Mary-Kate wrote:I was browsing a used book store several weeks ago, and there was a funny little story I read in a movie book at the time, in which Gilbert Roland explained why he had a certain aversion to stage work:
Roland was playing Armand Duval in a stage production of Camille opposite Jane Cowl when they were set to perform in Los Angeles to an audience packed full of celebrities. In a certain scene, he was to make his entrance while Cowl, as Camille, was sitting at a table writing. His first line in the scene was to be "what are you doing, my dear? writing a letter?" The trouble was, Cowl was so nervous by the star studded audience that she was pacing up and down the stage wringing her hands when Roland entered. As he later explained, his command of English was not firm enough at that time for ad-libbing, so he went ahead and delivered his line "what are you doing, my dear? writing a letter?" It brought down the house (and, unfortunately, Miss Cowl's wrath!)
P.S. Hilarious review of The Reward (1965), Moira. Now my curiosity is satisfied, and I don't need to see it. I was curious about it because it had Roland, and also Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (who I love as Stu Bailey on 77 Sunset Strip.)
For his second Playhouse 90, Penn was given a script that Leslie Stevens had written from a story by Hal Goodman and Larry Klein. Invitation to a Gunfighter was a psychological western at a time when the psychological western was only just coming into being, notably in the films of Anthony Mann, and later of Penn himself. [The Furies was made in 1950 and The Ox-Bow Incident" (William A. Wellman, 1943), "High Noon" (Fred Zinnemann, 1952), and "Shane" (George Stevens, 1953), so this seems a bit of a stretch].
The story is a variation on the warning 'Be careful what you wish for"; gunfighter Hugh O'Brian terrorizes a small western town, so the people hire another gunfighter, Gilbert Roland, to chase him away. When Roland becomes more despotic than O'Brian, the townspeople rehire O'Brian to get rid of Roland. 'It was non-horse western because you couldn't get a horse on the stage without the horse going to the bathroom every four seconds,' recalls Del Reisman, Playhouse 90's story editor. 'Martin [Manulis] gave it to Arthur; it was kind of like, 'It's your turn, Arthur, this is the script.' He brought excitement to it and brought some psychology into the characters. I always admired Arthur for that because it was just a routine story, and by plunging into it the way he did, he gave it some substance.
'Gilbert Roland came into the rehearsal hall,' continues Reisman, 'and he had some kind of Mexican sombrero with spangles, shirt open down to here, and big leather wristbands. He was a delightful person, but he was an old-fashioned movie star, and he was letting everybody know it. He would be at one end of the rehearsal hall, and Arthur would call him, and Gilbert would turn around like he was posing, like he was looking for his close-up. It was a crazy show, but Arthur really brought something to it.
Gilbert Roland has a new crush, Folk Singer Joan Baez. He drove 100 miles to hear her concert at Redlands University, then trekked to San Diego State College [to catch her next show]. He said: 'She is beautiful like a madonna, accompanies herself on the guitar, no scenery, no nothing. It makes your heart ache to hear her.' I asked if Amigo if he's given up bullfights for folk singing, so he told me about Cordobez, a young matador who has made $4 million in three years by fighting every day. Travels around Mexico in Cantinfla's plane. He's now in Spain. Roland finished a 'Fugitive' segment and will narrate a documentary on the Mexican revolution [I'm not sure if this ever came to fruition]. He and Danny Blum [the author of "A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen" and other books on film and theater history] visited Eugene O'Brien (1880-1966), who is in a nursing home. Gene and Norma Talmadge were the two best lovers of the silent films.
MissGoddess wrote:How fascinating, especially since Invitation to a Gunfighter (the Yul Brynner feature film) is a favorite western of mine.
"While romancing a beautiful Russian countess, a captain in the Austrian intelligence service is assigned to capture "K-14", a clever spy who has so far managed to remain undetected. What the captain doesn't know is that he is actually closer to the spy than he realizes."
"Also in 1933, Constance Bennett and Gilbert Roland starred in After Tonight. She's the desirable, disguise expert Russian spy in a film promoted for its hot love affair. He's the Austrian agent who doesn't know she's the target of his investigation. Both actors were blasted for their portrayals, and Bennett lost her studio contract for the disaster. Still, the film is remembered for its rare, sympathetic portrayal of Russian underlings and its emphasis on the craft of spying, including secret messages written in invisible ink, sewed into clothes, or hidden in fake coins. As a result of some scenes, the film is justly seen as a defense for espionage.."~ Wesley Alan Britton, Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage (ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2004)
MissGoddess wrote:Enjoy, it's really worth watching, Moira and I look forward to your own review...P.S. I love your Chester Morris avatar!
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