Friday, January 9, 2015

The Hitherto Unmentioned: Hail and Farewell

Now, Rod Taylor may not have been an actor for the ages, but I think we can agree that he was easy on the eyes.

And I have to admit I had no idea he was Australian.  Also, I would have sworn that he was one of Joan Crawford's boy toys in one of her lesser '50s epics, which is apparently not the case (but wouldn't that have made for a good picture?  I'm thinking something like The Angry Female or What a Woman Knows, with Rod as a no-good drifter who changes the life of an obsessed career woman and is redeemed in the process, with a nice little part for Ruth Roman as her rival and maybe a turn by Spring Byington as the confidante and/or his mother).

What I do know is that he was a damn good leading man - stalwart and straightforward and, in case I haven't mentioned it - more than easy on the eye.  Yet another loss as 2015 gets into gear.

But we'll always have Bodega Bay...


  1. Excessively easy on the eye I would say. Of course his main recognition is The Birds and The Time Machine but he had several other good films on his sheet. The two Doris Day comedies, Sunday in New York, Young Cassidy and perhaps my favorite Fogbound in Fancy Clothes or as it's more commonly known The V.I.P.S. with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Margaret Rutherford as the daffy Duchess and Maggie Smith who Taylor had the majority of his scenes with. Their little vignettes are the film's best dramatic bits, Miss Rutherford steals the comedy ones.

    He seemed to have a happy life and died surrounded by family, so a good run. Also he and Tippi remained good friends to the end, she released the loveliest statement about him.

  2. Fogbound in Fancy Clothers! Adore that!

    Dame Maggie is really now something of a survivor. I was surprised, watching TCM last night, to realize that she's the last surviving principal cast member of Murder by Death, with only James Cromwell (who had supporting billing) also still with us.

    1. The loss of the lovely Rod is yet another sad and momentous strike-out from the Hollywood hierarchy, but if we are going to digress - "Murder by Death" is one of my faves from Dame Maggie's back-catalogue, in fact one of my favourite films ever; campness abounds in its casting (and indeed its behind-the-scenes bitching, in particular between Elsa Lanchester and Estelle Winwood). A side thought - who could make such star-studded vehicles as this, the aforementioned "The VIPs", any of the Agatha Christie adaptations or even the classic "disaster movies" of the 70s today? Stars of this calibre just do not exist any more, and they're popping off with alarming frequency of late. Jx

    2. I suppose the Oceans movies of a few years ago (11, 12, etc - wasn't there a 13?) are an attempt at an all-star extravaganza, but you're quite right that an A-list one a la The VIPs or even a fun eccentric one like Murder by Death would be a tad difficult.

      A B-ish disaster movie, though, might be easier - one could go for Faye Dunaway or even Joan Collins for a blast from the past, maybe names like Gong Li and Roberto Benigni (God help us) for international flair, people like Brendan Fraser and Kim Cattrall from the not-too-expensive-but-recognizable list, some ex-Disney starlet to pull in the kids, and maybe Olivia Newton-John for a cameo and the inspirational theme song (a la Maureen McGovern). But it wouldn't, of course, be a patch on even the least of the Airport epics...

  3. He was a looker!

    As for casting with Joan, she always chose to go up against manly men, no one prettier than herself (that was Bette's terrain).

    No slight to Ruth, but I'd pay to see Joan tussle over him with Marie Windsor, Ann Savage, or Betty Field - talk about teeth-on-the-floor.