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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Ronald ReaganBefore he was known for being the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975) and the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989), RONALD REAGAN (1911–2004), born Ronald Wilson Reagan was a radio, film and television actor. During his film career, which began in 1937 and ended in 1964, Ronald Reagan made 63 films (westerns, sports films, war pictures, crime films, comedies, and dramas). It's hard to say where I first saw Ronald Reagan. I know that he was the host of the famed television western, "Death Valley Days" for eight episodes, before he entered politics. I know I saw him in Bedtime for Bonzo (1951), after it came to television. It was this film that made we want to raise a chimpanzee. I watched every movie and television show that had chimpanzees after that. I know that it was seeing Ronald Reagan play Grover Cleveland Alexander in The Winning Team (1952) that spurred me on to seeing every baseball film I could find. Which I saw first, I can't say. I know this much, Ronald Reagan was a good looking man. When he played the good guy dealt a raw deal, such as in Kings Row or The Winning Team, I was there rooting for him, despite his poor attitude. If you haven't seen any of Ronald Reagan's films, now is the time to check out some. He really is an actor that you should know.

The Hasty Heart (1949)Haven't you seen The Hasty Heart (1949)? Ronald Reagan plays Yank. This story takes place in Burma at the close of WW2 in a military hospital. It is the touching story of soldiers befriending a friendless dying soldier. The Hasty Heart has a very good message and never fails to make me well up with tears.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

The Winning Team (1952) Here Ronald Reagan plays baseball pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander who battles ill health and alcoholism. This touching story also stars Doris Day as Grover's wife.
Kings Row (1942) This Americana melodrama directed by Sam Wood was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture of the Year. Ronald Reagan plays Drake McHugh, a role considered by most to be the finest performance of his career. It is a disturbing story, but worth seeing. Ronald Reagan's "Where's the rest of me?" is one of his two most remembered film lines. The second being in Knute Rockne All American (1940). Kings Row also stars Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Claude Rains, and Charles Coburn.
Knute Rockne, All American (1940) Ronald Reagan plays George Gipp in the story of legendary Notre Dame football player and coach Knute Rockne played by Pat O'Brien. "Win just one more for the Gipper," is the other one of Ronald Reagan's most remembered film lines.
Bedtime for Bonzo (1951) In this charming comedy about the raising of a chimpanzee as if it were a human baby, Ronald Reagan plays college professor Peter Boyd, along with Diana Lynn as Bonzo's human mama and Walter Slezak, a fellow professor Hans Neumann. Sure, this film is sheer fluff, but I like fluff.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve" Date: Sat, Jul 16 2011 / 17:24:45 PST