The Marrying Kind


1h 33m 1952
The Marrying Kind

Brief Synopsis

A judge forces a divorcing couple to think back on the problems that drove them apart.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Romantic Comedy
Release Date
Apr 1952
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Mar 1952
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New York City, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

In the New York Court of Domestic Relations, Judge Anna Carroll presides over the divorce hearing of Florence and Chet Keefer, whose lawyers insist their clients' marriage is over. As it is late, the judge calls a recess, then summons the Keefers to her chambers, where she asks them how they met. Chet hesitates, then relates the early days of their marriage: In Central Park, Chet and his friend and fellow postal worker, George Bastian, introduce themselves to two attractive young women and soon they begin double dating. Chet and Florence marry shortly thereafter and honeymoon in Atlantic City before setting up house in a tiny apartment with very little furniture. Florence complains about Chet's long hours, while at the post office, his work buddies kid him about his marriage. Chet confides in George that he has great aspirations to make something of himself. Back in the judge's chamber, Judge Carroll asks Florence and Chet when the first sign of trouble appeared in their relationship. Florence explains that Chet began placing his ambitions and other people before her and he was always envious of his sister Joan's husband, Howard Shipley, a successful businessman. Florence takes up their story: Chet is uncomfortable about attending a formal party thrown by Joan and Howard, celebrating their trip to Europe. Delayed repeatedly at work, Chet is late picking Florence up and at the party, he feels like the excluded "poor relation." To Florence's annoyance, Chet drinks too much and rumbas enthusiastically with a voluptuous guest. Later that night, Chet and Florence argue about his behavior and she pushes him off her bed. That night, Chet has a nightmare that at work his carelessness with loose ball bearings causes the Postmaster General injury. When Florence awakens him, however, he gets a flash of insight and feverishly begins designing a pair of ball bearing sliders, similar to roller skates. Chet has the sliders built and takes them to Howard to get his financial backing. Florence talks Howard into trying on the sliders, but when he falls down, Joan furiously orders Florence and Chet out. A few days later, Florence and Chet each discover a magazine report about an identical invention of sliders introduced by a former champion skater, and Florence comforts the despondent Chet. After Florence's disclosure, Judge Carroll asks the Keefers why there is no hope for their marriage. Florence claims they never got a break, and Chet declares that everything would have been fine had his slider invention worked. When Judge Carroll presses Florence to explain what she expected from marriage, she laments that she feels lonely even when she is in the same room with Chet. He protests that even if he was not always thinking of her, he was thinking of their marriage and that he always loved her. Chet resumes the Keefers' story: Florence frets over Chet's concern about expenses when taking their children, Joey and Ellen, camping. At home one evening, Florence and Chet are stunned when a radio broadcaster announces that Florence has been selected to answer their $2,600 question. When the station telephones her and plays a bit of music for her to identify, she names the tune, but Chet disagrees and she gives the station his answer, which is incorrect. Sometime later, the Keefers attend a Decoration Day picnic with their children, and Joey accidentally drowns, leaving Florence and Chet desolate. Lost in thought over his son one day, Chet is hit by a truck while crossing the street, requiring extensive hospitalization and then time in a convalescent home, where Florence and Ellen constantly visit. While there, Chet grudgingly admits Florence must go back to work to help meet their expenses. Resuming work at the post office, Chet receives a promotion, but the news is dulled when Florence gets a letter informing her that her former boss has died and left her $1,284. Chet demands to know what she did to be left so much money, but Florence has no idea. Chet stews about the money, then finally gives Florence permission to accept it. When she tells him that she already has, he explodes in anger and threatens to walk out, but Florence leaves instead. All the Keefers' friends offer advice on how to patch up their marriage and even the discovery that Florence's boss left all his employees money does not help. At the end of their story, Judge Carroll points out to the Keefers that they have had good times and bad times and that wrong headedness does not mean their marriage is over. She then bids the Keefers goodnight and in the hallway tells the bailiff she does not believe the Keefers will be in court the following day. In the judge's chambers, Chet says he may not be able to change his delusions of grandeur, but he can try, and Florence agrees to try too. The Keefers leave the office arm in arm.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Romantic Comedy
Release Date
Apr 1952
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Mar 1952
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New York City, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Articles

The Marrying Kind


After the phenomenal success of Born Yesterday (1950) as both a play and a movie, the director (George Cukor), writer (Garson Kanin) and star (Judy Holliday) regrouped for a second film entitled The Marrying Kind (1952), only this time they were joined by actress/screenwriter Ruth Gordon who co-wrote the script with her husband Kanin. Because Judy Holliday had already established herself as a hilarious and gifted comic, audiences and critics were expecting another laugh-filled comedy but the resulting film defied easy classification. Mixing humor, drama and tragedy in unexpected ways, the film opens with a divorce court hearing. The judge is reviewing the case of Chet and Florence Keefer and we see in flashback the high and low points of their relationship beginning with their first meeting in Central Park and including their courtship, childrearing, career disappointments, domestic squabbles and an unexpected death in the family.

