George Raft

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I haven't heard that about Bogie and Spence, how, why does anyone ever think these up. It doesn't require an answer I'm just typing out of disbelief.

I haven't seen enough of his movies to disprove what you say and I very much suspect it is true but I do like him in Bolero but Carole's a strong character. Thinking about what you said about Bogie and how they play brothers, my knowledge isn't great but doesn't he more often than not play as sidekicks to the others on murderer's row? I'm really looking forward to seeing him with Cagney

Stone, why do you think that he said that about being an X rated dancer? It's a bit, unusual and perhaps unguarded. I'm presuming he said it when he was older. What does rights holder mean? I'm not fimiliar with the phrase.

Finally I'm going to throw this out there before I pack up and go to bed. I love our discussion by the way, it's brilliant to read a good book and then be able to dissect it with the author and boy I can go into details. We'll never know for certain but my gut feeling about Raft's links to crime and the hood in Hollywood is that perhaps his reputation is a tendency tobelieve it's overblown because of the reasons stated above for lazy journalism. Although some thought that he did have links and was someone you would cross, others say differently. Do you have any feeling about the level of his involvement when he was in Hollywood? Did he show loyalty to friends who had been good to him and that sense of loyalty was like a sense of honour to him or do you think his relocation to Hollywood might have had something more than the exodus of Broadway talent to Hollywood. I've probably worded this badly because it's getting late here and I will understand if this is a subject that we can't touch on because it might libel him.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Re: George Raft

Post by feaito »

Western Guy wrote:But the bottom line was: George was completely straight. A lot of crap has since been written and, sadly, published, about the preferences of the great stars of yesteryear, which I won't even deem to mention, 'cause IMO Bogie was NOT Spence Tracy's male procurer. Let's leave it at that.
I get you WG...you read Darwin Porter's "Bio" of Bogey's Pre-1931 days.... :wink: Yes, it's indeed incredible all what he stated in that one....and supposedly his source was Kenneth MacKenna....
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Interesting. Tonight TCM is showing a bunch of gangster movies, ranging from DILLINGER to THE VALACHI PAPERS. So I'm preparing to be in my element.

Feaito, Darwin Porter's "Bogie" book is a pile of . . . well, you know what. Bottom line: If one wanted to come forward with the kind of stuff he was offering, well, might be an attractive publishing deal involved. The truth behind what Kenneth MacKenna was (allegedly) offering, well, add a buck fifty or so and purchase yourself a Starbuck's coffee.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Hi, Stone I don't know whether you missed my post last night, it was made about the same time as Feaito's.

Stone, mentioned Raft being better with a strong co star and Fernando mentioned Night After Night which I watched this morning, I'm with you Fernando, I really liked it, I think it's because I have a partiality to precodes and precode this was, Mae West for one was hardly wearing that gown and George Raft was filmed in a far more revealing way before getting in the bath, in both cases I got the impression of the film makers getting away with as much as they could show without making it smutty. I felt that apart from Mae West exploding on the screen this was George's movie and he's a good actor in what must have been one of his earliest screen outings. With Alison Skipworth in a Pygmalion side step, I thought those scenes were both touching, elegantly played and for once in those scenes Alison Skipworth is restrained, saving it up it seems for later. George's character was so sweet you can't but root for him all the way along. Constance Cummings is so elegant and refined and Mae West, barely contained in her clothes, I have preferred her here than in her two movies with Cary Grant where I felt she was just to cliched with time, the only bit I cringed at was the oft repeated 'Goodness had nothing to do with it'. George said she stole everything but the cameras, she did but she only has a few short scenes. Great cast, fun story and happy ending (who'd want Louis Calhern over George Raft anyhow :wink: )

Something else I noticed, a bit of fun. What happened to hairy chests in Hollywood? By the end of the 30s so many men had smooth chests when they were required to show their chests in publicity photos or onscreen, what had the studio got against them? Stone shows a picture of George by the pool in the early 40s no chest hair there but in Night After Night it's there, Cary Grant was another one who lost his, probably Gable and Errol Flynn too, Tyrone Power etc. Is it the electric lights, does it cause it to dissappear? I bet it's something to do with the morality of the period. I can't think of a picture afte rthe precodes when the man is shown without a top after having bathed etc who does have a hairy chest, perhaps Bogart but he always was one on his own. See the things that run through my mind. Now it's hairy chests :roll: :lol:

Finally talking of hair, this time on the head, that slicked back look, like Valentino seemed to slick back some slightly curly hair that really suited him.

