April 23, 2016

#SOTM - TCM's Star of the Month May 2016 - Robert Ryan


Robert Ryan Fast Facts

Born: Robert Bushnell Ryan on November 11, 1909 in Chicago, Illinois
Died: July 11, 1973 (aged 63) in New York City, New York (lung cancer)
Father: Timothy Aloysius Ryan (June 7, 1875 - April 27, 1936)
Mother: Mabel Arbutus (Bushnell) Ryan (May 12, 1883 - March 13, 1963)
Wife: Jessica (Cadwalader) Ryan (October 26, 1914 - May 22, 1972) (married from March 11, 1939 until her death)
Children: Two sons, Walker (born April 13, 1946) and Cheyney (born March 10, 1948), and a daughter, Lisa (born September 10, 1951).
Education: Attended Loyola Academy, Chicago; Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire (boxing champion), B.A. in literature 1932.
Military Service: U.S. Marine Corps, 1944-47: drill instructor, Camp Pendleton barracks, San Diego (boxing champion).


Bio

Robert Ryan was unique among Hollywood stars for having been both an Ivy League graduate (Dartmouth, class of 1932) and an undefeated intercollegiate boxing champion, heavyweight class. Thus he brought to his acting career the unusual combination of a fine education and an authentic tough guy reputation. After a failed attempt to become a journalist in New York City, he found work during the Depression wherever he could, first spending two long years as an engine room janitor on a freighter that steamed from New York to East Africa around the Cape and back. He dug subway tunnels in Chicago, mined for gold and punched cattle in Montana and, back in Chicago, sold cemetery plots and steel products, modeled for a department store, and worked a desk job with the board of education. The low point came with a stint as a bill collector for a loan company, shaking poor people down for money they didn't have. Out of desperation Ryan took a job directing a play at a private school and later said he "was bitten by the acting bug watching those kids."

When he ended up in California in 1939, he enrolled at the Max Reinhardt Actors' Workshop, which led to his stage debut in Too Many Husbands at Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles. A Paramount Pictures talent scout was impressed enough by Ryan's opening night performance to offer him a $75 a week contract, which he accepted on the spot. With Paramount, he then made his feature film debut, appropriately cast as a boxer in a B movie entitled Golden Gloves (1940). Ryan was originally supposed to play the lead, the studio decided he wasn't ready and relegated him to a bit part. Years later director Edward Dmytryk admitted, "Perhaps we weren’t ready for him."

He found steady work in small parts, with his first big break coming in 1943 as co-star to Ginger Rogers in Tender Comrade. This film was later cited—ludicrously so—as an example of how communists had infiltrated the film industry. Both its director, Edward Dmytryk, and its screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, were among the original blacklisted Hollywood Ten. Ryan, however, was helped by his appearance in Tender Comrade, although his enlistment in the Marines in 1944 temporarily halted his promising career.

It was after the war that Ryan found real success as a movie star by being featured in a colorful dramatic role as a bigoted villain in Crossfire (1947). His chilling performance not only earned him an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor, it also typed him for the majority of the screen roles to follow. His film persona relied on that of the smooth surface which covers a twisted interior. Ryan was a tall man, 6-foot-4, with dark hair and good looks. He radiated Black Irish glamour. He might have become a traditional leading man, but instead he began playing articulate villains, the kind who could talk their way out of places and build alibis for themselves in any kind of situation. In addition to the obvious acting skill such roles require, Ryan had the sort of Irishness viewers often associate with blarney. He added to it a suspicious smile and overly confident manner which seemed to suggest hidden strength and possible danger, an undercurrent of violence and cruelty. With these characteristics, he created a gallery of some of the most interesting villains ever seen on film, and built a career out of crime films, films noir, melodramas, and westerns.

For the majority of the moviegoing public, he is most associated with the last genre. (Ryan himself referred to his "long, seamy face" as being perfect for westerns.) His filmography reads as a chronology of the development of the genre in the postwar period, from such classics as Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur (1953) and John Sturges's Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) through Budd Boetticher's Horizons West (1952), Raoul Walsh's The Tall Men (1955), and Andre De Toth's Day of the Outlaw (1959) to the iconoclastic film by Sam Peckinpah, The Wild Bunch (1969). Recently, much critical attention has been given to Ryan's seminal contributions to film noir, especially given his appearance in films by many of that genre's most important directors, notably Jean Renoir (The Woman on the Beach [1947]), Max Ophüls (Caught [1949]), Robert Wise (The Set-Up [1949]), Nicholas Ray (On Dangerous Ground [1951]), and Fritz Lang (Clash by Night [1952]).

