I'm surprised. I'm impressed. I'm bedazzled. I'm in love. Never knew that could happen with an actor I scorned long ago - and only because I saw all the wrong movies with him! Jesus! I'm either really narrow-minded or really snobbish - which you shouldn't be as a film freak...*utterly embarrassed expression*.
Anyway, the actor I'm talking about is none other than Robert Taylor!
A couple of months ago I watched "Camille" (1936) with Greta Garbo and Robert T., the latter playing a young, handsome suitor, and I was amazed by Robert's performance. I must remind you that I've have only seen him in some of his later movies from about the late '40s to the '50s on TCM, and I was often bored by his (let's face it) rather stiff and wooden acting in these movies. He always seemed to appear in all those stereotyp adventure films, playing a tough gunman or knight or whatever. He did nothing unusual or exceptional, he just rode his horse, killed the bad guy(s) and kissed the girl. So you can imagine I was surprised to see an eager, sensitive and expressive 'anti-Robert' in "Camille". I became very interested and started searching for other movies he made in the '30s (when he was only in his twenties). And luckily I found quite a lot. Mostly comedies which surprised me even more - and all the same made me more happier!
Gosh, I've come to adore this man! What a talent he had for comedy! I was literally gaping when I saw him jumping and sprinting across the screen like another Chaplin, being rejected (!) by girls and laughing like no one else (with a look like his) ever had! :-O
Even his more dramatic side impressed me deeply and I believe that he could pull off almost every kind of character - if he only had been given the chance. His expressions were much more varied, easy-going and natural than they were later on, and it's really such a shame that he didn't made more movies like that. I've heard some argue that it was because of the war that he became more stiff and emotionless in his later movies and that he chose more dramatic roles, wanting to get away from the cheerful roles he had had as a young actor. It's very likely that the same happened to Clark Gable, though he did pick the comedy genre again after the war and managed to pull it off. Nevertheless, it's sad how war can affect the spirit so profoundly - even or especially in those whose job literally is to act/pretend otherwise.
Well, I still find Robert's first movies his best (making him a seriously underrated actor, in my opinion!) and I'm not even finished watching the entire list, but I'm almost sure he cannot let me down after so many great performances already.
Here are some of the movies I've seen so far with Robert Taylor in the lead role: Magnificent Obsession (1935), Small Town Girl (1936), Private Number (1936), Camille (1936), Personal Property (1937), A Yank at Oxford (1938), Three Comrades (1938), Remember? (1939) and Lucky Night (1939).
I'll treat you with a little sneak peek from one of my favorite films with him; "Personal Property" (1937):