Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Republic Pictures: A studio unlike the others


TopBilled
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • 11 months later...

Republic Pictures had several logos during its 24 year run..and beyond.

Mid-1930s to late 1930s:

Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 3.09.22 PM

Early 1940s:

Screen shot 2016-04-02 at 1.23.14 PM.jpg

Mid 1940s:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-02%2Bat%2B1.13.4

Late 1940s to early 1950s:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-02%2Bat%2B1.14.1

Early 1950s to late 1950s in B&W:

Screen shot 2016-04-02 at 1.14.33 PM.jpg

Early 1950s to late 1950s in Trucolor:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-02%2Bat%2B1.16.5

This logo began in the 1990s when Aaron Spelling bought the library. It was used when titles were released on home video:

Screen shot 2016-04-02 at 1.15.51 PM.jpg

Today Paramount controls the Republic Pictures library that consists of nearly 1000 features (including "A" films; "B" films; and serials).

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Key Republic personnel (listed alphabetically):
Rex Allen, western performer
Gene Autry, western performer
Don "Red" Barry, actor
Daniel J. Bloomberg, audio engineer
Adrian Booth Brian, actress
Frank Borzage, director
Walter Brennan, actor
Rod Cameron, actor
Judy Canova, musical comedy performer
John Carroll, actor
Mae Clarke, actress
Jim Davis, actor
William "Wild Bill" Elliott, actor
John English, director
Dale Evans, singer actress
John Ford, director
Jane Frazee, singer actress
Monte Hale, actor
George "Gabby" Hayes, actor
Joseph Kane, director
Allan "Rocky" Lane, actor
Joan Leslie, actress
Robert Livingston, actor
Charles Lootens, sound engineer
Howard J. Lydecker, special effects director
John Victor Mackay, art director
Victor McLaglen, actor
Catherine McLeod, actress
Kristine Miller, actress
Harriet Parsons, producer and director
Rudy Ralston, producer
Vera Ralston, ice skater and actress
Lynne Roberts, actress
Estelita Rodriguez, musical comedy performer
Roy Rogers, western performer
Walter Scharf, film composer
R.G. "Bud" Springsteen, director
Erich von Stroheim, director and actor
Forrest Tucker, actor
Twinkle Watts, ice skater and child star
John Wayne, actor and producer
The Weavers, musical comedy performers
Orson Welles, actor and director
Grant Withers, actor
Herbert Yates, founder and president

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

TopBilled, what a wonderful list of personnel you provided.  And they all did their part to make Republic such a success.  I think my personal favorite from the studio is "Jubilee Trail".  It's a first-class production with a tremendous cast.  And they stuck rather close to the novel in preparing it for the screen.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

TopBilled, what a wonderful list of personnel you provided.  And they all did their part to make Republic such a success.  I think my personal favorite from the studio is "Jubilee Trail".  It's a first-class production with a tremendous cast.  And they stuck rather close to the novel in preparing it for the screen.

Thanks Terrence. There probably are other people I should have included (but they can be added later). 

Jubilee_Trail_poster.jpg

So glad you mentioned JUBILEE TRAIL. An excellent "A" western produced by Republic in 1954. The pairing of Vera Ralston and Joan Leslie is inspired, you really do believe that despite their opposite personalities, they could become best friends. It's sort of a 'feminist western,' but not as over-the-top as JOHNNY GUITAR. Supporting roles played by Pat O'Brien, Barton MacLane, Jim Davis and Forrest Tucker give it an extra boost. Joe Kane, my favourite director at Republic, does a perfect job. Definitely first-class. Currently it can be viewed on Amazon Prime. Though it would be nice if TCM re-aired it.

 

Are there any other Republic films (westerns, or Vera Ralston pictures) you rate highly..?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is another Republic movie that comes to mind.  It's a little-known murder mystery called "Hell's Half Acre".  It stars Wendell Corey, Evelyn Keyes, Marie Windsor, Nancy Gates, and Elsa Lanchester.  As I recall, it is well worth watching.  My feeling is that most people have never heard of this.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is another Republic movie that comes to mind.  It's a little-known murder mystery called "Hell's Half Acre".  It stars Wendell Corey, Evelyn Keyes, Marie Windsor, Nancy Gates, and Elsa Lanchester.  As I recall, it is well worth watching.  My feeling is that most people have never heard of this.

HELL’S HALF ACRE (crime drama)

June 1, 1954

Wendell Corey, Evelyn Keyes, Elsa Lanchester

A man presumed dead in Pearl Harbor has become a gangster, and his wife comes to Hawaii to find him. 90 mins. B&W.

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-05%2Bat%2B10.17.