Always an actor to seek challenge and a change, Ryan returned to the New York stage in 1954, starring in Coriolanus. From that time on, he moved back and forth from his film career to his stage career, creating successes in theater both in Los Angeles and New York, and particularly finding praise for his outstanding performance in an excellent revival of The Front Page shortly before his death. Unfortunately, over the last eight years of his life Ryan was largely relegated to cameos in big pictures, such as The Dirty Dozen (1967), Custer of the West (1968), and Anzio (1968) (although he made more money in this period than in the first 25 years of his film career combined).

Ryan guided his entire career with intelligence and seriousness of purpose. Since his desire was to be more than a movie star, he willingly accepted roles that did not create a lovable persona. Because of this, he did not attract as large a following as some other stars. Nevertheless, he always maintained a reputation for quality and reliability. Seen in retrospect, this quality places him at the center of film history, as he appeared in many films which, although not Oscar winners of their day, are now considered classics worthy of serious attention and study. In this way, history and time are making Robert Ryan into one of the most interesting stars of Hollywood films.



Did You Know?

When casting the leading man role in the 1943 Ginger Rogers vehicle Tender Comrade, RKO producer David Hempstead became interested in Ryan due to favorable preview cards hailing Ryan's performances in Bombardier (1943), The Sky's the Limit (1943), and Behind the Rising Sun (1943). He suggested him to Rogers, who was at first unimpressed after screening parts of the three movies. She turned him down as her leading man, as she thought he looked mean and, at 6'4", too big. A week later, when Rogers visited Hempstead at his office, he was busily going through preview cards of The Sky's the Limit and showed her some of them. Rogers saw that all the reviews of Ryan's performance were favorable and, since principal production was drawing near, she decided to have another look at him. Ryan was conveniently waiting in a nearby office for just such a possibility. Less than a minute later he came to the office and talked with both the producer and Rogers. After a few moments, she unobtrusively slipped Hempstead a note: "I think this is the guy." Today, the note hangs on the wall above Cheyney Ryan's (Ryan's son) desk in his study.

After his service in the Marines, he had a lifelong devotion to pacifism.

He was a vocal supporter of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten.

1951 - With wife Jessica, founded Oakwood Elementary School in North Hollywood, a cooperative dedicated to humanistic education.

1959 - Notably served as co-chairman of the Hollywood branch of the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.

Co-founded the Theatre Group at the University of California at Los Angeles with John Houseman and Sidney Harmon in 1959. Nine years later in 1968 he co-founded the Plumstead Playhouse Repertory Company, with Henry Fonda and Martha Scott.

While dying of cancer, he gave one of his best film performances in The Iceman Cometh (1973).

Shortly before his death, Ryan moved out of his apartment (number 72) at the Dakota in New York City. Ryan leased (and then his estate later sold) the apartment to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.


Meredy's Top 10 Robert Ryan Films

1. Crossfire (1947) - Ryan plays a hard, loud-mouthed, anti-Semitic psychopathic killer. The film was directed by Edward Dmytryk and the screenplay was written by John Paxton, based on the 1945 novel The Brick Foxhole by screenwriter and director Richard Brooks. In the novel, the victim was homosexual. The film features Robert Mitchum, Robert Young, Robert Ryan, and Gloria Grahame. It received five Academy Award nominations, including Ryan for Best Supporting Actor and Gloria Grahame for Best Supporting Actress. It was the first B movie to receive a Best Picture nomination. It's being shown on TCM on May 6, 2016 at 9:30 p.m.

2. Act of Violence (1948) - Ryan is disturbing as the obsessive, embittered cripple. Even better is the rich chiaroscuro of Robert Surtees' camera work, in which shadows slice bodies and cover faces until, like the contractor, we no longer have the vaguest idea where we are. It's being shown on TCM on May 7, 2016 at 5:15 a.m.

3. Caught (1949) - It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Smith Ohlrig, the character played by Robert Ryan, is a thinly disguised takeoff of Howard Hughes. But whereas Howard Hughes was merely paranoid and eccentric, Smith Ohlrig is an all-out psycho.



4. The Set-Up (1949) - Ryan gives one of his best performances as the over-the-hill pug who balks when ordered by his manager to throw a fight. As shown by the clock face that opens and closes the film, The Set-Up takes place within a compact 73 minutes, with the action played out in "real time." It was a key influence on Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) and remains one of the best films on the fight game. It's being shown on TCM on May 7, 2016 at 4:00 a.m.

5. On Dangerous Ground (1952) - Ryan plays Jim Wilson, a tough police detective embittered by years of dealing with low-life urban scum. After severely beating several suspects, Jim is assigned to a case far from the city. Inspired by Mary Malden's (Ida Lupino) courage and recognizing Walter Brent's (Ward Bond) rage as the mirror image of his own, Wilson gains the insight to free himself from his own blindness. It's being shown on TCM on May 7, 2016 at 1:00 a.m.

