Edward G. Robinson

March 14, 2009

Edward G. Robinson is most known for being a movie gangster. He's one of the BIG THREE -- Cagney, Bogart and Edward G. Robinson.

But my favorite of all his movies is The Whole Town's Talking, a 1935 comedic gem co-starring Jean Arthur. What makes this particular comedy so brilliant is Edward G. Robinson's dual roles. One of his characters, Arthur Ferguson Jones, is a meek, shy man who has a major crush on co-worker Jean Arthur. The other character, Killer Manion, is the biggest gangster in town-- a gun toting brazen bully.

As the mild mannered Arthur, Edward G. Robinson is just one of the sweetest souls in the movies. This is how I picture he was in real life. He just seemed like he had an angelic personality.

I just looked the movie up on tcmdb, and realized that -- once again! -- I'm recommending a film that is not on DVD. However, I have very good news for anyone who has TCM. It will be on at 8pm EST on March 15th! If you don't have TCM, call a friend who has it and ask them to tape it! Ask your parents- ask a coworker- ask a stranger on the street. It's such a terrific movie, you'll want to kick yourself if you miss it!

By the way-- does anyone have any suggestions for people I should paint/draw? Requests are always welcome :)


Paul D Brazill said...

I was thinking of EGR just today. Key Largo and the night has a 1000 eyes are the ones for me-and double indemnity,of course.

DKoren said...

You know what's odd? The only things I knew him in growing up were The Ten Commandments and Soylent Green, oh and mimicked by Bugs Bunny et al in cartoons. I had no idea he played gangsters, other than in a passing mention, because my dad did not approve of gangsters or films about them, so they Were Not Watched. I had to be out living on my own before I finally got to see some of his older films, starting with Double Indemnity...where he's a good guy. LOL! But my current George Raft obsession has been taking me into the gangster films for the first time, so this should be fun!

R. D. Finch said...

I saw this when it played on TCM a few weeks ago, and it was very entertaining. Robinson was amazing in his dual role. I was surprised at how many scenes he appeared in with himself! While his gangster persona was expected, his mild-mannered lookalike role was a real revelation, a sort of preview of the roles he played for Fritz Lang in "The Woman in the Window" and "Scarlet Street." Jean Arthur was great too, as usual. And the movie was thankfully free of those annoying John Fordisms that can start to grate after a while (his sentimentality and cornball comedy relief). Hope some of your readers are able to catch it.

Terence Towles Canote said...

What I find interesting is that although best known for playing gangsters, Robinson really was quite good at comedy. In one of his funniest movies he even sort of combined the two--Larceny Inc. I've also always found it interesting that while Cagney was also known for playing gangsters, he was one of the best song and dance men around. I still think of him as George M. Cohan instead of Tom Powers.

Anonymous said...

I love your painting of Eddie. He's so human and kind. I agree with you, I think that's who he really was.

I have seen The Whole Town's Talking and loved it! I'll be tuning in to watch it again tomorrow.

I watched How To Steal A Million yesterday (it was on AMC) and fell in love with it all over again. It's such a terrific film! So innocent, sweet and genuinely nice. I went to Walmart today, still in the hypnotic trance induced by the film and searched around for it on the DVD shelves. Just when I had decided it wasn't there, the sales clerk came up and asked me if he could help me. I knew it was hopeless, but I asked him anyway. He looked at me like I was from another planet, but dutifully got out his list and checked for me. They didn't have it, as I thought. But, I couldn't resist asking the clerk just to see what kind of reaction I'd get. Isn't it fun being a classic film freak? ;)

Ooh - if you'd like a recommendation for a new painting, how about Peter O'Toole? What a dreamboat!

Classic Maiden said...

Definitely one of my favorite actors... He could do anything, in my opinion!

Nicole Newcomb said...

What a marvelous painting of Edward. Today I'm planning on watching The Whole Town's Talking so you've got me excited. :)

Unknown said...

Paul- I do love Key Largo-- I just watched it last week. Haven't seen The Night Has 1000 Eyes yet, I'll have to look it up.

DKoren- That is odd! I haven't seen any of his later work yet. Reading your posts on George Raft have gotten me quite interested-- I haven't seen almost any of his movies, except Manpower.

RD. Finch- I just watched it again tonight, and it is amazing how they could shoot the scenes with both characters. I kept trying to figure out how they were doing it in my head! Not really sure I know which Ford films you're referring to, with the cornball comedy. Actually, I'm a fan of sentinemtality and cornball comedy so I'd be interested to know which Ford films have it :)

Mercurie- Larceny, Inc. is fantastic. That's one of my favorite Jane Wyman films, too. I think of Cagney as George M. Cohan as well- - he was so versatile.

casey- Thanks! I've never bothered to even ask about classic movies at big box stores. Unless you want Casablanca or Gone with the Wind, 9 times out of 10 they won't have it!

One Peter O'Toole painting coming right up! Oh, but what a shame to paint those big blue eyes in black and white :(

Sebina- Definitely!

Nicole- Thanks :) Hope you enjoyed the film!!