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George Raft

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 15th, 2012, 12:56 pm

Wouldn't Al Pacino be perfect to play Raft? I like Pacino, I'm glad you've confirmed he's a nice guy.

I'm trying to get hold of a copy of Invisible Stripes. George wasn't the type of husband who lived with his wife and had his bit on the side. He was married and you cover the unmarried stars of the 1930s getting outed by the press. I suppose George had such a checkered press that it was just another thing to stick on him and it became old news. I would love to see more of George dancing, it's the best thing about Bolero although a lot of scenes were filmed by stand ins.

I've read that Bogie could be the gentleman too when it suited him, don't think he could dance like George. How I wish we danced like that today. Watching Cagney versus Raft in Taxi, Cagney is fast and fun, George is sinuous and sexy. I'll definitely go for an alcohol free night of dancing with George, just keep his pals away.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

RedRiver
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Re: George Raft

Postby RedRiver » May 15th, 2012, 1:05 pm

In turn, there's a young actor on MAD MEN who could play Pacino. His character is the brash new copy writer. He could be Pacino's son!

Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 15th, 2012, 1:51 pm

When I was in L.A. at a talent conference, the event was held at the Beverly Hills Hilton. When I was hanging around the lobby the elevator opened and out stepped the great Al Pacino and some, I assume friends of his. Realizing that I would NEVER have another chance (and being an enormous Pacino fan), I timidly approached him and explained who I was and why I was in L.A., adding that I taught Media Acting classes in Winnipeg, Canada and how most of my students were likewise huge Pacino fans. I asked if it might be possible to have a signed photo of Al to add to my "Wall of Fame" at my studio, as inspiration to my students. Al said that he didn't have a photo on him but would be happy to give me an autograph. Nice . . . but I said an inscibed photo would mean so much more. Al considered, asked me if I was staying at the Hilton. I said that I and my companions were at another hotel, the Knickerbocker. Al knew the place and said that he'd have a picture forwarded to the hotel later that day.

After the day's events were through, we returned to our hotel and, sure enough, once we came inside the desk clerk said that an envelope had been delivered. And there it was: A beautifully-inscribed photo from Al Pacino. Is the guy a gem or what?? If I knew how to post a photo on the site, would be thrilled to share it with you all.

CCF, yes, please do try to get a copy of Invisible Stripes. How can you go wrong with Bogie, Holden, Marc Lawrence, Paul Kelly and Joseph Downing? I really just love this film. And you're right: the dancing styles of Cagney and Raft are so unique. No wonder Georgie was known by many of his female companions as "The Black Snake". Speaking of which, catch "Quick Millions" if you can. Great scene of a young Georgie doing his snake-like dance.

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pvitari
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Re: George Raft

Postby pvitari » May 15th, 2012, 2:00 pm

Invisible Stripes is definitely worth a watch... for me it's to see the young William Holden. :)

If I knew how to post a photo on the site, would be thrilled to share it with you all.


WesternGuy, do you know how to scan? If you do, then scan in your photo and upload it to photobucket.com or imageshack.us. Once it's uploaded, either site will generate a link that you can post here and will display as a photo.

Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 15th, 2012, 2:32 pm

Gosh, I'm such a computer Neanderthal. But I'm going to check with one of our gals here at my office tomorrow to see if I can share with you all my personalized Pacino picture. I'm very proud of it.

The only thing about Holden in Invisible Stripes is that he often displays his inexperience by constantly bobbing his head to express dramatics.
Still, it's fun to watch Bill at such an early point in his career.

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moira finnie
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Re: George Raft

Postby moira finnie » May 15th, 2012, 8:27 pm

Thanks so much for the insight into Lloyd Nolan and Jack LaRue, Western Guy. It is great to read that people I admire for their consistently fine work were also nice guys.

I love the fact that Jack LaRue was so sensitive to the violence that has overtaken modern films--how ironic that he should be forever associated with one of the most vile characters in movies in The Story of Temple Drake. I am pretty sure that the role in that film sealed his fate in movies, though he had enough charisma and talent to spare for most of the small roles he played in most movies.