6. Clash by Night (1952) - Ryan infuses his lecherous Earl Pfeiffer with the requisite nasty disposition. Barbara Stanwyck is also fine as Mae Doyle. As a footnote in the politically incorrect department, Ryan does an atrocious Chinese impression. It's being shown on TCM on May 6, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.

7. The Naked Spur (1953) - Ryan made many westerns, but I consider this one his best. He plays a likably hateful villain opposite Jimmy Stewart. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and is notable for having only five actors. It's being shown on TCM on May 20, 2016 at 6:15 p.m.

8. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) - Mr. Ryan is angular and vicious as the uneasy king-pin of the town. He's a small-town big shot complicit in a racist murder. Spencer Tracy had great respect for Robert Ryan as an actor. Millard Kaufman recalled that Tracy said to him one day, "Bob is so good in this part, he scares the hell out of me." When Kaufman expressed the same, Tracy replied, "That's good. It means he'll scare the hell out of the audience, too." It's being shown on TCM on May 6, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

9. Billy Budd (1962) - John Claggart is one of Ryan's most nuanced and complexand oddly sympatheticvillains. The film is being shown on TCM on May 13, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

10. The Iceman Cometh (1973) - It's Ryan's finest four hours as barroom philosopher Larry Slade. This film was the final film appearance of Fredric March, Robert Ryan, and Martyn Green.




My Robert Ryan Guilty Pleasure Film - Ice Palace (1960)



I'm a sucker for film adaptations of Edna Ferber novels: Cimarron (1931 [AA Best Picture] and 1960), So Big (1924, 1932 and 1953), Show Boat (1929, 1936 and 1951), Saratoga Trunk (1945), Giant (1956), and Ice Palace (1960).

Ice Palace was directed by Vincent Sherman and dramatized the debate over Alaska statehood. It starred Robert Ryan, Richard Burton, Carolyn Jones, Martha Hyer, Jim Backus, Ray Danton, Diane McBain, Karl Swenson, Shirley Knight, Barry Kelley, Sheridan Comerate, George Takei (his film debut), and Steve Harris.

The rights to Ice Palace were sold to Warner Brothers for $350,000 before the novel was published. Warner Brothers had already had a success with a 1956 adaptation of another Edna Ferber novel, Giant.

The film was shot in part in Petersburg, Alaska. It was beautifully photographed by Joseph F. Biroc. The music by Max Steiner is another plus.

Critics weren't kind but Ice Palace is a personal favorite of mine. I feel it's an overlooked gem.





Friday, May 6, 2016 and Saturday, May 7, 2016

11:00 a.m.
The Woman on the Beach (1947)
BW - 1h 11m

Coast Guard officer Scott (Robert Ryan) loves his fiancée, Eve (Nan Leslie), but he can't fight his attraction to the alluring Peggy (Joan Bennett), a lonely beauty he meets on the beach. But Peggy is trapped in a loveless marriage to Tod (Charles Bickford), a former painter whose career was cut short by blindness. Scott and Peggy become romantically involved, yet they can't help but feel that Tod knows more than he's letting on -- and his blindness may just be a ruse he uses to spy on Peggy.

Dir: Jean Renoir
Cast: Joan Bennett, Robert Ryan, Charles Bickford, Nan Leslie.

12:15 p.m.
The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)
BW - 1h 13m

Communists blackmail a San Francisco shipper (Robert Ryan) and recruit his wife's (Laraine Day) brother (John Agar) with a blonde.

Dir: Robert Stevenson
Cast: Laraine Day, Robert Ryan, John Agar.

1:30 p.m.
Clash by Night (1952)
BW - 1h 45m
 
After being away for 10 years, Mae Doyle (Barbara Stanwyck) returns to her California hometown following an affair with a married politician, which came to an end when he died and his relatives sued for her inheritance. Mae begins dating Jerry (Paul Douglas), an amiable fisherman, while his bitter best friend, Earl (Robert Ryan), a cynic married to a burlesque dancer, finds himself attracted to her. Mae and Jerry marry, but soon she gets bored and starts an affair with just-divorced Earl.

Dir: Fritz Lang
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, Robert Ryan.

3:15 p.m.
The Racket (1951)
BW - 1h 29m
 
As one of the only honest cops left in the city, Capt. Thomas McQuigg (Robert Mitchum) has his back against the wall when a large crime syndicate makes its way to his doorstep. After bringing aboard local mobster Nick Scanlon (Robert Ryan), the illegal organization intends to help place corrupt attorney Mortimer X. Welsh (Ray Collins) in a prominent government position. But, if McQuigg can stay alive long enough, he just might be able to bring down the crooks with a key witness (Lizabeth Scott).

