When I saw that today was the 100th anniversary of actor Richard Egan's birth I racked my brain trying to remember what it was that I'd just watched recently that had him in it -- it took me a minute (probably because I still haven't finished watching the movie) but turns out the film was called The Revolt of Mamie Stover (yeah that's a lotta title, I agree) from 1956 from director Raoul Walsh, and it stars Egan alongside Jane Russell in a tale of complicated Hawaiian romance set alongside the Pearl Harbor bombing. (It is currently on Criterion Channel, which is where I stumbled upon it.)
Yeah it's basically just a rip-off of From Here to Eternity, but the half I have watched is slightly nastier, more like Eternity as a beach noir. That makes it sound more interesting than it was, though! Hence me not finishing it. But I do like Richard Egan as an actor well enough whenever I see him in things -- it's just whenever I see him in things they're usually a little junky. See also the science-fiction robot attack flick Gog from 1954, memorable for its wacky robot designs and Egan wearing an incredibly well-tailored jumpsuit.
Anyway weirdly Richard Egan just last night came up in the book I'm currently reading about the somewhat forgotten 1950s / 60s gay Hollywood gossip columnist Mike Connolly -- Egan and his wife are mentioned repeatedly as being good friends of Connolly, which makes one wonder... by the way I'm only about 40 pages into the book so far but I can already highly recommend it (you can buy it here).
You hear about Connolly's female contemporaries Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons all the time, but Connolly seems to me even more fascinating -- he spoke in coded terms about all the gay gossip in town, actively inned and vaguely outed people constantly, lived openly with his male partner (who became his "assistant" wink wink) but was never seen at functions without a female escort, and apparently (I haven't gotten to this part) had a big role in the Blacklist era. Doesn't this sound like someone who should get their own limited series?
Anyway I'm by no means a Richard Egan expert so if any of y'all wanna chime in with what his best movies or performances are I'd love to hear -- I've only seen a couple and I'm sure there are better more important films within his filmography than Gog, for god's sake. (Although I will once again give good praise to that jumpsuit he wears in that, because my god.)
right here. It's worth checking, believe me!
He was good looking in a rough hewn way and always willing to shed his shirt in even the most improbable moments (nothing to sneeze at) but never more than a reliable journeyman actor. Just the type that the big female stars of the day loved since while he was standing there providing the requisite attractive support they could plow right over him on their way to center stage!
I liked Revolt of Mamie Stover enough to finish it, once! But that was for Jane Russell (Marilyn Monroe turned it down) and the deliciously dolled up Agnes Moorehead as her madam than Egan. I have the source novel waiting in a pile of to read books and I'm sure it will be racier than the movie.
He did appear in some good films and while he's never electrifying he gets the job done and he's usually not the main star carrying the film.
Of what I've seen I'd say these are the most worthwhile:
Violent Saturday-Decent heist flick with Victor Mature, Lee Marvin, Sylvia Sidney and Ernest Borgnine along for the ride.
The Damned Don't Cry-It's a Joan, Joan, Joan world in this Crawford flick with the diva surrounded by Egan, Kent Smith and a ferocious Steve Cochran.
These Thousand Hills-A Western with Lee Remick.
Undercover Girl-That would be Alexis Smith!
Voice in the Mirror-A lower case take on The Lost Weekend with Egan and Julie London.
There is one more that I can recommend for certain reasons and not for others-The View from Pompey's Head.
The good-It's a lush soap opera with many signatures of the big budget 50's studio era, beautiful locations and production design, Cinemascope and an eye for detail, there's a scene where Egan pulls up beside a house and the colors of his suit, car interior & exterior and house all compliment each other and his complexion and he's in a ghetto! It also has solid performances by Dana Wynter, Marjorie Rambeau and Cameron Mitchell but then there's the demerit side of the scale...
That would be Egan himself! His character has many, many conflicts but he's just not magnetic enough nor a compelling enough actor to carry a film like this one. Had Rock Hudson or Richard Burton been cast they could have elevated it to a must-see level. As is it's not bad just shiny and empty.
I loved Cog when I was in the 7th grade. I wonder how it would stand up today...
Gog is an interesting movie for it's time. I got to see it in restored 3D. As for Egan I agree with the journey man definition and I always in my youth expected/hoped he would take his shirt off because of the beautiful body. If you look at IMDB he had really an expansive career. There are three films with kind of run the gamit of what he did. One is a bonafide cult classic. It's not available on DVD but it shows up on TCM. The movie stars Beverly Michaels as a tough blonde dame who rides into to town on a Grayhound bus and has a number of unsavory types slobbering over her when she gets a job as...what else...a waitress in a bar. It's noir camp of high order and Egan is the leading man. Then there is Underwater in "Superscope". He's reunited with Russell and then there's Gilbert Roland. It's all deep sea diving, Jane in a bathing suit, and Roland and Egan competing for shirtlessness. Finally there is A Summer Place *yes the song is from that movie*. A turgid soap opera with teens struggling with emerging sexuality, and a "fridgid" mother, Constance Ford, and kind father Egan. The "teens" are Sandra Dee and Troy Donehue. It's based on a popular novel of the time.
I love Richard Egan. He had a very low key non-acting style which is very compelling. He coould express such powerful virility and tenderness like no other. I especially like Tension at Table Rock, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Voice in the Mirror, Violent Saturday and A Summer Place. I wish Pompey's Head would be restored. I have a soft spot for Wicked Woman....
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