May I join Ricardo Cortez, Dolores del Rio, Al Jolson, Kay Francis and Dick Powell, in wishing you the best for 2013!
If you ever get a chance to watch this movie, Wonder Bar (1934), do. It's a typical night at a pre-code Paris nightclub ... everybody wanting someone they can't or shouldn't have, Busby Berkeley dancers on the world's largest stage, Dick Powell at his warbling best, and Hugh Herbert and Guy Kibbee chewing up the scenery as two drunken lechers. A real hoot. You might want to fast forward through the amazingly offensive Al Jolson backface number. Society does change over 80 years, sometimes even for the better.
I've always liked this portrait. Bob is 36, the gorgeous young face has been replaced by one that's fuller and quite handsome. He has begun to look a little more...er...human? Anyway, I was rather excited when the following portraits came up for sale on eBay...I'd have a trio from the same photo session...even had a place chosen to display them.
Well, I won both on bids and sent off a message to the vendor asking for an invoice reflecting combined shipping. Life was great. But...I did not receive an updated invoice. I followed up with numerous messages to the vendor, even contacted eBay and they sent a message as well. I just could not get myself to put out $9.02 for shipping. Then, after three weeks, I discovered the vendor had been removed as a seller on eBay and I was simply out of luck. DRATS!!
This isn't the worse thing by far that happened to me this year, but normally my interest in all things Bob and classic movies in general, brings me only happiness and other good vibes. It's just the pits when reality worms it's way into "Bob's World." DOUBLE DRATS!!
From Dennis Day, Raymond Scott, Clifton Fadiman, Robert Montgomery, Don Wilson, Dorothy Collins, Eileen Wilson, Snooky Lanson, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Jack Benny, Carrie and Kathy.
"LET'S GO TO THE POLO GAME WITH THE CANDID CAMERAMAN. Here he is girls ... the candid cameraman made this unposed picture of Robert Montgomery when he stopped by to have a little chat with Clark Gable at the International Polo Match at the Riviera Country Club." (All I can say is, where's Clark?)
Two of Bob's ladies were born on December 20th. Irene Dunne was a classy lady, I do not imagine she would mind celebrating hers a day early.
Unfinished Business (1941)
Actress (received five Best Actress nominations), singer, devout Catholic, philanthropist, Republican activist ... only one marriage which lasted from 1928 to 1965 (his death) ... resided just a few mansions away from Bob in Holmby Hills ... named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958. Is it any wonder she and Bob could share a good laugh?
Gregory LaCava, Irene & Lt. Montgomery, March 11, 1942
I was working on a blog entry for later this week when I hit the dreaded Publish button instead of Preview, which means a notice was sent to you blog followers (ALL of you) although the blog entry was not ready to be published. Not wanting to disappoint ... ta da ... a tidbit I ran across a short time ago.
The above photo has always been associated with Haunted Honeymoon. It never really seemed to fit the movie. I watched it again when TCM showed it recently and the scene just wasn't there. A deleted scene, perhaps? The mystery was finally resolved when I read a fanzine article on Bob who was at that time living in a rented manor while filming Haunted Honeymoon in England. The following photo and caption accompanied the article.
Ta da! It's not a still from a movie ... it's REAL Bob. Elegantly attired, fine china, flowers on the table and a butler, of course ... for breakfast! The man lived well.
In my previous blog, I referred to the Eddy/Mac club and eddymac.com. Not quite right. It's actually the Mac/Eddy Club and maceddy.com. My sincerest apologies to those good people. I would imagine the mistake would have the same teeth-gritting reaction for them as mine when I see a listing on eBay identifying George Montgomery as Bob. Or Douglass Montgomery. Or Bob being identified as Robert Young. Meanwhile, as a mia culpa, another Eddy portrait, this one downloaded from the maceddy.com site. A gorgeous portrait.
Ah, Clark Gable in his prime...or even not in his prime...quite the hunk. That's Jeanette MacDonald with him. I've never thought of them as being a good match. Jeanette was a good match with Nelson Eddy. They made eight musicals together, made a fortune for the studio and were extremely popular in the 1930s and 1940s. The Eddy/Mac fan club exists to this day. Check out eddymac.com for more of everything Nelson and Jeanette. Quite the loyal fans. And Nelson was quite the handsome young man. Love the hair!
I put it off as long as I could ... had to step on the scale. Oh, Lordy ... or should I say Lardy. Now begins the difficult time of the holiday season, putting the brakes on the overeating so I still have some room left in my clothes to handle all those Christmas goodies. At least that is my goal every year, and one of these years ...
In 1930 Bob did not have to worry about too many cookies. Without the coat in the above picture, he would look almost as skinny as the tree. As the years passed, he would have to battle extra poundage like most people. But at this time ... Lordy.
I have always liked this photo of Bob and Audrey Totter, mostly because of the look on Audrey's face. It was some time before I noticed the bracelet Bob is wearing.