Dir: John Cromwell
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, Robert Ryan, Ray Collins.

4:45 p.m.
Berlin Express (1948)
BW - 1h 27m
 
During World War II, passengers of various nationalities travel by train from France to Berlin. One of them, Dr. Bernhardt (Paul Lukas), is an influential peacemaker who wants to mend the war-torn continent. When Nazi conspirators determined to keep Bernhardt quiet set off an explosion on the train, it kills a man who turns out to be Bernhardt's decoy. Other passengers (Merle Oberon, Robert Ryan, Robert Coote) seek the doctor for an explanation, but deception is all around.

Dir: Jacques Tourneur
Cast: Merle Oberon, Robert Ryan, Paul Lukas, Robert Coote.

6:15 p.m.
Born to Be Bad (1950)
BW - 1h 39m
 
Christabel Caine (Joan Fontaine) has the face of angel and the heart of a swamp rat. She'll step on anyone to get what she wants, including her own family. A master of manipulation, she covertly breaks off the engagement of her trusting cousin, Donna (Joan Leslie), to her fabulously wealthy beau, Curtis Carey (Zachary Scott). Once married to Curtis herself, Christabel continues her affair with novelist Nick Bradley (Robert Ryan), who knows she's evil, but loves her anyway.

Dir: Nicholas Ray
Cast: Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan, Zachary Scott, Joan Leslie.

8:00 p.m.
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Color - 1h 22m
 
When John J. Macreedy (Spencer Tracy), a one-armed war veteran, arrives in the small desert town of Black Rock, he's not greeted warmly. Searching for a man named Komoko, Macreedy is met with disdain by virtually every local, including the resident thug, Hector David (Lee Marvin), and the imposing Reno Smith (Robert Ryan). As Macreedy's investigation deepens, hostility turns to violence -- and to imminent danger for the mysterious and inquisitive stranger.

Dir: John Sturges
Cast: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Lee Marvin.

9:30 p.m.
Crossfire (1947)
BW - 1h 26m
 
Stark, claustrophobic thriller about an anti-Semitic soldier who kills a Jewish war veteran, evading detection because of his loyal friends' protection. However, a detective is determined that the crime will not go unsolved and sets about laying a trap for the murderer.

Dir: Edward Dmytryk
Cast: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan.

11:15 p.m.
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
BW - 1h 36m
 
Disgraced former police officer David Burke (Ed Begley) is looking for a way to make some quick money. When he decides to rob a bank, he calls on mean ex-con Earl Slater (Robert Ryan) and black entertainer Johnny Ingram (Harry Belafonte) to help him pull off the heist. Johnny is reluctant to agree but is forced to reconsider because of his significant gambling debts, while racist Earl balks because of Johnny's involvement. Ultimately, though, they must work together to get the job done.

Dir: Robert Wise
Cast: Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Ed Begley, Shelley Winters.

1:00 a.m.
On Dangerous Ground (1952)
BW - 1h 22m
 
Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan) is New York police detective on the edge. Hardened and embittered by his years of dealing with the lowest forms of criminal the city has to offer, Wilson becomes increasingly violent with suspects. For his own good, Wilson's police captain (Ed Begley) assigns him to a murder investigation in the countryside for a change of scenery. While searching for the killer, Wilson meets the suspect's sister, Mary Malden (Ida Lupino), a blind woman who might turn his life around.

Dir: Nicholas Ray
Cast: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond, Ed Begley.

2:30 a.m.
Beware, My Lovely (1952)
BW - 1h 17m
 
Widow Helen Gordon (Ida Lupino) hires Howard Wilton (Robert Ryan) to do some odd jobs around her large Victorian mansion. What she doesn't know is that Wilton is actually a murderous schizophrenic prone to violent blackouts. Although he has no memory of it, Wilton killed his last employer, and when his grip on his sanity begins to slip away while working at Helen's house, she has to think on her feet to keep him calm and rational until she can escape from her home and get help.

Dir: Harry Horner
Cast: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Taylor Holmes.

4:00 a.m.
The Set-Up (1949)
BW - 1h 13m
 
A boxer on the wane, Bill "Stoker" Thompson (Robert Ryan) is determined to stay in the game, in spite of his wife, Julie (Audrey Totter), who wants him to leave the dangerous sport. Unbeknownst to Stoker, his manager, Tiny (George Tobias), has lost confidence in him and sets the fighter up to lose an upcoming match at the request of a local gangster. Certain that Stoker will meet with defeat, Tiny neglects to tell him about the shady deal, resulting in conflict both in and out of the ring.

