Thursday, November 30, 2017

All Is Now Right With The World!

Ran across a photoplay book of Three Live Ghosts (1929), which was Bob's first movie.  While MGM had him under contract, they had not yet assigned him a picture.  So Bob sought one on his own and came up with a role in this film produced by a small production company.  It is the only film of Bob's that has been lost**, only a few lobby cards and stills have survived.  And this book!

I am including all the photos, along with their captions.  The first picture is of Bob and Joan Bennett, the young lovers.  Joan, with already six movie credits at 19, got fourth billing.  The totally unknown Bob was given seventh.  And, yes, So This Is College is usually listed as Bob's first movie, but it is the second one he made.  College was simply released before Ghosts

                   The "Three Live Ghosts" ask for their back pay.

                       "I've been looking a long time for you."

              "They were given to me by a very kind gentleman."

                   "Jolly little chick -- Took to me right away."

               Scotland Yard quizzes everyone suspected of the
                          jewelry robbery and kidnapping.
                Spoofy displays the treasures he has annexed
                                        at Lord Leicester's.

And --- saving the best for last --- this final photo is a real treasure find for me.  I have always thought of this movie as being a non-tuxedo film of Bob, since all the stills I had seen before show him in a tattered suit and scarf.   But NO! it actually is both the first appearance of Bob and the first time we see Bob in his trademark tux!  All is now right with the world. 


 ** Letty Lynton (1934) is only lost legally.  Some day a miracle could happen and we will be able to see a clear print ... some day.            

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Only 26+ Days Until Christmas ... Eek!!

I rather like the publicity shots of Bob taken for Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941).  They are a great combination of Columbia Studios photographer, M. B. Paul and the subject matter, the quite handsome 36-year-old Mr. Montgomery.  Wonder who or what he is looking at so intently.  Kinda wish it were me. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No More Ladies ... Just Joan! ***

For you early risers, TCM is showing No More Ladies (1935) this morning at 10:30 ET/7:30 PT.  It is definitely not one of Bob's better movies, a waste of a good cast.  If nothing else, there is the opportunity to simply watch Bob, one of my favorite pastimes!  There are some nifty publicity shots of Bob and Joan, and Bob, Joan and Franchot Tone.  In this photo, I like the way Bob and Joan are definitely not looking longingly into each other's eyes.  It probably sums up their relationship.

                 Bob and Joan Crawford in No More Ladies (1935)

*** Oh, I know that's not very nice, but I just couldn't help myself!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dick Powell: Pretty Boy to Tough Guy

Dick Powell was born on November 14, 1904, in Mountain View, Arkansas.  From musicals to tough-guy roles to director and producer, Mr. Powell had one very successful show business career.

He had such a pleasant tenor voice in his musical days in the 1930s.  And was so very, very cute.  Look at the photo below with Dick sandwiched between Alice Faye and Madeleine Carroll.  The ladies just highlight how cute young Mr. Powell was. 

                  Faye, Powell & Carroll in On the Avenue (1937)

Ten years later, Powell has aged sufficiently to play the big time gambler Johnny O'Clock.  Besides being a good career move, I'm sure the experience of playing tough guys helped him in his transition to producer! 

             Lee J. Cobb and Dick Powell in Johnny O'Clock (1947)

There are a number of similarities between Powell and our Mr. Montgomery.  Both were typecast by their studios and fought for serious roles.  Both played detective Philip Marlowe on the screen, Powell in Murder, My Sweet (1944) and Bob in Lady in the Lake (1947).  Both transitioned into directing and production, and were staunch Republicans.  They were born in 1904, each had two marriages to short, cute wives and, unfortunately, both died of cancer.  Powell was only 58, young enough that you always wonder what more he could have accomplished in his career.  

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Veterans Day is November 11th

Don't forget to display your flag!!

Most Elegantly Dressed Boxer Award Goes To ...

Another excellent Bob movie is being shown this coming Monday, the 13th on TCM.  Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) is a delight, particularly when James Gleason as Max Corkle, Joe Pendleton's boxing manager, is stealing scenes from all present. 

          Bob and James Gleason in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

Trivia Question No. 37:  Who is Bob imitating for his Joe Pendleton character?  

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Bob Is Expended Once Again

Okay, most of you have already seen They Were Expendable (1945), probably even have a DVD of it.  I know, I know.  And you're not excited about it being shown again on TCM (this Thursday at 5:30 ET/2:30 PT).  Sorry, folks, please bear with me while I urge the remainder of you to give this movie a try, or a second viewing if you did not care for it the first time.

It is, after all, one of Mr. Montgomery's best movies.  True, it is not your typical Bob movie.  He never once wears civvies,  much less a tuxedo.  No double entendres, no ladies on his arm and never more than a slight smile for the entire movie.  This is one of the very few times he was given the chance at a serious role in an "A" movie.  And he does such an excellent job of it.

Now, the class of the man still shows through.  Take the scene where Sandy (Donna Reed), Rusty's (John Wayne) girl visits the camp and is feted by the officers.  They are served biscuits to go with the soup.  Bob (excuse me, Brick) takes his and with some effort breaks it into.  To save Sandy the same bother, he places the pieces of his biscuit on her plate and sets hers aside.  That wasn't scripted.  That was just class.  

If that's a bit on the minutiae side of appreciating a movie, take note of two scenes that help establish the basic theme of the movie, that most were expendable, being asked to "lay down the sacrifice to let others hit the home runs."  In the first scene, the war has just begun.  Brick goes to headquarters for orders, and is left to stand to the side and watch as others rush off with their assignments. 

Later, Brick is called to headquarters for new orders.  His hopes of action are trounced on when he is informed his unit will be little more than a messenger service.  The disappointment is overwhelming, the silent Brick is almost in tears.  Great scenes, fun to watch Mr. Montgomery in his understated performance.

There are just so many reasons to enjoy They Were Expendable.  It's a John Ford movie.  One of the best war movies ever made.  An excellent musical score.  John Wayne finds love in Bataan.  AND it has Robert Montgomery!!!

TCM, this Tuesday, 5:30 ET/2:30 PT.  Do hope you give it a try.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Birthday Greetings to Mr. McCrea!

 Joel McCrea was born on November 5th, 1905.  That makes him only one year younger than Mr. Montgomery.  For some reason, I have always thought of him as coming from a younger generation of actors, perhaps because Bob's last movie performance was in 1950 while Joel kept busy in the 1950s and took the occasional role into the 1970s.  I'm glad he kept working.  Ride the High Country (1962) was just a superb movie.

My, but wasn't he a handsome lad ...
         Joel McCrea & Dorothy Jordan in The Lost Squadron (1932)

This does not have much to do with Joel, but I love the cast of The Lost Squadron.  It is a perfect example of actors being typecast in their roles.  The principle actors in alphabetical order are Robert Armstrong, Richard Dix, Hugh Herbert, Joel McCrea and Erich von Stroheim.  The roles portrayed consist of three stunt pilots, a dictatorial director and a comic relief named Fritz.  Almost needless to say, casting directors were not a big deal back then.