George Raft

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feaito

Re: George Raft

Post by feaito »

Hi WG,

As far as his Paramounts I have only seen "Night After Night" (1932), which is my favorite; "If I Had a Million" (1932) a very good episodic film in which he appears in one of the segments and "Bolero" (1934) a fluffy but entertaining movie in which he is paired with Carole Lombard. I'd like to see him in "Madame Racketeer" (1932) and "Souls at Sea" (1937).

You wrote a book on him? What's the title if I may ask?
Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Sure, feaito. The book is called "George Raft: The Man Who Would Be Bogart", one of a series of celeb bios I've written.

I must confess I'm not a great fan of NIGHT AFTER NIGHT - or most of Raft's Paramount films, for that matter. I do recommend DANCERS IN THE DARK (for Raft's post-SCARFACE gangster role),THE GLASS KEY, SOULS AT SEA and SPAWN OF THE NORTH. Raft's segment in IF I HAD A MILLION is my favorite. Oddly, one that I kind of like is ALL OF ME. Pretty slow going 'til Raft's Honey Rogers (love that name, sounds like a pancake syrup) shows up, then it's not a half bad flick, with Raft playing a sympathetic ex-con. It's the Warner films that I really love and it irks me to this day that George didn't tough it out at the studio and take on some of the roles offered. Of course in later years, he regretted it, too - so much that he was quoted as saying he had many regrets after handing the Rick role in CASABLANCA to Bogart. Never happened.
feaito

Re: George Raft

Post by feaito »

Thanks for your reply WG, I'll look for your book.

I forgot that I had also seen "Spawn of the North", which I also enjoyed.
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CineMaven
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Re: George Raft

Post by CineMaven »

Aaaaah Georgie Porgie. Kissed the girls and made 'em....

Image

Yeah. Just made 'em.

Those coal black slits for eyes, and that jet black hair slicked back. I enjoyed him in "THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT" and "EACH DAWN I DIE." How many stars languished in studios that did nuthin' for them? How many stars got too big for their britches. He's got his place in history. And Ida Lupino could scare the hell outta ANY man. He reminds me of Ricardo Cortez...and Jack LaRue.

May I please have one swarthy dangerously Brilliantined man just once in my life? Who does a girl have to place her order with, anyway?!
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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Jezebel38
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Re: George Raft

Post by Jezebel38 »

CineMaven wrote:
He reminds me of Ricardo Cortez...and Jack LaRue.
Yes, George caught my fancy once too (and he can dance!) but I would rank him behind both Ricardo and Jack these days. Now, the story I want to hear the scoop about, and maybe WesternGuy can elaborate, is Jack La Rue was originally cast to play the role of Guino in SCARFACE, but was replaced by Raft. Why???? I really can't think but JLR might have had a better career if they'd used him. IMO, both gents can be kinda stiff and perhaps not the best actors, but I really now wish I could have seen Jack in this part and not George.
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Re: George Raft

Post by CineMaven »

[u]JEZEBEL38[/u] wrote:Yes, George caught my fancy once too (and he can dance!) but I would rank him behind both Ricardo and Jack these days...
I hear ya. Why would you rank him behind the other two? I loved Ricardo with Karloff in "THE WALKING DEAD." ( I like him bad! )

Image
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Jezebel38
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Re: George Raft

Post by Jezebel38 »

Hey Maven -

I'm talking about "personally appealing" not, who had the better film career :) I'd go for Ricardo Cortez (Jacob Krantz) first as to me he can have an appearance of sophistication on top of that smoldering sex appeal, and then Jack La Rue (those lips, those eyes), who can be endearing when he has a chance to play soft ( I really fell for him first as the priest in FAREWELL TO ARMS), and then George Raft would follow. Even though I've seen way more films with Raft, I'm more attracted to the other two now.

Favorite Ricardo moment - his face when Loretta Young teases him in MIDNIGHT MARY (whew!)
Favorite Jack moment - when Miriam Hopkins sits on his lap in TEMPLE DRAKE, and I always look for the moment in THREE ON A MATCH when he is outside Ann Dvorak's bedroom door, slumped in the chair with his shirt open and a 5 o'clock shadow on his face.
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CineMaven
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Re: George Raft

Post by CineMaven »

Jezebel38 wrote:Hey Maven - I'm talking about "personally appealing" not, who had the better film career :)


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! < Duh! :roll: > Well NOW we're getting down to brass tacks!!

Then I'd have to go with this in the looks department:

* Ricardo Cortez - classic.
* George Raft - ethnic.
* Jack LaRue - simian.

And none of those are bad adjectives. (Should I throw Eduardo Cianelli in there for good measure?) I saw LaRue as a priest in "Captains Courageous." And though third aesthetically, Jack holds a special, first place (you-can-get-it-for-the-asking) fascination for me for smoldering as you say; those lips and eyes. I've got to see "Midnight Mary" and see what Cortez does to make you "Whew!" about. But I know what you're talking about with Jack outside Ann Dvorak's door. Oh yeah. He was just waiting his turn. In "Temple Drake" you know he was no... a-hem "gentleman." And in "Orchids For Miss Blandish"...there's a bathrobe scene.

But here (this has been posted on this site before) is something that will amaze you. It will shock and awe you. Let me know wha'cha think.

