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My favorite film noir thug, Raymond Burr


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Before the final showing Friday of SUMMER OF DARKNESS, I wanted to give a shout out to my favorite thug in film noir, Raymond Burr. According to Wipikedia, Raymond made sixty film between 1946-1957.Friday night we will see Raymond in one of his signature bad boy roles, Walt Radak in DESPERATE 1947. I have never seen this Anthony Mann noir in which Raymond plays the gang leader of a warehouse racketeering scheme. So far we have seen him play thugs in HIS KIND OF WOMAN, PITFALL, THE BLUE GARDENIA, RAW DEAL, and RED LIGHT.If I missed some of Ray`s film noirs during the past two months, let me know. Raymond was a heavyset character actor, who was nice looking and had a voice that people remembered. I could not blame him, if he became tired of being typecast after ten plus years. I have watched the seldom MEET DANNY WILSON, and he was mean to Frank Sinatra. In my memory I only recall seeing Raymond play three good guy roles,Lt. Strake in SLEEP MY LOVE 1946, the district attorney in A PLACE IN THE SUN 1951, and INSPECTOR Tony Pope in CRIME OF PASSION 1957. Probably Raymond`s best known bad guy role was Lars Thorwald,James Stewart creepy neighbor in REAR WINDOW 1954. Gray haired and wearing eyeglasses, Mr. Thorwald raises the concern of Jimmy Stewart when Mrs. Thorwald appears to be missing. Thorwald`s apartment is across the courtyard from Jimmy`s giving him a full view inside. Being stuck inside recuperating with a broken leg, photographer Jimmy becomes concerned with Thorwald`s coming and goings. REAR WINDOW gave Raymond a great character role, and he thoroughly creeped me out. Raymond was finally rewarded in 1957 when he won the title role of Perry Mason on the TV series. He won two Emmy`s for this role, and in the late 1960`s starred in his second series IRONSIDES. In this series and many IRONSIDES TV movies, Raymond played Lt. Robert Ironsides in a wheelchair. I am happy that a character actor was rewarded after his fine work in many film noirs of the 1940`s and 1950`s.

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Raymond Burr in "Godzilla, King of The Monsters" (1956)

 

Godzilla-King-of-the-Monsters-Raymond-Bu

 

 

They did a satire on the Raymond Burr character in the cartoon short "Baby Huey - Having  A Ball" (1994).  He's portrayed as an irritated, pumped up neighbor.  Everytime he appears, an out of tune "Perry Mason theme is played.  :lol:

 

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It's interesting that Burr went from the prosecuting attorney in A PLACE IN THE SUN  to being probably the most famous fictional defense attorney of all, Perry Mason.

 

BTW, it was Ironside, not Ironsides.

Thanks for the correction.

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Another candidate for a July 1, Canada Day salute.  Born in British Columbia.

There is a whole load to pick from ...

Walter Huston, Mary Pickford, Raymond Massey, Walter Pidgeon, Glenn Ford, John Candy, William Shatner ...

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Raymond Burr always reminds me of Laird Creegar; big burly guys with smoldering dark features, very dramatic actors. I like them both and wish they did some comedic or romantic roles. Hollywood was so narrow minded.

 

That close up of Burr reminds me a little of Wolfman Jack, another handsome guy.

 

That cartoon is a riot, hamradio....especially since Burr is depicted as b&w.

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This is not a 'film noir' movie, but Raymond Burr is super-nasty as the rich, venal businessman who hires private investigator George Peppard in the 1968 action/drama  "P.J.". 

The "bridge" between his thug image and Perry Mason was playing the D.A. in A PLACE IN THE SUN

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He also made a series of two hour Perry Mason TV movies.  Still being shown on TV.  In the later ones, someone else played the defense attorney as Burr was having medical issues and eventualy died.  They kept the PM title though.

The last movie was Killer Kiss (1993) and he used a cane or stood holding onto something for most of it.  Also sat during court sessions.

My wife and I watch an episode of Perry Mason probably 2-3 times per week.  Bought the whole nine  year set.  Still being shown daily on a couple of channels.

It is interesting to see how he personified evil in Noir movies and such and then did a believable job as a fairly nice person in PM TV series.

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Raymond Burr always reminds me of Laird Creegar; big burly guys with smoldering dark features, very dramatic actors. I like them both and wish they did some comedic or romantic roles. Hollywood was so narrow minded.

 

Cregar had a bit more edge to him than even Burr, which is saying a LOT.  While Burr's characters usually assumed the sort of serious thuggish determination and somewhat psychotic behavior we associate with classic noir criminals, Cregar's often seem  to walk the line between uninhibited evil and some sort of mental illness, as in his famous Ed Cornell role in I Wake Up Screaming, or in his horrified-by-violence, rather effeminate Nazi enabler in This Gun For Hire.  And in his final two movies, The Lodger and Hangover Square, he enters realms of darkness that Burr never quite approaches.

