Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Birthday Tribute to Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power, one of the greatest stars of the classic film era, was born 97 years ago today, on May 5, 1914.

There's a movement afoot asking the United States Postal Service to honor the 2014 centennial of Power's birth with a Legends of Hollywood stamp. (Gregory Peck was the most recent actor to be honored; his stamp was released last week.) Power fans can sign an online petition in support of such a stamp.

Those who wish to support the stamp can also write a letter to the Postal Service; the address is available at Tyrone

Power, along with Cary Grant, is my all-time favorite actor. I've loved him since I first saw THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940) as a child, and I couldn't begin to count how many times I've seen it since. It's one of the most enjoyable films ever made, thanks in large part to Power's performance, ably supported by Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell, Gale Sondergaard, and Eugene Pallette.

Power's work encompassed swashbucklers, Westerns, costume dramas, romantic comedies, fantasies, and even musicals. His looks were so remarkable that it's sometimes almost an afterthought to acknowledge that he was also a superb actor whose skills grew even more impressive with the passage of time.

Power served in the Marines during WWII, after which he gave some of his most highly regarded dramatic performances in films such as THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946), NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947), THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955), and WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957). His early death at the age of 44 was a great loss for all who love his work.

Tyrone Power films previously reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: GIRLS' DORMITORY (1936), LADIES IN LOVE (1936), LOVE IS NEWS (1937), SECOND HONEYMOON (1937), CAFE METROPOLE (1937), THIN ICE (1937), IN OLD CHICAGO (1938), DAY-TIME WIFE (1939), BRIGHAM YOUNG (1940), A YANK IN THE R.A.F. (1941), THE BLACK SWAN (1942), SON OF FURY (1942), CRASH DIVE (1943), THAT WONDERFUL URGE (1948), THE LUCK OF THE IRISH (1948), RAWHIDE (1951), I'LL NEVER FORGET YOU (1951), and DIPLOMATIC COURIER (1952).

A concluding thought on Power from Caftan Woman, who found this quote from Alice Faye, a great talent also born on this date: "He was the best looking thing I've ever seen in my life. Kissing him was like dying and going to heaven."

2012 Updates: Adding a link for my review of JOHNNY APOLLO (1940). And Coleen Gray remembers Tyrone Power in an interview with me.

2013 Update: Here are reviews of THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946), NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947), and PRINCE OF FOXES (1949).

2014 Update: I marked Tyrone Power's Centennial by watching THIS ABOVE ALL (1942), and I also wrote about PONY SOLDIER (1952) for the O Canada Blogathon in October. I watched KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1953) for the British Empire in Film Blogathon in November.

I also wrote about my favorite Tyrone Power film, THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), and posted an extensive gallery of images from the film.

2014 Update: A visit to Tyrone Power's gravesite at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

2016 Update: Here's a review of THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955).

2018 Update: I've posted a review of WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957).

2019 Update: A return visit to Tyrone Power's gravesite at Hollywood Forever.

2020 Update: A Tribute to Tyrone Power, adapted from my 2013 column for ClassicFlix.


Blogger Cliff Aliperti said...

Thanks for linking to the petition--I signed. One of my favorites, I get the feeling he gets overlooked today because TCM doesn't have the rights to most of his Fox hits, so he doesn't get the exposure of many of the MGM stars of the same period.

I'm working up the courage to write about The Razor's Edge on my site because it's not only my favorite Tyrone Power film, but a top 3 for me on any movie list, often #1 if you catch me in the right mood!

A later Tyrone Power movie you don't mention here that I love and give top recommendation to is Abandon Ship aka Seven Waves Away (1957).

Thanks again!

2:22 PM  
Blogger James Corry said...

Thanks for the link Laura....

Here's hoping that "Twilight Time" DVD specialty company will release Power's "King Of The Khyber Rifles" and "Untamed" in their original aspect-ratio and stereophonic sound (as you can probably tell, I am an unashamed FANATIC of the early Fox "CinemaScope" pictures!)

7:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Love hearing from other Power fans! Thanks for signing the petition, Cliff. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to watch ABANDON SHIP (grin), but THE RAZOR'S EDGE is high on my "must see" list (somehow I've not gotten to it yet...!).

Brad, thanks for your thoughts as well. I would definitely grab those titles if they come out on the Twilight Time label -- haven't seen them yet either. Like you, I love Fox CinemaScope of the '50s! At least I still have more "new to me" Power ahead of me to see. :)

Best wishes,

7:51 PM  
Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Hi, Laura - My 90 year-old mother recently revealed to me that she is a Tyrone Power fan! She has fond memories of sending away for his photo when she was a teen-ager. I have visions of her singing "You Made Me Love You" to Tyrone's photo just as Judy Garland sang to Clark Gable's photo! How different from today when we can Google countless pix of our screen idols. Fans during the Golden Age of Hollywood must have cherished their handful of studio photos, as obviously my mother did. (She confessed she had one of Robert Taylor, too!) Happy Mother's Day! Jane

5:47 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

What a wonderful story, Jane! Your mom had good taste in movie actors. :)

That's a great perspective on how things have changed -- if they didn't write away for a photo or buy a movie magazine, it was very difficult to have images of their favorites.

Best wishes,

5:52 PM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Tyrone Power deserves al the admiration and adulation we can give him.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I so agree. :)

Best wishes,

10:27 PM  

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