Just for you Stone another little tit bit, this time out of William Drew's book called At The Centre of the Frame, I've been reading Claire Trevor's section and she starred with Raft, she says he was a really young looking man who was a Grandad by that time. It's possible, he was old enough, just. Or was he winding her up?
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Re: George Raft

Post by feaito »

Glad you liked it Ali :wink:

Re. hairy chests, you are dead right. One case in point is poor Bill Holden, who had to shave his chest for many films, "Pic Nic" (1955) being the best known for that matter. In "Golden Boy" (1939) I recall that in some stills he appears with a hairy chest and in the film without it :roll: I remember reading that under the Code, censors perceived hairy chests as being too sexual....that's why Holden shaved it for the dance he performed in "Pic Nic"...Another case in point are the "Tarzan" films, the fist hairy-chested Tarzan was Mike Henry in the 1960s. If Sean Connery had been born earlier he'd have had to shave his whole body!! :lol:

"At The Centre of the Frame" is a great book!
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Re: George Raft

Post by CineMaven »

[color=#FF0000][u]CHARLIE CHAPLIN FAN[/u][/color] wrote:Something else I noticed, a bit of fun. What happened to hairy chests in Hollywood? By the end of the 30s so many men had smooth chests when they were required to show their chests in publicity photos or onscreen, what had the studio got against them? Stone shows a picture of George by the pool in the early 40s no chest hair there but in Night After Night it's there, Cary Grant was another one who lost his, probably Gable and Errol Flynn too, Tyrone Power etc. Is it the electric lights, does it cause it to dissappear? I bet it's something to do with the morality of the period. I can't think of a picture after the precodes when the man is shown without a top after having bathed etc who does have a hairy chest, perhaps Bogart but he always was one on his own. See the things that run through my mind. Now it's hairy chests :roll: :lol:
NOW, we're getting down to brass tacks!!! :D I love the hirsute look. Sean Connery, Robin Williams, Elliott Gould and one of my other faves, your countryman, have that look:

Image

Oh that dang code!! Their puritanical sense of Victorian (I blame England!) decorum took away some of the fun.

THE CASE OF THE MISSING BELLY BUTTON:

You won't see a navel in the Golden Age of Movies. I was reminded of that the other day when I was stopped dead in my tracks by a shirtless Ricardo Montalban during "NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER." ("Baby it's hot inside...") There he was, finishing up a massage by masseuse Red Skelton, when he stood up from the table and his pants' waistband was up around his pecs. Okay okay...no, not THAT high...but it was up over his navel. What were movies hiding any way? We all had umbilical cords. In fact in the sci-fi film my friend and I are writing...NOT having a navel nor the mark from a polio shot will be the clue to something being wrong with the lead character. Yeah, the 70's might've gone too far (not for me, I'm just being politically correct here on this board), but a happy medium would have been fine.

By the by, my friend who was visiting was quite impressed with Esther Williams' dive into the water (never having seen "Neptune's Daughter").

"Ohmigod...NO SPLASH. That was a TEN!!"

Yes. Yes Esther was.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Wow, never in my wildest imaginings could I have guessed that a topic on George Raft would have evolved into . . . hairy-chested Hollywood men. I will quickly mention Jeff Chandler who used the old razor for his role as Cochise in Broken Arrow, and suffered with severe itch accordingly.

As for Night After Night, I really should give it another watch. Perhaps I was a bit prejudiced by Leonard Maltin's comments concerning the film, which said, in essence, that it is a dreary film until Mae West's entrance. Again, I'm not a terrific fan of Raft's Paramount output. Of course I'll watch ANYTHING George is in (heck, I even delivered the DVD commentary on some of Raft's wretched 50s films - The Man from Cairo, anyone), but Paramount was not the studio to take best advantage of Raft's image. Yes, his Henry Hathaway-directed adventure films are magnificent and there are probably about five others that are definitely watchable IMO, but I maintain George really needed Warners and should have stuck it out. Warners was the tough guy studio and, with a few exceptions, I challenge anyone to say that Raft, Cagney, Bogart or Robinson made better films away from the studio. Hell, toss in Flynn and Davis, as well.
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Apologies, Allison. Looks as if I missed a post or two. I'll avoid further comment on the hairy-chest thing as it just ain't my interest. But the Drew book interests me, as I'm completely unfamiliar with it. Of course Claire Trevor appeared with George in films such as Universal's "I Stole a Million" (not a bad little flick). Her comment regarding George is most interesting. Yes, George did remain a youthful-looking fella almost into his 80s (check out his elevator secene with Mae West in "Sextette"). However, when Raft did his one-scene in "The Man With Bogart's Face" a few years later . . . he does look old -- and ill. Bless Michelle Phillips for sharing her memory of acting with George on his final movie scene.

