Richard Burton Double Shot: ‘Ice Palace’ & ‘Bramble Bush’

Richard Burton, 1960 B.C. — Earlier than Cleopatra!

After 1960 WB duds “Ice Palace” & “The Bramble Bush,” Richard Burton starred
on Broadway within the hit, “Camelot.” Then Fox got here calling, with “Cleopatra.”


I lately watched Richard Burton in two 1960 soaps: Ice Palaceand The Bramble Bush. The latter was particularly sudsy and stultifying, however with Burton stiff and stone-faced in each. These have been his final films earlier than he went off to play King Arthur in Broadway’s Camelot, which gave the once-promising movie actor a field workplace enhance. However this was the stage and never the films, the place the large bucks have been. That every one modified when Burton’s contract was purchased out to return to twentyth Century Fox, and paid $250,000 to painting Marc Anthony to Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra. Since WB had paid Richard $125,000 every for Ice Palace and The Bramble Bush, Burton would get a Cleo enhance in nearly each manner!

In his first 8 years in movie, Burton made principally bombs.

Arriving in Hollywood within the early Nineteen Fifties, Richard Burton was given the large construct up by 20thCentury Fox. First, he was solid as co-star to two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland in My Cousin Rachel. Burton acquired a Supporting Actor Oscar nod for his function, however the movie was not a business success. Then Richard obtained a Finest Actor Oscar nom for the smash epic, The Gown. After that, it was a really blended bag for Burton at Fox. For the few hits like The Desert Rats, there was Burton in a turban in The Rains of Ranchipur. Then there was blonde and bewigged Burton, as Alexander the Nice. Richard was then adrift with Joan Collins’ nun in The Sea Spouse. After Burton left Fox, he made a powerful British artwork movie, 1959’s Look Again in Anger.

“Ice Palace,” a typical studio movie at a time when audiences needed one thing new. 

Although 1956’s Big is considered a basic, some criticize the Texas epic as too lengthy and soapy. Big naysayers, take a gander at Alaskan counterpart Ice Palace. Each have been diversifications of best-selling novels by Edna Ferber. The film variations have been made by Warner Brothers. The tales had two alpha male characters that clashed for many years and have been in love with the identical girl. Each blended historical past and private tales that always performed like cleaning soap opera. 

Edna Ferber’s final novel, “Ice Palace.”

However there have been vital variations that made ‘56’s Biga basic and 1960’s Ice Palace a clinker. The best was that Bigwas directed and produced by George Stevens. The filmmaker was at his peak, whose imaginative and prescient centered on Ferber’s analysis and tackle the Texas frame of mind. This additionally symbolized the US and her intriguing characters have been primarily based on actual individuals. Whereas Stevens realized audiences wanted romance and motion, he put Texas’ points and the characters’ lives within the forefront and the plotting was subtly secondary. Stevens additionally solid up and coming actors with actual substance. All this makes for a powerful movie many years later.

Getting old Robert Ryan, quirky Carolyn Jones, bored Richard Burton,
and plastic Martha Hyer are the celebrities of 1960’s “Ice Palace.”

With Ice Palace, penny-pinching Jack Warner was in cost, not an modern director. So, Ice Palace acquired competent studio director Vincent Sherman, a solid of younger WB actors who have been TV lightweights, veteran actor Robert Ryan, and then-journeyman actor Richard Burton. No sizzling new stars, like Rock Hudson or James Dean. The feminine star Ryan and Burton pined for was Carolyn Jones, a unusual starlet given her largest break right here. Whereas Jones was one of the best of the solid, these three actors did not exude the youth and freshness of Rock, Jimmy, and Elizabeth Taylor. Regardless of some location filming, Ice Palacefeels filled with scenes which are obviously apparent with again lot taking pictures, rear projection, faux snow, and emphasis on wall-to-wall cleaning soap opera plotting, which dominates over social points.

Richard Burton as ruthless tycoon Jeb Kennedy in “Ice Palace.”

Burton performs Jeb Kennedy, a variation of Jett Rink, the poor boy who turns into tremendous wealthy, and a brilliant SOB. Burton’s Jeb is in love with one other man’s woman; thwarted, he marries a wealthy woman to get a bounce in life, and makes her depressing. Because the film’s anti-hero, Burton simply bellows, scowls, and is usually stone-faced.

“The Bramble Bush” was one in all many “Peyton Place” imitations.

The Bramble Bush was clearly impressed by Peyton Place: a “attractive” cleaning soap set in New England, the place everyone appears sad and “unfulfilled.” And the plot revolves across the latter difficulty being alleviated! As Man Montford, Burton’s physician returns to his house city in Massachusetts. Finest good friend Larry McFie (Tom Drake) is dying and needs Doc Burton to bump him off, with hopes that Man will take over as husband to his spouse, performed by Barbara Rush. In the meantime, nurse Fran (Angie Dickinson) is head over heels in love with Man, however has to fend off Jack Carson’s lech lawyer Bert, who needs to marry her. And Burton’s doc has it in for the city drunk, who he blames for household issues. The movie has a wonderful solid, however all drown in cleaning soap suds and dumb dialogue. The makes an attempt at daring and attractive are coy and hypocritical, hallmarks of the mid-century Hollywood. Daniel Petrie directs competently, however unexcitingly.

By 1960, Richard Burton was nonetheless good-looking however at 35,
he was wanting stocky and low-energy in an period of buff hunks
like identical age Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, and Tony Curtis.

The solid does what they will with clichéd materials: Rush is no-nonsense and pure as at all times. Carson is nice in likeable heel mode. James Dunn as soon as once more performs an alcoholic, as he did in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Angie Dickinson because the attractive however honest nurse is sympathetic, although her character is known as upon to actually grovel for Burton on her knees!  

Nurse Angie Dickinson throws herself at Doc Richard Burton in “Bramble Bush.”

Then there’s Burton, who performs as at all times, when confronted with inferior materials: murmuring strains, snapping them curtly, and bellowing by his massive scenes. Why the doc stirs everybody up on this city is past me. The worst is when Man confesses why he hates city drunk, Stew. As a boy, Man catches his uncared for mom in mattress with Stew. Man blurts the reality on the household dinner desk, leading to his father’s later suicide. Burton’s recitation of this secret isn’t precisely on par along with his monologues in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? When confronted with unhealthy materials, there are stars who make one of the best of it, and stars who simply stroll by it for the paycheck or contractual obligation. Burton was the latter.

Sarcastically, Burton’s character cannot tolerate James Dunn’s messy city drunk.

Fortunately, Burton’s finest was but to return—Becket, Night time of the Iguana, The Spy Who Got here in from the Chilly, The Taming of the Shrew, Anne of a Thousand Days, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Richard really excelled as a star character actor on this interval. Later, there have been extra inventive duds that Burton walked by—The Sandpiper, The Comedians, Increase, Hammersmith is Out, and Divorce His/Divorce Hers. Persist with the previous group and keep away from the latter, together with Ice Palace and The Bramble Bush.

Although Robert Ryan & Richard Burton’s characters are presupposed to be scrappy
 younger males in the beginning of “Ice Palace,” Ryan was 50 and Burton was 35.