From the beginning Kanin and Gordon never intended for The Marrying Kind to be treated as a straight comedy but as a marriage-on-the-rocks tragicomedy. "Its aim is realism," Kanin told Cukor, "Its tone is documentary rather than arty, its medium is photography rather than caricature. I think it is the closest we have ever come to "holding the mirror up to nature."

Kanin was very emphatic that the movie not have the "shiny," slick look of a big budget commercial film. He also wanted the actors to be "extremely real. The trouble with most actors is that they look and sound and behave like actors, even the good ones." In this regard, he advised Holliday to play her part differently from the role she created in Born Yesterday and to give a "performance of a real person who does real things."

For the role of Chet Keefer, Cukor wanted an actor who was not a well-known or typical leading man. He found who he was looking for in Aldo Ray who had only appeared in bit parts and supporting roles as Aldo DaRe up to then. According to Patrick McGilligan in George Cukor: A Double Life, the director "believed in Ray's future, however, and worked long hours, in screen tests and throughout the filming, to put the gravelly voiced former town constable at ease, and to convey his offbeat personality". In addition, Cukor had Ray take ballet lessons in order to alter his way of walking which reminded him of a football player. When The Marrying Kind was released, Cukor even went so far as to promote his new discovery with a special on-screen credit at the end: "You have just seen our New Personality Aldo Ray. Please watch for his next picture."

Ray unfortunately never really got the opportunity to deliver on his promise as an actor despite his impressive performances in The Marrying Kind and Cukor's next feature, Pat and Mike (1952). Most casting directors only saw him as a gruff, hulking "salt of the earth" type who seemed best suited to play army men, police officers or crude rednecks. As a result, most movie fans probably associate Ray with his macho sergeant in The Naked and the Dead, the 1958 film adaptation of Norman Mailer's WWII novel, or the lustful dirt-poor southerner in the once steamy God's Little Acre (1958), probably the best known of his later work.

The rest of the cast of The Marrying Kind was selected with the same care and concern as Ray though Cukor and Kanin sometimes disagreed over specific actors. Cukor wanted Ina Claire to play the part of Judge Kroll but Kanin disliked her "artificial acting" and said it would throw the picture into "a strange and make-believe key." They ended up casting Madge Kennedy in the role, who like Ina Claire, was a longtime friend of Cukor; The Marrying Kind marked her first screen appearance in twenty-eight years. Other actors featured in smaller parts were Sheila Bond, a Tony-award winning Broadway actress making her film debut here; Peggy Cass, also making her screen debut (she would later achieve fame as a guest panelist on TV shows such as What's My Line? and Match Game); and an uncredited Charles Bronson who plays Chet's pal at his post office job (Bronson was still going by the name Charles Buchinsky at this stage of his career).

To ground the movie in reality, The Marrying Kind was shot on location in New York City in real settings such as Central Park, Times Square and the Stuyvesant Town apartment complex in East Manhattan. For the memorable Decoration Day picnic in which [SPOILER ALERT] the Keefer's son Joey drowns in the lake, Cukor drew inspiration from a production of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.

At the time of The Marrying Kind, Kanin and Gordon were one of the busiest screenwriting teams in Hollywood. Not only were they working out the final script for this new film but also putting the finishing touches on Pat and Mike and Years Ago, the film adaptation of Gordon's autobiographical play which was retitled The Actress, for MGM. Unfortunately, The Marrying Kind did not come close to the success of Born Yesterday despite the fact that Kanin and Gordon's script was nominated for Best Written American Comedy by the Writers Guild and Holliday was nominated for Best Foreign Actress by the BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts).

The uneven tone of the film jarred most audiences and reviewers who had set expectations about it. Admittedly, Cukor's excessive use of voice-over narration during several of the flashback scenes tends to hinder character development instead of enriching it. And Florrie and Chet are not immediately likable or sympathetic. In fact, they both could test anyone's patience with their annoying idiosyncrasies. Cukor's documentary-like approach also tends to flatten his attempts at humor which often seem contrived or artificial in this context. On the other hand, the arguments between the couple that increase in intensity and bitterness as the film develops may hit too close to home for many a married couple - petty arguments about in-laws, bad financial decisions, jealousy. [SPOILER ALERT] Added to this is the fact that the film never really recovers its equilibrium after Florrie and Chet lose their child in a drowning accident even though the movie ends on a hopeful note with the couple reconciled. This may account for the film's poor box office prospects, for The Marrying Kind is much closer to tragedy than comedy and not anyone's idea of escapist fare.

Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, however, was one of the few reviewers at the time that recognized and admired what Cukor and Kanin were attempting to do in The Marrying Kind: "Think it not curious if we don't seem to be as side-splittingly impressed with the hilarities in this picture as its promotion might lead you to expect. Hilarity is in it - hilarity of the best - as would be almost mandatory in any picture with Miss Holliday. But the charming and lastingly affecting thing about The Marrying Kind is its bittersweet comprehension of the thorniness of the way that stretches out for two young people after they have taken the marriage vows...This reviewer has fond recollections of King Vidor's old film, The Crowd [1928], which was also about the frustrations of a young married couple in New York. The Marrying Kind compares to it, and that's the nicest compliment we can pay."

Producer: Bert Granet
Director: George Cukor
Screenplay: Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin
Cinematography: Joseph Walker
Film Editing: Charles Nelson
Art Direction: John Meehan
Music: Hugo Friedhofer
Cast: Judy Holliday (Florrie Keefer), Aldo Ray (Chet Keefer), Madge Kennedy (Judge Anne Carroll), Sheila Bond (Joan Shipley), John Alexander (Howard Shipley), Rex Williams (George Bastian).
BW-92m. Closed captioning.

by Jeff Stafford

SOURCES:
George Cukor: A Double Life by Patrick McGilligan
The Marrying Kind

The Marrying Kind

After the phenomenal success of Born Yesterday (1950) as both a play and a movie, the director (George Cukor), writer (Garson Kanin) and star (Judy Holliday) regrouped for a second film entitled The Marrying Kind (1952), only this time they were joined by actress/screenwriter Ruth Gordon who co-wrote the script with her husband Kanin. Because Judy Holliday had already established herself as a hilarious and gifted comic, audiences and critics were expecting another laugh-filled comedy but the resulting film defied easy classification. Mixing humor, drama and tragedy in unexpected ways, the film opens with a divorce court hearing. The judge is reviewing the case of Chet and Florence Keefer and we see in flashback the high and low points of their relationship beginning with their first meeting in Central Park and including their courtship, childrearing, career disappointments, domestic squabbles and an unexpected death in the family. From the beginning Kanin and Gordon never intended for The Marrying Kind to be treated as a straight comedy but as a marriage-on-the-rocks tragicomedy. "Its aim is realism," Kanin told Cukor, "Its tone is documentary rather than arty, its medium is photography rather than caricature. I think it is the closest we have ever come to "holding the mirror up to nature." Kanin was very emphatic that the movie not have the "shiny," slick look of a big budget commercial film. He also wanted the actors to be "extremely real. The trouble with most actors is that they look and sound and behave like actors, even the good ones." In this regard, he advised Holliday to play her part differently from the role she created in Born Yesterday and to give a "performance of a real person who does real things." For the role of Chet Keefer, Cukor wanted an actor who was not a well-known or typical leading man. He found who he was looking for in Aldo Ray who had only appeared in bit parts and supporting roles as Aldo DaRe up to then. According to Patrick McGilligan in George Cukor: A Double Life, the director "believed in Ray's future, however, and worked long hours, in screen tests and throughout the filming, to put the gravelly voiced former town constable at ease, and to convey his offbeat personality". In addition, Cukor had Ray take ballet lessons in order to alter his way of walking which reminded him of a football player. When The Marrying Kind was released, Cukor even went so far as to promote his new discovery with a special on-screen credit at the end: "You have just seen our New Personality Aldo Ray. Please watch for his next picture." Ray unfortunately never really got the opportunity to deliver on his promise as an actor despite his impressive performances in The Marrying Kind and Cukor's next feature, Pat and Mike (1952). Most casting directors only saw him as a gruff, hulking "salt of the earth" type who seemed best suited to play army men, police officers or crude rednecks. As a result, most movie fans probably associate Ray with his macho sergeant in The Naked and the Dead, the 1958 film adaptation of Norman Mailer's WWII novel, or the lustful dirt-poor southerner in the once steamy God's Little Acre (1958), probably the best known of his later work. The rest of the cast of The Marrying Kind was selected with the same care and concern as Ray though Cukor and Kanin sometimes disagreed over specific actors. Cukor wanted Ina Claire to play the part of Judge Kroll but Kanin disliked her "artificial acting" and said it would throw the picture into "a strange and make-believe key." They ended up casting Madge Kennedy in the role, who like Ina Claire, was a longtime friend of Cukor; The Marrying Kind marked her first screen appearance in twenty-eight years. Other actors featured in smaller parts were Sheila Bond, a Tony-award winning Broadway actress making her film debut here; Peggy Cass, also making her screen debut (she would later achieve fame as a guest panelist on TV shows such as What's My Line? and Match Game); and an uncredited Charles Bronson who plays Chet's pal at his post office job (Bronson was still going by the name Charles Buchinsky at this stage of his career). To ground the movie in reality, The Marrying Kind was shot on location in New York City in real settings such as Central Park, Times Square and the Stuyvesant Town apartment complex in East Manhattan. For the memorable Decoration Day picnic in which [SPOILER ALERT] the Keefer's son Joey drowns in the lake, Cukor drew inspiration from a production of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. At the time of The Marrying Kind, Kanin and Gordon