Friday, August 13, 2010

Prolific Robert Ryan

Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan in On Dangerous Ground

TCM's Summer Under the Stars is honoring Robert Ryan today with 24 hours of his movies. To be honest, I'm not all that excited about today's lineup. It's not anything against Robert Ryan; it's more that most of the movies that TCM selected in his honor aren't among my favorites. Perhaps Crossfire, which is airing at 1:00 PM ET, but even that is marred by the heavy-handed speech about the Irish as a way of opposing bigotry. That having been said, what today's lineup shows is that Ryan had a surprisingly large amound of work, having made over five dozen movies from 1947, when he really became an established actor after World War II, to his death in 1973. There are the movies that TCM is showing, such as God's Little Acre at 4:00 PM, or playing Captain Nemo in Captain Nemo and the Underwater City at 6:00 PM, or even the adaptation of Herman Melville's Billy Budd at 11:00 PM.

But just as important, and broad, is the set of movies TCM didn't have the time to include in a 24-hour salute. Some of them the probably couldn't get the rights to; Inferno having been made at Fox is one good example. But there's the noir classic On Dangerous Ground; the bad but funny anti-communist movie The Woman on Pier 13 (originally titled I Married a Communist), or even the war movie The Dirty Dozen, where Ryan has a small role as a general observing military exercises. Worse, Inferno and The Woman on Pier 13 still don't seem to have been released to DVD.

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