The grandfather connection that Trevor makes is one I would love to pursue. George apparently did have a child, but my digging through Yablonsky and others yielded no results. Actually, knowing Raft's . . . I don't doubt there could be some heirs out there. But as the representative of George's estate, I've never had no one come forward.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Hey, Theresa your comment made me laugh, I noticed the high waisted trousers thing, now I know there was a reason for it. For heaven's sake, why is the navel so offensive? Someone had very strange ideas as to what corrupted the impressionable, I've never heard it said that a navel did so. Is that Alan Bates? Women in Love that's a film that doesn't worry about body hair or navels :oops:

My hairy chested men, sorry Stone to bring your thread down to the basest level again, but it's another strange idea from the code but what is wrong with a hairy chest? Most dark haired men, like Raft, Gable, Grant would naturally have hairy chests, they don't look right bald chested, to think when I was younger I thought American men just didn't eat their greens and that's why they didn't get hairs on their chest :lol: Bless the precodes for more than there gritty story lines :wink:

Are you the representative of George Raft's estate, Stone? Or am I misunderstanding. If so I'm fascinated. When you took on the role of his biographer how did you get to take on the added responsibility of his representative? Touching on what Claire Trevor said, George knew he was a Grandad, it's possible there is someone out there who is a direct descendant of George who might not know and how would you prove it? Given his reputation it's possible there's a descendant. Here's the Drew book on amazon.com, I didn't pay very much for my copy and if you'd like me to transcribe any of the articles that touch on George I will do. I think I'm going to have to track down Sextette just to see two greats at the end of their career.



Night After Night is a better film than Bolero it flows quite well and has a good supporting cast. I won't argue with you about the tough guys being at Warners and Flynn and Davis too, they fit each other like a glove. Paramount is more home to exotics and drawing room comedies.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Yes Allison, I am through an entertainment agency the representative of George's estate - primarily through the licensing of his image which most recently was on a series of classic movie star trading cards. The legal stuff is fairly complicated but has to do with George apparently having no heirs and an agreement through the agency with the estate.

I'm not much of a fan of Bolero, either. Again, Paramount with its European flavor was not the best studio for Raft. He needed that urban melieu best represented by Warners . . . maybe even Universal. But, darn it, for whatever odd reason I do kinda like All of Me, which most critics dismiss as one of Raft's worst Paramount films. Granted, the first half of the film with Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins is interminably slow, but once Raft appears, it ain't a bad crime drama. As with Invisible Stripes, George is quite effective as a sympathetic criminal.

The granddad thing still mystifies me. The closest that I'm aware of George having a kid was when he offered to adopt a boy with behavioral problems back in the 30s.If he did indeed biologically father a child, he certainly remained close-mouthed about it. Even Lew Yablonsky, who authored Raft's autobiography back in the mid-70s and was as close to George as anyone, never so much as hinted at this possibility. Nor did Robert Davidson, Mack Gray's nephew, someone else who knew George well. But again . . . George being George, who knows for certain?
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Wow, that's really interesting. Were you his representative before you were his biographer or did the two go hand in hand? No heirs suggests again that he had little to do with his siblings, unless they were all childless. How touching that he offered to adopt a boy, again it makes me think of his childhood, was there something about that boy that stirred memories? Why would he tell Claire Trevor about him being a Grandad? All she says is that he was charming, young looking but told her he was a grandfather. He could have been kidding or perhaps it was a youthful indescretion. Oh it's one of those conundrums that Hollywood is packed with. I wish every movie star had someone like you to protect their image, some of the sorely need it. Would you ever get involved in prosecutions when his memory is libelled, like in the 'Did He, Didn't He' book where they claimed he only laid a hand on Betty Grable to beat her or is the reality that it isdifficult to prove just money in the pockets of lawyers and attorneys?

Another tit bit from the Drew book talks about a scene that George couldn't get right, the slapping of Fay Wray he just wouldn't hit hard enough for it to look effective and then was really apologetic when made to do it as the director wanted. What a guy, all your research and other titbits make me think that he had a great resepct for women. What a pity that his brand of charm and chivalry has died out.

Something that really touched me in your book was the letter George wrote about the money he'd lent to Bugsy Siegel. Whether it was the language, it was charming, treading very carefully, not gramatically correct yet strangely articulate, soothing and loyal. I don't know why it gave me a lump in my throat, he'd been so generous on the one hand (and who wouldn't be considering who wanted it) but had been asked for far too much yet stumped up the money, it imparts so much and throws up more questions on the other hand.

All Of Me is a film I'd love to see, Fredric March is one of my early favourites, especially in his early movies, Miriam Hopkins is one of my favourite precode actresses too. You asked me if I'd seen Scarface, I have, I love Scarface and George is one of the best things about the movie. Why did Howard Hawks have to be so mean when talking about Raft's acting? Brilliant director but after reading about him, a little mean of spirit.

