Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Five Years with Alan Ladd

On this day in 2016, I watched Alan Ladd in Whispering Smith (1948) for the first time, and I've been a goner ever since.

Five years is quite a while to be stuck on the same movie star, I think.  It is for me, anyway.

This started as just another "spring fling," where I get all interested in an actor and watch as many of his movies as I can for a few months and then he slides into my pantheon of favorites somewhere along the line.  This happens every few years (and not always in the spring).  It almost never develops into a lasting favoritism -- and never before has a spring crush rocketed up into a top slot in my list of favorites the way Alan Ladd did.  Within six months, he had edged out Hugh Jackman as my second-favorite actor.  It took Hugh Jackman ten years to replace Harrison Ford in that spot.

So, today, I'm celebrating five years of loving Ladd by sharing some of my favorite blog headers that featured him, as well as rounding up links to all of his movies I've reviewed.

I'm not sure I ever used this header, actually.  If I did, it would have been while I was leading my read-along of Shane by Jack Schaefer over on my book blog, The Edge of the Precipice.  That read-along was what sparked my Alan Ladd obsession, indirectly -- I wanted to do a giveaway at the end of it, with the film version of Shane (1953) and two other westerns, one starring each of the Shane stars, Alan Ladd and Van Heflin.  It was easy to pick 3:10 to Yuma (1957) as the Van Heflin western, but I wasn't sure about the other, so I found and watched Whispering Smith (1948), and that was the beginning of everything, like I said.


I didn't use this header for long because I didn't like how the words disappeared in the right-hand side.  But I love this picture.  It's from And Now Tomorrow (1944) and shows the moment when the two leads see each other for the first time.


I had this header up for quite a while.  It's so atmospheric and broody.  I love how it highlights his journey from darkness to light in The Blue Dahlia (1946), all in one quick frame.  


I had this header up for quite a while too.  It's from right around the time where I switched fonts for my headers for this blog.  I really liked the symmetry of this one, and that it shows him kind of chronologically too.


This is one of my favorites.  I created it for the Alan Ladd Blogathon I hosted in 2017, and I had this header up for months and months because I loved it so much.  


This one might be my favorite.  I love the smiles, love the colors, love the variety of poses that all still have a bit of cohesion.  Love that they appear to all be taken at his ranch, Alsulana, which he loved and spent so much happy time at.


This one should look really familiar because I had it up for about a year, and only recently switched it out.  It's a production still for This Gun for Hire (1942), not a shot from the movie, but it was so perfect I couldn't bear to replace it for a long, long time.  In fact, I'm considering putting it back up later this year, cuz I miss it.


This is my current header, which I switched to at the beginning of February because I'm hosting the We Love Pirates party next week and I wanted my header to suit that event.  Alan Ladd never made a pirate movie, but Two Years Before the Mast (1946) does take place aboard a tall ship, and it involves mutiny, so... it works.

Here are all the Alan Ladd movies I have reviewed so far:

Branded (1950)
China (1943)
Lucky Jordan (1942)
O.S.S. (1946)
Red Mountain (1951)
Saskatchewan (1954)
Shane (1953)

I've watched twelve more of his films only once each, and need second viewings of those before I can review them, so I'm not going to run out of Ladd films to review any time soon.  Especially since I have almost 20 more of his films that I haven't even watched at all yet!  So much goodness to look forward to yet.


Alan Ladd has shown up in the header for my book blog a few times too.  First, I had this nice shot of him and Loretta Young that was a promo for their film adaptation of this book.


During my read-along for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, I had this fun header up.


This shot from Branded (1950) was my book blog header for a whole summer and into the fall.


A couple years ago, I used this picture of Alan reading to his two youngest children, David and Alana, for my Christmastime blog header.


And this collage of Alan Ladd reading was my header for basically all of 2020.  It's a favorite for me.

