Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Eleanor Parker & Robert Taylor

Like Robert Taylor in 1934, in 1942 Eleanor Parker launched her movie career while she was in her early 20s. By the age of 30, again in tandem to and paralleling Mr. Taylor’s success, Ms. Parker was a star. Recognizing the comparative appeal of each star and supposing a calculus of enormous box-office proceeds in bringing two of their biggest stars together on the screen, MGM decided to pair Mr. Taylor and Ms. Parker in the WWII drama Above and Beyond (1952), which was based on the planning of the A-bomb attack on Hiroshima, Japan. They made an attractive couple and something clicked for the two actors, the movie-going public, and the executives at the studio; two more features were ordained: Valley of the Kings (1954) and Many Rivers to Cross (1955).

Valley of the Kings cast the pair in a story of romance, adventure, intrigue, even a little ancient history. Many Rivers likewise included romance and adventure (not too much real history or intrigue), but, unlike the serious drama of their two previous films, this outing included a great deal of tongue-in-cheek. While each pairing of Mr. Taylor and Ms. Parker was well received at the box office, no one of these three was a blockbuster. Both actors’ stars continued to shine brightly for some years after, but only on parallel, separate screens.

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