And Nolan--oh, I love his sarcastic rascals (his Michael Shayne movies are such fun & his talkative detective in Somewhere in the Night), his hoodlums (particularly the ones in Blues in the Night and Johnny Apollo), and his decent guys, like the cop in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and the doc in Peyton Place. After Nolan's death I was so touched to read that his estate went largely to research into the then-nascent field of autism in tribute to his own son and to help other families coping with this puzzling affliction.
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Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 16th, 2012, 9:53 am

You're more than welcome, Moira. Happy to provide. Yes, I consider it such an honor to have known Lloyd and Jack. Terrific guys both - and I'd also include Marc Lawrence and Mike Mazurki in that group. Menacing (if not downright scary) onscreen but pussycats - and intelligent - in real life.

Of course the violence that Jack LaRue perpetrated on screen in The Story of Temple Drake and No Orchids for Miss Blandish (though I suppose controversial for the time) was nowhere near as graphic to what Jack was exposed to in his later years. He really abhorred the graphic presentation of contemporary films. As to his own movies, he got a kick out of them.

Lloyd and I briefly touched upon the tragic passing of his son Jay, though it was obvious it was still a very painful topic for him to discuss. But, man, did he work hard on behalf of autism - Mell, too, but more behind-the-scenes.

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Re: George Raft

Postby RedRiver » May 16th, 2012, 9:57 am

It was good to see Lloyd Nolan in later years as Woody Allen's father-in-law in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS. As Maureen O'Sullivan's husband, no less!

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 16th, 2012, 12:56 pm

What a great guy Al Pacino is, he could easily have forgotten or not had time. He must remember what it was to be a movie fan and not a movie star.

I'm trying to locate a copy of Quick Millions. I've hesitated about asking about this, it being rather teenage so to speak but then I thought, what the heck. George had a reputation with the ladies for being more than a charming man, not so much in your book but I've heard it as a 'reputation' in other books. I've heard similar gossip about Charlie Chaplin (from Lita's biography) and Frank Sinatra (courtesy of Ava Gardner) but I don't know the source of this rumour and if it is to do with his prowess or if like Frank he was generously endowed. I'm not good at reading between the lines of these things. Did you hear of such a thing on the grapevine, do you know why he had this reputation? My educated guess would be that it had something to do with Carole Lombard either creating a rumour for the fun of it or perhaps she knew something.

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Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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knitwit45
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Re: George Raft

Postby knitwit45 » May 16th, 2012, 1:46 pm

naw, you're just asking the questions the rest of us have been thinking..... :lol: :oops:

Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 16th, 2012, 1:54 pm

Yes, I actually had my story about my encounter with Al Pacino published some years back in The National enquirer, when they were running a weekly feature on people meeting celebrities. I always hoped that Al had read it, as I was (and am) very grateful for his kindness and generosity. He's a truly wonderful man who appreciates his fans.

Wow, I hope I can be tactful, but, yes, from all I've heard . . . George was indeed generously endowed. There's a famous story about George and Forrest Tucker once meeting and going off together into the bathroom to . . . compare. Don't know if it's true or not, but the story was told to me by a quite reliable source. The other possible rumor that I note in my book was Raft had such an "appetite" that was why his romance with Carole Lombard did not go further. She simply could not keep up.

Quick Millions is quite a good film and can be obtained off various sources, though the print quality is usually pretty inferior. It's an early Fox movie that I hope TCM will get around to showing, as they did with another early Fox film Up the River. George has a good if smallish part as Spencer Tracy's bodyguard/companion, which, of course, he expanded upon in Scarface. Has a nice dancing bit, as well, at an underworld party.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 17th, 2012, 12:50 pm

Thank you for answering so tactfully, Western Guy. Carole Lombard was his favourite costar, perhaps because she praised his skills so highly. I wonder what Clark Gable thought about that? I find the comparison story very funny, I didn't think that grown men did that, I thought it stopped in the kindergarten. So now I'm more clued up, thank you.

I myself consulted a couple of books I have about Marlene Dietrich, one would think if anyone knew she would, it appears that she did know, he was one of her many amours, unlike with some of her men she didn't leave too many details.

