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 Posted:   Oct 3, 2011 - 10:05 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)


[ “Making a picture with Missy is such a stimulating and productive experience. It’s hard to think how it could be better. I recall one aspect of her approach to her work that struck me as meaningful. I commented one day on how purposely and yet gracefully she moved, the marvelous sense of contained power in the way she walked, stood, sat down or whatever.

She told me years ago in New York she had the standard heel hitting clack-clack jolting walk of a chorus girl, which she was then. She went to the zoo, and for days and weeks studied the tigers, and made herself move as they did.

That straight-on attack to become what she wanted to be seems to me a strong indicator of the kind of make-up she has a person.” ]

Definitely Indeed … and Distinctively IN DEED.

smile smile

 Posted:   Oct 26, 2011 - 2:36 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Y'know, although the show dealt primarily in powerful drama, there were tymes when a sparkling sensahuma surfaced between Those Battlin’ Barkleys, a prime example for serious extortion being the following (which Messrs. Breck & Majors plus Ms. Evans play to perfection thanks to William Norton's charming script and lovely-textured direction from Star Trek's Joseph Pevney:

The ep is also noteworthy for Claude Akins’s formidable appearance, as he ultimately engages one of the few classic scenes where Peter Breck’s Nick literally met his two-fisted match when they engage in one WHALE of a fabulous fight smile

 Posted:   Oct 29, 2011 - 11:44 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Ahhh, Young Lurvvvvv Department:

This scene is the opening preview for the sequence in the post above and, as you’ll
note, it’s hardly one of the moments Ms. Evans may look back upon with more than
maybe bemused chagrin …

 Posted:   Oct 29, 2011 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

Now ya' got me curious! smile

Did the Barkleys get their land back?

Incidentally, it was always interesting to me that most/all of Derek's exes, wives and lovers, remained friends with him after the relationships ended. And, apparently, all the wives/girlfriends also remained friendly with each other. In their minds, he must have been special in some way.

It must have been the 1970s when I came out of a drugstore in Sherman Oaks just as a beautiful, classic, and impeccably maintained, old 1930s Cord car pulled up to a parking spot on the street. It was Derek, perhaps in his early 50s, but looking absolutely gorgeous and hunky and fit, with striking grey hair, and a beautiful blonde following right behind him. It wasn't Ursula Andress, but it might have been Linda, or possibly Bo. I'm not sure I would have recognized either of them at that point. They were stopping off at the drugstore for something or other, but it was like a glamour scene from an old Ross Hunter movie!

 Posted:   Dec 4, 2011 - 4:31 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

[ Now ya' got me curious! smile Did the Barkleys get their land back? ]

Indeed – and definitely In Deed – they did, Sir M, tho it took a bit of reluctant bonding between Messrs. Breck &
– firmly but fairly guided by Queen Victoria herself – afore all was well and thus ended well with The Barkleys
havin’ a brand-new passle of Irish neighbors.

By the bye, if’n you wanna catch that particular (or any ep in the first season), mosey on over here and you can kick
back and watch it at yer leisure. Nah, no thanks are necessary … it’s the Barkley Way, jose!!! wink

 Posted:   Dec 4, 2011 - 4:40 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

“Of course I like TV, I’d be in it right now except that the Brain Boys roll eyes[ her agent ] can’t make up their minds what I should do. I wanted a Western series, but roll eyes roll eyes the Brain Boys roll eyes roll eyes said no, Westerns are on the way out. Way out? Not around my house they’re not. From 6 o’clock on it sounds like the last frontier around there. On Monday it’s Restless Gun and Wells Fargo; Tuesday, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot & Earp, Wednesday _____. Don’t I ever get tired? Hell, no! I love it …” ]TV Guide Interview, 1958.

Twasn’t till seven years later those know-it-all-who-ultimately-know-nuthin’ were proved emphatically wrong.

