Classics and Other Favorites

In the personal view of your Web hostess (see about me at right), here are what I consider the Best, Don't-Miss essentials in the Rod Taylor collection.

TWO CLASSICS

I'll start with two enduring classics, hailed by critics and beloved by fans:

"The Time Machine" was the first Rod Taylor film I ever saw. I was about 12 and it was on the black & white TV in my room. At the time, I had no idea who Rod Taylor was, but the film and his character captured my imagination. Now, I can watch the movie in brilliant color on DVD. I'm still quite dismayed that George doesn't ... quite ... kiss Weena. But I know exactly who Rod Taylor is and understand the power of his performance -- how he makes us believe in time travel and that he could make the future a better place.

I've seen "The Birds" dozens of times. When I was a teen-ager, I thought the movie was all about figuring out why the birds were attacking. In a college film class, my classmates and I analyzed its point-of-view shots and composition. I've read multitude of books and reviews that focus on Hitchcock and Hedren. But at the heart of it all is stalwart Rod Taylor, upon whom all the relationships are centered.

THREE BY CARDIFF

Director Jack Cardiff presents three very different movies with three very different lead characters for Rod -- proof of the actor's range.

"The Liquidator" -- with Rod as sweet, sly, sexy Boysie Oakes -- delights me the most. As a reluctant assassin and determined playboy in this spy spoof, Taylor displays the perfect mix of buffoonery and bravery.

"Young Cassidy" is a personal story in a historical setting, and its power grows as the story becomes more personal and less about history. A movie of epic mood swings, its intensity grabs me in the second half, with Cassidy's despair at the death of his mother, the love he finds with Nora and his development as a writer.

"Dark of the Sun" is a gritty, violent film, and Rod's Capt. Curry struggles to find a moral center amid the brutality. In a career with action films a-plenty, this is the cream of the crop.

A ROMANTIC PAIR

Here are a couple of films I love cozying up to. Out-dated? No way. They're charming, clever, funny and laden with talent.

"Sunday in New York" features the marvelous match-up of Rod Taylor and Jane Fonda, plus hilarious mix-ups that keep getting in the way of romance.

"The Glass Bottom Boat," which pairs Rod with Doris Day, has some genuinely laugh-out-loud scenes -- not to mention his breathtaking opening sequence aboard a fishing boat.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

In these two imaginative films, Taylor has a supporting role but is solidly at the center of the story:

In "Fate is the Hunter," Glenn Ford tackles the puzzling cause of a plane crash and the mysteries of Rod's character, pilot Jack Savage.

In "36 Hours," James Garner has the lead role, but Rod has a dual one -- playing an idealistic German doctor who's pretending to be a charming American doctor.

A FINE ENSEMBLE

Two of Taylor's best movies feature star-studded ensemble casts:

"Hotel" has Rod in the middle of a swirl of story lines. General manager Peter McDermott is in-charge, old-fashioned, forward-thinking, hard-working, impeccably dressed and able to leap into elevator shafts to rescue his guests. Above all, "Hotel" is pure entertainment.

"The VIPs," released in 1963, boosted Rod's stature as an international star (even though his screen time is much too short).

A GREAT UNKNOWN

I grow more fond of "The Hell With Heroes" with every viewing. There's a lot to like about this hard-to-find flick. It features a strong cast, intriguing relationships, exotic locales and Rod in fine form as a devil-may-care, post-WWII pilot.

WELCOME BACK

"Welcome to Woop Woop," released in 1998, has been reviewed as either vile or hilarious. I found that it's vile AND hilarious. Not to mention absurd, vulgar and a total hoot. This film is a real test for fans who prefer their Rod Taylor young, gorgeous and sophisticated. He's no matinee idol in this film -- he's simply a great actor who looks like he's having a grand time.

SMALL SCREEN, BIG TALENT

With a nod to "Bearcats!" and that show's sense of humor and adventure, here are my two favorite TV outings by Rod Taylor:

"Hong Kong." This stylish series had it all -- except a good time slot.

"Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy." Not expecting much from this 1981 bio-pic, I was electrified by Rod's scene-stealing performances.

 

 

WHO MADE THIS SITE?
AND WHY?

When a repeated viewing of "The Birds" finally sent me looking for details about its handsome and talented leading man, Rod Taylor, I was shocked.

I found an extensive list of films, some scattered biographical information, a few photos. But there was no central source -- on book shelves or on the Web -- filled with images and information about Taylor's career. So I've tried to correct that.

Upon combing the Internet and old magazines and watching as many of Rod's movies and TV shows as possible, I started this little corner of cyberspace to share with fellow fans.

I hope this site draws attention to an actor who so richly deserves greater acclaim.

So, who am I? My name's Diane Tomasik. I'm 55, married and live on the east coast of Florida. I'm a sports nut, a movie fan, love reading, traveling and being outdoors. Obviously, I also enjoy surfing the 'Net and building Web sites.

One more thing: I was lucky enough to meet Rod in October 2005!

SHOWS WANTED!

I used to keep a running list of Rod Taylor movies and TV shows that I've been able to see. But my "have" and "seen" list now includes just about everything. 

So, here's a list of what I haven't seen or acquired. Can anyone help fill in these gaps? E-mail me at completerodtaylor@gmail.com.

"Dupont Show of the Week" (1962)
"Bus Stop" (1961)
"Schlitz Playhouse of the Stars" (1958)
"General Electric Theater
"Studio 57" (1955)
"Lux Video Theater" (1955)
"Playhouse 90"

"Dinah!" (1977)
"The Merv Griffin Show" (1977?)
US Against the World (1977)

 
         
   

www.rodtaylorsite.com