Dir: Robert Wise
Cast: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias.

5:15 a.m.
Act of Violence (1948)
BW - 1h 22m
 
A former prisoner of war, Frank Enley (Van Heflin) is hailed as a hero in his California town. However, Frank actually aided his Nazi captors, and he closely guards this secret. Frank's shameful past comes back to visit him when fellow survivor Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) emerges, intent on making the turncoat pay for his betrayal. As Joe closes in on Frank, the traitor goes into hiding, abandoning his wife, Edith (Janet Leigh), who has no clue about her husband's wartime transgressions.

Dir: Fred Zinnemann
Cast: Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh.


Friday, May 13, 2016 and Saturday, May 14, 2016

3:30 p.m.
The Iron Major (1943)
BW - 1h 25m
 
In this biopic, Frank "Cav" Cavanaugh (Pat O'Brien) finds his family in a financial bind and quits Dartmouth, where he was a football star, to take a coaching job at another school. Soon, he meets and marries Florence (Ruth Warrick), and ends up coaching the Dartmouth team. But with World War I under way, Cav enlists, leaving behind his growing family. In Europe, he rallies the men under his command, but, after he's hurt on the battlefield, Cav comes home and football beckons again.

Dir: Ray Enright
Cast: Pat O'Brien, Ruth Warrick, Robert Ryan.

5:00 p.m.
Gangway for Tomorrow (1943)
BW - 1h 9m
 
As co-workers at a World War II-era airplane factory carpool to their job, they recall their lives prior to the war. French Lisette (Margo) escaped her Nazi-occupied homeland as a member of the underground resistance. Former prison warden Tom (James Bell) broods about a closely held family secret. Former Miss America Mary (Amelita Ward), pines for the serviceman boyfriend she left behind. Ex-lawyer Wellington (John Carradine) reminisces about his years as a hobo.

Dir: John H. Auer
Cast: Margo, John Carradine, Robert Ryan, James Bell, Amelita Ward.

6:15 p.m.
Tender Comrade (1943)
BW - 1h 42m
 
Jo (Ginger Rogers) works at an aircraft factory during World War II when her husband Chris (Robert Ryan) is called off to fight. Leaning on the support of her friends and co-workers, she suggests that they share a home together in the hopes of saving money. Her friends -- Barbara (Ruth Hussey), Doris (Kim Hunter) and Helen (Patricia Collinge) -- despite all having husbands at war, are extremely different. Together, the women help each other through difficult times despite the occasional spat.

Dir: Edward Dmytryk
Cast: Ginger Rogers, Robert Ryan, Ruth Hussey, Kim Hunter, Patricia Collinge.

8:00 p.m.
Billy Budd (1962)
BW - 2h 3m
 
In this film based on the Herman Melville novel, handsome, young Billy Budd (Terence Stamp) joins the British navy during wartime, where his skill quickly makes him a trusted crew member. However, sinister master-at-arms Claggart (Robert Ryan), secretly jealous of Billy, accuses him of treason. Billy strikes Claggart in anger, causing him to fall and die. Capt. Vere (Peter Ustinov) feels pity for Billy but believes that maritime law requires that Billy be executed for killing an officer.

Dir: Peter Ustinov
Cast: Terence Stamp, Peter Ustinov, Robert Ryan.

10:15 p.m.
About Mrs. Leslie (1954)
BW - 1h 44m
 
Vivien (Shirley Booth) runs a boarding house for young women. Through a series of flashbacks, she details the adventures of her life. Vivien was born poor, but escapes her home by becoming a cabaret singer. She meets George Leslie (Robert Ryan), who is a very private man, but the two get to know each other and begin a passionate affair. One night at the movies, Vivien sees George in the newsreel and learns he is actually a wealthy -- and married -- industrialist.

Dir: Daniel Mann
Cast: Shirley Booth, Robert Ryan, Marjie Millar.

12:15 a.m.
The Boy with the Green Hair (1948)
Color - 1h 22m
 
Peter (Dean Stockwell), an orphaned boy, is adopted by Gramp Frye (Pat O'Brien) after his parents are killed in Europe while doing war relief work. The boy feels safe with his new caretaker, but when he is taunted for being an orphan, he gets demoralized. The next day Peter wakes up with green hair. Embarrassed and further ridiculed, Peter seeks solace in a nearby forest. To his surprise, he finds other orphans in the woods, who encourage him to spread news of the injustices of war.

Dir: Joseph Losey
Cast: Pat O'Brien, Dean Stockwell, Robert Ryan, Barbara Hale.

