Welcome, Lisa Ryan

Past chats with our guests.

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mongoII
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Post by mongoII »

Lisa, considering all the questions we threw at you, your doing a wonderful job keeping up.
Thanks for answering all my questions in detail, although I keep wondering what your mom could have had against Barbara Stanwyck.
It's a pleasure having you with us.
Thanks again.

Joe
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

Hi Lisa:

Thanks so much for visiting with us. I never really thought of your father as a stage actor but I was curious if he had a preference of stage or screen or was it "just a job?"

I read of your experience with "Mr. President" and wondered how the two different fields presented different lifestyles for you and the family.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
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mookryan
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Post by mookryan »

MissGoddess ....

In reply to some things you mentioned ...

Oakwood School is still going strong. Their website, in case anyone is interested, is: http://www.oakwoodschool.org/

Here's a quote from the website:

"Oakwood began in the hearts and minds of a small group of parents who had three things in common: 1) one or more of their children attended the same nursery school; 2) they were equally disturbed by post-war overcrowding in the public schools; and 3) they disagreed about almost everything else! At the suggestion of her pediatrician that she "do something - start your own school!" - Jessica (and Robert) Ryan hosted several meetings at their North Hollywood home, in the spring of 1950.
At those meetings ... it was decided to open their school the following fall in the Ryan's backyard."

I'd forgotten that the school sort of coincided with my arrival in the world, in the fall of 1951.

I loved the quote from Tina Sinatra's book! Several people have told me that she mentioned my family in her book, but (possibly because I'm a hopeless procrastinator) I hadn't gotten around to actually reading the book. Her description of me as a "tomboy" reminded me that I have
a photo from that time (around 1960, or '61) of me and my Dad - that was in the newspaper.

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"Is this the 1940s?
Is everything in black and white?
Are you Robert Ryan?"
- James Lileks
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mookryan
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Post by mookryan »

Jumping around from post to post here ...

Anne - I'm trying to remember if my Dad ever spoke about being happy or unhappy about his co-stars ... or who he generally liked or disliked working with ... the thing that's driving me CRAZY is the fact that there are SO many things I'd like to know ... so many questions I'd like to ask my dad ... about movies and co-stars and directors ... and "what was it LIKE making The Set-Up? Act of Violence, etc. etc.?" "what was it LIKE working with all those famous people? "

I don't remember him talking much about his earlier movies, although he probably did, and unfortunately the stories didn't make much of an impression on me because I had never seen a lot of those movies ... they didn't seem to be on TV ... there were no videos .... no NetFlix ... no nothing except occasional showings at obscure art houses ... somewhere in France. :wink:

I hadn't even HEARD of many of my dad's movies until much later in my life ... long after he was gone. (If I'd hadn't run into Dewey along the way I'd probably STILL be clueless about a lot of this stuff!)

I've been fortunate enough in recent years to meet some people who worked with him - and I'm so grateful for that because most of them are gone now too.
Just within the past 10 years I met Robert Wise (at a showing of "Odds Against Tomorrow" at the San Raphael Film Festival) and Janet Leigh (at a showing on "Act of Violence" at another film festival in L.A.)

Both of them were incredibly kind and sweet and brought tears to my eyes. When I was introduced to Janet Leigh SHE started crying! She hugged me and told me how much she loved my dad ... it was an incredibly touching moment.

I do remember my Dad talking about how much he liked working with Robert Wise (The Set-Up was my dad's absolute favorite of all the films he was in) and when I finally met Wise I could understand why ... he was incredibly warm and gracious, obviously a sensitive, caring man,
with no huge ego evident.

One actress who my father absolutely adored was Myrna Loy - he was CRAZY about her, had a HUGE crush on her ... but I'm not remembering if they ever worked together (I'm sure I'll find out from one of you experts soon enough!) ... Shelly Winters claimed to have had an affair with my dad - which totally enraged me when I read about it in one of her books. I've decided to believe she made up the story, mainly because she was definitely NOT my dad's type!

Since I mentioned Odds Against Tomorrow
I'm going to go ahead and post another photo - of my dad and Harry Belafonte horsing around on the set of that film.
I found the photo on eBay and love it - I'd never seen it before.

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"Is this the 1940s?
Is everything in black and white?
Are you Robert Ryan?"
- James Lileks
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

Thank you so much for your reply, Lisa---and I love the pictures you posted.

I found this picture on the internet, it looks like it's from a magazine, maybe the same one from which you posted!


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"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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mookryan
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Post by mookryan »

MissGoddess -

I seem to have had a pre-Tatum O'Neal/ Toni Tenille
thing going on! :D

PS - that photo was NOT taken in 1955!
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

I'm not aware of how many films RR worked with Myrna (perhaps a more knowledgeable person could answer that), but I do like this one quite a bit:

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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

To me, the two reasons to watch Loneleyhearts are Robert Ryan and Myrna Loy. Their scenes are electric and their story is much the more interesting one. Another movie I wish I had on DVD.

You know what stands out for me in Ryan's performance of this character? And I could be wrong in how I'm reading it, but what comes across so strongly is that here is a man that is practically begging the people he fights with and taunts to prove him wrong in his cynical beliefs. Especially his wife. He is dying for her to restore his faith in her and in life itself.

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"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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Lzcutter
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Post by Lzcutter »

Karen,

Thanks so much for joining us this week! I'm a big fan of your father's. One of my favorites is his role in "The Wild Bunch". His Deke Thorton is conflicted, remorseful and yet bound by duty to track the Bunch down. He more than anyone understands what their last stand meant.

And it is all convened in his wonderful face and his voice.

