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THE PROUD REBEL THIS SUNDAY


cody1949
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 I have been looking forward to seeing this film for a long time. I know the public domain copy is available all over the place, but I want the film as shown in the theaters back in 1958. A few days ago on the schedule there was a widescreen logo displayed; now it has been removed.  Are we going to get the original aspect ratio as shown in theaters or a down sized version ?

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I am so pleased that TCM is showing THE PROUD REBEL.

 

This is a lovely, sensitive film, a character driven western, highlighted by the performance of young David Ladd (Alan's real life son) as the mute son of the title character, played by his father, who is searching for a doctor to help cure his boy of his affliction.

 

The two Ladds have remarkable screen chemistry (no surprise, I suppose) and this film has, I think, along with Shane, one of Alan Ladd's two most effective screen performances. A dog plays a key role in this film and the film's most heart rending scene is that in which the senior Ladd must break some news to his son regarding that animal.

 

I love this little western drama which has been unfairly largely forgotten (or, perhaps, not even heard of by the majority of film buffs today).

 

By the way, Olivia de Havilland plays a farm woman in the film who hires Ladd to work on her property. De Havilland brings more layers and intelligence to her characterization than one would normally expect to see in a film of this nature. This was Olivia's first (and last) reunion after 17 years with director Michael Curtiz, this being the one Curtiz film of his later years, in my opinion, that really works.

 

By the way, the film's highly impressive musical score is by Jerome Moross, the same composer who had created one of the great western scores for The Big Country the same year this film was made.

 

I have to say that this broadcast of The Proud Rebel will be one of the TCM highlights of the year for me.

 

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My cable guide (Charter cable) gives it two stars, and Maltin gives it three. I rented it thru Netflix maybe five years ago and I remember liking it, but I also remember thinking de Havilland was too old for this role, like Stanwyck is too old for hers in TROOPER HOOK made around the same time. There are also some unflattering close-ups of de Havilland at the end that seemed to be shot without soft lighting. The opposite of all the diffused lighting used on Jean Arthur, also too old, in SHANE.

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My cable guide (Charter cable) gives it two stars, and Maltin gives it three. I rented it thru Netflix maybe five years ago and I remember liking it, but I also remember thinking de Havilland was too old for this role, like Stanwyck is too old for hers in TROOPER HOOK made around the same time. There are also some unflattering close-ups of de Havilland at the end that seemed to be shot without soft lighting. The opposite of all the diffused lighting used on Jean Arthur, also too old, in SHANE.

 

 

"The West was hell on Women and dogs"  An old saying about the West...

 

de Havilland was two years younger then Ladd when they did "The Proud Rebel". Jean Arthur was ten years older then Ladd when they did "Shane". I have a feeling that Olivia was more willing to look more like a hard working woman and not care about diffused lighting then Arthur was.

 

I remember reading an interview with de Hallivand years ago and she discussed "The Proud Rebel". She said that Alan Ladd was a much better actor then he gave himself credit for. At one point during the shoot she told Ladd that and he had trouble taking the compliment. She also praised David Ladd and said that the relationship between father and son was real and it shown on the screen....

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"The West was hell on Women and dogs"  An old saying about the West...

 

 

I agree. It's more than a little silly to say that any actress looks "too old" to play a farm woman in the Wild West.

 

Olivia de Havilland said about working with Alan Ladd:

 

"One day - I can't remember exactly why, but I felt he needed reassurance - I said something that had been on my mind since we had started wortking together. 'Alan,' I said, 'I don't know why they didn't choose you for Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. You would have been marvelous in the part.' You have no idea what that did for him. It was wonderful. He brightened so. He really did, and it seemed to make a difference in his work that day. He put himself into it with far more strength."

 

Olivia was particularly fond of young David Ladd, and remained in contact with the Ladd family for years afterward. Years later David, while on his honeymoon in Paris, would visit Olivia.

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"The West was hell on Women and dogs"  An old saying about the West...

 

de Havilland was two years younger then Ladd when they did "The Proud Rebel". Jean Arthur was ten years older then Ladd when they did "Shane". I have a feeling that Olivia was more willing to look more like a hard working woman and not care about diffused lighting then Arthur was.

 

I remember reading an interview with de Hallivand years ago and she discussed "The Proud Rebel". She said that Alan Ladd was a much better actor then he gave himself credit for. At one point during the shoot she told Ladd that and he had trouble taking the compliment. She also praised David Ladd and said that the relationship between father and son was real and it shown on the screen....

