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sapphiere

FRED MACMURRAY- Nice Guy and Underrated Actor

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I assume that he could play the sax better than Bill Clinton.

LOL...that's funny.

 

When I was in my mid-20s, I worked on a few sitcoms in production assistance. Two of the shows used Roger Clinton (Bill's younger brother) and his band to warm up the crowd. They were quite good!

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hey everyone, doan miss 'murder, he says' tonite at nine-thirty. a real howl with fred macmurray running afoul of some hillbilly killers. I always wonder if the fleagle house is authentic 19th century ozark architecture. barbara pepper who plays the real bonnie fleagle would go on to play doris ziffel on green acres. :D

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But, if not for TCM for the most part, how many of us would have known him only for My Three Sons and maybe the Disney movies?

 

I was never a fan of either as a kid. MacMurray has only come to me through his classic movie roles and for some reason, he rubs me the wrong way. The only role I really like him in is REMEMBER THE NIGHT, where his smugness fits the charactor.

 

Fred MacMurray's personality reminds me of Dick Powell's personality-smug pretty boys trying to conceal their huge egos. They even look similar to me.

 

I'm glad TCM has these spotlights on stars, so I can actually form a more well-rounded opinion of an actor, as an ACTOR, not just a dull personality.

 

Always interesting to hear a lady's take on Dick Powell.  I'm not sure what he was like in real life, but in general I like his characters.  Some are more likeable than others.

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Always interesting to hear a lady's take on Dick Powell.  I'm not sure what he was like in real life, but in general I like his characters.  Some are more likeable than others.

 

I love how Dan Duryea plays his characters,  but I don't 'like his characters'.    To me there is a major difference between the two.

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I love how Dan Duryea plays his characters,  but I don't 'like his characters'.    To me there is a major difference between the two.

 

Same for me.  I enjoy watching Dan Duryea the man as he works, but am not comforted by any of his characters.  It's probably fair to say it might be similar for me with Dick Powell, although his characters were decidedly more "uptown".  So I like watching him, and even like some of his characters too, as in The Tall Target.

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He started out as a sax player. Did he ever play the sax in a film, once he got established in films?

 

Yes DGF, Fred did play the sax in a film once. There was scene in a movie where he played this favorite musical instrument with a number of other saxophone players and who were then accompanied in this number by a very large string section.

 

But unfortunately this scene was cut from the now little remembered 1937 musical "Singin' in the Sunshine" by the Hays Office, as they deemed the scene contained much too much sax and violins.

 

(...yep, sorry folks...it seemed I have now officially scraped the bottom of the ol' pun barrel with THIS one here, huh...NOT to mention a joke which would have long grey whiskers if it could grow a beard)

 

;)

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Yes DGF, Fred did play the sax in a film once. There was scene in a movie where he played this favorite musical instrument with a number of other saxophone players and who were then accompanied in this number by a very large string section.

 

But unfortunately this scene was cut from the now little remembered 1937 musical "Singin' in the Sunshine" by the Hays Office, as they deemed the scene contained much too much sax and violins.

 

(...yep, sorry folks...it seemed to have now officially scraped the bottom of the ol' pun barrel with THIS one here, huh...NOT to mention a joke which would have long grey whiskers if it could grow a beard)

 

;)

I think that's your best post ever! At first I was wondering where you were going with it. It took a long time to reach the punch line.

 

images.jpg

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I think that's your best post ever! At first I was wondering where you were going with it. It took a long time to reach the punch line.

 

 

Really?! THAT one???

 

(...then wait until you see my NEXT one where I talk about my wife and then ask people to "take her, PLEASE!")

 

;)

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Really?! THAT one???

 

(...then wait until you see my NEXT one where I talk about my wife and then ask people to "take her, PLEASE!")

 

;)

I am hoping TCM airs SINGIN' IN THE SUNSHINE soon. 

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I am hoping TCM airs SINGIN' IN THE SUNSHINE soon. 

 

;)

 

Yeah, well, you can count on TCM showin' THAT one right after they make Bill Cosby Star of the Month, dude!

