noir-- they gave us CRISS CROSS, THE NAKED CITY and BRUTE FORCE, among others.

 

I am a HUGE fan of anything Universal, TB.

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I'm saying it seemed to me to be a wasted role for Lionel. He had a contract with MGM...Just wasn't his usual good role.

I think what happened was if you were a member of the MGM stock company and especially if you were a character actor, like he was, you were used in all sorts of productions. He may have had two or three weeks between starring roles in bigger films and they squeezed him into this project with a reduced number of scenes. Obviously, Lionel Barrymore's part in THE PENALTY could have been done by any number of character actors on the lot (such as Frank Morgan or even Guy Kibbee) but having Barrymore appear, even in a limited capacity, would obviously bring a bit more prestige to what was otherwise a modestly budgeted programmer.

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I think what happened was if you were a member of the MGM stock company and especially if you were a character actor, like he was, you were used in all sorts of productions. He may have had two or three weeks between starring roles in bigger films and they squeezed him into this project with a reduced number of scenes. Obviously, Lionel Barrymore's part in THE PENALTY could have been done by any number of character actors on the lot (such as Frank Morgan or even Guy Kibbee) but having Barrymore appear, even in a limited capacity, would obviously bring a bit more prestige to what was otherwise a modestly budgeted programmer.

 

Yup.

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Is it Lionel's birthday today? 

TCM's daytime lineup for April 10th is a tribute to director Harold S. Bucquet. He helmed five of the pictures on the schedule today-- KATHLEEN; THE PENALTY; WE WHO ARE YOUNG; CALLING DR. KILDARE; and ON BORROWED TIME. Barrymore happens to be cast in three of them.

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TCM's daytime lineup for April 10th is a tribute to director Harold S. Bucquet. He helmed five of the pictures on the schedule today-- KATHLEEN; THE PENALTY; WE WHO ARE YOUNG; CALLING DR. KILDARE; and ON BORROWED TIME. Barrymore happens to be cast in three of them.

 

Oh. Thanks.

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Is it Lionel's birthday today? He seemed to be pretty much wasted in this film.

The only "Penalty" I can think of is a 1920 release by GOLDWYN PICTURES, not officially MGM, and NO one named LIONEL is in it!

 

So, what am I missing here?

 

 

Sepiatone

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The only "Penalty" I can think of is a 1920 release by GOLDWYN PICTURES, not officially MGM, and NO one named LIONEL is in it!

 

So, what am I missing here?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

I wonder if she meant to say Lon Chaney????

 

Yea,  no Lionel or any Barrymore in The Penalty (1920).

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She was referring to the MGM crime drama with the same title from 1941 that aired on TCM yesterday, where Lionel Barrymore is billed after the lead, Edward Arnold.

 

 

Thanks.  I was confused.    I did go to Wiki but the link for the 1941, MGM version was at the bottom and I missed it. 

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She was referring to the MGM crime drama with the same title from 1941 that aired on TCM yesterday, where Lionel Barrymore is billed after the lead, Edward Arnold.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Penalty_(1941_film)

But, SHE said "lionel was WASTED" in this film.   I thought it was JOHN who was usually "wasted"!  :P

 

 

Sepiatone

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