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RICHARD EGAN 1921-1987

Richard Egan

Not a bad start to your film career when you play Joan Crawford ‘s husband in your third screen outing. That’s what happened to Richard Egan. He’s only in THE DAMNED DONT CRY (1950) for a few scenes, but he comes over well as the hard working husband whom Joan Crawford leaves when their son is killed.

Richard Egan, Joan Crawford

Contracts at Universal and Fox kept Richard busy in the 1950s. Occasionally he would get star billing – TENSION AT TABLE ROCK, SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD (his name above Anthony Quinn) and LOVE ME TENDER (initially billed above Elvis Presley!), GOG (a poor Ivor Tors film) and SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE .

He also starred in two films I’ve love to see  – SECRET INTERLUDE and VOICE IN THE MIRROR.

 

With Beverly Michaels in WICKED WOMAN.

The statuesque Beverly Michaels was the Wicked Woman. Richard – and Percy Helton – fall under her spell!

 

Richard, plus Herbert Marshall and Constance Dowling had little to do in GOG,  a pseudo-scientific story involving robots which looked like early versions of Daleks! It’s on You Tube.

 

With Jane Russell. UNDERWATER!

He costarred with Jane Russell in UNDERWATER! and THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER. And he had a substantial role in VIOLENT SATURDAY.

 

Richard played an alcoholic in VOICE IN THE MIRROR, with Julie London as his supportive wife.. Has anyone seen it?

 

With Julie London. Voice in the Mirror.

 

SECRET INTERLUDE ( also known as The View From Pompey’s  Head) sounds intriguing too, with Richard as  New York lawyer who returns to his southern roots to investigate a washed up writer (Sidney Blackmer). The strong cast included Cameron Mitchell, Dana Wynter and Marjorie Rambeau.

 

SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE gave Richard a strong role as a crusading district attorney out to reel in racketeer,Walter Matthau . Charles McGraw is in support as a detective and Jan Sterling and Julie Adams costar. The use of Richard Rodgers’ dramatic theme music gave the film great atmosphere.

 

It could be argued that Richard’s roles in SPLIT SECOND and VIOLENT SATURDAY , (although the former gave him a relatively small role and the latter a much larger one,) were similar.

In Split Second, he’s a doctor who puts himself in danger trying to help his estranged wife (Alexis Smith) who is being held against  her will by gangster Stephen McNally.

Even in small roles, Egan always impresses me with his quiet, natural, assured performance – helped of course by that wonderful deep, resonant voice he had. He comes into the suspenseful thriller, Split Second, almost two thirds of the way through the film, and immediately becomes part of the ensemble, someone you pay attention to. He knows his wife has been unfaithful to him but he still will help her in any way he can, though he makes it clear he is over her.

 

Richard’s role in  Violent Saturday is much bigger though he isnt really part of the main plot of a deadly bank robbery in a small town.

But he is drawn into the drama when his wife (Margaret Hayes) is killed during the bank holdup.

His character in Violent Saturday is wealthy but drinks too much while trying to save his marriage. When it looks as if he and his wife may patch up their marriage, her sudden death is a terrible shock.

 

With Margaret Hayes

 

With Virginia Leith.

In this scene with Virginia  Leith , in the aftermath of hearing of his wife’s murder, Richard , almost talking to himself, speaks about the plans they had that morning and how everything was changed in an instant. It’s an emotional moment and Richard conveys the anguish very well.  His subdued underplaying in this scene is memorable.

 

 

With Dorothy Malone in TENSION AT TABLE ROCK.

As gunslinger Wes Tancred In Tension at Table Rock, Richard had a good role as a gunfighter who wants to escape his past but finds  himself  in a town with lots of problems, all  violent. He finds himself helping a struggling sheriff (Cameron Mitchell) whose wife is Dorothy Malone.

There are similarities in the plot to Shane. Tancred  is an outsider who is forced to move on at the end of the film.

 

In 1970, Richard costarred with Barbara Stanwyck in a TV movie, “The House That Would Not Die.” I had a look at it on You Tube but wasn’t impressed. Barbara and her niece have moved into a haunted house and Richard  is her neighbour who helps solve the mystery.

 

With Jane Wyman

And Richard even did a Disney movie, Pollyanna, though he and Jane Wyman were very much in support of young Hayley Mills in the lead.

He did have top billing in A SUMMER PLACE, but again, Richard and Dorothy  McGuire were in the shadow of the younger stars, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue.

 

When film roles got fewer, Richard guested on several TV shows, then got his own modern day western series , EMPIRE which ran in 1962/63 . As ‘Redigo’, ranch foreman, Richard had Terry Moore , Charles Bronson and Ryan O’Neal in support.

 

According to IMDB, Richard went back to the stage from 1974 to 1982, and then took a part in the TV soap, CAPITOL. I haven’t been able to find out what stage work he did during that period in the 70s.

 

 

Richard was married to actress Patricia Hardy from 1958.

 

Described by some as bland, boring or wooden, I think Richard Egan was solid (not stolid!) in every film I have seen him in.

 

ON THE SET 42

Edward G. Robinson and Michael Curtiz and the sailors  of THE SEA WOLF. No sign of Ida Lupino or John Garfield.

 

Clark Gable and Norma Shearer . “IDIOT’S DELIGHT.”

Could be Norma’s stand-in  behind her.

 

Taking it easy between shots. Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable. TO PLEASE A LADY.

