While most of Tom Tyler's dramatic roles have been of a supporting nature, he always knew how to make the most of the few minutes he has onscreen. His best known one is probably “Stagecoach”, and even though the film technically is a western, Tom turns in a dramatic performance as Luke Plummer.
For movies that qualify as dramas in their genre, however, like “King of Alcatraz” (more of a film noir), “Brother Orchid”, “Ladies of Washington”, “Gone with the Wind”, “The Grapes of Wrath” and the comedy-romance “Talk of the Town”, Tom stands out enough among a cast of A-list stars. In watching these movies, the viewer may even imagine Tom Tyler as a major leading man, for example, instead of Cary Grant, as they appeared in “Talk of the Town”. It may have been interesting to watch Tom as Ronald Coleman's romantic rival, while at the same time playing romantic lead of Jean Arthur, as he did in “The Cowboy Cop” and “Born to Battle” (1926). The handful of dramas that Tom appeared in were primarily from the late 1930's, throughout the 1940's, and by the end of 1949, it was back to westerns.
Even though his dramatic roles were small, Tom's performance is never over the top, yet always noticeable and memorable. For example, he is in “Gone with the Wind” for less than a minute as a Confederate officer upon his horse, telling Scarlet O'Hara “Sorry Ma'am, we've got to march.” As Gus Banshek in “King of Alcatraz” he is a member of J. Carroll Naish's gang. Many times Tom is uncredited in these dramas, so the viewer has to keep an eye - or ear - out for him, should he have a speaking part, with his distinctive voice. However, it is worth watching the entire movie just to catch a glimpse of him, and most of the dramas Tom appeared in became Oscar nominees/winners.
When it comes to playing dramatic roles, Tom Tyler usually wears a suit instead of the standard jeans and button down shirt, or a superhero leotard. Sometimes he will appear in a period costume, as he did in “Samson and Delilah”. Like his cowboys and superheroes, Tom Tyler gives it his all in dramas, and proves how versatile an actor he really was.
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