Friday, September 22, 2017

THE DUO DOUBLE FEATURE BLOGATHON: Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power in Rawhide (1951) and Untamed (1955)


The Flapper Dame and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies have come up with a fabulous idea. It is The Duo Double Feature Blogathon, and it runs from September 22nd to September 24th. Two stars who worked in two films only. We'll have double bills for days!  Day 1  Day 2  Day 3


Susan Hayward 
June 30, 1917 - March 14, 1975

The scrappy Brooklynite was one of any number of pretty girls with a dream who went to Hollywood to throw her hat in the Scarlett O'Hara ring. Susan stayed to start up the rung to stardom with bit parts leading to progressively more showy roles. By 1941 she was making life miserable for Ingrid Bergman in Adam Had Four Sons. The next year she was featured in the DeMille epic Reap the Wild Wind. In 1944 she was the leading lady in the O'Neill play The Hairy Ape. The 1947 release Smash Up: The Story of a Woman saw Susan Hayward receive the first of five Oscar nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The 1949 romantic drama My Foolish Heart gave Susan her second nomination.

The 1950s would find Susan Hayward taking on roles that showcased her personality and her versatility, many at Twentieth Century Fox in films such as the Americana classic I'd Climb the Highest Mountain and the searing film-noir House of Strangers. Biographical films would bring two more Oscar nominations, as singers Jane Froman in With a Song in My Heart and Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow. Her winning role would come in 1958 as convicted murderer Barbara Graham in I Want to Live! directed by Robert Wise.



Tyrone Power
May 5, 1914 - November 15, 1958

Born into an acting dynasty reaching back three generations, and blessed with beyond good looks, Tyrone Power would seem blessed by the gods to be a movie star. Signed by Twentieth Century Fox at the age of 22, after a few small roles he was cast as the lead in 1936s Lloyds of London opposite Madeleine Carroll. We might say that his abilities were not fully tested during this period, but Tyrone Power's popularity and star power were unquestioned.

Tyrone Power served with the Marines during WW2 in the Pacific Theatre, and returned with a maturity and a desire to prove himself an actor depth. His first role after the war was an adaptation of Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge, and was a step in the right direction. In 1947 he gave what I believe is his greatest screen performance, that of Stanton Carlisle in Nightmare Alley, the con man extraordinaire whose biggest fall guy is himself. Tyrone Power appeared in memorable films throughout the 1950s, from I'll Never Forget You to Witness for the Prosecution, but more and more he turned to the theatre to find creative satisfaction.



When you look at these two stars, their pairing seems a long time coming, but 1951 finally saw Susan Hayward cast opposite Tyrone Power in a powerful and dramatic western directed by Henry Hathaway. This was the first of four films Hathaway would make with Susan Hayward. Tyrone Power and Henry Hathaway collaborated on 5 films, going back to 1940s Johnny Apollo.

The Rawhide screenplay is by Dudley Nichols, Oscar winner for The Informer, whose other western films include Stagecoach, The Arizonian and The Tin Star.

Rawhide Pass is an isolated way station on the passenger/freight stagecoach line from San Francisco to St. Louis. Tom Owens (Tyrone Power) has one more week to go on the job. His father is the director of the line and Tom is learning the business from old hand Sam Todd (Edgar Buchanan). 

Passengers on an incoming stage include Vinnie Holt (Susan Hayward) who is taking her orphaned niece back east to the the toddler's paternal grandparents. Vinnie's trip is waylaid when a troop of soldiers arrives in search of escaped convict Rafe Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe). Zimmerman escaped the day before he was to hang for murder and has three others convicts with him. Company policy insists that women and children passengers must remain at the station in the event of such danger. She would have been better off if she had been allowed to continue on her journey.

The too smart for his own good Zimmerman is after gold that is headed toward the way station. His gang is not of his choosing, but was formed due to the circumstances of the escape. Simple-minded Yancy (Dean Jagger), unimaginative thug Gratz (George Tobias) and psychotic Tevis (Jack Elam). Shocking violence comes to Rawhide Pass when these four ride in, with the almost immediate killing of Sam Todd. The outlaws conclude that Vinnie and little Callie (Judy Ann Dunn) are Tom's wife and child. Tom and Vinnie play along to stay alive.

The wait for tomorrow's gold laden stage is fraught with anxiety as character is revealed through escape plans that almost work, that cause more danger, and are twisted through the unexpected. Rawhide is a top-notch western, an intriguing character study and a searing hostage drama.





Susan and Ty would be reunited on screen in 1955s epic adventure Untamed. The film would be Susan's fourth and final with director Henry King and one of the 11 pictures King made with Tyrone Power during their years together at 20th Century Fox.

The source of the story of Untamed is a novel by South African Helga Moray. Our heroine is Katie O'Neill Kildare (Susan Hayward), a Scarlet O'Hara sort, whom life keeps kicking around, but who always lands on her feet. Her first kick is when she falls for the visiting Paul Van Riebeck (Tyrone Power), who is buying horses from Katie's father, a wealthy Irish landowner.  Their love for each other is not enough for Paul to abandon his responsibilities as a leader of the Dutch settlers in South Africa.

