Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Red Boutonniere and a Homburg, Of Course

Robert Montgomery was an Anglophile to the nth degree, spending as much time as possible in England throughout the 1930s and even in 1940, what's a little war to keep him home.  Bob thoroughly enjoyed the role of the English gentleman.  Of course he dressed the part perfectly, the homburg, the boutonniere ... must have left his umbrella in the car.  It is quite fitting that his first naval assignment was as a naval attache to the U.S. Embassy in London.  Perfect casting! 

Below, Bob visits director Victor Saville at the Graumont Studios in London in the late 1930s (best guess!).  He seems to be a big hit with the ladies.  I must say the costume director did come up with a unique outfit. 


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Being Picky About Piccadilly Jim

It took me a while to appreciate the publicity stills taken for Piccadilly Jim (1936).  At 32 and 27 respectively, Bob and Madge are not exactly over-the-hill, but the camera is a demanding and fickle friend.  I think what bothers me most about the photos is the work done on Bob's face.  It has been completely smoothed out, not a trace of wrinkles or hair follicles.  Top that off with a tad bit of weight gain - after being on vacation for six months! - adding a slight puffiness to his cheeks, and, well, you have a different looking Mr. Montgomery.  Still good, of course, but ... maybe if they had just let a wrinkle or two show. 

                 Bob and Madge Evans in Piccadilly Jim (1936)

And poor Madge, having to wear that floppy shouldered top with the massive corsage.  An overwhelming outfit, and not in a good way. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Robert, Robert, Van & a Bunch of Cold Sailors

For you doco fans, TCM will be showing The Secret Land (1948) tomorrow at 1:15 a.m. EST/4:15 a.m. PST.  I would suggest taping it for later viewing ... it is good (7.2 on IMDB and winner of the Oscar for best documentary), but probably won't keep you awake at that hour. 

The movie is about a massive expedition by the U.S. Navy to Antarctica in 1946-47, which involved 13 ships and 4,700 men.  Research projects were conducted, as well as extensive mapping.  It was also meant to provide training of military personnel in freezing conditions. 


The documentary was released by MGM, thus the choice of narrators:  Commander Robert Montgomery, Lt. Robert Taylor and Lt. Van Heflin.  It is the only color film Bob is featured in, unfortunately only his voice is used.  I am definitely not complaining about listening to his performance, but seeing those blue eyes would certainly have been nice.  Now that would keep me awake at 4:15 a.m.!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Bob and the Mysterious Lady in White

Let's hear it for the amateur photographer who took this photo and then wrote down in the scrapbook when it was taken!  I have so many photos without any information at all ... no date, no location, no ID's of all the subjects, or why they were at the unknown location on the unknown day.  Frustrating.

March 30, 1939 ... let's see.  On April 3, 1939, Bob gave testimony before the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee as a representative of SAG.  Backtracking to March 30th, he would most likely be en route to Washington, D.C. from Los Angeles.  In 1939, he would probably have taken the train, and the fastest route was through Chicago, where he had to change trains.  I am, therefore, guessing that the photo was taken at Chicago Union Station.


So, I am fairly sure of the why, where and when of the photo.  That leaves the who, as in who are the two lucky ladies that have surrounded Bob.  There are always ladies with Bob when he is seen in public.  No particular surprise there!

It is really a good snapshot, the photo is nicely vertical and there's no blurriness.  It is too bad Bob's eyes are squeezed shut.  It's probably the smoke from holding the cigarette in his mouth. 


Saturday, January 06, 2018

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Raymond!

I am just sooooo sorry, Mr. Milland, not thinking of you on your birthday.  You're a heck of a guy, you'll forgive me, won't you?!  I can tell by the look you're giving me that you're wondering why anyone could get upset about something of so little importance to you.  But, gee, I still shouldn't have.  Sigh.  And I was so hoping 2018 would be a better year for me ...

Ah, but you were the handsome devil, Mr. Milland!

                            Ray Milland, b. January 3, 1907

Thursday, January 04, 2018

The Man Who Grew Up As Robert Montgomery's Son, And Then Became Elizabeth Montgomery's Brother

Robert Montgomery, Jr., was born on January 6, 1936.  A handsome young lad, he made an attempt to break into movies, but after over three years and only a few small roles, he gave it up and became a more successful stockbroker.

                Bob, Jr., as he appeared in The Deputy in 1960.               

At some point, Robert or "Skip" moves to Florida where, among other pursuits, opens a convenience store decorated with hunting trophies and movie memorabilia of his father's.  The photo below was taken in 1983 at the age of 47.


I wish I knew more about Mr. Montgomery, Jr.  I know he was married three times, became the father of three and died before he could finish the book he was writing about his father.  He was only 64, dying as did his father and sister (age 62) of cancer, a trait one would hope your offspring would not inherit. 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Fun With Photos, Course 201: Environmental Portraiture


Young Bob at home with his polo gear in 1933. 


Older Bob on his yacht in 1961.


Two really, really nice photos.  The photo of 57-year-old Bob was taken by Allan Walker of a now defunct newspaper in the Jacksonville, FL area.  Bob has gone there to pick up his new yacht.  The photo survives because it was entered into a photo competition and is located in the State Archives  of Florida.

The first photo is by a studio photographer and I'm guessing it's Clarence S. Bull.  Hurrell has left MGM to do freelance work, some even for MGM, but it is not quite his style.  Ted Allan is around, but it is definitely not his style.  That kinda leaves Bull as the most likely candidate.  Whoever it was, he produced a beautiful portrait of the 29-year-old Mr. Montgomery.