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




Friday, July 27, 2018

1890's Secret Agent Work


Undercover Robert Taylor Says, This Is My Affair (1937)

Naval officer Robert Taylor goes on secret assignment for President McKinley to flush out bank-robbing Victor McLaglen and Brian Donlevy. 20th Fox was lured by Gay 90's theme like bugs to a light bulb, Affair pursuing trend of The Bowery and ones that would follow right into the 50's when past century dwellers would disappear sure as nickel beer and horse carriages these pics celebrated. What was Betty Grable's career but ongoing evocation of this? Zanuck, or maybe Joseph Schenck, must have been raised by barber shop quartets. This time at least, action is played more for keeps, stakes high for Taylor gone undercover and then having rugs pulled when McKinley is assassinated and there's no one to clear him of complicity in bank jobs. This Is My Affair was bedecked in gloss, a bid to match Metro for such values, that a greater urgency as Taylor was borrowed from Leo for the occasion. Much of selling honed on lead lady Barbara Stanwyck, Bob's real-life inamorata. This Is My Affair turned up lately on TCM, licensed from Fox, and like many of 20th's, could use a remaster.

6 Comments:

Blogger Donald Benson said...

Fox didn't have a monopoly on "Good Old Days" movies. You can do a nice little festival of them.

To rattle off the ones I remember, MGM had the granddaddy of them all, "Meet Me in St. Louis" (Fox's "Centennial Summer" feels like a direct response), along with "Summer Holiday", "Excuse My Dust" and "In the Good Old Summertime" (the contemporary "Little Shop Around the Corner" moved back in time).

Paramount put W.C. Fields in spats for "The Old Fashioned Way" and "Poppy"; Fields in a high hat became the iconic image (brought back for Universal's "My Little Chickadee"). Of course Mae West was "Diamond Lil" before she arrived at Paramount.

Warner's "Strawberry Blonde" made the original "One Sunday Afternoon" look bland, and the very faithful filming of "The Music Man" was similarly wrapped in period gingerbread. Over at Termite Terrace, Chuck Jones created the ultimate dime novel sendup with "The Dover Boys of Pimento University".

The conventions of gaslight melodramas and barnstorming theater troupes were fodder for cartoons and shorts across the board -- perhaps more so than any other aspect of the era. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" companies soldiered on for decades, so a lot of twentieth century adults would have childhood memories or at least parental anecdotes.

Latecomer Disney offered "Lady and the Tramp", "Pollyanna", "Summer Magic" and a few cartoons set in the era ("Casey at the Bat", "The Nifty Nineties", and "Crazy Over Daisy"). Most notably, Uncle Walt built Hollywood's vision of the era as Disneyland's Main Street. It was idealized nostalgia for people of his generation; now it's as much a fantasy as Camelot or a spotless TV western town.

Fox arguably wrote the last chapter with the epic "Hello Dolly" (Grable, incidentally, played Dolly on tour and on Broadway).

There are probably dozens more set in roughly the same period, but these are the ones that jump out at me as embracing and expanding on the mythology.

4:26 PM  
Blogger coolcatdaddy said...

One of the neglected little Gaslight era nostalgia films I discovered a few years back is "The Villian Still Pursued Her" from 1940. Buster Keaton is among the cast. It's a direct parody of late 19th century melodrama theater productions. I believe you can find it at archive.org.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033224/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_58

9:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I cant believe Robert Taylor is billed over Barbara Stanwyck in 1937, or any year for that matter.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Donald Benson said...

"The Villain Still Pursued Her" is a definite oddity. It's based on the same vintage melodrama featured in "The Old Fashioned Way", which incorporated the cast of successful stage version that was played broadly for laughs. An interesting difference is that TVSPH played the same material extremely deadpan -- to the point they felt it necessary to have Billy Gilbert delivering a broadly silly introduction, signaling that it's MEANT to be funny. I think this might fly with the right audience; a lot of familiar faces, and any actual gags usually make up in eccentricity what they lack in boffo-ness. I found it on Alpha, back when their titles were the DVD equivalent of scratch-off lotto tickets: You paid two or three bucks and took your chances.

11:50 PM  
Blogger MikeD said...

I thought that Disneyland's Main Street USA was Walt's memory of Marceline, Missouri, not Hollywood's.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

Looking at that print ad, I have to say I would give "Hotel Haywire" a shot just for the title alone.

3:41 PM  

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
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
  • July 2017
  • August 2017
  • September 2017
  • October 2017
  • November 2017
  • December 2017
  • January 2018
  • February 2018
  • March 2018
  • April 2018
  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018