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All right, I'm finally reading this thread again for the first time since my last post. It doesn't appear as if anyone ruined my deliberate efforts to stay "in the dark", so I probably could have been reading it all along.

 

I apologize to TCM for automatically assuming they would let me down, as I was delighted to learn tonight that Fred MacMurray month kicked off with representation of the work he did at Paramount in the first decade of his career, and not immediately the two Paramount films of his I've seen on the channel multiple times before. I credited TCM in separate threads for making sure both Shirley Temple and Susan Hayward SOTM's were represented with sufficient "out of library" films to actually be representative of the entire breadth of their careers, and I think I am now going to have to say the same for MacMurray.

 

The Paramount films they've chosen to air weren't among the 15 Paramount films I picked in my imaginary list, but there were so many MacMurray Paramounts there were plenty to choose from. I probably would have picked TRUE CONFESSION if had read enough of its imdb page to realize the legendary John Barrymore was in it. This was the first time I had seen it. It wasn't exactly the greatest comedy I'd ever seen, but it did make me laugh out loud on at least four or five occasions, which is pretty rare for me. I liked the early scene when the potential client told MacMurray "I can't pay you until I've sold the hams!" And the scene where the infinitely more world-wise Una Merkel tried to gently let naive Carole Lombard know this dream job of hers was too good to be true. Our SOTM had to play kind of a sap - way too willing to still believe what his wife told him despite many previous accumulations of evidence to the contrary. But I guess we wouldn't have had a movie otherwise. One of those crazy screwball comedies when the plot has to turn on some giant implausiblities - but that doesn't really bother me if I laugh enough. And check out Fred's mustache!

 

Then I watched the first 50 minutes of MURDER, HE SAYS, sort of an alternate-universe dark, twisted version of how the Kettles' lives might have gone horribly wrong (although this film preceded the Kettle films). The longer I watched, the more I got an increasing sense of deja vu I had seen it before, and when the old granny lit up in the dark, I knew for sure I had. This was apparently only its third-ever airing on TCM, but apparently I had seen one of the previous two, even though I initially didn't remember it (where the heck would I have ever seen it anywhere else?). Eventually becoming absolutely sure I had seen it before, I turned it off. It was also quite enjoyable, if a bit bizarre.

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In my opinion Fred`s night did not start out well. I did not care for TRUE CONFESSIONS, and the story was not funny for me. Luckily I own HANDS Across THE TABLE which is a comedy with Carole Lombard that I enjoy very much. Maybe Billy wilder and Preston Sturges did not like Mitchell Leisen`s direction of their screenplays, but I have always enjoyed his work. A sample of his work SUDDENLY IT`S SPRING was very good. The scenes on the train when Fred kept jumping on and off following Paulette Goddard were hilarious. Fred was good at slapstick and pratfalls, and MacDonald Carey was a good sidekick. I have only seen a few films with Paulette (ex. HOLD BACK THE DAWN), and I thought she was gorgeous in this movie. MURDER HE SAYS was very funny, and it was easy to see the making of Ma Kettle in Marjorie Main`s performance. Fred could do comedy, and he makes me laugh. I know that ALICE ADAMS is a winner, and I have high hopes for the remaining lineup.

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;)

 

Yeah, well, you can count on TCM showin' THAT one right after they make Bill Cosby Star of the Month, dude!

We won't even discuss the idea of having Bill Cosby and Gloria Steinem co-hosting their own line-up, will we..? :)

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In my opinion Fred`s night did not start out well. I did not care for TRUE CONFESSIONS, and the story was not funny for me. Luckily I own HANDS Across THE TABLE which is a comedy with Carole Lombard that I enjoy very much. Maybe Billy wilder and Preston Sturges did not like Mitchell Leisen`s direction of their screenplays, but I have always enjoyed his work. A sample of his work SUDDENLY IT`S SPRING was very good. The scenes on the train when Fred kept jumping on and off following Paulette Goddard were hilarious. Fred was good at slapstick and pratfalls, and MacDonald Carey was a good sidekick. I have only seen a few films with Paulette (ex. HOLD BACK THE DAWN), and I thought she was gorgeous in this movie. MURDER HE SAYS was very funny, and it was easy to see the making of Ma Kettle in Marjorie Main`s performance. Fred could do comedy, and he makes me laugh. I know that ALICE ADAMS is a winner, and I have high hopes for the remaining lineup.

