Tag Archives: Edward G. Robinson

Classic Hollywood Birthdays

Buckjones

Buck Jones, actor (1891-1942)

Harry Warner, studio executive (1881-1958)
Owen Moore, actor (1886-1939)
Edward G. Robinson, actor (1893-1973)
Laura Hope Crews, actress (1879-1942)
Jean Anderson, actress (1907-2001)
Karen Morley, actress (1909-2003)
Lawrence P. Bachmann, producer & writer (1911-2004)
Frank Sinatra, singer & actor (1915-1998)
Connie Francis, singer & actress (1938- )

Classic Hollywood Birthdays

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Frank Sinatra, singer & actor (1915-1998)
In honor of Frank Sinatra’s birthday today, TCM will be showing several of his movies:
Guys & Dolls (1955) at 11:00AM (ET)
The Tender Trap (1955) at 1:30PM (ET)
It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) at 3:30PM (ET)
Some Came Running (1958) at 5:30PM (ET)

Edward G. Robinson, actor (1893-1973)
Laura Hope Crews, actress (1879-1942)
Karen Morley, actress (1909-2003)
Connie Francis, singer & actress (1938- )

Classic Movie Night Recommendation: Key Largo (1948)

Key Largo

Early Birthday Present

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In honor of Edward G. Robinson’s birthday on December 12th TCM will be spending an afternoon showing several of his films:
The Last Gangster (1937) at 12:30PM (ET)
Bullets or Ballots (1936) at 2:00PM (ET)
Brother Orchid (1940) at 3:30PM (ET)
Little Caesar (1930) at 5:00PM (ET)

As part of an evening devoted to gangster films, TCM will be showing Key Largo (1948) at 2:00 AM (ET)

Classic Movie Night Recommendation:

Key Largo (1948)

Saturday, July 6th   

8:00PM (ET)

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“George and a couple of others establish a forward observation post.  They got a direct hit and the others were killed.  That left it up to George.  Three days and three nights, he stayed awake directing our fire.  Most of that time, I was on the other end of the line.  To keep himself awake, he talked into the phone.  Talked and talked.  Most of this talk was about you two.  You’d be surprised how much I know about you both.” –Frank McCloud

“George and a couple of others establish a forward observation post. They got a direct hit and the others were killed. That left it up to George. Three days and three nights, he stayed awake directing our fire. Most of that time, I was on the other end of the line. To keep himself awake, he talked into the phone. Talked and talked. Most of this talk was about you two. You’d be surprised how much I know about you both.” –Frank McCloud

Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) has arrived in Key Largo to meet with the family of one of the men he commanded during the war.  James Temple (Lionel Barrymore) is the proprietor of the Hotel Largo and runs it with his late sons’ wife, Nora (Lauren Bacall). The arrival of Frank has allowed them to find out more about George’s time in the war and subsequent death.  However, Frank becomes involved in the drama that will unfold at the hotel during a summer hurricane.

Mobster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) has been deported by the United States government to Cuba being deemed an undesirable.  Up until then, he spent his time pulling strings, maneuvering deals, and controlling the cities he had ties to.  Now, he is ready to reestablish himself as a major player in the underworld, starting with this deal selling counterfeit money in Key Largo.  Rocco has brought along with him his gang of thugs and his alcoholic companion Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor).

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With the hurricane approaching the mobsters exhort their influence and forcefully take over the hotel.  Causing a clash between man and man, good and evil, and an examination of what makes a hero and a coward.  However, the hurricane proves to challenge the group more than the heat ever could.

“He might’ve killed you.  But that made no difference, you had to help her.  Your head said one way.  But your whole life said another.  The other things, maybe they’re true.  Maybe it is a rotten world.  But a cause isn’t lost if someone’s willing to go on fighting.” –Nora “I’m not that someone.” –Frank “But you are.  You may not want to be.  But you can’t help yourself.  Your whole life’s against you.” –Nora  “What do you know about my life?” –Frank “A whole lot.  From the way you look and talk.  And from things George wrote me.  Most of his last letter was all about you and him on the phone.  Only he had it the other way.  You were the one on the hill.” –Nora