1:45 a.m.
God's Little Acre (1958)
BW - 1h 58m
 
Ty Ty Walden (Robert Ryan) is a Georgia farmer obsessed with finding a fortune in gold that is rumored to be buried on his farm. The quest for riches is completely disrupting the lives of his family, including his three sons: jealous Buck (Jack Lord), who believes his wife, Griselda, still loves Will (Aldo Ray), who is married to Ty Ty's daughter, Rosamund (Helen Westcott); Shaw (Vic Morrow), who is single; and wealthy and estranged son Jim (Lance Fuller), who has moved away.

Dir: Anthony Mann
Cast: Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray, Buddy Hackett, Tina Louise, Jack Lord, Helen Westcott, Vic Morrow, Lance Fuller.

3:45 a.m.
Her Twelve Men (1954)
Color - 1h 31m
 
Recently widowed and needing a change of pace, Jan Stewart (Greer Garson) takes a job as a schoolteacher at the Oaks, an elite boys' prep school. She is given charge of 12 rowdy students, including a sullen boy (Tim Considine) whose father (Barry Sullivan) is a vocal critic of Jan's teaching capabilities. Jan must prove to the skeptical headmaster (Robert Ryan) and everyone else that she's up to the task by winning over her students and becoming more than just a teacher to them.

Dir: Robert Z. Leonard
Cast: Greer Garson, Robert Ryan, Barry Sullivan, Tim Considine.

5:30 a.m.
Back from Eternity (1956)
BW - 1h 37m
 
On a plane bound for South America, the son of a mobster travels under the protection of henchmen who learn in-flight that their boss is dead. Also on the flight are weary war pilot Bill Lonagan (Robert Ryan), prostitute Rena (Anita Ekberg), Jud Ellis (Gene Barry) and his fiancée, Louise (Phyllis Kirk), and a convicted murderer (Rod Steiger) who's bound for his execution. After a storm forces the plane down in a jungle, the passengers turn against one another in their struggle to survive.

Dir: John Farrow
Cast: Robert Ryan, Anita Ekberg, Rod Steiger, Gene Barry, Phyllis Kirk.


Friday, May 20, 2016 and Saturday, May 21, 2016

1:30 p.m.
Trail Street (1947)
BW - 1h 24m
 
Legendary lawman Bat Masterson (Randolph Scott) is called to rural Kansas to defend farmers from ruthless cattlemen. Joining Masterson in his efforts to clean up a lawless town are a couple of locals: Masterson's old chum Billy Burn and landowner Allen Harper (Robert Ryan). But ranch owner Logan Maury proves to be a more than formidable opponent. He'll stop at nothing, including murder, to turn the farmers' fields into grazing grounds for his cattle.

Dir: Ray Enright
Cast: Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan, Anne Jeffreys, George "Gabby" Hayes.

3:00 p.m.
Return of the Badmen (1948)
BW - 1h 30m
 
In 1889 in Oklahoma Territory, the land rush attracts thousands, including many outlaws. A gang led by Wild Bill Doolan includes the Sundance Kid (Robert Ryan) and the Younger brothers, who intend to take advantage of the confusion to rob banks. Doolan's daughter, Cheyenne (Anne Jeffreys), helps the gang in a heist, but is wounded and taken in by ex-ranger Vance Cordell (Randolph Scott). Vance sets about to change her allegiance, despite the misgivings of his fiancée (Jacqueline White).

Dir: Ray Enright
Cast: Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan, Anne Jeffreys, Jacqueline White.

4:45 p.m.
Best of the Badmen (1951)
Color - 1h 24m
 
After the North defeats the South, Union Maj. Jeff Clanton (Robert Ryan) heads to Missouri to provide the Confederacy's Quantrill's Raiders a chance to claim allegiance to the Union, thereby clearing their wanted status. But standing in Clanton's way are the corrupt lawmen Joad (Barton MacLane) and Fowler (Robert Preston), who would rather keep the men outlaws to collect the reward on their heads. After Joad and Fowler frame Clanton for murder, he manages to escape, becoming an outlaw himself.

Dir: William D. Russell
Cast:  Robert Ryan, Claire Trevor, Jack Buetel, Barton MacLane, Robert Preston.

6:15 p.m.
The Naked Spur (1953)
Color - 1h 32m
 
Howard Kemp (James Stewart) has been tracking killer Ben Vandergroat (Robert Ryan) for a long time. In the Colorado Rockies, he teams up with prospector Jesse Tate (Millard Mitchell) and former Union soldier Roy Anderson (Ralph Meeker). Thinking Kemp is a sheriff, they agree to help for a small fee. When they catch Vandergroat, he tells them Kemp is pursuing a $5,000 bounty. After demanding equal shares, the uneasy alliance heads for Kansas as Vandergroat tries to turn them against each other.