Speakin’ of which, Mme. Stanwyck took proper offense in the extremis early on in her show’s run when catty comments appeared in print labeling her “Lorne Greene with skirts”, which she characteristically tossed back with her customary fire, making clear her series wasn’t a carbon copy in any way, shape or form and that Victoria Barkley was played strong because pioneer women were (hadda be) strong and because she didn’t want to become [ “the Loretta Young of the west. I don’t mean that to be nasty but just as a quick description.” ]

As for the definitive difference twixt The Barkleys & Da Cartwrights, she wasn’t bashful about her professionally-personal personally-professional pride in this regard, either:

[ “Our family is much tougher. My sons are strong. They’re real men. This is not one of those ‘Father Knows Best’ things. Hell, I wouldn’t play one. Our family behaves like any normal family. We fight, argue, discuss things. We’re not like some of the TV families today. I don’t know where the hell these people are. I never see anybody like them in real life. The woman I’m playing has plenty of battles with her boys. She’s a very vital person. So are her sons. They all have minds of their own.” ]

[ “I like gutsy roles. Namby-pambies have no interest for me. I’d rather not act at all than do
a Pollyanna. I’ve got to play human beings …”

 Posted:   Dec 10, 2011 - 10:43 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

For the last show of Season One, they graciously gave Mme. Stanwyck the episode off
(tho fleeting references are made to her character) and put the spotlight on

who – courtesy of Virgil W. Vogel’s strong direction and Paul Savage’s insightfully-sensitive
script – gives one of her most impressive performances as Audra’s stricken with appendicitis in

What’s particularly memorable are the scenes (starting with the charming opening gambit between Nick & Heath)
where the brotherly concerns for their stricken sister are remarkable in their quiet authority and sharply-etched affection.

[ Pay particular attention to how the music editor uses George Duning’s always-anchoring music to accentuate
Audra’s painful predicament; the phrase ‘musical stings’ has especially apt reference. ]

Richard Anderson also offers a pivotal perf as the hunted doctor who tends to Audra, and twas probably
this appearance that ignited the later connection he and Mr. Majors cemented in “The Six-Million Dollar Man”.

But the episode belongs to Ms. Evans’ beautifully-modulated portrait, one we have a
swell suspicion amounting to an admiring certainty

Her Magnificent Mentor also found high favor with once she viewed how her influence (even when she wasn’t
physically there) was still substantially in superlative evidence.

wink smile

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2011 - 8:05 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Just rewatched the episode and it's a good one, where we get a nice complex character study in which there are no true evil people in it. This is the kind of episode that dealt with "shades of grey" in more compelling fashion than programs of a later era would IMO.

And agree completely on the use of Duning's material, and why I feel the show did lose a bit of a stride when the music was revamped overall starting in S3. I know I'd buy Duning's work for S1 in a minute if it were ever available on CD!

Oh, and with Richard Anderson performing the operation, I resisted the urge to envision him saying to the Barkley brothers, "Gentlemen, we can rebuild her." big grin

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2011 - 8:42 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

[ Oh, and with Richard Anderson performing the operation, I resisted the urge to
envision him saying to the Barkley brothers, "Gentlemen, we can rebuild her."

 Posted:   Jan 14, 2012 - 11:31 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

 Posted:   Feb 4, 2012 - 2:26 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

From this weekend's Wall Street Journal online:


Barbara Stanwyck
By Dan Callahan

Mississippi, 252 pages, $35

Hail, the Conquering Heroine

One woman taught Hollywood how to act.

The approved method for a review of a book or an essay about an artist is a pose of decorous, impartial judgment. But there will be no such artificial grandstanding for this piece. That's because I love Barbara Stanwyck.

I love her because she was never beautiful, but she was always sexy, never more so than when she let her hair go white in middle age.

I love her because of the way she called Fred MacMurray's character "Waltuh" in "Double Indemnity"—that little touch of the Brooklyn gutter that gave her an authenticity other actresses lacked.

And I love her for a guided ferocity that enlivened and occasionally transcended the actual movie at hand. It didn't matter if the material was great—"Double Indemnity" (1944), "The Lady Eve" (1941)—or just good: "The Furies" (1950) "Clash by Night" (1952), "There's Always Tomorrow" (1956).

And it didn't matter if her acting opportunities diminished as she aged: Whether it was the Elvis-vehicle "Roustabout" (1964) or an episode of "The Big Valley" (1965-69), she didn't wink, she didn't slum, she didn't ham. She played every scene for all it was worth and no more.

Dan Callahan's "Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman" is a serious book about a serious woman, less a biography of an actress than a biography of her career. Mr. Callahan follows her choices of roles and tries to capture what she was saying about herself through her acting. It was an astonishing career, whose impressive outlines only became clear in retrospect. Most actors want to be loved—it's the Achilles' heel of the profession—but Stanwyck seems to have been after something else: respect.

