Friday, January 15, 2010
TCM SPECIAL EVENT: VAN JOHNSON.
Van Johnson, was cast as a serviceman in A Guy Named Joe(1943). During filming, he was badly injured in a near-fatal car crash (he had to have a metal plate placed in his skull, which made him ineligible for war service). Almost being replaced on the film, the two other cast members of the film, Spencer Tracy ( lifelong friend) and Irene Dunne, demanded that the studio work around his recovery, or they would quit the film. The kind gesture made Van a huge star.
Van's had a amazing career in war films and in musicals: Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), Easy to Wed(1946), Week-End at the Waldorf(1945). War Films: A Guy Named Joe(1943). Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo(1944). When Clark Gable, James Stewart and Robert Taylor returned from the war, Van went on to second dramatic leads, but he kept his leading man status in musicals opposite June Allyson, Esther Williams(pictured above) and Judy Garland. He continued his dramatic performances in films Command Decision(1948), State of the Union(1948), Battleground(1949), Brigadoon(1954) and The Caine Mutiny(1954).
The "golden age" started to fade by the mid-1950s. MGM released Van after he co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor in The Last Time I Saw Paris(1954). He continued performing in films, The End of the Affair(1955) with Deborah Kerr, Miracle in the Rain (1956) with Jane Wyman, The Bottom of the Bottle (1956), with Joseph Cotten, 23 Paces to Baker Street(1956), with Vera Miles.
My top 5 favorite Van Johnson films:
THE THRILL OF ROMANCE (1945)
EASY TO WED (1946)
IN THE GOOD OLE SUMMER TIME (1949)
EASY TO LOVE (1953)
THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (1954)