[youtube][/youtube]
BRITAIN WITH A WHIP.
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Jezebel38
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Re: George Raft

Post by Jezebel38 »

Yowww - Yes, I've seen this before, but it sure is painful to watch - in more ways than one! I've got to give Jack credit though, for going through with this.

BTW, MIDNIGHT MARY is posted in parts on Youtube - check it out, and look for the part where Loretta whispers nasties into Ricardo's ear, and there is also some finger sucking goin' on then too!
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CineMaven
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Re: George Raft

Post by CineMaven »

Wowsa!!! Gotta love those pre-codes! Say, I forgot to mention Jack LaRue with Randolph Scott and the beautiful Esther Ralston in "To The Last Man." He wanted Ralston...but he had to go through Scott first!!

I'll be on the look out for "Midnight Mary."
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Before I go on about a decent biography being written about a star I should go on Amazon and check what's out there. Your book on Amazon.co.uk has got 2 reviews and they are both 5 stars (very good in the UK), both talking about how the book is loaded with stills. Well I'm going to have some birthday money shortly and he's someone I admittedly know very little truth about, it feels like a good place to spend it. Thank you for writing about someone who deserves a book and not one of the top rung stars :D :D

Are any plans to bring it to kindle?

On the uk site it lists Alan K Rode as the author but as the reviewer kindly points out this is an error as he only wrote the forward. Just thought I'd let you know as it might be completely different on the US site.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Thanks charliechaplin fan. while the book was not a tremendous seller (which I frankly expected) I have been very pleased with kind words received by Lew Yablonsky (who generously told me my bio had stuff in it that even he didn't know - and Lew was friendly with Raft during the actor's later years) and the National Board of review - along with readers' comments, too. Don't know if there will be any future in it coming out as a kindle (the publisher handles that) though there is going to be an audio book.

Yeah, it's funny. My good buddy Alan Rode generously supplied the Forward to the book but somehow it's made very sites that he is the author. Interesting how stuff like that happens.

Re: The Jack LaRue "Scarface" story. I tell it in the book. Years ago I met with Jack at his apartment (where he was living with his sister). He was very good friends with George and, in fact, even attended Raft's funeral. Now whether the story is true or not, I can't say. Only have what Jack told me. Apparently he was the first choice to play Guino Rinaldo in the movie, but director Howard Hawks soon seemed to notice that Jack possessed too much authority to be believable as a mere henchman to Paul Muni. But here's where the story gets questionable. Jack claimed that before he was let go from the picture he himself suggested George Raft as his replacement. True, they were old Broadway buddies and each had a "past" with Mae West, but it seems odd that an actor hungry for his own success and certainly seeing the potential in a project like "Scarface" would so gallantly introduce his own competition. Anyhoo, that's the way Jack told it -- and of course shortly afterwards George reciprocated the favor (though with far less satisfactory results for LaRue) when he turned down the role of "Trigger" in "The Story of Temple Drake". Has been speculated that the controversy surrounding that movie pretty much brought a halt to the momentum of Jack's screen career. Really makes you wonder how it would have affected George's had he taken on the part.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Trigger is one of the nastiest of precode villans and The Story of Temple Drake is an interesting movie. I didn't know that about Jack LaRue.

I like to be choosy about what biographies I buy paying plenty attention to reviews on Amazon or reviews on this site. Sometimes I think good biographies are slow burners as word of mouth spreads but I get the feeling that you wrote this book more because you were interested in George Raft and the achievement and it is a great achievement . How long did it take you to write and what led you to George Raft in the first place? I've mentioned your book to a friend, not a member of the board and I have the distinct impression that I've got you a sale from him.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Post by Western Guy »

Hey charliechaplinfan, maybe I should hire you as my publicist. Appreciate you spreading the word.

Well, in the Introduction to the book I describe how I first became fascinated with Raft. In a nutshell, I spent the summer of 1973 in Chicago (which actually played vintage movies as opposed to Winnipeg) and happened to catch a showing of "Each Dawn I Die". Always loved Cagney but didn't know much about G.R. But once I saw that movie and his portrayal of convict Hood Stacey, I instantly became hooked. Then I began to actively search out his films and learn whatever I could about his onscreen and offscreen life - and, man, that was a tale to be told. You're right: I definitely didn't write the book expecting to become rich (I don't think anyone who writes bios expects their book to earn them vast wealth). It simply was my admiration for Raft that motivated me. As I've often said, that is one book I would have written for free. I worked on it between other writing projects and so it took about two years to do. Plus, living in Canada it required a lot of long distance communicaes (mail and otherwise) to prompt personal and career insight from Raft's friends and fellow actors. Since so many have since passed on I doubt another Raft book will come along.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I think it's fascinating that your interest has grown from that film showing. He's an 'area' that I've not really explored, many biographies tend to overlap with others be it because of marriage or work on film but I really haven't come across that much on Raft. Sometimes when biographers are writing about their subject they rehash stories from biographies of others that might have since been disproved. I'm looking forward to reading your book on Raft which I will be buying soon. Did you find that most people were happy to talk about him. From your comments on the thread it's obvious that he had a very charming side, I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing.

So many second rung stars need a good biography, could we not persuade you to write about someone else :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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