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The Rock-itt : December 2009
Another of our great Aussie Macho Actors The Time Machine starring Rod Taylor was definitely one of my favourite movies of the early 60s and with Aussie actor Rod Taylor playing the lead role made it even better. I think the movie was made in 1960 but by the time it reached us here down under, a bit of water had passed under the bridge. Originally written by H.G. Wells and adapted to film script it was a Science Fiction thriller and under the direction of George Pal, it made quite an impact on its release. The Time Machine was a full on action packed trip into the future. Having read the book not long before it screened at the local Hoyts Theatre, I was absolutely enthralled by the plot and the special effects which were definitely ahead of their time. In this Wells classic, set in the turn of the century, Taylor plays the part of George, the inventor, who is fascinated by time and believes that there is a fourth dimension which can be measured as the other three dimensions are but in its own space in time. He builds a time machine which he hopes can take him backward or forward through time. I will not tell you anymore as it is such a good movie I wouldn't want to spoil it for you, but I highly recommend that you hire it from the classical section of your local video shop and watch it. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Just be careful, as a remake has been made since, but it is the first movie with Rod Taylor that is the original and in my books the best. Rod Taylor was a Sydney boy and decided at some time in the 1950s that acting was the life for him. He set his sights on the bright lights of Hollywood and went knowing it was going to be a tough slog, as the road to fame and fortune was littered with broken hearts of those who thought they would walk straight into movie stardom, but instead had their dreams dashed by never even getting a screen test. Despite the warnings and advice from those who thought they knew better, Rod headed for the U.S. determined to make a go of it. He started off in bit parts which gradually grew into supporting roles. He landed quite a good part in the 1956 epic, Giant, in which he supported Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Then in 1960 his big break came when he got star billing in The Time Machine. From here there was an immediate reaction from the public as Rod's good looks and solid acting began to attract attention. From The Time Machine, Rod was cast in another role, and this time he was asked by the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock himself to star in The Birds, with glamorous female co-star, Tippy Hedren. Once again this was a thriller with the exception that the villains were the bird population of Bodega Bay, a seaside fishing town on America's East Coast. This was a piece of classic Hitchcock directing, and Taylor turned in a very convincing performance which seemed to set the scene for his climb up the ladder for more top notch roles. The offers began coming his way and the romantic side of Rod Taylor was discovered when he acted in Sunday in New York followed by The Glass Bottom Boat, opposite Doris Day. Both films made good reviews although he seemed to slide into a swag of ordinary actioners, which did not make much of an impression on movie goers. Rod was then cast in a movie, set in the Australian outback where he played opposite John Meillion called the Picture show Man. The movie received good reviews and critics today regard this as being Rod's last good film. After that Rod Taylor headed for the small screen and starred in a few television series being Bearcats (1975), Masquerade (1983) and Outlaws (1986). These also were mediocre productions and were soon dropped from the television studios' list of future productions. This year Rod turned 80 years of age and to his surprise was offered the role of Winston Churchill in Inglorious Bastards. At first he declined the part but after some heavy persuasion took it on. Rod has been around quite a while and been there and back in the film industry. In his 40 odd years in the business he has turned in some sterling performances and should be congratulated on his achievements and contribution to the world of entertainment.