Perhaps many have not seen HELL'S HALF ACRE, but it is certainly worth checking out. It was made after Evelyn Keyes left Columbia and became a freelancer. Wendell Corey was still under contract to Paramount but loaned to Republic. A large portion of the picture was filmed in Honolulu, and the scenes in the crime district seem like a precursor to what would come later on TV's long-running Hawaii Five-O.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-05%2Bat%2B10.18.

In addition to the leads, Elsa Lanchester has a comic relief part as a taxi driver who takes Keyes around the island in search of Corey. Keye Luke is a police chief who warns Keyes to stay out of things and let him handle the investigation (of course, she doesn't listen). Phillip Ahn is great as an underworld boss, with Jesse White as one of his henchmen. And Marie Windsor is on hand as a moll who gets mixed up in a murder. The New York Times gave this classic noir a positive review.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-05%2Bat%2B10.20.

About 25% of the Republic library is presently available for streaming on Amazon Prime. HELL'S HALF ACRE is one of the titles that can be streamed online. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

HELL’S HALF ACRE (crime drama)

June 1, 1954

Wendell Corey, Evelyn Keyes, Elsa Lanchester

A man presumed dead in Pearl Harbor has become a gangster, and his wife comes to Hawaii to find him. 90 mins. B&W.

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-05%2Bat%2B10.17.

Perhaps many have not seen HELL'S HALF ACRE, but it is certainly worth checking out. It was made after Evelyn Keyes left Columbia and became a freelancer. Wendell Corey was still under contract to Paramount but loaned to Republic. A large portion of the picture was filmed in Honolulu, and the scenes in the crime district seem like a precursor to what would come later on TV's long-running Hawaii Five-O.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-05%2Bat%2B10.18.

In addition to the leads, Elsa Lanchester has a comic relief part as a taxi driver who takes Keyes around the island in search of Corey. Keye Luke is a police chief who warns Keyes to stay out of things and let him handle the investigation (of course, she doesn't listen). Phillip Ahn is great as an underworld boss, with Jesse White as one of his henchmen. And Marie Windsor is on hand as a moll who gets mixed up in a murder. The New York Times gave this classic noir a positive review.

 

About 25% of the Republic library is presently available for streaming on Amazon Prime. HELL'S HALF ACRE is one of the titles that can be streamed online. 

 

Sounds like a film I would like with a solid cast.   But I do wonder if Corey has enough juice to carry the male lead in such a film.   While he provided many solid performances these characters were stiff everyday accountant types and he was cast with a male lead that provided the necessary edge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a film I would like with a solid cast.   But I do wonder if Corey has enough juice to carry the male lead in such a film.   While he provided many solid performances these characters were stiff everyday accountant types and he was cast with a male lead that provided the necessary edge.

Well, James, to be honest, he is not exactly right for the role. He conveys the part of a conflicted husband who abandoned his wife for a life of crime very well-- but, in the scenes where we see him involved with other criminals, he lacks the necessary hard edge the character calls for. However, this is really Evelyn Keyes' film. We're on a journey with her, trying to find out what happened to her husband (she has a ten year old son and is trying to find closure for the boy and herself). Also, Ahn, White and Windsor get almost as much screen time with their subplot-- so Corey is not the entire focus, despite his top billing. 

 

If you love film noir and Hawaii, this is definitely a motion picture to see. As you said, the cast is solid; plus it moves along at a brisk pace. There is no real happy ending for the characters played by Keyes and Corey, and I think that makes it a more authentic story, given their situation. But what I love most about HELL'S HALF ACRE is how the Asian actors (Phillip Ahn and Keye Luke) are given some good moments to shine. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, James, to be honest, he is not exactly right for the role. He conveys the part of a conflicted husband who abandoned his wife for a life of crime very well-- but, in the scenes where we see him involved with other criminals, he lacks the necessary hard edge the character calls for. However, this is really Evelyn Keyes' film. We're on a journey with her, trying to find out what happened to her husband (she has a ten year old son and is trying to find closure for the boy and herself). Also, Ahn, White and Windsor get almost as much screen time with their subplot-- so Corey is not the entire focus, despite his top billing. 

 

If you love film noir and Hawaii, this is definitely a motion picture to see. As you said, the cast is solid; plus it moves along at a brisk pace. There is no real happy ending for the characters played by Keyes and Corey, and I think that makes it a more authentic story, given their situation. But what I love most about HELL'S HALF ACRE is how the Asian actors (Phillip Ahn and Keye Luke) are given some good moments to shine. 