.Reading Mr. Callahan's book, I was reminded of an old John O'Hara potboiler called "A Rage to Live." Stanwyck had a rage to act. She wasn't the only one so afflicted in that lost time we call the Golden Age of Hollywood. James Cagney and John Garfield had some of the same sense of attack, which probably derived from shared New York roots and from the fact that acting was more than a family business or an expression of a need for approval. It was a means of ascent—the way out.

Stanwyck was born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn in 1907, on the site now occupied by the Pratt Institute. Her father disappeared, and her mother was killed by a streetcar when Ruby was 3. She was raised by her older sister and the foster-care system.

She never liked to talk about her childhood, which in itself tells you a lot. One of her lovers believed that she had been abused at some point, and not just emotionally; there was an old cigarette burn on her chest that he thought might have derived from her first marriage, to the alcoholic, anti-Semitic vaudevillian Frank Fay (later to make a comeback as Elwood P. Dowd in the original Broadway production of "Harvey"). Or perhaps it was one of the gangsters she knew in her early Broadway days. Or perhaps it was Al Jolson, with whom she once indicated she was involved and whom she always characterized as a "real son of a bitch."

Stanwyck seems muffled in her early films like "The Locked Door" (1929) and "Ten Cents a Dance" (1931), as if she can't quite gauge her new medium or how to get the needed effects. Perhaps she was embarrassed: The movies were lousy. It was Frank Capra who got her to reveal her personality in the series of films they made in 1930-32: "Ladies of Leisure," "The Miracle Woman," "Forbidden," "The Bitter Tea of General Yen." Suddenly there she was, the authentic Stanwyck: a fervent woman going where her heart told her to go.

After that, she was off to the races, working constantly, cherry-picking good directors and good scripts with a skill few stars could match: King Vidor and "Stella Dallas" (1937); Cecil B. DeMille and "Union Pacific" (1939); Preston Sturges and "The Lady Eve" (1941); Frank Capra again in his impassioned, moving, misbegotten "Meet John Doe" (1941); Howard Hawks and "Ball of Fire" (1941); and Billy Wilder and "Double Indemnity" (1944). And that's just seven years of a 50-year career.

As Stanwyck became successful, she surrounded herself with fine things, the better to put the past further in the past. She loved to read, and she loved art. And she reveled in the process of making movies—its dailiness, its camaraderie, a shared sense of mission that had been missing in her chaotic youth.

When her second marriage, to Robert Taylor, broke up over his infidelity, she spent four years with the much younger Robert Wagner, then began retreating into her career. She did movies when they were offered, television when it was necessary. Her last work was a brief tour of duty with Aaron Spelling in a spinoff of "Dynasty," but she was unhappy about the scripts, as she should have been, and quickly left the show. When she died in 1990, she asked that her ashes be scattered over Lone Pine, Calif., because she had enjoyed making westerns there.

Mr. Callahan gives a fine summation of the actress's greatest work: "Stanwyck loved the movies, even at their most extreme and artificial, yet she was the actress who most often reminded the movies of reality. Crying alone in your room. Making love with someone you're scared of. Lashing out and hurting other people. Reminding other people of their responsibilities."

Stanwyck had the unusual ability to suggest several things simultaneously, and without the specificity of dialogue. Look at the way she watches Henry Fonda's unworldly herpetologist in "The Lady Eve." On the one hand, as a con artist with a professional's pride in her craft, she can't believe her luck in snaring such a dope; on the other hand . . . he's kind of cute.

Stanwyck avoided the bland, appeasing facade that afflicted so many talented actresses of her time. Mr. Callahan suggests that she was one of the first movie stars of her era to focus on observed behavior rather than conventional acting, which is why she seems so modern.

To take just one contrasting example: Claudette Colbert was a good actress and a grand comedienne, with a delicious, slightly quizzical sense of appraisal, especially of men. And she had serious chops—she was still working onstage when she was past 80. But compared with Stanwyck's film performances, Colbert's seem as if she is buried under several coats of polite lacquer. She remains charming and eminently watchable, but she is a 1930s actress. Stanwyck is timeless.

Joan Crawford was the only one of Stanwyck's contemporaries with a similar intensity, but Crawford had a coarser talent; she was ready to lurch—too quickly—into melodrama, because that's the way she saw life. When Stanwyck was presented with shameless melodrama, such as "Stella Dallas," she tended to circle it decorously and introduce touches of pathos before going in for the kill.