“He might’ve killed you. But that made no difference, you had to help her. Your head said one way. But your whole life said another. The other things, maybe they’re true. Maybe it is a rotten world. But a cause isn’t lost if someone’s willing to go on fighting.” –Nora
“I’m not that someone.” –Frank
“But you are. You may not want to be. But you can’t help yourself. Your whole life’s against you.” –Nora
“What do you know about my life?” –Frank
“A whole lot. From the way you look and talk. And from things George wrote me. Most of his last letter was all about you and him on the phone. Only he had it the other way. You were the one on the hill.” –Nora

Like The Petrified Forest (1938) which featured Bogart early in his career, Key Largo primarily uses a singular setting to tell the story of the extraordinary circumstances which cause the characters to face their own lives.  McCloud once considered a good soldier, now wants nothing to do with the world.  He has seen heroes fall when placing the lives of others above their own.  Yet, his encounter with the Temples allows him to face the beliefs and truths that he has created for himself since the war.  Rocco is attempting to reestablish himself as a player in crime in the United States since being deported to Cuba.  He has accepted how far he has fallen from being on the top to being a nobody.  All the politicians he helped and got them where they are, turned their backs on him when the going got tough.  Now all he has is his small gang, some of who never knew how important he used to be.  Also, by his side is his alcoholic girlfriend Gaye Dawn.  From what we learn Gaye used to be very much like Nora till Rocco took her in, changed her name, and gave her a job in a club.  Claire Trevor won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.  The song ‘Moanin’ Low that she performs at the request of Rocco is simply heartbreaking and shows her vulnerability to this brutal man.  It is said that for the performance of that song, Trevor had been promised that she would be lip-synching to a pre-recorded track from another singer.  With no rehearsal, director Walter Huston informed her that he would be shooting the scene with the song next.  Her raw performance is haunting and heartbreaking, well deserving of the Academy Award.

Another note, this was the final film that Bogart and Bacall filmed together.  There were plans for another film, however, that never happened.  This was also the final film that director John Huston would film for Warner Brothers, but as we know this was not the end of his partnership with Bogart.

Follow the link for more images from Key Largo.  Pinterest Board: Classic Movie Night Recommendation

Images from: Key Largo Dir. John Huston.  Warner Brothers, 1948.  DVD.

 

Classic Movie Night Recommendation:

Double Indemnity (1944)

 

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Phyllis: “There’s a speed limit in this state Mr. Neff, 45 miles per hour.”
Neff: “How fast was I going officer?”
Phyllis: “I’d say around 90.”
Neff: “Suppose you get down from your motorcycle and give me a ticket.”
Phyllis: “Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.”
Neff: “Suppose it doesn’t take.”
Phyllis: “Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.”
Neff: “Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.”
Phyllis: “Suppose you try putting it on my husband’s shoulder.”

Insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) unsuspectingly drops by a client’s house to renew a policy for car insurance and is quickly ensnared into a murder plot with Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck).  Neff seemingly equally motivated by the prospects of being with Phyllis and wanting to pull off the perfect crime to scam the company maneuvers through much of the film fooling the best claims investigator in the business and his friend, Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson).  Though Neff has always been honest, he is not exactly an upstanding individual seeming to involve himself with cheap women and Phyllis fit this type.  From their first meeting the characters dialogue shows their dance with each other, each trying to get what they want from the other.  Phyllis wants to murder her husband, and Neff wants Phyllis.

However, the central relationship in the film is not Neff and Phyllis, but Neff and Keyes.  Keyes often appears to be pushing Neff into bigger and better things in the company, not to stay with his same job as a salesman.  The two men share a friendship and partnership which is broken by Neff’s involvement with Phyllis and subsequent fall from the straight and narrow.

Neff: (to Keyes) “I love you too.”  (voiceover)  “I really did to you old crab, always yelling your head off, always sore at everybody.  You never fooled me with your song and dance, not for a second.  I kind of always knew that behind the cigar ashes on your vest you had a heart as big as a house.”

Neff: (to Keyes) “I love you too.” (voiceover) “I really did to you old crab, always yelling your head off, always sore at everybody. You never fooled me with your song and dance, not for a second. I kind of always knew that behind the cigar ashes on your vest you had a heart as big as a house.”