A lot of the movies that Alan Ladd starred in were based on books, and I've read several of them, so here are my reviews of those too:

And Now Tomorrow by Rachel Field
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Guns of the Timberlands by Louis L'Amour
Montana Rides by Evan Evans (basis for the film Branded)
Shane by Jack Schaefer

Okay, this post is getting really long, so time to wrap it up.  Here's to you, Alan Ladd!  May the next five years in your company be delightful too.

40 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary! I really like ALAN LADD. That voice! I also am a fan of GLENN FORD and RICHARD WIDMARK. What is your opinion of those two fellows? CLASSIC TV FAN

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    1. Thank you, TV Fan! Yes, Ladd had one of the finest voices in the business -- and he worked hard to achieve that!

      I love Glenn Ford. He's been such a favorite of mine for decades. So many wonderful performances! Blackboard Jungle, 3:10 to Yuma, and Fastest Gun Alive are my top favorites of his. I just showed The Gazebo to my husband for the first time last weekend, and my hubby said he had a hard time finding it funny because Glenn Ford was just too good at acting nervous! It was making him nervous, just watching Ford!

      I like Richard Widmark well enough, but I don't seek him out. I thought he was startlingly good in Don't Bother to Knock.

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  2. I watched two Alan Ladd movies last month: The Glass Key, which I only vaguely remembered; and The Blue Dahlia, which I thought I had seen but I was getting it confused with The Blue Gardenia.

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    1. Phyl, how splendid! I adore The Blue Dahlia -- all that wonderful Raymond Chandler dialog! And The Glass Key is really enjoyable too.

      I'd never heard of The Blue Gardenia. I wonder if its title is a nod to The Blue Dahlia? I know the famous "black dahlia" murder was named after it -- or rather, the murder victim was nicknamed that because of this movie, and the press picked up on it when she was killed.

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    2. I really enjoyed both of them.

      Could be! In the movie it’s the name of a club.

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    3. Phyl, and in Blue Dahlia, that's the name of a club too. Betcha anything it's a nod.

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  3. Thanks Rachel for posting this on "your" Alan Ladd anniversary. Same here – in my case a "summer fling", but now more than a fling, he's become one of my top favorite actors. Right now, I have the blues, because I ordered (and paid...) a copy of Marilyn Henry's book "The Films of Alan Ladd" (via amazon, i.e. some rare book seller working with amazon), and the parcel never arrived... lost, stolen, no idea. Makes me very sad. It's a rare book and not getting cheaper. Would so have liked to read more about his films, also about the ones I haven't watched. :-(

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    1. Andrea, it's so lovely having you here to share the Alan Ladd love :-)

      I have that book, The Films of Alan Ladd, and it is very good. It's not hard to find used copies here in the US, so if yours never shows up, maybe we can work something out where I buy it and ship it to you, and you just pay me back?

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    2. This is very kind of you, Rachel!! I'll wait a few more days (who knows what with the "special situation" and everything there might be delays...) but if nothing arrives here in the course of the next 10 days or so I'd be very glad if we can work something out. I'd really like to read that book...

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    3. Andrea, by "very reasonable," I mean about $15. Of course, shipping it to you would be probably that much too, but still, it's a worthy book.

      But yes, it might still be in transit? I know that here in the US, I just got a book this week that I ordered before Christmas. Everything is still kind of gummed up, I guess.

      I left you my email address in another comment on a different thread, if you want to discuss creating a blog, btw.

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    4. Ooops, hope no message of yours got somehow "lost" – I had to create a new Google account, the "old one" suddenly didn't work any more. Living in a world of digital natives leaves me ever so dizzy sometimes... Gosh, $15 is nothing compared to what I had to pay that "sub-"seller for a used copy of the book. They sent a message that there might be delays. Still not found your email, though (thank you for trusting me – I would never pass it on or misuse it in any way, of course). I go on searching, but since I don't find an earlier reply with "very reasonable" in it, something my have got lost in cyberspace due to my sudden Google mishap?