The flip side to Stanwyck's great gift for blue-collar parts is that she steered away from major literary or theatrical roles, probably because of feelings of insecurity about her lack of higher education. Her Nora in John Ford's film of Seán O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars" (1936) would have to be counted a failure, but then so is the film.

Mr. Callahan's book is very good, but he is much under the sway of the willful subjectivity and slanginess of Pauline Kael. He swings free demotically, not to mention culturally, and the parabolas can get wobbly. I would have gone to the mat to prevent Mr. Callahan from referring to Stanwyck as "Stany," as if they were old chums from drama club. And his belief that Edward G. Robinson's Barton Keyes is gay and in love with MacMurray's Walter Neff in "Double Indemnity" would undoubtedly come as stunning news to both Robinson and Billy Wilder.

But when he sticks to Stanwyck's work, the moment-to-moment quicksilver of her performances—the sudden flash of sincere regret she shows just before "Waltuh" kills her in "Double Indemnity," which makes her so much more than a one-dimensional murderess—he is almost always sensible and occasionally inspired. At one point, discussing her performance in Fritz Lang's "Clash by Night," he refers to Stanwyck's "daring, her need for flesh." Beneath the physicality, there was honesty, and beneath that, there was an avidity, a hunger—a combination that explains why Stanwyck's reputation has only grown in the years since her death.

Even in 1983, in a love scene in "The Thorn Birds" opposite the hopelessly passive Richard Chamberlain's conflicted clergyman, she could summon the trumpets: "On my mouth!" she rages, "kiss me on my mouth as if we were lovers! . . . Let me tell you something, Cardinal de Bricassart, about old age and about that God of yours. That vengeful God who ruins our bodies and leaves us with only enough for regret! Inside this stupid body I am still young! I still feel. I still want. I still dream. And I still love you. Oh God, how much!"

It's a good speech, but when delivered with the naked fire that propelled Ruby Stevens out of Brooklyn, it becomes a great speech.

If Mr. Callahan's book is not the last word on this great actress, it will certainly stand as an invaluable critical guide. It's a book that would have initially embarrassed its subject, if only because she would be uneasy about any book about herself. And then, as she thought about it, and maybe reread it, she would be just a little flattered, then, finally, pleased. And she would be right, as usual.

—Mr. Eyman is the author of "Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille."

 Posted:   Feb 4, 2012 - 12:53 PM   
 By:   SilentRunning   (Member)

"Sacrilege it might be to say it, try as we might, we could never quite buy into GUNSMOKE (a tad too dry for our evolving tastes) or, particularly, BONANZA (which was wayyyyyyy too patriarchal)"

too dry for our evolving tastes?????? How about the DEVOLUTION of our tastes instead.

If they called TV a vast wasteland THEN, it's surely a HELL based purgatory now. Probably why my TV is tuned to channels like ME, Antenna and THIS that show the old stuff. I can only handle so much of the new garbage they push on prime time and cable now.

 Posted:   Feb 10, 2012 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

So long, Nick Barkley.

 Posted:   Feb 11, 2012 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

wink frownfrownfrown

 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 12:58 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

And Then There Was (Is) Only Two Department:

 Posted:   Mar 3, 2012 - 11:16 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

 Posted:   Sep 28, 2012 - 9:13 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

In case any newcomers need a brilliantly-belated inaugural introduction to The Battlin' Barkleys:

Oh, und somehow we missed this tantalizin' opus 'pon original (uh) unveiling:

eek wink

 Posted:   Dec 20, 2012 - 3:34 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

They Don't Make 'Em Like This Any More Because ... Department:

If, like us, the healthy addiction to pure Western wonderment woefully remains pretty much
unsatisfied, you can still pick up these for your Barkley ranch Christmas tree (whilst
wondering if the Jessica Lange remake/update will mosey along THIS durn yeer) ...??? confused

 Posted:   Dec 25, 2012 - 2:22 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

"She's their Star of the Month - and you've got just six days left to catch her.

Got some kinda problem with that. do ya?"


 Posted:   Dec 25, 2012 - 2:41 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

GREAT ACTRESS, but what always will stick in my head is the scene in SORRY WRONG NUMBER-49- where she is frantic already in fear and while on the phone she says WHO IS THIS-and a man replies- THIS IS THE MORGUE.the greatest moment in a classic film.

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