ROD TAYLOR, PULLING NO PUNCHES

It was interesting to see the documentary , ROD TAYLOR, PULLING NO PUNCHES (2016) in the presence of the two Australians who made the documentary – director Robert de Young and producer Stephan Wellink.

The screening at the Glasgow Film Festival in February, 2018 was the first time the documentary has been shown in the U.K.

Born in Sydney, Rod Taylor (1930 – 2015) started off in radio in the early 1950s but made his way to Hollywood by 1954.

MGM gave him a seven year contract in 1955 and put him in THE CATERED AFFAIR, with Bette Davis and  Debbie Reynolds.

Rod is best remembered for THE TIME  MACHINE (1960), THE V.I.P.’S ( one of the few times he played an Aussie), YOUNG  CASSIDY and THE BIRDS.

 

With Debbie Reynolds in A Catered Affair.

 

THE TIME MACHINE

 

With Tippi Hedren.THE BIRDS

 

With Doris Day.THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT

 

With Ida Lupino

Rod did quite a lot of TV including 26 episodes of a series called HONG KONG (1960/61). Ida Lupino was one of the directors.

Another series called OUTLAWS (1986/87) only lasted 12 episodes but looked interesting when I watched an episode on You Tube – time travelling cowboys  from 1896 find themselves in 1986!

 

With Maggie Smith. THE V.I.P’S

Maggie Smith was interviewed and said Rod was incredibly generous.

 

Three of my favorites :

With Glenn Ford. FATE IS THE HUNTER

 

With James Garner.36 HOURS

 

With  Ben Johnson.    THE TRAIN ROBBERS.

 

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Rod’s biographer,Stephen Vagg is also interviewed. His book is ROD TAYLOR,AN AUSSIE IN HOLLYWOOD (2010).

Having read the extensively researched and interesting book, I’d only take exception to Mr. Vagg’s description of one of my favorite westerns,”The Train Robbers” as lacking excitement and originality!

Also interviewed are Tippi Hedren and Angela Cartwright from “The Birds”

 

The heart of the documentary is a series of interviews Rod did in 2012. He comes over as open, candid and humorous.

 

The DVD of the documentary came out in Australia in January 2018 from UMBRELLAENT.COM.AU

It’s well worth seeing and I hope it gets a release in the UK and the States.

I’ve been a Rod Taylor fan for a long time. Even in a small part in Alan Ladd’s HELL ON FRISCO BAY in 1955,  he stood out as someone to watch.

With William Demarest, Alan Ladd. HELL ON FRISCO BAY

 

There’s lots of info about Rod on the website http://www.rodtaylorsite.com

 

 

 

14 responses »

  1. Hopefully it will be on general DVD release.
    Glad you like Train Robbers. It doesn’t have too many fans! Rod and Ben make a good team.

  2. I’ve heard of this but haven’t seen it yet. It sounds fantastic. I love Rod Taylor. He was a very good actor and such a gorgeous guy. I share the Train Robbers love with you and Paddy, that is a very fun Western and Rod and Ben are terrific as the bickering friends.

  3. Rod Taylor the gentleman tough guy. Add me to the list of Rod Taylor fans. I have liked Taylor ever since I first saw THE TIME MACHINE(1960) on the NBC SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES in 1965. He had quite a run in really good movie roles from 1960-70. I’m glad that jennifromrollamo mentioned Rod’s voice work as Pongo.

    I like THE TRAIN ROBBERS(1973), especially the banter between Rod and Ben Johnson. One line was really good, but I won’t spoil it for future viewers. Also, I thought THE OREGON TRAIL, which aired on NBC in 1977 was a good western TV show.

    Vienna, thank you for bringing back memories of Rod Taylor, an excellent actor.

  4. Better yet, was BEARCATS! a 1971 TV Show. It wasn’t your usual TV Western and it starred Rod Taylor and Dennis Cole. Taylor and Cole portrayed trouble shooting soldiers of fortune traveling the 1914-16 Southwest driving a Stutz Bearcat. I remember watching the first episode in September, 1971. I was sold on the show when up the street rolled a World War I era tank, which crashed into the front of the bank. The tank driving bank robbers were led by actor John Vernon.

    BEARCATS! was short lived, being canceled after 13 episodes. Although, I thought it was a good show. Of course, if the show had been successful, Rod probably wouldn’t have been in THE TRAIN ROBBERS, because filming on the movie began in Durango, Mexico in March, 1972.

  5. Hey there Vienna – Stephen Vagg here – thanks for mentioning the book. Didn’t mean to upset you re: The Train Robbers – have to admit I’m not a fan, but the film has it’s good points. Wish Rod had been given more to do in it. He and Wayne were great friends in real life and it’s a pity they never got a real co-starring film – Rod was considered for the role of Colorado in Rio Bravo but they went with Ricky Nelson, he was going to be in Circus World with him, but walked off set before filming, and was almost in The War Wagon, but was replaced by Kirk Douglas. For me the best Rod Taylor Western was an episode of “Cheyenne”, called “The Argonauts”… a remake of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. It’s really good.

  6. Good to hear from you, Stephen. That’s interesting that Rod was considered for Rio Bravo – wish he had done it!
    That ‘Cheyenne’ episode sounds intriguing.

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