Dir: Anthony Mann
Cast: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Millard Mitchell, Ralph Meeker.

8:00 p.m.
Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973)
Color - 1h 45m
 
Tennessee clan leaders (Rod Steiger, Robert Ryan) let a case of mistaken identity turn their family feud into a war.

Dir: Richard C. Sarafian
Cast: Rod Steiger, Robert Ryan, Jeff Bridges, Scott Wilson.

10:00 p.m.
The Outfit (1973)
Color - 1h 43m

When petty crook Earl Macklin (Robert Duvall) is released from prison to find that his brother was murdered over a botched bank heist, he has one thing on his mind -- revenge. After tracing his brother's death back to a merciless, well-armed ring of mobsters, Macklin teams up with his old partner Cody (Joe Don Baker) in an effort to track down the thugs. However, the tables turn when Macklin realizes that the deadly criminals he is after have already put out a hit on him.

Dir: John Flynn
Cast: Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker, Robert Ryan.

12:00 a.m.
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Color - 2h 25m

In this gritty Western classic, aging outlaw Pike Bishop (William Holden) prepares to retire after one final robbery. Joined by his gang, which includes Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine) and brothers Lyle (Warren Oates) and Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson), Bishop discovers the heist is a setup orchestrated in part by his old partner, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan). As the remaining gang takes refuge in Mexican territory, Thornton trails them, resulting in fierce gunfights with plenty of casualties.

Dir: Sam Peckinpah
Cast: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson.

2:30 a.m.
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969)
Color - 1h 46m
 
Survivors of a shipwreck are surprised to find rescue in the middle of the sea by none other than the renowned Capt. Nemo (Robert Ryan), who arrives in the Nautilus, his state-of-the-art submarine. As Nemo's guests soon discover, the eccentric genius has created an entire community at the bottom of the ocean. When the survivors find out that they can't leave Nemo's city, some of them rebel, causing a conflict that jeopardizes the lives of everyone in the undersea base.

Dir: James Hill
Cast: Robert Ryan, Chuck Connors, Nanette Newman.

4:30 a.m.
Executive Action (1973)
Color - 1h 31m
 
In 1963, with President John F. Kennedy growing more liberal and humanitarian in his policies, a shadowy cabal of Texas oil magnates, hardline conservatives, intelligence agents and rogue operatives meet to discuss possible action. The swaggering Foster (Robert Ryan) wants JFK dead, but the mysterious and powerful Ferguson (Will Geer) rebuffs the idea. Still, Farrington (Burt Lancaster) carries out a military training operation in preparation for an assassination while he waits for a decision.

Dir: David Miller
Cast: Robert Ryan, Burt Lancaster, Will Geer, Gilbert Green.


Friday, May 27, 2016 and Saturday, May 28, 2016

8:00 p.m.
Battle of the Bulge (1965)
Color - 2h 50m
 
American Lt. Col. Dan Kiley (Henry Fonda), a military intelligence whiz, discovers that the Nazis are planning to attack Allied forces near Belgium. Certain that the exhausted enemy can't muster much force, Gen. Joe Grey (Robert Ryan) isn't convinced by Kiley's findings, and his men pay the price when the German tanks begin their offensive. In the heat of this key World War II battle, Kiley must come up with a plan when it becomes clear that the Nazis are trying to steal fuel from the Allies.

Dir: Ken Annakin
Cast: Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan.

11:00 p.m.
The Longest Day (1962)
BW - 2h 58m
 
In 1944, the U.S. Army and Allied forces plan a huge invasion landing in Normandy, France. Despite bad weather, General Eisenhower gives the okay and the Allies land at Normandy. General Norma Cota (Robert Mitchum) travels with his men onto Omaha Beach. With much effort, and lost life, they get off the beach, traveling deep into French territory. The German military, due to arrogance, ignorance and a sleeping Adolf Hitler, delay their response to the Allied landing, with crippling results.

Dir: Andrew Marton
Cast: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Robert Ryan.

2:00 a.m.
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Color - 2h 30m
 
As D-Day approaches, Colonel Breed hands the roguish Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) an important assignment: He must train a team of soldiers to parachute across enemy lines and assassinate German personnel at a French chateau. The soldiers, recruited from murderers, rapists and criminals on death row, are promised commuted sentences. In spite of their history, the 12 men prove a spirited and courageous unit. Led by Major Reisman, they will exact revenge.

Dir: Robert Aldrich
Cast: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Robert Ryan.

