Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Monday, January 19, 2015

Corporate Sharks Swim Offshore


The Power and The Prize (1956) Means Business

Another big loser ($838K) in losing year that was 1956, referred to since as annus horribilis by which television had penetrated whole of the country. The Power and The Prize had a negative cost of $1.4 million, a minimum you'd then-spend for presentable Metro product, but too much for this black-and-white Cinemascope drama with so little earning potential (only $575K in domestic rentals, $540K foreign). For latter market, MGM tread lightly, The Power and The Prize cautious not to give offense in Euro/UK depiction. Robert Taylor is the company man gone overseas to put over a refinery deal (in Africa, a spot regarded OK for a worldwide corporate community to graze on) with partnering Sir Cedric Hardwicke, a rock of rectitude to flatter Brit business dealings. Offshore grosses were protected further by letting Taylor love interest Elisabeth Mueller be impossibly noble as refugee from continental hardship, with wartime stopover in German concentration camps. What was done to her there is mentioned, but not stressed. Only one bad apple among offshore associates will be allowed (a lecherous VP). Otherwise, it's the Americans that are ugly (boardroom shark Burl Ives) or at the least misguided (Taylor, who'll be straightaway enlightened). The Power and The Prize is a real suck-up to integrity Euros have that we lack. So did facts at the time back this portrayal?


Taylor's a little old for what is essentially a Bill Holden part (in fact, Holden had more or less played it for Metro in 1954's Executive Suite). Bob closes the gap, however, with another of his customarily fine postwar performances. MGM valued this star, kept under pact after letting most names go. Even Gable had been scotched from contract pay as Taylor soldiered on, a succession of hits in Quo Vadis, Ivanhoe, Knights Of The Round Table, making him a better bargain than Hollywood's one-time King. We think of 50's Taylor mostly in breastplates, but it was noir and modern-set conscience stories where he'd thrive best, The Power and The Prize, Rogue Cop, Party Girl, numerous others backing placement of RT as seminal dark dweller. Taylor was another who'd underplay because he never considered himself much of an actor. That, of course, works now to benefit of all his output.


The Power and The Prize posits corporate life as all-consuming, but in the end productive and necessary. Burl Ives, otherwise a despot and spirit breaker, gives reasoned account of why America needs men like him to keep the country great. It's like listening again to Bogart's same message in Sabrina from 1954. Hollywood might point up excess in tycoons, but wouldn't condemn a system they represented. After all, that was a movie industry's system as well. A man must give heart and soul to the company, and should he marry, well, the wife must be vetted as well. That was lesson Clifton Webb taught in Woman's World (again 1954), and few outside presumed Pinkos would argue against it. Latter is among issues aired in The Power and The Prize, Taylor wanting to bring alien bride Mueller to our shore, but first having to clear her of suspected moral lapse, plus likely Communist sympathies. The Power and The Prize puts across fear everyone then felt over merest suggestion they might be disloyal, tycoon spouse Mary Astor saying at one point that suspicion alone, minus further evidence, could break anyone targeted. Had MGM topper Dore Schary forgot the Waldorf agreement he'd entered into? The Power and The Prize streams at Warner Instant in HD and is available from their Archive on DVD. 

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016