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Wow, I was about sixteen at the tail end of Ladds' career, I saw him at the theater in 'Deep Six', and 'Man in a Net', and an 'oldies' night at our local drive-in showed 'Carpetbaggers'. I had to wait for T.V. to see 'Shane' and the rest of the few I've seen. I said 'wow' in the beginning because I never realized how many movies he made! As I read the posts in this thread, I've started a list, and I just realized why I didn't see more on TCM and AMC when it was a worthy channel. What's the TCMdb, and how do I get to it so I can vote. My only knowledge of 'Great Gatsby' is Redford's version, and of course the book. I'm going to have to start a 'manhunt' in my local video stores. Talk about handsome, and sexy, Alan Ladd certainly was!

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Not yet, it's scheduled for the 17th and 18th and I'm going to tape it in SP, for sure! I'll let you know!

 

On that channel they've aired many Ladd films: "Shane", "The Blue Dahlia", "The Glass Key", "This Gun for Hire", "One Foot in Hell", "Botany Bay", "Branded", "Boy on a Dolphin"....

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annelindley,

 

Glad to meet another fan of the great Alan Ladd!

 

The TCMdb is the TCM Movie Database, which can be gotten to by clicking Movie Database at the top of this page, or by using this address:

 

http://tcmdb.com/index.jsp

 

Once there, type Alan Ladd into the searchbox. That should bring you to his page in the database. Then click on any of his film titles. A new page for the specific title will load, and on the right-hand column of that page is the Home Video Vote box. Click "Vote" and enter your e-mail address (which will be kept confidential if you so desire). That's all there is to it.

 

feaito,

 

I look forward to hearing from you!

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I can only reiterate some of what's been said. SHANE is a brilliant and beautiful show, and the pinnacle of Ladd's career. One of the best movies I know. But I also like his dark, quiet anti-heroes. THIS GUN FOR HIRE and the grossly underrated GLASS KEY. Love the sequence with him and William Bendix. Even CATCHER IN THE RYE makes reference to that, doesn't it?

 

Interesting to hear about GATSBY. I once read there were no known copies of it. Must have been misinformed.

 

Red River

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SHANE's a wonderful film, but it does kind of sag under the weight of its own preceived self-importance and profundity.

 

As for Ladd, he was still a bit too much the "pretty boy" (by 1954 or so, his looks seemed to begin to ride off into the night along with Shane), and he never conveyed the kind of world-weariness essential to the character that, say, the younger Gregory Peck did playing a character in a substantially similar situation in THE GUNFIGHTER (1950).

 

For that, SHANE needed a Gary Cooper or Joel McCrea, not a Ladd, as pleasant as his on-screen persona was.

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Very good points! THE GUNFIGHTER is a terrific movie, as are several of the Peck/Henry King efforts. THE BRAVADOS, TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH, even SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO if you're not an English teacher. I don't have a problem with it.

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I wonder if any of you better informed Alan Ladd fans might be able to tell me how in the world an actor as seemingly un-Hollywood ever won his breakthrough role in This Gun For Hire? After enjoying Ladd's work in other films over the years, I've just caught up with TGFH on dvd over the weekend. What a knockout performance! He is so quietly magnetic and it is obvious that great care was taken to highlight his work here that I thought there might be a backstory to his casting that someone may be able to share. Thanks in advance for any info.

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Sue Carol, Alan Ladd's agent and second wife, was the driving force behind his being cast in This Gun for Hire. She had been promoting Ladd for several years, and saw Gun as his big chance. Following is an excerpt from The Films of Alan Ladd by Marilyn Henry and Ron DeSourdis:

 

When Sue brought Alan in for the for the appointment [with director Frank Tuttle], Tuttle wasn't impressed. "He looks too much like a kid who would say, 'Tennis anyone?' He's just not right for the part." Small, blond and boyish, Alan had always looked younger than his age, especially when he smiled. He looked nice.

 

Sue quickly opened her portfolio and selected some shots of Alan smoking a cigarette, squinting through the smoke--portraits of Alan looking aloof, even sinister. The camera did things to the boyish face. The gray-green eyes looked old somehow, older than the clean-cut college type Alan projected in person. Tuttle studied the portraits and made the decision to test Ladd.

 

His screen test consisted of three scenes: Raven being hired for a killing, Raven carrying out the job, and the scene in the train yards where he softens and tells the girl (Veronica Lake in the film) about his past. Trenchcoated and unsmiling, Ladd was sensational in the tests. The former bit player was signed by Paramount, and the rest is history.

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As I've written elsewhere, Ladd wasn't Paramount's first choice for the part. It was an appealing young actor called DeForest Kelley who had the part all but sewn up.

 

An excerpt from the bio of Kelley I wrote for the DVD of STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (at the last minute, Paramount decided it didn't want bios on the disc. How appropriate, considering Kelley's experience with the studio about sixty years earlier):

 

The studio was searching for a new face to play a professional killer. After 13 auditions and assurances that the part was his, it was handed to another actor at the last moment: ?The picture was ?This Gun for Hire?; it made [Alan] Ladd a star, and I went back to Long Beach,? Kelley recalled. Paramount liked Kelley well enough, though, to offer him a contract, but service in the Army Air Force during World War II intervened, and he wasn?t cast in his first substantial role until 1947?s ?B?-movie whodunit, FEAR IN THE NIGHT.

 

Had Kelley gotten the part, his career would've taken a different trajectory, and we likely would never have had the pleasure of inviting him into our living rooms as Star Trek's beloved Dr McCoy for three glorious years.

 

Of course, the real truth is that Ladd's chemistry with Veronica Lake may have counted for less than his rapport with Raven's cat.

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I've just finished watching "The Great Gatsby" and I must admit is the first film adaptation of Fitzgerald's novel I ever see (Haven't seen Redford's version).

 

IMO Ladd is very good as Gatsby, because he conveys well Gatsby's melancholy-doomed quality. Besides, he's believable as guy of humble origins who has made lots of money. I've read that Redford couldn't impersonate Gatsby as well as Ladd, because he wasn't believable as a guy from the wrong side of the tracks who has succeeded in life (at least from an economic viewpoint). Betty Field maybe isn't quite right for the role of Daisy, but nevertheless is a good actress. Macdonald Carey and Ruth Hussey stand out as Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker. They were my favorite characters besides Gatsby. Hussey is really great. And let's not forget Shelley Winters as the vixenish Myrtle, who's fine too. Barry Sullivan and Howard Da Silva are also OK. Maybe it's not as visually sumptuous as the 1974 version (as far as I can tell from the production stills of that film), but I bet it has more substance.

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