Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Edward G. Robinson

Movie Dearest continues our daily previews of Turner Classic Movies' month long "Summer Under the Stars" celebration:

Now Playing Star Profile for Edward G. Robinson - Stardates: Born December 12, 1893, Bucharest, Romania; died 1973. Star Sign: Sagittarius. Star Qualities: "Sour trombone" voice, ability to play ferocious or gentle, formidable talent that transcends physical appearance. Star definition: "Surely his record for versatility, studied characterization -- ranging from the modern colloquial to the classics -- and artistic integrity is unsurpassed." -- Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Galaxy of Characters: Rico in Little Caesar; Dr. Paul Ehrlich in Dr Ehrlich's Magic Bullet, Johnny Rocco in Key Largo, Lancey Howard in The Cincinnati Kid.

In All My Sons, the 1948 film version of Arthur Miller's Tony Award winning play, Robinson plays Joe Keller, a factory owner whose past crimes come back to haunt him. Burt Lancaster co-stars as his son, Chris, who discovers that his father was responsible for the deaths of 21 soldiers during World War II due to the defective airplane parts he supplied to the military. The elder Keller had escaped prosecution by blaming his business partner, but the truth comes to light when Chris returns home intending to marry the daughter of his father's former partner, now imprisoned.

Even with the high profile of its source material and its two legendary leading men, All My Sons is one of those oddly under the radar stage-to-screen adaptations; it isn't even available on DVD. So tomorrow's TCM screening of the film (at 11:45 AM EST) is likely your only chance to see it prior to the play's star-studded return to Broadway next month; the revival reunites Footloose stars John Lithgow and Diane Wiest as man and wife once more. Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes will also star as the younger couple.

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