4:30 a.m.
Men in War (1957)
BW - 1h 38m
 
At the start of the Korean War, Lt. Benson (Robert Ryan) and his platoon are ordered to rendezvous with American forces at Hill 465. Benson and his troops encounter a truck containing Sgt. Montana (Aldo Ray) and his passenger, a colonel (Robert Keith) experiencing psychological combat trauma. Benson, who believes the safe passage of his men takes precedence over the colonel's medical needs, seizes the truck to transport his platoon's equipment -- a decision that Montana fiercely opposes.

Dir: Anthony Mann
Cast: Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray, Robert Keith.

6:15 a.m.
Bombardier (1943)
BW - 1h 39m
 
It's World War II, and young men are being turned into bomber pilots. Training them are Maj. Chick Davis (Pat O'Brien) and Capt. Buck Oliver (Randolph Scott), old chums who disagree about how to best win the war. As they train their fighting force, Davis and Oliver must overcome their cadets' fears, combat espionage and learn to put aside their rivalry. Romantic intrigue comes courtesy of Burt Hughes (Anne Shirley), the Bombardier Training School's much sought-after secretary.

Dir: Richard Wallace
Cast: Pat O'Brien, Randolph Scott, Anne Shirley, Robert Ryan.

8:00 a.m.
Behind the Rising Sun (1943)
BW - 1h 28m
 
In the 1930s, Taro Seki (Tom Neal) returns to Japan after graduating from Cornell University in the United States. An ambitious man, Seki searches for employment with Clancy O'Hara (Don Douglas), a prominent American engineer in Tokyo. While at the engineer's office, Seki falls in love with O'Hara's secretary, Tama Shimamura (Margo). Soon, the two plan to marry, but Seki is drafted for the Sino-Japanese War -- and, when he returns from the battlefields, he is no longer the same man.

Dir: Edward Dmytryk
Cast: Margo, Tom Neal, J. Carroll Naish, Don Douglas, Robert Ryan.

9:30 a.m.
Marine Raiders (1944)
BW - 1h 31m
 
Two marines with conflicting ideas of how to fight share a tumultuous friendship while stationed in the Pacific theater of World War II. On the front lines at the Battle of Guadalcanal, Maj. Steve Lockhart (Pat O'Brien) witnesses paratrooper Capt. Dan Craig (Robert Ryan) erupt in a frenzy of uncontrolled violence. When the two men are transferred to Australia, Lockhart attempts to put an end to Craig's whirlwind romance with servicewoman Lt. Ellen Foster (Ruth Hussey).

Dir: Harold Schuster
Cast: Pat O'Brien, Ruth Hussey, Robert Ryan.

11:15 a.m.
Flying Leathernecks (1951)
Color - 1h 42m
 
As the new commanding officer of a squadron of Marine pilots, Maj. Daniel Kirby (John Wayne), a stern and strict leader, cannot believe the lack of discipline exhibited by the soldiers. As the men resist Kirby's harsh adherence to orders, Capt. Carl Griffin (Robert Ryan) leads their cause for a more relaxed environment. But by pushing his men beyond their limits, Kirby slowly transforms them into battle-ready warriors, forcing all of them to make sacrifices along the way.

Dir: Nicholas Ray
Cast: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor.


Robert Ryan on the Radio

Suspense
"Beyond Reason" (February 21, 1948) - Robert Ryan, Ruth Warrick



Family Theater
"A Tale of Two Cities" (January 11, 1950) - Robert Ryan, Hans Conried



TCM Tribute to Robert Ryan - Narrated by Ernest Borgnine

April 22, 2016

The Star-Studded Couple Blogathon - Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood


Thanks to Phyllis for hosting the blogathon. Looking forward to reading all the posts about the star-studded couples of classic Hollywood. Please visit Phyllis' fine blog, Phyllis Loves Classic Movies.

I'll be focusing on the two marriages of Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood, one in 1957 and one in 1972, and the time in-between those marriages.

When I was in my teens in the mid to late '70s, they were a hot couple. I saved photos of them from newspapers and magazines, made collages by gluing the photos on poster paper, and hung them in my room.

For my blogathon post, I made Google Slide presentations about Robert Wagner's life and career, Natalie Wood's life and career, and their life as a couple. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

The presentations are best viewed full screen. Also, you can enjoy a soundtrack with each slideshow by clicking on the small YouTube video embedded in the first slide of each presentation. Alternately, the soundtracks are available at these addresses:

Robert Wagner - https://youtu.be/Xv1Yx3eFnEg
Natalie Wood - https://youtu.be/kcoQ9MNy1Ck
R.J. and Natalie - https://youtu.be/5g6GSur3BIE