In a way, it is almost irrelevant whether or not the actress minded being filmed in unflattering terms. Most refuse-- the more notorious ones being Marlene Dietrich (who feuded with Lang about set-ups during RANCHO NOTORIOUS); Katharine Hepburn (furious with Joseph Mankiewicz for her hard close-ups at the end of SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER); and Loretta Young who was known to keep a long mirror near the camera so she could see how she looked during filming.

 

What matters is how the finished product looks. And quite frankly, de Havilland does not look good in last close-up she has in THE PROUD REBEL. As I said, it's been five years since I watched the film thru Netflix, and it's the thing I remember most, more than the story, or Alan or David. It really takes you out of the film, because normally women are not allowed to be shown that way on screen-- at least not during the fifties, and certainly not women that age in the fifties. It is also an odd situation when we have women old enough to be grandmothers playing women with small children (and not the last in a big family, but the only child they are raising). I find Stanwyck having a little boy in TROOPER HOOK to be rather preposterous.

 

These women were not willing to take age-appropriate roles. Their films careers for the most part were in decline at this point, and since they could not compete with Monroe, Mamie Van Doren and Ann-Margret for the sex kitten roles, they began to play mother roles, provided they were mothers of young very young children. Fortunately, some did it right-- Irene Dunne (as Barbara Bel Geddes' mother in I REMEMBER MAMA); Claudette Colbert (who played mother to Jennifer Jones and June Allyson in different movies of the 40s); Joan Crawford (with Ann Blyth in MILDRED PIERCE); and Bette Davis (with Betty Lynn and Peggie Castle in PAYMENT ON DEMAND) were the ones who did it right and played mothers to older children.

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I recall nothing about De Havilland's appearance at the end of The Proud Rebel to "take me out of the film." What I do recall, though, is that the actress has one of her nicest moments of acting in the film in the final scene.

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It is also an odd situation when we have women old enough to be grandmothers playing women with small children (and not the last in a big family, but the only child they are raising).

 

 

What does that have to do with Olivia in The Proud Rebel?

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I recall nothing about De Havilland's appearance at the end of The Proud Rebel to "take me out of the film." What I do recall, though, is that the actress has one of her nicest moments of acting in the film in the final scene.

Well, at any rate, I wanted to mention it in this thread so that when the film airs, people will look at her last close-up. This is one of the reasons actresses of a certain age during that era preferred, even with bigger budgets, to be photographed in black-and-white. Of course, de Havilland would do several black-and-white films after REBEL, and she looks better in them-- especially in LIBEL and LADY IN A CAGE, which relies a great deal on close-ups because her character is in a confined space during much of the story.

 

The age thing is another reason why we find guys like Gary Cooper in the late 50s playing opposite much younger females. Unfortunately, the actresses of Cooper's generation were for the most part not aging well and it showed in films during their declining years-- which makes their retirement or semi-retirement from the screen that much more logical (if they did not use soft lighting, or if they did not want to do television).

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Well, at any rate, I wanted to mention it in this thread so that when the film airs, people will look at her last close-up. This is one of the reasons actresses of a certain age during that era preferred, even with bigger budgets, to be photographed in black-and-white. Of course, de Havilland would do several black-and-white films after REBEL, and she looks better in them-- especially in LIBEL and LADY IN A CAGE, which relies a great deal on close-ups because her character is in a confined space during much of the story.

 

The age thing is another reason why we find guys like Gary Cooper in the late 50s playing opposite much younger females. Unfortunately, the actresses of Cooper's generation were for the most part not aging well and it showed in films during their declining years-- which makes their retirement or semi-retirement from the screen that much more logical (if they did not use soft lighting, or if they did not want to do television).

 

To me Olivia looks as a women who lived as the character lived;  i.e.  her look was realistic as it relates to the setting and the character.

 

As you know in many (most?), films women have unrealistic looks.    e.g. my wife always jokes about women in films just getting out of bed in the morning with a full on glamor look.   There are many more examples.   

 

Yea,  I'm sure there will be some people that look at her close up and have a negative reaction to it, but I'm not one of them.   Most of the time I favor realism or phony glamor.  

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 I have been looking forward to seeing this film for a long time. I know the public domain copy is available all over the place, but I want the film as shown in the theaters back in 1958. A few days ago on the schedule there was a widescreen logo displayed; now it has been removed.  Are we going to get the original aspect ratio as shown in theaters or a down sized version ?

