Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Golden Couples: Tyrone Power & Loretta Young

«Sweethearts of the Silver Screen»


In 1936, after appearing in a Broadway play called St. Joan, a 22-year-old Tyrone Power was approached by 20th Century Fox and offered a screen test. His first film at the studio was Girls' Dormitory (1936), starring Herbert Marshall and Ruth Chatterton. Although his appearance in the film was very brief, he was a sensation and Fox was invaded by hundreds of fan letters. Legend goes that columnist Hedda Hopper even stayed for a second showing of the film to find out who that handsome young man was.

In Ladies In Love
After Girls' Dormitory, Ty was given a bigger chance to shine in the romantic comedy Ladies in Love (1936), starring Janet Gaynor, Constance Bennett and 23-year-old beauty Loretta Young. In the film, Loretta plays a young peasant called Susie, who falls madly in love with Tyrone's character, Count Karl Lanyi. They were such a success that Daryl F. Zanuck wasted no time in pairing them again.

Their next film together was the 1937 screwball comedy Love Is News. Ty played a brash young newspaper reporter called Steve Leyton, whose life gets turned upside down when he's assigned to write an exclusive story about weathly heiress Tony Gateson (Loretta). The film was a smashing hit and critics raved about their chemistry on screen. Off screen, the chemistry was through the roof as well and romantic sparks soon began to flair between the two young stars. They were spotted together all over town and she was by his side when he placed his handprints in the cement at the Grauman's Chinese Theater soon after Love Is News was released.

As Steve and Tony in Love Is News

She had a habit of falling in love with all her leading men, but I think she really fell in love with Tyrone.
(Judy Lewis, Loretta's daughter)

In Café Metropole
The handsome couple was next cast in the comedy-drama Café Metropole (1937), alongside Adolphe Menjou. The plot of Café Metropole revolved around Alexander Brown (Tyrone), a young American who poses as a Russian prince in hopes to charm an American heiress called Laura Ridgeway (Loretta), marry her and then pay his gambling debts with her money. Released just eight weeks after Love Is News, the film was another smashing success for Ty and Loretta.

In Second Honeymoon
Power and Young ended the year with the last of their romantic comedies together. In Second Honeymoon (1937), they played Raoul McLish and Vicky Benton, a recently divorced couple who run into each other at a nightclub in Miami and quickly realize that they're still in love with one another. The film was once again a big hit and solidified Ty and Loretta's position as the "box-office darlings of the USA".

Throughout 1937 into 1938, Power and Young continued to see each other off the Fox lot, but unfortunately the romance didn't last long. Legend goes that Daryl F. Zanuck broke them up because he didn't want Tyrone to be married, believing that bachelors made for better box-office results.

For their next project, Fox assigned them Suez (1938), a large scale costume drama about the building of the Suez Canal in 1859. At first, it would seem that Loretta was cast as the leading lady, but in reality that part went to a French newcomer named Annabella, who went on to become Tyrone's first wife.

My mother was not very happy when Annabella arrived on the scene, especially since mom was the longtime star at the studio. Annabella was a newcomer, and she had a larger role in Suez.
(Judy Lewis)

Though Suez was critized for its historical inaccuracy, it became another box-office success for the pair. The film proved to be Ty and Loretta's final film together, but it was a spectacular way to go.

As Countess Eugenie and Ferdinand de Lesseps in Suez

In 1958, when Tyrone died unexpectedly on the set of Solomon and Sheba, Loretta made sure she attended the memorial service in honor of her old friend, even though she was in the midst of shooting her television show, The Loretta Young Show.

She went to his funeral in costume from the set because she didn't want to miss it. I'm sure my mother must have been really devastated when Tyrone died because he was so young [...] To grow up in a system and to grow up that close to someone when you're making a film, there's no other world other than the two of you in that movie together.
(Judy Lewis)

Although they only made five films together, Tyrone Power and Loretta Young made a significant impact on the movie-going public of the 1930s. Their stylish manner, positive persona and staggering good looks were a breath of fresh air for a country stricken by the afflictions of the Great Depression.

Ty and Loretta in the iconic Hurrell picture

He had a way of teasing her. I remember her telling me that he would come up behind her and kiss her on her neck, and she loved that, but she would get embarrassed. He liked getting her off guard, and that was good for her. She enjoyed it. That's why she had fun doing his films, and I think that was the chemistry that the audience saw on the screen. It was the unpredictable he brought to their relationship.
(Judy Lewis)

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SOURCES:
Ty & Loretta: Sweethearts of the Silver Screen (2008) | Tyrone Power's official website

4 comments:

  1. Lovely post! I want to see all of these now!

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    1. Thank you. :)
      You definitely should watch all of their films. I especially recommend "Love Is News". It's so good! It's my absolute favorite of the five films they did together. "Second Honeymoon" is pretty good too.

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  2. Easily one of the most beautiful couples of all-time. I think when Ty is paired with anyone, they are one of the most beautiful couples of all-time lol. I'm probably a little bit more partial to Ty and Alice Faye (probably because their films are musicals) but, in saying that, "Love is News" is probably my favourite Ty film (behind "Marie Antoinette" and "Witness for the Prosecution"). Great write-up!

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    1. I completely agree. They were absolutely stunning.
      Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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