I've just noticed that there is a book coming out in November about his films called George Raft:The Films by Everett Acker, hopefully a complimentary book to your own, it's quite pricey though.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

That's news to me: the Raft book coming out by Everett Acker. Coleen Gray did call me to tell me that she had been approached by a British writer who was putting out another book on Raft. Must be the one. Well, good on him, provided he does it well. Too bad he never contacted me, though, I also was going to do a "Films of George Raft" book, with a ton of exclusive photos I could not use for my book. Must say I did not earn a fortune through my Raft bio. I would suspect Everett's book likewise is a labor of love.

As for the representative business, that came about after my book came out. Again, I was approached due to my book and other factors, legal papers were signed . . . and beyond the trading cards, not much more came of it. And no, I could never be involved in any libel action or whatnot - though that accusation regarding Raft beating Betty Grable really angers me. It always bothered George when he had to slap Marlene Dietrich in Manpower and he failed to pull his punch, actually knocking her down the stairs and breaking her ankle (the scene is in the movie). No way was Raft a woman-beater.

Definitely was George too generous. So much of the money he earned was given away - including dough he lent when he really didn't have it. Even after George's career collapsed, he could have lived comfortably if not for his generosity. By his own report, George earned at least ten million during his career.

"Part of the loot went on gambling, part of the loot went on women. The rest I spent foolishly."


Ole George!!
feaito

Re: George Raft

Post by feaito »

Both books by William Drew "At the Center of the Frame: Leading Ladies of the Twenties and the Thirties" (featuring interviews with Jean Muir, Evelyn Venable, Fay Wray, Constance Cummings, Marian Marsh, Billie Dove, Anita Page, Annabella, Claire Trevor and Dorothy Lee) and "Speaking of Silents: First Ladies of the Screen" (featuring interviews with Colleen Moore, Leatrice Joy, May McAvoy, Esther Ralston, Laura La Plante, Madge Bellamy, Eleanor Boardman, Patsy Ruh Miller, Blanche Sweet and Lois Wilson) are invaluable.
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Again jumping forward on missed comments, Allison. To my knowledge Howard Hawks was never mean with George on Scarface. Perhaps you're thinking of Archie Mayo. In fact, Hawks later commented that George was so grateful both for the opportunity to appear in the picture and Hawks's coaching that for many years thereafter George offered his acting services to Hawks at half his normal price.

Now here's an interesting tidbit. Make of it what you will. Apparently Boris Karloff made the exact same offer to Hawks. Hawks, however, referred to Karloff as "a pest". One never can know the truth in Hollywood.

Best Raft Paramount films (personal choices): DANCERS IN THE DARK, ALL OF ME, THE GLASS KEY, STOLEN HARMONY, SHE COULDN'T TAKE IT (okay, admittedly prejudiced on the last two 'cause of Lloyd - and actually Bill Cagney is pretty darn good as Schoolboy Howe in S.H.), SOULS AT SEA and SPAWN OF THE NORTH. YOU AND ME almost makes it, but it's so weird (thanks to Fritz Lang) it has to be an acquired taste.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I think I'd rather have your film book on George Raft, especially if you have lots of pictures, strange he wouldn't contact you, I'd think contacts could be invaluable in the biography world, unless you're setting yourself up as a rival. It doesn't surprise me that you made little on the book Stone, but it's a real credit to you, it's a great book, I left a positive review at Amazon.co.uk, would that be carried across to the .com site? I'll happily sign in there and leave the review if it hasn't. Undoubtedly the films book is a labour of love, I wonder if it's only a British publication? I only searched the .co.uk site. Maybe it leaves the way open for your own book to be published in America. His book is listed quite expensively at the moment £28 which is $45s? Quite expensive for a book.

Marlene was a real trooper wasn't she? She'll have accepted it as one of those things, George would have been mortified. The comments about him being a woman beater annoyed me too, it's bad enough that they are in books but books are often serialised or used by newspapers to 'check' their facts, the offended piece then reaches a bigger audience, then it can be replicated on the internet. I suppose the only way to deal with it is to ignore it and find a place like this and speak to people who do care about knowing the truth about our classic stars and want to share intelligent and informed conversation.

Actually the quote from Hawks was cribbed from the same book, so it wasn't Hawks it was Archie Mayo. That figures. There is a good book on Boris Karloff, very well researched, he was typecast but I don't remember reading that Karloff bothered Hawks, I can check it though.

I hope he was occasionally on the receiving end of others generosity too and didn't have too many people that treated him like the goose that had laid the golden egg.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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