PhotoFancie2013_06_16_13_29_054When Billy Wilder decided to film the James Cain story many in Hollywood thought that with the Production Code the story was unfilmable.  Billy Wilder who worked with a partner when working on screenplays chose to work with writer Raymond Chandler to help write this film.  Much of the dark poetic dialogue is due to Chandler’s influence.  Chandler is often credited with his use of words, evolution of characters through dialogue and images.  Wilder was known for his witty fast talk.  Together the two men took Cain’s story and turned it into a memorable film which was able to pass the censors.

PhotoFancie2013_06_16_13_29_505There is not one single element that defines a noir film, but there are elements that are typically present.  Elements include the femme fatal, a quick talking and flawed leading man, an urban setting, and the inclusion of some kind of heist or scam.  However, Double Indemnity would further these elements and adds a few more stylized techniques that would become synonymous with film noir, one of these elements being the use of voice over narration of the story.  Neff’s Dictaphone confession ends up being a voice over narration for the story.  Originally in Cain’s story, Neff’s confession was to be written.  However, for this film the use of the Dictaphone works to move the story along and utilize more of the Wilder/Chandler dialogue.

Despite the twist and turns that the story takes what is most noted is the cinematography.  John F. Seitz use of light and shadow in the interior scenes sets the stage for the ugliness that happens inside the world of sunny Los Angeles.  The use of light coming through the blinds that creates a trap or cage for the character of Neff who is trapped in his murder plot with Phyllis.  Many of these elements would be used by other creators of film noir, and Wilder himself would use this formula in his later film Sunset Boulevard (1950).

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PhotoFancie2013_06_16_13_31_077Given its production date in 1944 it is curious that there is no reference to World War II which was still raging in Europe and the Pacific and on the minds of most film viewers of the time.  There is not even an image of a soldier on the street.  Wilder sets the date for the story as 1938, thus making an excuse to ignore the war.  Wilder too had been affected by Hitler and the war in Europe.  During the early rise of Hitler, Wilder as well as others in the German film industry left Germany for Hollywood leaving behind family.

Double Indemnity was nominated for several Academy Awards, however lost to Going My Way (1944).  Given the war-time atmosphere of the time, Going My Way was the sentimental and uplifting film that audiences wanted to see and the Academy wished to acknowledge.  After the war, noir would become a popular style and audiences where ready to see gritty crime dramas about the ugliness of the world.

PhotoFancie2013_06_16_13_36_228No write-up of Double Indemnity is complete without commenting on Stanwyck’s wig worn in the film.  Much has been said and written about this famously hideous wig.  It is often said that Wilder picked the wig himself to show the cheapness of the character, she was just as cheap on the outside as she was on the inside.  Others have also said that by the time Wilder had decided to scrap the wig, he had already shot too much of Stanwyck in the wig that it would be a waste of money to turn back and reshoot using a different hairstyle.  Stanwyck was known for playing tough, sexy, low-class characters that often climb they’re way out of their circumstances.  She could have easily played this character without the wig and would have had a great effect.  However, would the character have been so memorable and still talked about if the wig had not been used?

Double Indemnity will be shown on Friday as part of their Friday Night Spotlight series focusing on Noir Writers (click on the link below to read more about this spotlight series):

Jonathan Latimer:
Nocturne (1946) 8:00PM (ET)
They Won’t Believe Me (1947) 9:30PM (ET)

James Cain:
Double Indemnity (1944) 11:45PM (ET)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) 1:30AM (ET)
Serenade (1956) 3:15AM (ET)

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Follow the link for more images from Double Indemnity (1944).  Pinterest Board: Classic Movie Night Recommendation

Images from: Double Indemnity. Dir. Billy Wilder.  Paramount Pictures 1944.  DVD.

Humphrey Bogart Film Festival Debuts in Key Largo

Key Largo - Movie Trailer

KEY LARGO, Florida — In the very setting of that famous cinematic face-off between Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson — from the fourth film of the Bogart-Bacall series — the town of Key Largo will be celebrating ol’ Bogie’s legacy this May 2 through 5 during the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival.

In honor of the namesake film’s 65th anniversary, the festival will kick things off by presenting the famous film noir classic “Key Largo” starring Humphrey Bogart, his wife Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor in a special outdoor waterfront screening during Thursday night’s cocktail reception. Taking place at Key Largo’s Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, the premiere will be hosted by none other than Stephen Bogart, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall’s son, with esteemed film critic Leonard Maltin as special guest

Click here to read about the festival

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