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    5. ...I discovered your blog so late, I only knew the blog header with those sadly underrated, wonderful noir companions Lake & Ladd. I adore all the other pics, too. Would have liked to participate in the "Shane" read-along. Interesting that you mention Tyrone Power and Burt Lancaster. Just watched "The Crimson Pirate" with a very athletic Lancaster, and Power was my dear mother's all-time favorite (she was called Rosemary, everyone called her Romy, and she was over the moon when Power named his daughter "Romina").

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    6. I'm not a digital native, so it slightly puzzles me that some of my comments are published pronto and others not – I do hope you get my messages?? Some have to be viewed first, others not, that's ok? – or is something amiss with my very old Mac? Got the feeling I "missed" some message of yours...

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    7. Rachel, hope I'm not a total bother, but I am a bit lost: I had problems with my Google account and I get the feeling I'm not getting/seeing your replies anymore – or are you just super busy? I posted some messages and they can't be viewed either. Would just like to be sure it's not the fault of my very old computer... Have a good weekend with good movies. Looking forward to the We love Pirates week...

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    8. Andrea, not an issue on your side! I have all posts older than 7 days on "moderation" because spammers like to fill comments on old posts with junk website addresses, and that way I can just delete them. So any comment on a post beyond 7 days old waits for me to approve it before it shows up. Which is why you'll suddenly see them appear, with a comment from me right after them -- that's because I'll have had a minute to go through and approve and answer posts.

      Sorry that that confused you! Also, some days I have time to answer comments right when I get them, and sometimes I have to wait a couple days until I have time. Which is why a lot of times, I'm suddenly answering a ton of comments. Sometimes I'm busy all day long with teaching my kids and normal life stuff, and some days I have a nice break where I can do blog stuff. This has been a week of busy days, heh.

      I will leave a comment on the Shane review later this weekend with my email address for you, since the only other person who's ever commented on it is someone who also knows it ;-) So keep your eye out for that!

      To reply to your other comments here -- you can always go back through my Shane read-along posts and comment on them if you want to! I just reread it last summer, and it's pretty fresh in my mind still if you want to discuss it.

      The Crimson Pirate is such a hoot! While prepping for my pirate party, I realized I haven't seen it in like a decade and ordered a copy.

      Tyrone Power is a lovely pick for a favorite actor! I really like so many of his films... and have many more to find and see yet. Your mom had good taste ;-)

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    9. Thanks Rachel, glad to hear it's got nothing to do with my computer – got to do everything via Zoom, teaching, meetings etc. and it's a really old MacBook which I'm afraid will crash one of these days under such strain (oh my, I hope not)...
      I wrote my second comment last night regarding the "Shane" review (I'm simply obsessed with this movie) and will keep my eye out, indeed – thanks in advance!
      Yeah, "The Crimson Pirate" is really a hoot, I bought the DVD last week and watched the antics of Lancaster & Cravat. Oh boy, it's really obvious Lancaster was a circus acrobat... those stunts!! And like our dear Alan, he had his Hollywood breakthrough in a film noir – I've never seen "The Killers" (next on my must-see list), directed by the same Siodmak who was at the helm of "The Crimson Pirate". So to quote Lancaster, "Gather 'round lads and lasses, gather round" for next week and more pirates.

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    10. Andrea, I hear you. My husband has all his work things online right now and is working from home, and my kids have things like Sunday school and our homeschool co-op classes on Zoom. If either the desktop or the laptop goes down, we'll be in a lot of trouble.

      The stunts in Crimson Pirate are amazing! I definitely remember those. I haven't seen The Killers either, but I hear Lancaster is awesome in it. I really liked his turn in Birdman of Alcatraz, but my favorite role of his is still Wyatt Earp in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

      Piratey goodness coming sooooooooon!

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  4. Happy Alaniversary! The one with the 3 pics of him at his ranch has always been my favorite. It's just so cheerful and I dig it.

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    1. DKoren, I am super tempted to go back to that header this summer because yeah... it's so lovely. Don't be shocked if I do.

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  5. You know, I remember your Shane read-along very clearly. And I also have clear memories of when you first started posting about Alan Ladd. I was like "man, she really likes this young Ladd fellow. Maybe I should inquire discreetly about his intentions." ;)

    Was that really five years ago?? It doesn't feel like it!

