The Strange Love of Barbara Stanwyck: Robert Taylor (The Blacklist Episode #5) / by Karina Longworth

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Barbara Stanwyck’s first marriage helped to inspire A Star is Born. Her second marriage, to heartthrob Robert Taylor, didn’t make sense in a lot of ways, but the pair were united by their conservative politics. Both joined the blacklist-stoking Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, but only Taylor testified before HUAC. Called to shamed MGM for forcing him to star in wartime pro-Soviet film Song of Russia, Taylor would become the only major star to name names. Today we’ll talk about Taylor and Stanwyck’s relationship, and the difference between her groundbreaking career as the rare actress who refused to sign long term studio contracts, and his much more conventional experience as MGM chattel.

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair

Sources specific to this episode:

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940 By Victoria Wilson

Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood and Communism by Linda Alexander

Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman by Dan Callahan

Independent Stardom: Freelance Women in the Hollywood Studio System by Emily Carman

Robert Taylor Actor -- A very well-researched fan page

This episode includes a clip from Red Salute, which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube. You can also watch Taylor’s controversial film Song of Russia, which is not available on DVD, here.

Other clips used:

Robert Taylor’s testimony about Howard Da Silva: 

The “back to Russia” testimony: 

Special thanks this week to Brian Clark and Noah Segan for their help in tracking down research materials.

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.