Yeah, I agree that TRUE CONFESSION was not the best film to start with, and that HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE would have been a better choice. There are still many other Paramount films Fred did in the late 30s and 40 which have never aired on TCM (most of the ones he made with Madeleine Carroll and one he made with Paulette Goddard & Susan Hayward, for example). Plus they've already aired TRUE CONFESSION before, and given Maltin's rather low rating of it, TCM could have skipped it and put on something better for the lead-off entry in this retrospective.

 

I was glad that SUDDENLY IT'S SPRING aired, as I had never seen it before. I thought the scenes on the train were quite funny, especially the stuff with Willie Best as the porter. I did not think all of the movie's scenes worked, however. The part about Fred MacMurray & Macdonald Carey in bed together was not funny and went nowhere-- it could easily have been removed without harming the story. Having MacMurray's girlfriend show up later at the hotel was something that came totally out of the blue and should have been foreshadowed better. And near the end, where MacMurray decides he wants to be with Paulette Goddard after all was quite predictable. This is because we knew the two leads had to have a happy ending before the final fade-out, but there was no proper motivation for his decision, and the reunion seemed rushed.

 

Basically, I didn't buy the fact that looking over some junk in a storage closet (including an unused bassinet) would make MacMurray dump the girlfriend and hook back up with his estranged wife. While it was nice to see that the couple had memories of their marriage and some what-ifs, it was not sufficient enough to compel them to try again. It had been established earlier in the picture they had been separated since 1941, when the war started-- and now four years later, they spent more time apart than together...so what makes them think they could even be compatible at this point to reconcile and start a family? It just wasn't believable that they ultimately belonged together, especially because aside from the closet scene, we never really saw much tenderness or that they longed for one another but were too stubborn to admit it. But overall, the story does move along at a brisk enough pace, and it's was fairly entertaining. Mitchell Leisen's direction and the charm of the leads did make it watchable.

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Always interesting to hear a lady's take on Dick Powell.  I'm not sure what he was like in real life, but in general I like his characters.  Some are more likeable than others.

 

I don't know why some people's persona attracts us while others repel us. Most likely, it's some personal preference not even relevant to the actor. Typically, I can suspend my personal impressions to just enjoy the movie on it's own merits and will do so for MacMurray.

 

And yes, I have seen MacMurray play sax in more than one movie....just don't recall which ones.

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Here's a fun episode of Jack Benny's show with guests Dan Dailey, Dick Powell, Tony Martin, Kirk Douglas and Fred MacMurray (who gets to play the sax) all gathering at Jack's house for a weekly jam session.

 

[...]

Edited by TCMModerator1
Video removed due to copyright concerns

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I love how Dan Duryea plays his characters,  but I don't 'like his characters'.    To me there is a major difference between the two.

My grandmother had a giant collection of old magazines in her basement as far back as the 1920's up to the 1960's. One day I sat down to read one and it had a big article on Dan Duryea from the 1940's I think, which had a photo of him fishing as I recall. It was titled something like "Nice Family Man at Home but Bad Guy On-Screen. Just like George MacReady, Duryea could be convincing on-screen as a nasty weasel or bad guy probably because he was such a good actor.

 

Speaking of Fred MacMurray, though he became more well known for his nice guy performances, the only one of his stuff that really impressed me was his portrayal of the rotten Mr. Jeff Sheldrake in "The Apartment". Legend has it that people so detested this character in the film, that MacMurray was disconcerted yet I never could understand why since it truly took great acting ability to be that reprehensible.

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In my opinion Fred`s night did not start out well. I did not care for TRUE CONFESSIONS, and the story was not funny for me.

 

I know, right?

