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John Payne Alert

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John Payne Alert

Postby moira finnie » January 14th, 2011, 1:35 pm

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On Friday, January 14th, TCM will be broadcasting a clutch of some of actor John Payne's best darker movies. We have discussed the well-made 99 River Street before (see here) and a bit about the stylish Kansas City Confidential, both of which were directed by Phil Karlson in all his gritty glory.

I don't remember and can't find references to The Crooked Way (1949-Robert Florey) in our previous discussions, but Florey's imaginative work is often of some interest and I ♥ those film noir amnesiacs! To the Shores of Tripoli (1942) is the oddball choice among these films until you remember that Payne plays a total crud-bud in this one...until...love (in the beautiful form of Maureen O'Hara) and patriotism (personified by Randolph *chorus please* Scott) transform his base nature.

Personally, I like to see John Payne when he's being bad! I think that this is in large part because no one in movies ever looked guiltier. Btw, Evelyn Keyes, Coleen Gray, and Ellen Drew are also nothing to sneeze at--with each of those actresses capable of enhancing a story with their beauty and intelligence.

Also not to be missed tonight:
Frank Faylen's cockamamie marital advice in 99 River Street
Jack Elam, Neville Brand and Lee Van Cleef as a trio of bad apples rotting in the semi-tropical sun in Kansas City Confidential
Sonny Tufts and Percy Helton as a tag team of baddies working hand in glove in The Crooked Way
Slapsy Maxie Rosenbloom and Harry Morgan playing characters with names like Okay Jones (Maxie) and Mouthy (Harry, who is listed as Henry Morgan in this movie, which was his screen debut) in To the Shores of Tripoli

All times shown below are ET.

8:00 PM
99 River Street (1953)
A taxi driver gets mixed up with jewel thieves. Cast: John Payne, Evelyn Keyes, Frank Faylen. Dir: Phil Karlson. BW-83 mins, TV-PG

9:30 PM
Kansas City Confidential (1952)
To commit the perfect crime, a former detective keeps his colleagues' identities secret from each other. Cast: Preston Foster, John Payne, Coleen Gray. Dir: Phil Karlson. BW-100 mins, TV-PG

11:15 PM
The Crooked Way (1949)
A war hero's amnesia keeps him from dealing with his criminal past. Cast: John Payne, Sonny Tufts, Ellen Drew. Dir: Robert Florey. BW-86 mins,

1:00 AM
To the Shores of Tripoli (1942)
A brash young Marine has to redeem himself after trying to romance a female officer. Cast: John Payne, Maureen O'Hara, Randolph Scott. Dir: H. Bruce Humberstone. C-86 mins, , CC
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby movieman1957 » January 14th, 2011, 2:13 pm

Having only seen Payne in a few westerns and his Christmas movie these are nice things to look for from him. I often wondered whether that was his real name and whether people thought he was trying to take advantage of the similarity of his name to John Wayne. He is quite different and there would have been no need but I doubt very much that was the case.
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 14th, 2011, 2:29 pm

Thanks for the alert, Moira!

I love John Payne, and I've never seen 99 River Street, so I am looking forward to it.

Also, it's been ages since I've viewed Tripoli,
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby MissGoddess » January 14th, 2011, 3:01 pm

I'll be watching. I've always liked JP a lot, so handsome and a "comfortable", likeable sort of bloke. To bad they aren't showing the big shot (i think that's the title). He's a real hard case in that one.

Payne also takes the pain out of watching some of the Fox musicals I'm not over fond of.
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby moira finnie » January 14th, 2011, 3:31 pm

You mean The Dolly Sisters, Hello, Frisco,Hello and Springtime in the Rockies aren't your favorites? What's a matter? Those "great" tunes and bleeding Technicolor aren't good enough?? How shocking.

I've never heard of The Big Shot, though I thought that there was a Mickey Rooney movie by that name. Maybe it had a different name?

I don't really think that John Payne belonged in musicals or westerns, but I'm probably wrong or haven't seen the right ones.
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby pvitari » January 14th, 2011, 4:10 pm

I am MAD for John Payne, have been for years. I've got a huge collection of Payne movies, to include some very dicey dubs of his out of print and more obscure titles.

He always had a way of looking at things a little cock-eyed and bemusedly which made him something far more intriguing than the usual love interest to the big female stars. You knew he was in love with Betty Grable, or Alice Faye, or Maureen O'Hara, or whoever, but there always seemed to be a part of him held in reserve or standing off at the side, observing the situation with a twinkle in his eye.

And of course he had that gorgeous singing voice (his mother was an opera singer), which sadly he didn't use outside the movies. Fox wasn't big on their stars having separate recording contracts. A friend of mine put together two CDs of songs Payne sang in the movies so at least I have that to enjoy! One of my favorite Payne numbers is "Hark Hark the Meadowlark,"' which he sings in Kid Nightingale while Jane Wyman plays the piano. :) Kid Nightingale is from Payne's earlier Warner Bros. years, when he was the lead in his movies (decidedly of the B-variety) and he got to do most of the singing, rather than just a verse or chorus and then standing back while the lady took center stage.

But I think the most interesting part of Payne's career came when his Fox contract ended and he went into independent film, often producing through his own company. He made all sorts of fascinating (and sometimes politically charged) westerns and adventure movies and noirs, including the wonderful 99 River Street. How wonderful that TCM is showing this as well as those other Payne titles. Kansas City Confidential is probably his best known noir. He made a series of films with director Alan Dwan. Some of them have been released in France in an Alan Dwan box set. Oh, how I wish they'd release that set here!