were one of the busiest screenwriting teams in Hollywood. Not only were they working out the final script for this new film but also putting the finishing touches on Pat and Mike and Years Ago, the film adaptation of Gordon's autobiographical play which was retitled The Actress, for MGM. Unfortunately, The Marrying Kind did not come close to the success of Born Yesterday despite the fact that Kanin and Gordon's script was nominated for Best Written American Comedy by the Writers Guild and Holliday was nominated for Best Foreign Actress by the BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts). The uneven tone of the film jarred most audiences and reviewers who had set expectations about it. Admittedly, Cukor's excessive use of voice-over narration during several of the flashback scenes tends to hinder character development instead of enriching it. And Florrie and Chet are not immediately likable or sympathetic. In fact, they both could test anyone's patience with their annoying idiosyncrasies. Cukor's documentary-like approach also tends to flatten his attempts at humor which often seem contrived or artificial in this context. On the other hand, the arguments between the couple that increase in intensity and bitterness as the film develops may hit too close to home for many a married couple - petty arguments about in-laws, bad financial decisions, jealousy. [SPOILER ALERT] Added to this is the fact that the film never really recovers its equilibrium after Florrie and Chet lose their child in a drowning accident even though the movie ends on a hopeful note with the couple reconciled. This may account for the film's poor box office prospects, for The Marrying Kind is much closer to tragedy than comedy and not anyone's idea of escapist fare. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, however, was one of the few reviewers at the time that recognized and admired what Cukor and Kanin were attempting to do in The Marrying Kind: "Think it not curious if we don't seem to be as side-splittingly impressed with the hilarities in this picture as its promotion might lead you to expect. Hilarity is in it - hilarity of the best - as would be almost mandatory in any picture with Miss Holliday. But the charming and lastingly affecting thing about The Marrying Kind is its bittersweet comprehension of the thorniness of the way that stretches out for two young people after they have taken the marriage vows...This reviewer has fond recollections of King Vidor's old film, The Crowd [1928], which was also about the frustrations of a young married couple in New York. The Marrying Kind compares to it, and that's the nicest compliment we can pay." Producer: Bert Granet Director: George Cukor Screenplay: Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin Cinematography: Joseph Walker Film Editing: Charles Nelson Art Direction: John Meehan Music: Hugo Friedhofer Cast: Judy Holliday (Florrie Keefer), Aldo Ray (Chet Keefer), Madge Kennedy (Judge Anne Carroll), Sheila Bond (Joan Shipley), John Alexander (Howard Shipley), Rex Williams (George Bastian). BW-92m. Closed captioning. by Jeff Stafford SOURCES: George Cukor: A Double Life by Patrick McGilligan

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.


Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute.

After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland.

TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place:

8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960)
10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963)
1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967)
4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976)

Charles Bronson, 1921-2003

Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him.

Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954).

Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West.

These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977).

Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.

Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute. After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland. TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place: 8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960) 10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963) 1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967) 4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976) Charles Bronson, 1921-2003 Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81. He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him. Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954). Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West. These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977). Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A Hollywood Reporter news item indicated that producer S. Sylvan Simon was set to produce The Marrying Kind, but Simon died in May 1951 and Bert Granet was assigned to the picture. Director George Cukor was borrowed from M-G-M for the film. As noted in a September 1951 New York Times article, portions of the film were shot on location in New York City. Madge Kennedy, who played "Judge Carroll," had been a former silent film star; The Marrying Kind was her first screen appearance in movies in twenty-eight years.
       The Marrying Kind marked Aldo Ray's first starring role. Although a New York Times article noted that his name had been changed from his real name Aldo DaRe to John Harrison, he is billed as Aldo Ray. His onscreen credit reads "Introducing Aldo Ray," although he actually made his debut in Columbia's 1951 picture Saturday's Hero under the name Aldo DaRe. The following statement appears onscreen at the conclusion of the movie over a medium shot of Ray: "You have just seen our New Personality Aldo Ray. Please watch for his next picture."

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 1952

Re-released in United States on Video February 11, 1997

Re-released in United States on Video February 11, 1997

Released in United States Spring April 1952