The sound seemed to have a really "tinny" quality for me, and it was very hard to understand a lot of the dialogue, especially that of Carole Lombard...who I like, but who had a voice that needed careful direction as she can get screechy real quick, this movie being a prime example.

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I appreciate the fact that this thread is devoted to Fred MacMurray and I don't wish to derail it, except that the issue of Dick Powell has been brought up, and I just wanted to make a short defence of him.

 

Yes, it is curious how some actors will make the dislikable meter ring loudly within some viewers, while others may feel quite the opposite about that same performer. While Dick Powell's early "cute" days as a Warner Bros. crooner in countless Warner Bros. musicals leave me a little cold, I really respect his inteillgence and versatility in being able to transform his screen image into that of a movie tough guy with Murder My Sweet.

 

While that production remains, I feel, the most ambitious and stylish of his tough guy films, he proved himself to be a more than worthy figure in film noirs with a number of other tough guy roles (ie Johnny O'Clock, Cry Danger, not to mention a terrific semi-documentary style thriller about chasing after narcotics rings around the world, To the Ends of the World).

 

When he started getting a little long in the tooth for the screen, Powell had the versatility and skill to turn both film director as well as become one of the great pioneer producers of early television, the true brains behind Four Star Productions (which collapsed after his death), as well as being responsible for countless television series.

 

Dick Powell was a skilled versatile professional within the industry both in front of and behind the camera. And just how many actors have you ever seen (or heard) who had the same snappy throwaway deliver of hard boiled one liners as Powell (on radio, Richard Diamond Show, among others, as well as the movies)?

 

Sorry for the digression. Now back to the subject of another skilled professional, Fred MacMurray . . .

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My grandmother had a giant collection of old magazines in her basement as far back as the 1920's up to the 1960's. One day I sat down to read one and it had a big article on Dan Duryea which had a photo of him fishing as I recall. It was titled something like "Nice Family Man at Home but Bad Guy On-Screen. Just like George MacReady, Duryea could be convincing on-screen as a nasty weasel or bad guy probably because he was such a good actor.

 

Cave Girl, in case you haven't seen it, you might do a thread search here for "A Tribute to Slimy Dan." All kinds of information about Dan Duryea on it. There is aslo a website called Dan Duryea Central that is well worth a look as it is devoted to that versatile actor who could do more than just play a bad guy (even though that's the reason Duryea fans really love him).

 

Back to Fred . . .

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I know, right?

The sound seemed to have a really "tinny" quality for me, and it was very hard to understand a lot of the dialogue, especially that of Carole Lombard...who I like, but who had a voice that needed careful direction as she can get screechy real quick, this movie being a prime example.

Lorna--

 

I noticed the poor audio, too. But I have seen this on DVD (I believe it's part of the Carole Lombard Glamour Collection put out a few years back by Universal, which owns the rights to the Paramount 30s titles). The DVD has no such problems with the audio, and the picture quality is better, too. So I would say that TCM did not get the most restored copy of the film to play last night.

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Am I the only one disappointed that "The Egg and I" is not in the lineup?

Welcome to the boards.

 

I was disappointed, too. There should have been a few of the Colbert-MacMurray titles, because that was some of Fred's best romantic comedy work. Seek out THE GILDED LILY, the first one they did...it's a real charmer and was voted one of the top films of 1935.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gilded_Lily_(1935_film)

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It was not a good career move for FMcM to star in MY THREE ILLEGITIMATE SONS. That show--which I watched only because there was nothing else to watch at that hour--is one of the five worst that I have suffered in my life. Don't you sometimes get the impression that the agents of some actors deliberately try to SABOTAGE their careers?

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It was not a good career move for FMcM to star in MY THREE ILLEGITIMATE SONS. That show--which I watched only because there was nothing else to watch at that hour--is one of the five worst that I have suffered in my life. Don't you sometimes get the impression that the agents of some actors deliberately try to SABOTAGE their careers?

That was considered a good career move for him...because they worked the series around his motion picture commitments. So he made quite a bit of money for himself and his agency during those 12 years. Plus, it kept him visible and popular long after other stars from his generation had faded.

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