 

Great shot of Cary Grant on top of the roof in TO  CATCH A THIEF.

Hitchcock is up there on the scaffolding.

 

 

Grace Kelly . “To Catch a Thief.”

 

Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov visit Cary Grant on the set of TO  CATCH A THIEF. (Ray and Ustinov in costume for MY THREE ANGELS.)

 

Tay Garnett, John Garfield, Lana Turner. THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE.

 

Raoul  Walsh In jacket. Alan Hale, Ida Lupino, George Raft. THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT.

 

Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda visit Joan Crawford and James Stewart on the set of THE GORGEOUS HUSSY.

James looks a bit uncomfortable in that get-up!

 

Howard Keel, Robert  Taylor, Ava Gardner. RIDE VAQUERO.

ANNE JEFFREYS :RIFF- RAFF (1947)

Pat O’Brien, Anne Jeffreys

Watching RIFF-RAFF, a typical RKO release of the period,  I was impressed by Anne Jeffreys who plays a nightclub singer down in Panama , opposite a rather overweight  Pat O’Brien as a private detective/Mr. Fixit called Dan Hammer – with some similarities in character to Kiss Me Deadly’s Mike Hammer.

The plot involves a missing map which has details of a valuable oil field. Those looking for it include Jerome Cowan and Walter Slezak.

Percy Kilbride adds a light touch as Hammer’s personal cab driver.

It’s  well directed by Ted Tetzlaff, especially the opening sequences, but there is only so much he can do with a routine script.

I enjoyed Anne Jeffreys’ singing of ‘Money is the root of all evil’.

I was surprised to read that O’Brien was only 48 when he made this – he looks much older and any romance with the 25 year old Jeffreys just doesn’t work.

It’s a mystery why RKO didn’t hold onto Anne Jeffreys, an attractive blonde with a lovely singing voice. Anne’s career after 1948 was on stage and television, including the tv series “Topper” (1953-55), costarring with her husband, Robert Sterling.

Anne was most active from  1945 to 1948, during which she made three westerns, including two with Randolph Scott; two thrillers with Lawrence Tierney –  Dillinger and Step by Step; and two Dick Tracy films, as Tess Trueheart.

(Anne died in 2017, aged 94. She had been married to Robert Sterling for over 50 years.)

Robert Sterling, Anne Jeffreys.

 

With Randolph Scott In RETURN OF THE BADMEN

For me, Riff Raff needed another leading man, like Bob Mitchum who would have been more believable .

Warner Archive brought out the dvd in 2015, but I have a Spanish issue from 2013  which came  in a case and with a booklet essay (which I couldn’t read!).

 

CASABLANCA: THE GIN JOINT CUT

The Oran Mor venue has been staging lunchtime plays under the title of A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT since 2004.  And that’s what you get – a very tasty pie, a drink and an hour long play, all for £12.50.

To celebrate the 500th performance since  2004, one play, written and directed by Morag Fullarton, CASABLANCA,THE GIN JOINT CUT was chosen for revival.

First performed in 2010, this little gem is a spoof and also homage to the 1942 film. It’s been performed at the Edinburgh Festival, in London and  Paris ( with its original cast of three – Gavin Mitchell, Jimmy Chisholm and Claire Waugh).

 

When  I saw the play for the first time this year, I knew nothing about it. I  came away completely captivated with Morag Fullarton’s writing and the performances of Mitchell, Waugh and Kevin Lennon (replacing Chisholm).

The three performers play all the parts – brilliantly. Gavin Mitchell is ‘Rick’, Kevin Lennon is Ugarte, Lazlo and Renault and Claire Waugh is Ilsa- and Major Strasser!  Costume changes are minimal but convey whatever character they are playing.

Much of the original dialogue is used. There’s action and laughs . Of course the story is condensed but the three performers are simply superb.Sound effects and music add great atmosphere.

 

Gavin Mitchell – and Sam.

Oran Mor has a small stage area and one of the funniest scenes involves the scene where Rick says the famous line,  “Play it,Sam.”

Only what we see is a small wooden Sam sitting at a tiny piano! ( singing ‘As Time Goes By’ of course).

 

We all  got to sing along to ‘La Marseillaise’!

So many funny touches – a watering can is handy when Rick reads Ilsa’s farewell letter at the Paris station!

And when Rick and Renault watch the plane leaving with Lazlo and Ilsa, Rick says the immortal words about a beautiful friendship – and they both duck as the sound of the plane is heard above them!

 

 

Gavin Mitchell as Rick Blaine and Jimmy Chisholm as Victor Lazlo, with the letters of transit.

 

Gavin Mitchell.

The play was well  received in Paris . I know a New York engagement was a possibility but I don’t think it happened.

 

The Oran Mor, in the west end of Glasgow. ‘Oran Mor’ meaning ‘great music’, was originally a church built in 1862 before becoming a music and theatrical venue.

 

To Scottish audiences, Gavin Mitchell is known for playing Boaby the barman in the hit comedy tv series, “Still Game”.

Gavin has the Bogart look and his accent is spot-on.

 

The applause at the end of the show was roof shattering!  I wish I could convey  just how funny this play is and how skilfully it is done with just a cast of three on a small stage ( the Oran Mor only  seats about  200). I wish I had discovered it sooner.

All I  can say is – and I admit to quoting from one review – if it comes your way, don’t miss it – you might regret it, maybe not today………..

 

The real thing.