Robert Taylor has long been one of my favorite actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age. An accomplished actor, singer, and Hollywood idol, Taylor made his mark upon film history as a popular leading many in films an on television. While certainly popular as a studio star, today, Taylor is not discussed as frequently as some of his matinee idol counterparts.
At the height of his fame, Taylor had already carried out a wide range of roles. Though largely remembered as a leading man in romances and dramas, he had appeared in comedies, westerns, and even in musicals such as Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) and Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937). He also worked opposite many of Hollywood’s finest leading ladies, including Irene Dunne, Greta Garbo, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, and more.
In Robert Taylor: Male Beauty, Masculinity, and Stardom in Hollywood, author Gillian Kelly delves into the construction of Taylor’s screen persona across his lengthy career. In addition to discussing his noteworthy romantic roles in films such as Magnificent Obsession (1935), Camille (1936) and Waterloo Bridge (1940), to name a few, as well as his highly publicized marriage to–and divorce from–Barbara Stanwyck, Kelly grapples with the concepts of male beauty and masculinity in the film industry. She also examines how gender, looks, masculinity, and aging affected Taylor’s career in films.
Though the narrative focuses upon Taylor as its star player, it succeeds in linking Taylor’s story to larger concepts within working in the film industry and aptly explores Taylor’s niche in it. Fans of Taylor are sure to enjoy this examination of Taylor’s life and career.
Robert Taylor: Male Beauty, Masculinity, and Stardom in Hollywood is available for purchase through the University Press of Mississippi.