 

Thanks for alerting us to this.  I have been making a point to see mainly films that I've never had the pleasure of seeing before, and this is one of those.  I am glad that it is on at a good time for most to see.  At this point, on my 22 inch tv screen, it doesn't matter to me what format it is in - I just want to see it.  Also, I don't care how old Olivia looks - just looking forward to seeing it.

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"It is also an odd situation when we have women old enough to be grandmothers playing women with small children (and not the last in a big family, but the only child they are raising). I find Stanwyck having a little boy in TROOPER HOOK to be rather preposterous. These women were not willing to take age-appropriate roles."

 

If you're applying this to THE PROUD REBEL, I don't see the connection.  I was one of those who saw it at the recent TCM Fest, where it was one of my favorite films of the 16 seen there.

 

Olivia was 41 when she made THE PROUD REBEL.  At 41 she was an inappropriate age to play a hardworking, weathered farm woman serving as a sort of foster mother to a child of about 10 or 11?

 

The character has been singlehandedly working in the sun farming her own land, hitching teams, and doing all the heavy manual labor for years.  Her appearance seemed quite appropriate for the part -- and in fact she glows and begins to look younger as she and Ladd develop a partnership and unspoken attraction.

 

I hope everyone here will check out the movie as it's extremely well-done and moving, with three fine lead performances.

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"It is also an odd situation when we have women old enough to be grandmothers playing women with small children (and not the last in a big family, but the only child they are raising). I find Stanwyck having a little boy in TROOPER HOOK to be rather preposterous. These women were not willing to take age-appropriate roles."

 

If you're applying this to THE PROUD REBEL, I don't see the connection.  I was one of those who saw it at the recent TCM Fest, where it was one of my favorite films of the 16 seen there.

 

Olivia was 41 when she made THE PROUD REBEL.  At 41 she was an inappropriate age to play a hardworking, weathered farm woman serving as a sort of foster mother to a child of about 10 or 11?

 

The character has been singlehandedly working in the sun farming her own land, hitching teams, and doing all the heavy manual labor for years.  Her appearance seemed quite appropriate for the part -- and in fact she glows and begins to look younger as she and Ladd develop a partnership and unspoken attraction.

 

I hope everyone here will check out the movie as it's extremely well-done and moving, with three fine lead performances.

 

What is more of a factor than the age of Olivia is the age of the character she was playing.    I don't recall if that was ever mentioned or even hinted at (been a while since I've seen the film) but as you noted since Olivia's character was NOT the actual mother of the child her age isn't really relevant.

 

Now in Shane the age of the character Jean Arthur played is relevant since she was the actual mother.   Jean was over 50 when she made that film and very few women in America during the era portrayed in the movie would have had a child when they were in their early 40s (assuming the boy was 10 or so).      So it is safe to assume the age of the actual character was in her late 30s instead of being over 50 and that it is pressing it to say Arthur was right for the part.     (note;  Arthur is my 3rd most favorite actress and to me the best comic actress of her era and she always came across as much younger than her actual age but in Shane Stevens was pushing the envelope by casting her).      Either way Arthur did a fine job of acting and she made a last impression in her last movie.  

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I hope everyone here will check out the movie as it's extremely well-done and moving, with three fine lead performances.

It's the quality of those performances, combined with the sensitivity of both direction and writing, that makes The Proud Rebel a fine heart warming drama.

 

To place an emphasis, instead, upon Olivia's appearance in one scene is trivial and doing a fine film an injustice by ignoring its many virtues. Besides, as you pointed out she's playing a farm woman, so what does it matter if she doesn't look at her best? If anything, it's appropriate to the role.

 

I certainly hope this will be the restored version of the film. I have a couple of public domain copies of it, and neither of them are satisfactory.

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It's not on there now-- so does this mean we'll have a cropped/chopped version?

It says widescreen under Maltin's review of the film on the TCM schedule. Hopefully that's the version to be shown tonight.

 

I've only ever seen pan and scan versions of the film. I'm looking forward to tonight's broadcast of a genuinely good but largely neglected western.

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It says widescreen under Maltin's review of the film on the TCM schedule. Hopefully that's the version to be shown tonight.

 

I've only ever seen pan and scan versions of the film. I'm looking forward to tonight's broadcast of a genuinely good but largely neglected western.