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    1. Katie, yeah, doesn't seem like 5 years, does it? And um, I think a discreet inquiry as to his intentions would have yielded results something along the lines of "intends to quietly and sweetly take over her entire imagination and insert himself into every single book she writes from now on."

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    2. Oh, Alan ... *shakes head fondly at him*

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  6. I do this with so many actors. Adam Brody has been my top favorite lately and has stuck around for almost two years now. Glad I'm not the only one who did this, I thought I was weird that I would get fixated on certain actors. I really need to watch some of Alan Ladd's movies.

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    1. Skye, you're definitely not the only one! I get a spring fling every year or two, a new onscreen crush for a character or an actor. Some of them, like Alan Ladd and Luke Evans and Rudolph Valentino, end up being forever-favorites. Others, like Tyrone Power and Burt Lancaster, end up being actors I continue to be interested by, but no longer obsess over.

      Hmm. Maybe next time I send you a random surprise gift, I'll slip an Alan Ladd movie in there. There are a couple I think you might dig.

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  7. I enjoyed this so much. Alan Ladd is indeed worthy of such devotion. The headers are a wonderful way to keep his memory alive every day.

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    1. Caftan Woman, glad you enjoyed this :-) You have hit on it exactly -- having him in a header on one of my blogs at all times means he's never far away from me.

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  8. Happy Alanniversary.

    And thanks for being here, among other things, providing a place for other fans to meet. ;)

    (I believe it's been two and half-ish years, 24 films for me.) (Plus maybe 10 or 11 more films I've seen but not in the last two and a half years.)

    Take care!

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    1. Thanks, VT! I'm so glad I've been able to be a sort of bridge between lots of Ladd fans :-)

      Hey, 24 films in 2 1/2 years is awesome! I've seen 30 in five years. That's 30 separate titles -- some of them, I've watched over and over and over.

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    2. I should get my review notes back in order some day. I've got multiple versions of reviews of some of these movies!

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    3. VT, well the promise of reviews to read is exciting, anyway.

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  9. I love this, Rachel! Had never seen that Christmas pic before. I've read a number of your Ladd reviews, as he's also a big favorite of mine, but there are some I don't think I've checked out so I'm going to be taking a look at them soon!

    Best wishes,
    Laura

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this, Laura! I've definitely loved getting to read your own reviews of so many of Ladd's films :-) How fun that you have a few new ones to read!

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  10. This is so fun! It makes me so happy to have something (or someone) movie related to enjoy, so I'm delighted that you have Ladd! I'm rather slow, so since you brought him to my attention I've only seen two of his movies (+a cameo) but I'm so excited to see more.

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    1. MC, I know what you mean! It's always nice to have an actor you're trying to see more of or a series you're working through, just some kind of focus for your viewing.

      And hey, many of Alan's movies are not cheap, so I've only seen so many because I'm a devotee. Don't feel bad if you've only seen a couple! Feel good, because you've seen those ones!

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  11. Hamlette,

    It is lovely to pop over here and see such a fun post! Alan Ladd is a pure delight. I remember getting to see his Gatsby in a rare screening at TCMFF in 2014 (slight brag sorry!). I loved his version! <3

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    1. Meg/Millie, HELLO! ::hugs:: How're you?

      Sigh. The closest I've gotten so far to seeing Alan on the big screen is the snippet of Shane that they watch in Logan. Which was unexpected and amazing, but... not enough ;-) So, yes, I do envy you getting to see Gatsby on the big screen, because he is so wonderful in that. I love it too!

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  12. I've never seen an Alan Ladd movie as far as I know, but I'm going to give him a try. I've got Two Years Before the Mast from the library and also have Whispering Smith on hold. Can't waito to try them!

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    1. Becky W, oh my goodness! I am so thrilled that you were able to get two of his movies from your library! Please come back here or to my reviews of those two to tell me what you think. I'm so excited for you!!!

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