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Richard Dix

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Richard Dix

Postby moira finnie » October 1st, 2008, 6:45 pm

I thought that I'd point out to those of us who enjoy Richard Dix that starting this morning we've been able to visit with one of my favorite old time actors. TCM served up Seven Keys to Baldpate (1929) earlier today, but we also have:
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10/1/08
Cimarron (1931) this evening (10/1) at 8pm ET: unbelievably creaky in a perfectly wonderful way. Seeing the heroic figure of Richard Dix in this movie, you know exactly what the over the top acting style of the theater was like before the movies came along. Bombastic, delightfully unrealistic and quite winning. Not necessarily to everyone's taste, and there are some good and bad elements mixed together throughout the story, but stick around for Yancey's speech to the crowd about to pass judgment on one of their citizens.

The Lost Squadron (1932) at 10:15pm ET: absolutely crackerjack if unlikely story of a pack of WWI fliers led by Dix, and featuring a very young and breathtaking Joel McCrea. Robert ('twas beauty killed the beast") Armstrong, believe it or not, gives a good performance too. Watch for his, *ahem*, rude, pre-code gesture at one point while flying. And any movie with Erich Von Stroheim as a sadistic director and Mary Astor as a beauty in danger of being sullied can't be all bad!

10/08/08
Stingaree (1934) 10:15am ET: a mixed bag, but since it pairs Dix, as an Australian bandit, with songbird Irene Dunne, it has its moments. I particularly enjoyed Dix's expression when he speaks of faraway London and when he approaches Dunne in his wilderness lair after kidnapping her. Pretty racy and fun stuff, if you suspend belief, and let William Wellman's fast paced story wash over you.
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10/20/08
The Ghost Ship (1943) 7:45am ET. A haunting movie produced under Val Lewton that doesn't entirely hang together, though individual scenes, such as when Dix sadistically watches a huge hook on board ship swing dangerously over the heads of his deck hands, or when he explains that his power over his men has no limits do have some eerie power. Richard Dix's health was reportedly in decline during this period, which may explain his relatively low energy here. Or maybe he just didn't understand the script any more than this viewer.

Wish that The Whistler series of movies he made before his death later in the '40s would pop up on the schedule again.
Last edited by moira finnie on October 2nd, 2008, 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby vallo » October 2nd, 2008, 6:47 am

I found a liking of Richard Dix through his films at TCM. I never really knew who he was until resently. I see that he (at times ) over acts but that is one of his finer points. Like in the court room scene in "Cimarron" when defending Dixie, with his head (full of curls) shaking it to enunciate every word. Great stuff. I look forward to watching more of his films in the future. Thanks for the head's up Moira.


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Postby moira finnie » October 2nd, 2008, 11:55 am

I found a liking of Richard Dix through his films at TCM. I never really knew who he was until resently. I see that he (at times ) over acts but that is one of his finer points. Like in the court room scene in "Cimarron" when defending Dixie, with his head (full of curls) shaking it to enunciate every word. Great stuff


Hi Bill,
I got home just in time to catch Richard Dix's curl-tossing at its best. Even though I'd missed the earlier parts of the movie, I found myself being genuinely moved when Yancey is found on the oil field. Though I found that Sabra (Irene Dunne) was a fairly stiff character, except when she accepted her iconoclast husband's wanderlust with affection and appreciation, it touched me when Dix murmured, "wife and mother..." just before the end.

Btw, I'd forgotten that Edna May Oliver was such a hoot in Cimarron. I love the moment that Edna had with the velvet rope at the big shindig honoring Sabra. EMO's line in her last scene after she tells Sabra how becoming her dress is, but she has to go now, because her feet hurt made me laugh. Too true to life and murmured quietly in a throwaway style that somehow reminded me of Popeye at his mumbling best. But then, I always thought that Edna may have been one of the models for Olive Oyl, so it's probably my silly mental association at work.

Btw, I didn't know that RKO was in the red for so long after making Cimarron, though the studio always seemed to be teetering on the brink from the word go. Good thing that King Kong came along.

I also loved the way the big lug listened so attentively to the characters around him in The Lost Squadron.

Have you ever seen many of Dix's silents? I'd love to see some of his other films, such as The Vanishing American.

Thanks for replying to the post.
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Postby Sue Sue Applegate » October 2nd, 2008, 9:28 pm

Moira,

I also enjoyed that "Edna Mae Moment" at the end. I feel that Miss Oliver is always able to draw attention, and Eve Arden has that same charismatic quality. No matter how little is said, or how trivial the topic, those gals grabbed the goods!
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Postby MissGoddess » October 3rd, 2008, 9:51 am

I'd love to see some of his other films, such as The Vanishing American.

Is this movie available anywhere? I really want to see it, too. I've read the book and the story is great.
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Postby moira finnie » October 3rd, 2008, 11:01 am

Christy:
I'd never really connected Edna May Oliver and Eve Arden before, but you know you're right about their compelling and entertaining presence in any movie. They get to say what the audience is often thinking about the characters in the films. At the moment, I can't think of anyone who does such a thing in today's allegedly more realistic movies, can you?

Miss G.:
Here's a link to Amazon info on The Vanishing American. It's also available on Netflix. I'd no idea before this that it was available in any form! Oh, goody...
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Btw, did you guys know that there was a Richard Dix Web Page, found here?
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Postby MissGoddess » October 3rd, 2008, 11:08 am

Thank you so much, Moira, I've added it to my "queue".
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Re: Richard Dix

Postby moira finnie » June 30th, 2014, 11:56 am

Cliff Aliperti of Immortal Ephemera has written an excellent, well-illustrated article about the life and work of Richard Dix:

http://immortalephemera.com/52708/richard-dix-biography/
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