Payday Loans
Robert Ryan (1909-1973)



  1. Charles Boyer, The Arch of Triumph, 1947.    Enterprise Productions wanted to loan RKO’s Ryan for Ingrid Bergman’s lover. RKO refused by insisting upon “unmeetable demands.” He was lucky to escape the massacre of Erich Maria Remarque's  great novel.
  2. Victor Mature, Samson and Delilah, 1949.  In producer-director Cecil B DeMille’s file after being one of his Mounties in North West Mounted Police, 1940. CB De Mille also looked over Rory Calhoun, Jim Davis, Errol Flynn, William Hopper (Hedda’s son), John Ireland, Burt Lancaster, Glen Langan, Willard Parker, Steve Reeves, Roberts Ryan and Taylor, Murvyn Vye, Jeff York and even the newest evangelist in town, Dr Billy Graham. Here’s a review frtom guest critic  Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man's bust is larger than the leading lady's!"
  3. Raymond Massey, Dallas,  1949.      A fine  old-fashioned Western  with a fine old-fashioned villain - Massey at his best worst, leading Steve Cochran and Zon Murray on the run from Gary Cooper’s vengeful renegade-turned marshal Reb Hollister.
  4. Robert Mitchum, Where Danger Lives, 1949.   A Roberts battle. One story said Leo Rosten’s thriller was bought for Mitchum. Another said, for Ryan.  Mitchum won as RKO continued damage limitation after his mariuana bust (which actually seemed to do him so much good, one wonders if it was not all studio planned). Snared between Faith Domergue and Maureen O’Sullivan, he had to be careful where he put his hands. Domergue was his boss Howard Hughes’ latest, er, find and O’Sullivan was wed to his director, John Farrow.
  5. Ray Milland, A Life of Her Own, 1950.      Lana Turner  nearly stalked from her first movie in two years when MGM failed to land a co-star from the highly mixed bag of Ryan, James Craig, Cary Grant, Howard Keel, James Mason and George Murphy. The rich mine owner was given to Wendell Corey. As lucklustre as usual, he begged off after a few weeks. “I’m not right for the rôle.”   And Milland was, said MGM, borrowing him from Paramount.
  6. Victor Mature, The Las Vegas Story, 1950.      Laura scenarist Jay Dratler’s original script (not many of them to the pound) went from Burt Lancaster at Warner in 1948 to Ryan (or Robert Mitchum) at RKO in January 1950, before Mature arrived from Fox with his one RKO movie a year deal in November.
  7. Glenn Ford, Human Desire, 1953.   At first, for the re-make of  the 1937 Jean Renoir/Jean Gabin French classic, La bête humaine, director Fritz Lang didn’t look much further than his 1951 Clash By Night stars:  Ryan, Paul Douglas, Barbara Stanwyck. And forgetting that the perfect Vickie was also in that movie. Marilyn Monroe!
  8. Edward G Robinson, The Ten Commandments,,1954.
  9. Stephen Boyd, Ben-Hur, 1958.        For Messala  in  the MGMighty $5m epic re-make, director William Wyler (of the original’s 1924 crew) first thought of Charlton Heston, the star of his previous movie, The Big Country. (He went on to win who won the title role, of course).  Wyler then tested Danton, Leslie Nielsen and two Brits: Ronald Lewis and Bill Travers… saw Steve Cochran and Victor Mature… and Ryan, when Burt Lancaster was to be Judah Ben-Hur.
  10. Anthony Eisley, The Naked Kiss, 1964.    Maverick autuer Samuel Fuller had recently lost one of his idols, Gary Cooper, and one of his stars, Jeff Chandler - and now another favourite, the star of The House of Bamboo, 1954 - close to forming a company with Sam - was stricken with lung cancer.

  11. Lee Van Cleef, Per qualche dollaro/For A Few Dollars More, Italy-Spain-Germany, 1965.    What a career turnaround... for the sometime guest star inClint Eastwood’s Rawhide TV series. “As soon as we met, Sergio made up his mind: That’s Colonel Mortimer. Well, I wasn’t going to argue with him. Hell, I couldn’t pay my phone bill at the time.” As the old-timers Ryan andHenry Fonda snubbed the rising force of director Sergio Leone, Lee signed on. “I did the thing, paid my phone bill andexactly one year to the day - 12 April 1966 - I was called back to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” Followed by the Sabata films,... before Hollywood begged him to come home for The Magnificent Seven Ride!
  12. William Windom, Star Trek (#$35, The Doomsday Machine), TV, 1967. Stardate 4202.9... One of the great guest roles... A  Captain Ahab-type, obsessed with revenge for the loss of his USS Constellation and crew. Ryan  proved unavailable (scenarist Norman Spinrad wrote it for him) and Windom became the sole (and traumatised) survivor of the USS Enterprise’s attacked sister ship.. He reprised the role (as did the Doomsday Machine!) in the opening chapter of the fan-created web series, Star Trek New Voyages Phase II  #1:In Harm’s Way.he  This was the second of  three Trek tales inspired by Moby Dick. Spinrad was right.  Ryan would hae been t perfect Ahab.
  13. Keenan Wynn, C'era una volta il west/Once Upon A Time in the West, Italy-US, 1968.    If it was good enough for Hank Fonda… Ryan accepted Sergio Leone’s sheriff. Until he got a better (well, larger) role in The Wild Bunch.
  14. Walter Coy, Pancho Villa, 1971.  Ryan had been first choice for General Pershing. Telley Savalas was Pancho. Who loves ya, baby?
  15. Rex Harrison, Don Quixote, TV, 1973.    Some years earlier, when Ryan was diagnosed with cancer, he was scheduled to play The Don. Harrison,  however, finally tele-filmed it in 1973 - the year Ryan died, having leased his apartment, No. 72,  in New York’s Dakota Building to… John Lennon and Yoko Ono.



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