I know that he and Peckinpah didn't necessarily have a good relationship but is there anything you can tell us about your dad and the other actors and supporting players.

For many years, one of the crucial scenes, the betrayal between Pike and Deke was unavailable as part of the film here in the States. Did your father feel that deletion hurt over-all story or the way the film came across?

Thank you again!
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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OScott
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Post by OScott »

Hello Lisa

I'm glad you mentioned Myrna Loy ... I had asked you in a previous post about her and your father. Just in case you missed it -- here it is:

I always tell people that if I could invite any film actor to dinner it would be Robert Ryan. I respect his mind, heart, and talent. When I was in college in the late 1960's, I read Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts. I made a point to see the film and was absolutely stunned by Ryan's portrayal of Shrike. I wrote your father expressing my gratitude for his powerful and remarkable performance. I was dumbfounded when he answered back, with a signed photo and personal note, expressing how rarely he received letters expressing such admiration for his work.

I know that your father and Myrna Loy (who played his wife in Miss Lonelyhearts) were same wave-length politically. What was your impression of their friendship. I met Loy a few times and she was always as gracious and interesting as I imagine your father would be. Also, any details on Lonelyhearts, Clift etc., would be appreciated.


With appreciation for your being here,

Scott O'Brien
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mookryan
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Post by mookryan »

Scott -

I'm so sorry! ... I've been trying to keep up with everyone's wonderful
comments and questions, and I forgot that you'd mentioned Myrna Loy and my dad in Loneyhearts! (so my question if they'd acted together had already been answered) ... that's another movie I haven't seen all the way through, just in bits and pieces when it occasionally shows up on TCM.

I'm so glad my dad wrote you back ... I remember he was incredibly pleased when he did get fan mail, it was a big deal to him.

The only stories I ever heard about Loneyhearts involved Montgomery Clift's "odd" behavior on the set. I think my father had pretty old fashioned ideas about acting, and was extremely suspicious of method acting ... Clift would (according to my dad) often disappear and then be discovered lying on the floor - in a dark corner - in the fetal position.
I remember my dad talking about it years later and saying: "I don't know what the hell that kid was up to ... it had to be some damn method acting thing!!"

I actually have a dim memory of visiting the set of Loneyhearts, but what sticks in my memory is not Lonelyhearts, but Some Like It Hot ... which was being filmed at the same time .. and watching part of the nightclub scene at the very beginning (the scene where one of George Raft's sidekicks utters the line: "Buttermilk!") ... and also getting to meet Marilyn Monroe ... and being thrilled, despite the fact I was only about seven years old!
(I didn't realize until decades later that Monroe and my dad had worked together in Clash By Night) ... I didn't get to visit many movie sets, so the few times I did were always really special.

The only photo I've been able to find of me and my dad on a movie set is a really blurry one, taken on the set of one of his more forgettable movies ("Custer of The West") in Spain, in 1966. I'm not sure if it's worth posting, I'll take another look at it.
"Is this the 1940s?
Is everything in black and white?
Are you Robert Ryan?"
- James Lileks
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mookryan
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Post by mookryan »

Lynn -

Reading your note about The Wild Bunch, I'm remembering that I have (somewhere!) a hilarious photo that Peckinpah sent my father ...
of Peckinpah holding a whip ... and my dad is chained to a wall ... and I'm suddenly realizing this is sounding way kinkier than it is ... I need to just find the photo and post it!

The funny thing about the Wild Bunch was the fact that my dad was sort of depressed about having to "go to Mexico and make one more damn western" ... and of course he had NO idea what a huge success it was going to be. I love him in it, I love the way he looks in it, especially at the very end of the movie. I only have vague memories of him complaining about Peckinpah being a "damn lunatic" ... but alas, no specifics!
(I've read about Ryan and Peckinpah's wild & crazy escapades in Mexico - stories that are as distressing to me as Shelley Winter's supposed "hot romance" with my dad!)

I don't remember him talking about the deleted scenes ... I think after being in so many movies he was pretty resigned to great scenes ending up on the cutting room floor, I think he sort of expected it.
"Is this the 1940s?
Is everything in black and white?
Are you Robert Ryan?"
- James Lileks
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I've not been around as much as I'd hoped this week but in honour of Lisa's coming to the oasis I watched for the first time Clash By Night . I enjoyed the film and your father's performance very much lisa, thank you for coming to the oasis :D
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
nightwalker
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Post by nightwalker »

Hello, Ms. Ryan.

I've been enjoying your answers to our questions all week. I think your dad is one of the most underrated actors of our time.

I think possibly his best quality as an actor is his ability to invest his characters with a sort of world-weary nobility, as in THE SET UP and even THE WILD BUNCH. Of course, he could also be just plain, downright despicable when the part called for it!

I'm a little surprised though, that thus far no one has mentioned possibly his greatest portrayal of a conflicted individual, that of John Claggart in BILLY BUDD. He's mean, he's evil, and yet, in the scene just prior to his death as he and Budd discuss good and evil, his portrayal of a man "almost persuaded," as one might say, was truly remarkable, even touching, and your dad conveyed it all wordlessly, with just his facial expressions. Truly a remarkable bit of acting.

Again, thanks for being here and sharing with us this week.
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

I also have not seen anyone mention Inferno (1953). Made in 3D, Ryan is left to die in the desert by his wife and her lover. Interesting film because it depends totally on RR to carry the desert scenes and make the film believable. Not on DVD unfortunately. :cry:

This youtube segment has a lot of clips of the movie (Ignore the music that someone has tacked on at the front. It does go away and you do hear the film. :roll: ):


[youtube][/youtube]
Last edited by Mr. Arkadin on August 29th, 2008, 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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