 

Thanks for the info it was useful.    Big fan of Keyes and like I said I don't have an issue with Corey since he can be effective playing certain characters.   Good to see that while he wasn't the best fit for the role,  he isn't a distraction and that most of the film centers around the actions of Keyes.   Of course Windsor, Anh and While are like icing on a cake.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info it was useful.    Big fan of Keyes and like I said I don't have an issue with Corey since he can be effective playing certain characters.   Good to see that while he wasn't the best fit for the role,  he isn't a distraction and that most of the film centers around the actions of Keyes.   Of course Windsor, Anh and While are like icing on a cake.

Just making an educated guess here-- but probably Corey was not the first choice. Other actors might have turned it down, because the character in this film is a fallen military hero; and he is not redeemed at the end. If Clark Gable or Jimmy Stewart had been offered it, they wouldn't have taken it on those grounds-- because they wanted to be seen by audiences as all-American and heroic. So in a way, you have to give Corey credit for having the guts to play a very unlikable, un-American character at the height of the blacklist. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of you make valid points about this movie.  I too agree that Wendell Corey would not be my ideal for this role.  I found it hard to believe that Evelyn Keyes would be so nuts about this guy, but perhaps having a son makes it more realistic.  And this was the first movie I saw with the beautiful Nancy Gates.  It's a small, but vital role.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of you make valid points about this movie.  I too agree that Wendell Corey would not be my ideal for this role.  I found it hard to believe that Evelyn Keyes would be so nuts about this guy, but perhaps having a son makes it more realistic.  And this was the first movie I saw with the beautiful Nancy Gates.  It's a small, but vital role.

Any other Republic pictures that stick in your memory? There were films in all genres, and a fair number of "A" pictures. I have some thoughts about the B westerns, which the studio produced in great quantity, but I was waiting to go over some of that later. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Last Command.  This is the "Alamo" film Herbert Yates made after his falling out with John Wayne who was determined to make one but couldn't agree with Yates on the concept.  We all know what came years later.

 

I like both of them but this version, told from Jim Bowie's viewpoint, is more historically accurate.  Bowie had married a Mexican aristocrat, become a citizen, a landowner, a Catholic, a father and been very happy until a plague took his wife, children and her entire family while he was back in America on business.  He was very conflicted because of this but ended up at the Alamo against Santa Ana's dictatorship rather than with Mexico.  The young woman in the film is fictional.

 

Sterling Hayden is Bowie, Richard Carlson is Travis and Arthur Hunnicutt is Crockett.  Jim Davis and Ernest Borgnine are in it as well.  John Russell and Virginia Grey are the Dickinsons whose final parting is heartbreakingly real due to their acting and the beautiful score.  It's in color and I think Gordon MacRae sings the theme.  It usually gets three out of four stars when rated and it should be. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Last Command.  This is the "Alamo" film Herbert Yates made after his falling out with John Wayne who was determined to make one but couldn't agree with Yates on the concept.  We all know what came years later.

 

I like both of them but this version, told from Jim Bowie's viewpoint, is more historically accurate.  Bowie had married a Mexican aristocrat, become a citizen, a Catholic and a father and been very happy until a plague took his wife, children and her entire family.  He was very conflicted because of this but ended up at the Alamo against Santa Ana's dictatorship rather than with Mexico.  The young woman in the film is fictional.

 

Sterling Hayden is Bowie, Richard Carlson is Travis and Arthur Hunnicutt is Crockett.  Jim Davis and Ernest Borgnine are in it as well.  It's in color and I think Gordon MacRae sings the theme.  It usually gets three out of four stars when rated and it should be. 

I share your opinion, that THE LAST COMMAND is the better telling of this story. 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-13%2Bat%2B8.50.5

Though LAST COMMAND hit theaters in 1955, it had been planned several years earlier. In fact, Republic was going to make it around 1952 or 1953 with John Wayne, but he was finishing a long-term contract at the studio (where he had been since 1935). He was now producing and had considerably more clout. But the sticking point was that Duke wanted a different leading lady than what Herbert Yates suggested-- Yates' wife, actress Vera Ralston. Duke & Ralston did two earlier pictures in the late 40s, both of them westerns; and he didn't like being used to further her career. 

 

At an impasse, John Wayne did not re-sign with Republic and went over to Warners where he inked a new deal as producer and star. Yates then went forward with his version, without his old star and ultimately without Ralston, who was put in other pictures instead. The final production, shot in Trucolor, starred Sterling Hayden as Jim Bowie and the leading lady was played by singer Anna Maria Alberghetti who made a few westerns at Republic in the mid-50s.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-13%2Bat%2B8.49.3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

In August 1938, Republic released the first of nine Higgins Family films. These were made in the vein of the Hardy pictures at MGM and the Jones family films at 20th Century Fox.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-26%2Bat%2B11.49.