 

But all that said, Burr is such a perfect noir archetype that I can think of nothing better than to make him a SOTM or at the very least, feature him in an all-noir SUTS day.  He never mails it in, and his presence alone makes any movie a must-see.

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Raymond Burr always reminds me of Laird Creegar; big burly guys with smoldering dark features, very dramatic actors. I like them both and wish they did some comedic or romantic roles. Hollywood was so narrow minded.

 

That close up of Burr reminds me a little of Wolfman Jack, another handsome guy.

 

That cartoon is a riot, hamradio....especially since Burr is depicted as b&w.

Cregar was effeminate. Burr, who may have been gay, was not.

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i have a few more thoughts and imformation on Raymond Burr. He studied at the famous Pasadena Playhouse. Ray`s first movie was SAN QUENTIN 1946 starring Lawrence Tierney and directed by Gordon Douglas.The same year Jack Webb`s first radio show premiered PAT NOVAK FOR HIRE, Ray was hired to play Detective Heilman. 1950 found Ray in two different genre of films. KEY TO THE CITY was a romantic comedy starring Clark Gable and Loretta Young. Ray played the thug Les Taggert, menacing Gable a former longshoreman. BORDERLINE was a film noir starring Fred MacMurray and Claire Trevor as two law enforcers tracking down Ray as Pete Ritchie the head of a drug smuggler ring from the United States to Mexico. Two different films, two different roles, and I liked them both. The 1951 drama MEET DANNY WILSON costarred Frank Sinatra and Shelley Winters. I am not sure if this film would be classified as film noir. Nick Driscoll (Ray) is a racketeer nightclub owner, and the finale ends in a shootout at the L.A. Wrigley Field long defunct baseball stadium. In my research I found that Ray made two westerns PASSION 1954 and THE BRASS LEGEND 1956. A film noir that is available on You Tube is PLEASE MURDER ME 1956 with Angela Lansbury. I will be watching this noir soon, because Ray portrays a lawyer defending Angela charged with murdering her husband. Later Ray finds himself falling in love with her. In my opinion, Raymond was believable in PITFALL when he loved Lizabeth Scott and THE BLUE GARDENIA 1953 in which he plays a wolf. Near the end of Raymond`s film career, AFFAIR IN HAVANA and BRIDE OF GORILLA were lesser films. PERRY MASON came at just the right time. How ironic that Ray Collins and William Tallman, former film noir stallwarts, joined him on this show. Barbara Hale acted in the famous noir THE WINDOW 1949. Ray was rewarded with a long run of this series. As a thoughtful poster pointed out, Ray starred in 26 Perry Mason TV movies. A loyal Barbara Hale and her son William Katt also appeared. My girlfriend in NYS. watches Perry Mason reruns on ME TV everyday. Unfortunately DIRECTV does not carry the episodes, so I will eagerly watch Ray Friday night in the film noir DESPERATE 1947.

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Well, he's just perfection in everything, isn't he? This must be why I watch "Perry Mason" episodes every single day and try to outwit him, in figuring out who murdered who before he does.

 

Those eyes, that slow smile, with the dastardly twinkle in the pupils. How he looks at Della, how he looks at Paul, in fact...how he looks at everyone.

 

If a movie is on, and Raymond Burr is in it...I watch. Large or smaller, whether he goes up or down in girth, whether he plays heavy or hero, he's a mountain of an actor.

 

Great posts!

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Raymond Burr always reminds me of Laird Creegar; big burly guys with smoldering dark features, very dramatic actors. I like them both and wish they did some comedic or romantic roles. Hollywood was so narrow minded.

 

That close up of Burr reminds me a little of Wolfman Jack, another handsome guy.

 

That cartoon is a riot, hamradio....especially since Burr is depicted as b&w.

I remember seeing Raymond Burr doing a lot of guest appearances on the old variety shows in the 60's and 70's.  He was great in the comedy skits , playing against type of course. William Conrad was another guy who did the comedy thing very well.  I think some of those shows are on youtube.

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Before the final showing Friday of SUMMER OF DARKNESS, I wanted to give a shout out to my favorite thug in film noir, Raymond Burr. According to Wipikedia, Raymond made sixty film between 1946-1957.Friday night we will see Raymond in one of his signature bad boy roles, Walt Radak in DESPERATE 1947. I have never seen this Anthony Mann noir in which Raymond plays the gang leader of a warehouse racketeering scheme. .

