Hot Rod

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My friend Randy spoke in awe of the moment in the not-too-distinguished LONG JOHN SILVER where a young Rod Taylor gets a big scene in front of Robert Newton, playing the titular peg-leg, and blasts away at his dialogue with such fervor that you can kind of see Newton take a step back, eyes rolling more swiftly than usual, as if thinking, “Hang on, I may have a competitor here…”

Israel Hands from David Cairns on Vimeo.

It’s a performance big as all outdoors, and his director isn’t helping him focus or control it (Newton has been left to run riot also) but the sheer muscle is impressive. Control would come later.

Randy encouraged me to think of Mr. Taylor as not just a stalwart leading man in THE BIRDS and THE TIME MACHINE, but as an explosively inventive performer comparable in some ways to a Barrymore or a Brando — and Taylor is NEVER mentioned in such company. I try to give him a small measure of the appreciation he deserves in this fortnight’s edition of The Forgotten, which will be published shortly. Watch this space for the link.

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6 Responses to “Hot Rod”

  1. F here – “Treasuurrrre? TREASUURRRRE? mmmpphhhhrrrrpptttt.” and assorted “aahhhrrrr”s.

  2. Randy Cook Says:

    And what an entrance! The scenery chewed HIM.

  3. This obviously got him Zabriskie Point

  4. Another Taylor performance: The voice of Pongo, the narrator / hero dog of “101 Dalmatians” (the good version). Greenbriar Picture Shows recently talked about “Hotel”; there and in the comments there’s some speculation about why such a classic leading man type didn’t have a bigger career as such.

  5. My answer: he made Hotel. And a slew of films like it. Maybe dividing his roles between tough guys and Doris Day comedies wasn’t helpful, I dunno? It didn’t seem to harm other leading men. But when I went looking for Taylor movies to watch, it was disheartening to see how many of those he made when he was a star were rather lacking in interest. Similar with James Garner.

    I found a crappy off-air pan-and-scan of Darker than Amber which I’ll probably watch.

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