Bob also wore a bracelet during the filming of They Were Expendable. It is the only other time I have noticed him wearing it.
I some how doubt Bob was making a fashion statement. Do you know the significance of the bracelet? Perhaps a holdover from his military service or a token of remembrance from his family when he went overseas? Always curious about everything Montgomery, and every once in a while I actually find an answer! Once in a while...
Adolphe Menjou and Bob Montgomery both dressed elegantly, drove an ambulance in France (Menjou in WWI, Bob in WWII) and seemingly admired Verree Teasdale. This photo is dated November 27, 1933 ... a simple Thanksgiving evening spent with friends? Looks just like the gathering at our Thanksgiving ... yeah, sure.
Robert Montgomery glances through the program of the Warner Bros. picture “The Strawberry Blonde,” while the star of the film James Cagney and the producer Bill Cagney look on. The boys are attending the huge Strawberry Blonde party held before the preview of the picture.
Most of the movies I enjoy were filmed in black and white, one part of the equation for making those great movies. Colorization messes up the equation, rarely improves the movie (except for Yankee Doodle Dandy, which screams out to have been filmed in glorious Technicolor!) Anyway, I do appreciate a little color on occasion. Music sheets help meet that need, which is good since those gorgeous posters out there are way out of my price range! Examples follow. I apologize for the shortcomings of my scanner.
I rather like They Were Expendable. It's a wonderful blend of a number of my movie passions. It's a WWII movie, and a very good one at that. John Ford directs, John Wayne co-stars and Ward Bond is in the cast --- your basic Ford/Wayne movie. The ending is superb, brings a few tears to my eyes every time I see it. I do so enjoy a movie that can stir my emotions --- this movie does it.
And Bob's in it, giving one of his best performances. In later years, when asked what performances he was proudest of, he mentions Night Must Fall, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, and The Earl of Chicago ... never this movie. I really do not understand that. Perhaps he felt there was "less" acting involved since he was basically portraying the actual Bob from his Pacific tour of duty? As good a guess as any, I guess!
Anyway, back to my passions: men in uniform, Bob in uniform, Bob in white. Bob in a white uniform ... yikes! I recently bought a copy of the book, the 1945 motion picture edition of TWE, with the chance that it would contain a copy of the bar scene with the officers wearing their dress whites. It did!! Made my day. Now, if I could find an original photo still of the same scene, as in one that's a tad clearer then the one below ... would I sell the farm?? (Oh, YES!)
Brrrrrrr ... As I begin writing this, it is 9 degrees in North Dakota. I guess I can't complain about my 47 degree weather. But, then, I'm not used to cold weather, have lived in CA too long. Not sure I could survive a Midwest winter again. Now, if we had the attire Bob and Betty are sporting ... you think they might be overdoing it a bit for Los Angeles in January? And were fur coats for men really that stylish in 1940? Ahhh, who am I to question the always impeccably dressed, elegant and debonair Mr. Robert Montgomery. But, still ...
My Dad was an Army grunt in WWII. He made getting shot in the Battle of the Bulge into a humorous story. It really wasn't. He was an unremarkable farm boy from Missouri who left his wife and infant son behind to travel to war in a foreign land. He was one of many, so many, who simply did what they were asked, served their country and, by doing so, became remarkable for their sacrifices.
The picture below of Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery was taken soon after his return home from serving in the Pacific. He looks tired and every day of his 39 years of age, the surface effects of war. He was one of the remarkable many who to this day continue to amaze us by their service. We all owe them our thanks, and the least we can do is remember them.
Bob may not have gotten an Oscar, but he did receive both an Emmy for Robert Montgomery Presents (Best Dramatic Series) and a Tony for The Desperate Hours (Best Direction of a Dramatic Play). Nothin' shabby about our Bob.
The February, 1955 issue of Theatre Arts has an article by Bob, and features photos of Director Bob reading through the script with the cast of The Desperate Hours. The photos are small and not the best quality ... sorry, there's not much about the play out there. The man with Bob is Joseph Hayes, who adapted his book for the play. Ahhh, the 50s ... men in suits and smoking cigarettes in a meeting. Do note the pack of cigarettes are Lucky Strikes, of course.
The photo below shows Bob reading to the assembled cast. If you squint your eyes, you can make out Karl Malden (far left), Paul Newman (light-colored sweater) and Bob (far right).
Paul Newman: A Life by Shawn Levy discusses the young, liberal, Method actor Newman and his experience with conservative, traditional actor Mr. Montgomery: ... Newman peppered Montgomery with inquiries about his character's motivations; questioning the logic of a stage direction to move around a table, he was told testily, "Damn it! Because there's no place else to go!" "Mr. Montgomery and I never saw eye to eye on any particular thing," Newman confessed. "He's a very bright guy, but we had personality clashes." You think!