DESPERATE is a very good noir movie starring Steve Brodie, a guy who did a lot of supporting roles in noir films. I like Brodie a lot, wish he had gotten a few more lead parts. Burr is a very nasty fellow in this movie.

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Since LAIRD CREGAR only lived to be 31 (died in December 1944, I think) I wonder if he would've been cast in movies that RAYMOND BURR was cast in instead had he lived?  From what I read, Cregar tried a crash diet of sorts to lose enough weight so he'd be considered for more leading man roles like 'HANGOVER SQUARE'.  Early, sad end to a talented guy.   

 

     Burr trivia (of sorts):  In the 1953 movie "The Blue Gardenia" Burr played a nasty character named "Harry Prebble" and in 1968's "P.J." Burr plays a nasty character with a mistress named 'Maureen Preble' (Gayle Hunnicutt). 

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Raymond Burr is very impressive as an obsessive stalker of Lizabeth Scott in PITFALL. He brings a decidedly creepy vibe to the film, not just his dark, hulking physical presence but the machinations of his manipulative mind setting up others for disaster when things don't go his way. His character is a twisted soul of relentless determination, very frightening, and Burr brings a chilling conviction to his characterization.

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He's great in Raw Deal also, check it out

Ray is great playing another bad guy Rick Coyle. Maybe as a compensation, I always liked the character names that Ray was given. Raw Deal 1948 has Claire Trevor as the narrator which is unusual. The last scene with Ray is especially memorable. He always was afraid of fire, and he inadvertently starts a fire which causes his death.Ray never made it to the end in most of his films only staying on when cast as a good guy. I will see how long he lasts in PLEASE MURDER ME 1956, which I am watching tonight on You Tube.

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IPLEASE MURDER ME 1956 was a training film for Raymond to star in PERRY MASON. Finally he plays a good guy. Craig Carlson is a attorney with a thriving practice. Ray has remained friends with his Army buddy, Joe Leeds. Joe is a rich man who owns ten Leeds Markets. Unfortunately Joe`s wife Myra gets lonely while her husband is getting richer. Craig and Myra become a twosome. Angela Lansbury  as Myra could be described as a spider woman. She is greedy, first class liar who doesn`t care if she hurts whoever gets in her way. Angela is so rotten and nasty in this role.Her role could be a learning tool for THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE 1962. She is married two years and already wants out. Ray defends her in a murder trial which he soon regrets. Peter Godfrey directed this B film noir, and it was a little gem to see. The noir elements include flashback, narration, and interesting camera angles. John Dehner is the district attorney, and Denver Pyle plays Police LT. Bradley. The quality on You Tube wasn`t the best, but I was happy that I watched this unsung film noir with a twist ending.

 

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Since LAIRD CREGAR only lived to be 31 (died in December 1944, I think) I wonder if he would've been cast in movies that RAYMOND BURR was cast in instead had he lived?  From what I read, Cregar tried a crash diet of sorts to lose enough weight so he'd be considered for more leading man roles like 'HANGOVER SQUARE'.  Early, sad end to a talented guy.   

 

     Burr trivia (of sorts):  In the 1953 movie "The Blue Gardenia" Burr played a nasty character named "Harry Prebble" and in 1968's "P.J." Burr plays a nasty character with a mistress named 'Maureen Preble' (Gayle Hunnicutt). 

Gail Patrick Jackson was a former actress, who became the executive producer of Perry  Mason. As another person has posted, Raymond Burr initially tested for D.A. Hamilton Burger. She remembered Ray`s portrayal of the district attorney in A PLACE IN THE SUN 1951. She asked him to lose sixty pounds, and she found her perfect Perry Mason.

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Since LAIRD CREGAR only lived to be 31 (died in December 1944, I think) I wonder if he would've been cast in movies that RAYMOND BURR was cast in instead had he lived?  From what I read, Cregar tried a crash diet of sorts to lose enough weight so he'd be considered for more leading man roles like 'HANGOVER SQUARE'.  Early, sad end to a talented guy.   

 

One of my favorite Cregar roles is opposite Paul Muni in Hudson's Bay

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Since LAIRD CREGAR only lived to be 31 (died in December 1944, I think) I wonder if he would've been cast in movies that RAYMOND BURR was cast in instead had he lived?  From what I read, Cregar tried a crash diet of sorts to lose enough weight so he'd be considered for more leading man roles like 'HANGOVER SQUARE'.  Early, sad end to a talented guy.   

 

     Burr trivia (of sorts):  In the 1953 movie "The Blue Gardenia" Burr played a nasty character named "Harry Prebble" and in 1968's "P.J." Burr plays a nasty character with a mistress named 'Maureen Preble' (Gayle Hunnicutt). 

Interesting that, the same year, Walter Pidgeon plated a character in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL named Harry Pebbel.

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