Two years later Katie is in South Africa with her husband Shawn Kildare (John Justin), her infant son, and companion Aggie (Agnes Moorehead). The potato famine has wiped out her family's fortune and she is looking for new land. A Zulu raid on the wagons trekking to new land leaves a widowed Katie free to reunite with Paul. Complications arise when Katie callously discounts the attraction she holds for Paul's friend Kurt Hout (Richard Egan) and the enmity of Kurt's girl, Julia (Rita Moreno). 

Choosing an idyllic place to farm Katie is planning her future with Paul, while Paul is still dedicated to his political ambitions for the Dutch. The conflict causes the couple to separate. It will be many years before Katie and Paul are together once more. Those years bring storms, tragedy, the birth of Paul's son, of whom he will remain unaware for years, poverty, wealth and power, regret and adventure. 

Untamed is epic in scope and boasts gorgeous location filming in Ireland and South Africa. The score by Franz Waxman is another of his glorious compositions. 

Nonetheless, for all its assets, I find Untamed lacking in depth and, therefore, in entertainment value. The characters, leading and supporting, are underwritten, leaving the actors to flesh out a sense of their core amid the overwhelming narrative. Although necessitated by story, it holds back our involvement when our two charismatic leads, Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power, spend so much time apart on screen.








18 comments:

  1. Ok- I posted a comment but I will post again

    Thank you for bringing this pair to the double duos! I did not know they made two films! I understand when one of the two films is just weak- and its just so sad because The two deserve better!! The next time tcm or fx movie airs Rawhide I will just have to check it out! It will be part of my explore more than just John Wayne westerns goal!!

    Thanks so much for writing! Emily- the Flapper Dame

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    1. Thanks, Emily. I love your "explore more than just John Wayne westerns" goal. There are a lot of gems out there. A lot of directors and writers used the western in fascinating ways.

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  2. Tyrone Power...sigh. :-) I'll have to see Rawhide--that sounds fantastic. Westerns are so quintessentially American. That, and musicals.

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    1. Did you hear that? I echoed your sigh.

      Rawhide is definitely worth your time. I've it on TCM a couple of times although it doesn't appear to be on the upcoming schedule.

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  3. Hayward and Power are two actors I really need to seek out in the future as I've hardly seen any of their films. I'll definitely have to keep an eye out for Rawhide! Thanks for bringing this lesser known (at least to me) duo to the Blogathon!

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    1. My pleasure. Thanks for hosting a swell blogathon.

      My sister commented today that she now feels woefully behind on her Susan Hayward movies. I think we owe it to the gal my dad used to call Susie baby to pick up the slack.

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  4. I don't think I've seen UNTAMED (my memory ain't what it used to be), but it sounds like the kind of movie that would appeal to me. In addition to the star duo, I'm a fan of Agnes, Rita, and Richard. Alas, Richard Egan didn't get a lot of good film roles, though he's quite good in A SUMMER PLACE and THE 300 SPARTANS. Thanks for spotlighting a very good Western and a Hayward-Power movie I wanna see now.

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    1. I don't know if it is a blessing or a curse, but every time we spin around in the blogging world we find another movie we want to see! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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  5. Like the previous commenters have said, Hayward and Power are a duo I didn't know about. I've been trying to see more of their respective filmographies, though, especially Power's, so this was great to read!

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    1. Excellent work by both actors is waiting for us to explore. That's part of the fun of being a classic movie fan. There's always something "new".

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  6. A great choice of duo, CW! I love Rawhide and own Untamed but haven't yet seen it. Even if it is underwritten, having Hayward/Power in it and the location filming makes me intrigued to see it. I can't believe that King made 11 films with Tyrone Power...wow, he must have really appreciated his acting abilities ( as did his fans )!

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    1. The King/Power duo rarely disappoints, and there are good points in Untamed, even if the film itself didn't do it for me. It could be that I missed something or was in a mood. As mentioned, Waxman's score gets high marks indeed.

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  7. I can't believe I've NEVER seen Rawhide, despite all the great things written about it. As for "Untamed", I've never heard of it but the scenery sounds worth it, even if the story seems a bit lacking.

    Great choices for this blogathon! I didn't realize Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power only made 2 films together.

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    1. They made a great team and should have had more opportunities to share the screen.

      Rawhide is a keeper. I look forward to your review someday soon. The scenery and the score certainly make Untamed worth a look.

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  8. These two have the most beautiful NOSES in Hollywood! LOL
    I haven't seen any of the films, but I really want to give Rawhide a chance. Thanks for showcasing this duo and their movies!
    Kisses!
    Le

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    1. I don't think I really noticed that nose thing before, but now that you mention it - yeah.

      I really like Rawhide, and I hope that all who are new to it will feel the same way. I am sure you will!

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  9. Both movies are great - and so are Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward. Susan was my Mother's favorite actress - "I Want to Live" always left her, as she put it: "Limp as a dishrag". And I like her too. I can't think of single bad Hayward performance. She may not have been the greatest of all time - but she was always a professional. (As was Tyrone Power). And based on her Bio, she was - as you'd expect - a level headed gal who knew when to leave Hollywood and go on to other things. Thanks for another great write up.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. Always nice to have you visit.

      Susan Hayward was a particular favourite of my dad's. He called her "Susie baby". True what you say of not finding a bad performance in her films. You never felt cheated. This gal always gave her best.

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