Okay, now I see it. But I swear it wasn't there an hour ago...! LOL

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There are many things I admire about THE PROUD REBEL. At the film's core is the relationship between a father and his son, that relationship enhanced by the chemistry between Alan Ladd and his son, David. Further adding to the status of this film is the presence of Olivia de Havilland, whose intelligent performance and acting pedigree bring a distinction to this film absent with most other Ladd leading ladies.

 

The musical score by Jerome Moross adds immeasurably to the film's effectiveness, both in its gentle moments of sensitivity, as well as the action scenes, perhaps never more so than in the suspenceful buildup to the film's climax, as Ladd arrives at the ranch of the heavy (Dean Jagger) seeking to retrieve his boy's dog.

 

Director Michael Curtiz brought a few lovely little moments to this film, I thought. There's the beauty of a sunset behind Ladd and De Havilland as they talk in one scene; in a later shot, rather than the camera being on those same two actors as they talk, it is, instead, upon their shadows in a brook below; the composition of the shot in which de Havilland is reading a book to young David as he lies in bed, his father standing in the shadows at the back of the room, not wanting to disturb them, appreciating the lady's kind manner with his boy.

 

And there is also the sensitivity of the unexpected to be found in this film even at its climax. At the conclusion of the film's action finale (SPOILER ALERT) with Ladd and his son walking away from the villain's farm, the audience has torn feelings. It's happy for the father and son, while at the same time touched by the sight of the younger son of the villain, left standing by himself sobbing, having just lost both his father and brother in a gunfight.

 

Sadly, Tom Pittman, who played that younger son, would be killed in a car accident just five months after The Proud Rebel's release.

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I loved this restored print in its original aspect ratio. Olivia de Havilland was the perfect choice for the ranch woman, strong yet warm.  It was great to see this lady who usually plays women of higher breeding play a frontier woman. Director Michael Curtiz reunited with her after many years had come and gone from their Warner Brothers days. Thanks TCM for remembering this film.

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I expect TCM will broadcast the film in its correct aspect ratio. David Ladd introduced a new restoration of the film at the TCM Classic Film Festival last month, so I would assume that is the same print TCM will air on Sunday.

Barton, I just want to thank you for creating this thread. I didn't know that The Proud Rebel was scheduled to come on TCM. If I had missed the film, and now read this thread, seeing a reference to its restored print, I am sure I would have done myself irreparable harm. ;)

 

Alan Ladd didn't make many good films but this was sure one of them. David Ladd was asked at the time the film was made if his father was the same at home as he was on the movie set (where the actor was always very popular).

 

"Oh, yes," young David replied, "He's always nice."

 

You can see the adoration between the two Ladds on the screen, and it adds so much to the poignancy of the drama. It's lovely, too, to watch the performance of the beautifully cast-against-type Olivia de Havilland, as her character gradually evolves from a somewhat brusque farm owner to a woman who rediscovers her own feminity as she is involved with and touched by a young boy and his quiet, proud southerner father, searching for the right doctor to help his son.

 

I am glad that the last time that Olivia worked with Michael Curtiz (a taskmaster director she had never liked) that the results were so memorable. Perhaps Curtiz had mellowed a bit by then.

 

The scene in which young David searches the farm in vain for his dog, not knowing that the animal has been sold, finally told the truth by his reluctant father, is the tear jerking highlight of the production for me. Both Ladds did themselves proud in this scene.

 

Having said that, the climax of the film (SPOILER ALERT), with father and son leaving the villain's ranch with their dog after a tense and suspenseful gun battle, the youngest son of the now-deceased villain left sobbing by himself over his lost family, was extremely well directed and edited, I thought. And the film's final scene, seeing the two Ladds reunited with Olivia de Havilland, she tearfully embracing the boy who can now speak, was both touching and emotionally satisfying. Through it all, I thought that Jerome Moross's alternately sensitive and dramatic musical score added just the right emotional undercurrent to what is seen on screen.

 

A lovely, unfairly neglected film. Perhaps with this TCM presentation, film buffs might start to pay a little more attention to the last really good film ever made by either Michael Curtiz or Alan Ladd.

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 I have been looking forward to seeing this film for a long time. I know the public domain copy is available all over the place, but I want the film as shown in the theaters back in 1958. A few days ago on the schedule there was a widescreen logo displayed; now it has been removed.  Are we going to get the original aspect ratio as shown in theaters or a down sized version ?

My mistake in my last posting. Sorry, cody, I now see that you started this thread. Thanks a lot.

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