He also made a Western TV series, The Restless Gun, adapted from the popular radio series starring Jimmy Stewart, The Six-Shooter. Ben Johnson appeared in one episode of The Restless Gun, and I screencapped that episode some time ago and did a write-up about the series on my Ben webpage. You can go here to see it if anyone's interested. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the write-up. http://benjohnsonscreencaps.shutterfly.com/tvshows

Did you all know he was married for some years to Anne Shirley? They had a daughter, Julie, who is the spitting image of her dad. Julie had a brief acting career, including an episode of The Restless Gun. He remarried happily and also in trivia news, he was Robert Towne's father-in-law.

John suffered major injuries when he was hit by a car in 1961. But he survived, although he made very few appearances on film after that. Thanks to smart investing, he was a wealthy man and didn't have to worry about money. He reunited with Alice Faye for a cross-country tour of the revival production of Good News in 1973 and fortunately that production was recorded, although it is only available (if you can find it) on an out of print two-LP album.

Anyone for beefcake? :) Dig those crazy diapers. :)
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 14th, 2011, 4:26 pm

Paula, thanks so much for the wonderful Payne trivia, and ...

THANK YOU FOR THAT CUTE PHOTO!!!!!

I'm not thinking of the nursery when I see that diaper.....Hubbabuhbubbabuh :lol:

(And if I'm being too naughty, PM me if you wish to avoid publicly chastising me... :oops: )
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby klondike » January 14th, 2011, 7:22 pm

pvitari wrote:And of course he had that gorgeous singing voice (his mother was an opera singer), which sadly he didn't use outside the movies. Fox wasn't big on their stars having separate recording contracts. A friend of mine put together two CDs of songs Payne sang in the movies so at least I have that to enjoy! One of my favorite Payne numbers is "Hark Hark the Meadowlark,"' which he sings in Kid Nightingale while Jane Wyman plays the piano. :) Kid Nightingale is from Payne's earlier Warner Bros. years, when he was the lead in his movies (decidedly of the B-variety) and he got to do most of the singing, rather than just a verse or chorus and then standing back while the lady took center stage.


I seem to recall that I've posted this one before, somewhere on SOS . . . but it's so much fun, I figure there's no harm in enjoying it again! :mrgreen:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svQrMIXupQM[/youtube]

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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby Lzcutter » January 14th, 2011, 10:13 pm

Okay, my defense is that it has been a long week at work.

That said, who was the character actor in the bar who danced first with Evelyn Keyes near the end of 99 River Street?

I hate that my memory for facts like that is going and I'm not happy about it.
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klondike

Re: John Payne Alert

Postby klondike » January 14th, 2011, 10:29 pm

I, too, was wondering that same thing, Lynn, and likewise, am drawing a blank! :x
But I will offer this on the subject of cherished character actors: isn't it great that just before retiring to open a grocery store on weekly sitcom TV, Frank Faylen finally graduated from playing a taxi cab driver in all those movies, and was triumphantly cast as a taxi cab dispatcher ?!!! :| :|

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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby Lzcutter » January 14th, 2011, 10:33 pm

Professor Klondike,

I hear he has joined the motor pool at the Classic Cinema College as the dispatcher.

Imagine that!

And being mid-century modern with friends always makes up for the discouraging side-affects. Thank you!
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby movieman1957 » January 14th, 2011, 11:27 pm

I learned two things tonight after watching "Kansas City Confidential." One, don't jump to conclusions on a noir picture. Two, I like dark John Payne. He handles himself well, he is properly tough and looks good in a fedora. Another new noir for me and a good one at that.

I thought how come men never got hat hair?
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby Lzcutter » January 15th, 2011, 12:31 am

The Crooked Way is good! Percy Helton just showed up. One of my favorite character actors (whose name I remember!). Love the LA locales!

Sonny Tufts looked better twelve years later in an episode of The Virginian where he played Trampas' dad.
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 15th, 2011, 3:20 pm

99 River Street was fantastic!

And I like John Payne noir, too, Chris!

Evelyn Keyes was in one of the best roles I've ever seen her portray. The twists and turns in the story line made me sit on the edge of my seat! And, Moira, Frank Faylen's advice was pretty funny, but I liked how they tied it into the final scene.
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Re: John Payne Alert

Postby pvitari » January 15th, 2011, 6:15 pm

For those of you who like John Payne noir, you must see Slightly Scarlet, one of those Allan Dwan films I mentioned earlier. Slightly Scarlet is an adaption of the James M. Cain novel Love's Lovely Counterfeit, and was shot in gorgeous Technicolor (cinematographer the great John Alton) despite being a noir, probably to take advantage of the fact that this movie stars not just one but two gorgeous redheads, i.e., Arlene Dahl and Rhonda Fleming.

John Payne plays a publicity man who is part of a scheme by a gangster (Ted de Corsia) to smear the reputation of the anti-crime mayor (Kent Taylor) by exposing his romantic relationship with Rhonda Fleming, who just happens to have an ex-con klepto sister (Arlene Dahl of course) who's currently on parole. But John falls in love with Rhonda while also finding himself lured in Arlene. Meanwhile the gangster expects Payne to carry on with the smear campaign. Problems, problems! ;)

This is out on DVD in the U.S. but it's a pretty crappy one I have to say, although it is in widescreen. This is a movie that is very high on my list of movies that need restoration or remastering and a decent DVD release. Criterion, where are you when we need you?

Note: these are not screencaps I made. I grabbed them off the web.

No, I don't think that looks like John Payne either ;)
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Gives new meaning to that line about all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun ;)
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