MCM: Robert Taylor


He didn’t intend to become an actor, but his good looks made it nigh impossible to resist getting an MGM contract in the 1930s. And Robert Taylor stuck with MGM through the 1950s, starring in many a frock flick as dashing soldiers, rugged cowboys, and valiant knights. You may not remember him now, but chances are he caught your favorite leading lady swooning in a classic black-and-white film!




‘Bow’ Timberlake in The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)

The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)

Based on a real person, Taylor’s character is part of a love-triangle with Joan Crawford’s character in this 1830s drama.



Armand Duval in Camille (1936)

Robert Taylor - Camille (1936)

Working that widow’s peak!



Lieutenant Richard L. Perry in This Is My Affair (1937)

Robert Taylor - This Is My Affair (1937)

A crime drama set during the McKinley administration.



Blake Cantrell in Stand Up and Fight (1939)

Robert Taylor - Stand Up and Fight (1939)

Kind of a western but also a movie about slavery & plantations? IDK.



Roy Cronin in Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Robert Taylor - Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Supposedly set during WWI, but looks very WWII to me.



Billy Bonney in Billy the Kid (1941)

Robert Taylor - Billy the Kid (1941)

One of his big westerns (he made a million & I’m not cataloging them all because the pix look the same!). I am intrigued by this cropped leather jacket though.



Ward Kinsman in Ambush (1950)

Robert Taylor - Ambush (1950)

Also a western, but I like her not-very-1870s dress.



Lance Poole in Devil’s Doorway (1950)

Robert Taylor - Devil's Doorway (1950)

Robert Taylor plays a Shoshone Indian veteran here in “redface,” so not good. At least the New York Times notes that “his is the only role that is not a stereotype” in this film.



Marcus Vinicius in Quo Vadis (1951)

Robert Taylor - Quo Vadis (1951)

Ah yes, a classic sword-and-sandals epic!



Ivanhoe in Ivanhoe (1952)

Robert Taylor - Ivanhoe (1952)

These medieval-oid flicks are my favorite Robert Taylor movies!



Lancelot in Knights of the Round Table (1953)

Robert Taylor - Knights of the Round Table (1953)

I think it’s the goatee, plus, of course, I love this kind of costume even (especially?) when it’s not historically accurate.


Mark Brandon in Valley of the Kings (1954)

Robert Taylor - Valley of the Kings (1954)

Archaeologists in the 1900s (with costumes from the 1950s, lol!).



Bushrod Gentry in Many Rivers to Cross (1955)

Robert Taylor - Many Rivers to Cross (1955)

Western-ish — it’s supposedly set on the American Frontier of 1798.



Quentin Durward in The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955)

Robert Taylor - The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955)

My very favorite Taylor movie because it’s a fun, swash-buckling romp, plus that studded costume is da bomb!



Ben Wyatt in Return of the Gunfighter (1966)

Robert Taylor - Return of the Gunfighter (1966)

And, of course, another western, not long before Robert Taylor’s death in 1969.



What’s your favorite of Robert Taylor’s historical costume movie roles?

15 Responses

  1. Michael McQuown

    Ivnhoe. These were movies I saw when I was a kid.

    • Kathleen Norvell

      Yes! My mom must have been a Robert Taylor fan because as a kid I saw Ivanhoe, Knights of the Round Table, Quentin Durwood. Taylor sure was pretty.

  2. Cathy

    I loved Ivanhoe also. But he had a voice that could make reading the phone book sound sexy!

  3. Karin

    Quo Vadis, Ivanhoe, Quentin Durward… these movies were amongst the first classic Hollywood movies I saw and they still do it for me!

  4. Boxermom

    I’m getting a Vincent Price vibe from that Quentin Durward photo. :)

    • Kaite Fink

      I see that too! And you beat me to the post. Something in the eyes and brows, especially.

  5. Lily Lotus Rose

    Never heard of him before, but you’re right: He was VERY handsome and he starred opposite so many famous leading ladies (early in their careers based on what I can tell from the photos).

    P.S. I NEED a tee shirt that says “The Gorgeous Hussy.”

  6. Melanie R. Clark

    Waterloo Bridge is one of the most heartbreaking movies I’ve ever seen. Robert Taylor is perfectly cast and it’s one of Vivien Leigh’s best performances.

  7. Melanie

    Also, for the longest time all I knew him from was Camille, and that only because of the movie theater scene in Annie. I was so confused by that ending!

  8. kt

    Loved Camille and Waterloo Bridge. He aged well, didn’t he?