Do you have any snaps of the fight between Edward G Robinson and George Raft? I wonder if it was 6 of one and half a dozen of the other? Brought on by Raft's insecurities that perhaps Robinson played up.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Western Guy
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Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 17th, 2012, 1:15 pm

You know CCF, I have seen a famous photo of the Raft-Robinson brawl which also shows big, burly Alan Hale attempting to restrain a clearly very angry Eddie. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a print for the book. The best known story of why they had the fight was that Raft felt Eddie was always putting him down, with unwelcome advice on how to play a scene. As you say, Raft's insecurities finally got the better of him and the two men clashed. They remained distant for many years until they were cast opposite each other in A Bullet for Joey, where, older and more mellow, they patched up their feud and became friends. Interesting, Tony Curtis said the reason Eddie never appeared in Some Like It Hot (made years after A Bullet for Joey) was because he was still bearing a grudge and would not work with George again. Eddie's granddaughter told me the real reason was because the producers were not willing to pay Eddie's standard salary - plus he was offered a better role opposite Frank Sinatra in A Hole in the Head.

Among others who Raft threw an off-camera punch at were Lew Ayres, Wallace Beery, Peter Lorre and Paramount producer Ben Glazer. Back in those early days some directors were afraid to work with Raft because they never knew when something might set him off. Archie Mayo was threatened by Raft when the director yelled at him during the making of Night After Night. Raft was the first to admit that he had a very nasty temper.

I don't think Gable felt threatened by the Raft-Lombard romance. It was over by the time they met and Carole fell hard for Gable. Even Raft later said he was happy for Carole when she married Gable.

The funny story is when Gable presented a shrunken head to Lombard as a gag gift and she hurried to bury it in a drawer, saying that it reminded her of George Raft. Now whether that was said in malice or just Carole's sense of humor . . . who knows.

Marlene Dietrich was very fond of George - and vice versa. While Robinson had some unflattering things to say about working with George in Manpower, Marlene's memories of Raft and the making of the picture were very favorable. Maybe she wasn't on-set the day the fight erupted.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 18th, 2012, 12:18 pm

If Marlene was on the set one would imagine that she would have been in the middle trying to seperate them, she wasn't shy of a photo opportunity.

I was reading the section in Norma Shearer's biography by Gavin Lambert that touched on her romance with Raft, she fell hard for Raft and vice versa. Norma is an actress I'm rather fond of from what I've read about her, although I've yet to read the whole biography (so many books, so little time) so much the lady, George must have been so different to Irving, perhaps the only things they had in common was a New York upbringing, very different that it was. I can see why Norma would have rebounded into George's arms and why so many of the ladies would have like him, the dangerous reputation along with the much talked about charm. If he had have managed a divorce from Grayce, Lambert believes they would definetly have married.

I can see how the fascination with George caught on, such conflicting aspects to his personality, his charm, his filthy temper, his friendships and his loyalty towards them, his films and the story of his childhood and the years before he came to Hollywood. I can't help but try to look past the suspicious friendships, the punchups which seem to be a result of insecurity and feel that he acheived so much and came a long way to be admitted to the 'posher side' of Hollywood, friendships with Norma Shearer and Charles Boyer suggest that he could cruise the more intellectual and mannered part of Hollywood and be accepted for who he was. He came a long way from Hell's Kitchen, I wonder if he ever appreciated that about himself.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 18th, 2012, 2:01 pm

I don't know if George really ever appreciated - or even understood his success. He was an entertainer on Broadway but a film career was not something I think he ever truly aspired to. He remained for many years the undereducated tough street kid, and carried many of those values with him throughout his life: loyalty to friends, carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder, maybe suspicious of people. When success came he remained insecure both in his talent and social skills (eventually he succeeded admirably in the latter). I feel if George really took his career seriously he would not turned down such prestigious films as DEAD END, HIGH SIERRA, THE MALTESE FALCON and DOUBLE INDEMNITY. He just couldn't see the merit in those films beyond the obvious, which was so unfortunate. For him.


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