Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Birthday Tribute to John Payne

Actor John Payne was born this week in 1912.

Numerous sources give Payne's birth date as May 23rd, but I'm using the May 28th date which is attributed to his daughter Julie at the IMDb site. Either way, it's a great week to reflect on John Payne and his many contributions to classic cinema.

Early in his career Payne was the singing star of wonderful Fox musicals such as SUN VALLEY SERENADE (1941), WEEK-END IN HAVANA (1941), SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES (1942), and HELLO FRISCO, HELLO (1943).

Like Dick Powell before him, Payne later made the transition from musicals to rugged film noir hero, appearing in classics of the genre such as KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952), 99 RIVER STREET (1953), and SLIGHTLY SCARLET (1956).

Payne also starred in numerous adventure films and Westerns in the '50s, including RAILS INTO LARAMIE (1954), SILVER LODE (1954), and TENNESSEE'S PARTNER (1955).

He'll probably always be best-known, however, as one of the stars of the Christmas perennial MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947).

Early marriages to Anne Shirley and Gloria DeHaven didn't take, and a romance with Coleen Gray in the early '50s also came to an end, but in 1953 Payne married Alexandra Crowell Curtis. Their marriage lasted 36 years, until Payne's death in 1989.

John Payne's career is filled with very enjoyable films spanning a variety of genres. His movies which have been previously reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: GARDEN OF THE MOON (1938), WINGS OF THE NAVY (1939), TEAR GAS SQUAD (1940), SUN VALLEY SERENADE (1941), WEEK-END IN HAVANA (1941) (also here), SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES (1942), HELLO FRISCO, HELLO (1943), THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946), MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947) (also here), THE SAXON CHARM (1948), LARCENY (1949), THE CROOKED WAY (1949), EL PASO (1949) (also here), 99 RIVER STREET (1953), SILVER LODE (1954), RAILS INTO LARAMIE (1954), TENNESSEE'S PARTNER (1955), SLIGHTLY SCARLET (1956), and REBEL IN TOWN (1956).

I have a number of John Payne films on hand I've never seen which I hope to review here in the future! Additional notable titles include TIN PAN ALLEY (1940), REMEMBER THE DAY (1941), SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY (1946), CAPTAIN CHINA (1950), TRIPOLI (1950), SANTA FE PASSAGE (1955), and THE BOSS (1956), to name just a few.

Update: Here are reviews of DODSWORTH (1936) (also here) and KID NIGHTINGALE (1939).


Blogger Jerry E said...

Nice tribute, Laura! An actor I have always liked but as time has gone on I have come to appreciate his talent increasingly. Since some of his best roles were in my two favourite genres - films noir and westerns - he stands tall!

I look forward to you catching up with and reviewing some of those still-to-see titles you mention.....

11:25 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Mr. Payne is a favourite around here. We admire the control he took of his career. A birthday week for the actor/producer sounds about right.

When you get around to it, I'm sure you will love "Remember the Day".

Also, take note of the black and white dress (Travis Banton, I believe) worn by Alice Faye in "Tin Pan Alley". Want it!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Jerry and Caftan Woman!

Jerry, it's nice to know that I still have a lot of "first time watches" ahead of me! I'm looking forward to all of them. :)

Thanks for the recommendation of REMEMBER THE DAY, CW I love Travis Banton's work, I hope to catch up on TIN PAN ALLEY before long! I've seen so many Fox musicals but that and THE DOLLY SISTERS are two I've missed.

Best wishes,

2:01 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

I really like Payne's performance in the crime epic The Boss, interested to see what you think of that.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks much for the recommendation, Kristina!

Best wishes,

11:04 PM  
Blogger mel said...

In addition to those already mentioned, some others well worth checking out are College Swing (1938), The Great American Broadcast (1941), Footlight Serenade (1942) and Wake Up And Dream (1946).

11:18 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks very much, Mel! I checked and have all of those but COLLEGE SWING. I obviously need to get going on my John Payne viewing, lots of good viewing ahead!

Thanks again!
Best wishes,

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love these portraits of John. Thanks for sharing. Tin Pan Alley has some great songs.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Another thumbs up for TIN PAN ALLEY! I need to get to that one soon. :) Delighted you enjoyed the photos!

Best wishes,

8:30 PM  

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