Republic cast James Gleason and his wife Lucile in the lead roles, and they were joined by their son Russell. The rest of the family was played by character actor Harry Davenport as Grandpa, and studio starlet Lynne Roberts as the daughter. 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-26%2Bat%2B11.48.

The Gleasons led the first seven, but when their contract with Republic ended in 1940, they were replaced in the final two installments. Those last Higgins Family pictures added new characters, including one played by veteran comedienne Polly Moran and a then-unknown Alan Ladd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

We discussed THE LAST COMMAND earlier in the thread. I see that on May 1st the film was added to Amazon Prime. Highly recommended viewing!

 

If you get Grit it's on at 12:30 this afternoon EST followed by Liberty Valance. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We discussed THE LAST COMMAND earlier in the thread. I see that on May 1st the film was added to Amazon Prime. Highly recommended viewing!

 

If you get Grit it's on at 12:30 this afternoon EST followed by Liberty Valance. 

Thanks for the heads up. If it re-airs again later this month, that would be good to know as well!

 

I don't have/watch the Grit Channel. Are the films interrupted by commercials?

 

Since Republic made many classic westerns (top quality 'A' productions and loads of 'B' westerns), it sounds encouraging there is another place to see some of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, Grit has commercials.  It says its a new station and is billed as "The station with backbone" airing Western, war and action films.  No, I don't like the ads during the movies but if that's the way I get to see a long desired one I can mute them or if I've taped it speed through them.

 

Get TV's gone 80's series in the daytime, mostly Universal series which is surprising for a Columbia station.  Saturdays are Western series of the 60's to 70's era.  It's getting to where I almost never watch the "big three" anymore except for CBS which has Madam Secretary and Blue Bloods.  Oh my stars, I'm becoming my Mother.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, Grit has commercials.  It says its a new station and is billed as "The station with backbone" airing Western, war and action films.  No, I don't like the ads during the movies but if that's the way I get to see a long desired one I can mute them or if I've taped it speed through them.

Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll have to try and find a schedule for Grit to see if they're airing any other Republic westerns or action films. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The great thing about Republic is how different its films are across genres. At studios like MGM and Paramount, you can see a distinct brand clearly imprinted on all stories. But Republic makes its pictures in different genres so unique they almost become separate brands.

 

This is easy to see if you switch from a Roy Rogers western over to some of the studio's thrillers. In August 1947, Yates released THE PRETENDER-- a film noir directed by Lee Wilder (Billy Wilder's brother). It has Albert Dekker in the main role as a man who 'accidentally' puts a hit out on himself; the ironic plot has many clever twists and turns. John Alton's stunning cinematography and Paul Dessau's haunting soundtrack give the crime story unfolding on screen an unmatchable quality.

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-05-28%2Bat%2B9.13.3

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Some updates--

 

Recently, I have had the privilege to speak with a member of the Yates family. He put me in touch with a gentleman who held a museum retrospective on Republic for its 75th anniversary several years ago. 

 

I realized during some of the recent discussions how the goal here is increased visibility of Republic's films-- whether it is on home video, on TCM, or through print materials and spotlights/tributes. 

 

I am beginning to feel like my friend GinnyFan who started a search about all things related to Virginia Weidler a few years ago. Somehow I am on a search about all things related to Republic Pictures.

 

Where will this lead me...? Not to the nearest insane asylum, I hope. 

 

3c1de-screen2bshot2b2016-02-292bat2b3-02

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

New stuff--

 

Recently I was able to watch a documentary called The Republic Pictures Story that had been broadcast on the old AMC in 1991. It's nearly two hours long and barely makes a dent in what the studio did and was all about. But it's a good starting point. The clips have inferior audio and video quality (because the producer was using old unrestored footage before the days of digital). But it's worth watching-- and the best thing is probably the interviews they were able to do with studio employees who were still alive in the late 80s/early 90s. 

 

I thought Catherine McLeod's comments were the most interesting. She talked about her work in a Frank Borzage film she made. And she mentioned leaving MGM for Republic in the mid-40s. She was grateful to MGM for discovering her and giving her a break-- but she said Republic gave her a chance to do more challenging material and to shine as an actress. Dale Evans seemed to echo this sentiment (she left 20th Century Fox and moved over to Republic where she spent most of her her film career). 

 

One thing I want to mention here, which is something the documentary doesn't cover in-depth-- is how Republic received many Oscar nominations over the years. Not long ago when TCM did its 31 Days of Oscar by studio, it failed to include Republic, which seems very unfair. Republic had 35 films that received Oscar nominations across various categories. Plus the head technician at Republic's Sound Department, Daniel J. Bloomberg, was awarded six individual Oscars for his innovative use of sound in many Republic films between 1941 and 1956.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...