Clark Gable

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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MissGoddess
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Clark Gable

Post by MissGoddess »

I've been crossing some never seen early Gable films off my list and thought
the star really might as well have his own thread---he earned it!

The best of the lot just may be the one I had the lowest expectations for: HELL DIVERS.
All I can say is I have to completely revise my opinion of Gable's early screen acting. This is the
first time I've seen him in an action picture this young and it's ALL THERE. He's by far the most
natural thing that was on the screen this side of Spencer Tracy in 1931. My word, what an impact
he makes when he gets to be loose and physical. Not a false note, not a hint of stiffness or feeling
"forced" as occasionally you sense in the "indoor" melodramas (charismatic as he is). This performance
makes me wish he'd stayed away from so many romantic comedies and I NEVER thought I'd say that! He
is simply splended in the open, machista environment of the navy and the wide outdoors. He
brings to the show a real sense of immediacy and there is a wonderful lack of tidiness or "actorishness"
that is surprising from a stage trained performer in an early talkie.

The story is just standard but writer Frank Wead and director George Hill brought in real navy atmopsphere,
carriers, planes and personnel to give it authenticity, which makes up for some rather poorly realised
miniatures in some of the aerial sequences. Beery is the rough and rowdy old school veteran and he
clashes then becomes buddies with the younger hot shot (Gable).

A bit of trivia: clips from this film are screened in John Ford's Wings of Eagles, Ward Bond playing
its "director" pointing out the "new guy" who shows promise.

Heaven:


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"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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mrsl
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by mrsl »

Miss Goddess:

You mentioned the writer, Frank Wead. He is the guy in the bed who's 'gonna move that toe', played by John Wayne. Remember when his magazine stories keep getting declined until finally one gets accepted, and they celebrate? That's the movie I was trying to recall when I compared the almost exact replica of Ward Bond's office (John Ford), and Fords office which is pictured during the credits and later in the documentary. If you look at the writer on many naval movies, you will see Frank Wead as the writer.

Anyway, about Gable. He and Spencer made 3 or 4 movies together in those early years, Test Pilot and Boom Town are two of them, and I very much have always preferred him with Jean Harlow in Red Dust over Ava Gardner in Mogambo. I agree that like the Duke, Gable was much better in khaki than worsted wool - - - leave that to Cary Grant.

Anne
Anne


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MissGoddess
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by MissGoddess »

Hi Anne,

Gable to me is the real "every man" perhaps more than any other major star. All the others
seem to have something that either raises them a notch or two above the "regular Joe" or
that makes them actorly (these are hardly criticisms, by the way). But Gable is of the earth
and practical people and at the same time projects that quality of instinctive wariness that the real
"working class" guy (or gal) has to have to survive---because he knows at any second the the rug can
be pulled out from under his feet.

Others may think of him always in terms of his magnetism and charm for women but to me
he's just very real and a natural on screen. Not actorish at all.

Oh, and I wrote quite in depth about Wings of Eagles over at TCM a year or two ago, I consider it one
of John Ford's richest movies in terms of characterization and one of John Wayne's greatest, unheralded
performances.

P.S.
While I prefer Mogambo to Red Dust by a smidge, I can watch both almost any time any where. :D
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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movieman1957
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by movieman1957 »

I like Gable. However, I see him differently than you. I think he is less the "regular Joe" than even Cooper. Gable was mostly self confident, handsome, rugged, even tough in a way most others were not. That goes at least through the 40's. I think the description that applies to Cary Grant (women loved him and men wanted to be like him) but for different reasons. He was cool. Even at his most vulnerable (character wise) he still had that edge and that look.

I don't think he got through the 1950s as well as certainly Stewart did or even Cooper but there were some good films. Too bad "The Misfits" came too late.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
stuart.uk
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by stuart.uk »

I liked Clark in Teachers Pet, a sort of Educating Rita, but over 20 yrs earlier, as he enrolled for a laugh in Doris Days journalism class

Clark played a top newspaper editor, who'd worked himself up from the bottom up, probably starting as an errand boy. He was a man, who learned his trade in the 20s and 30s and while suriving in the 50s his style of journalism was going out of date. The fact he was old enough to be Doris' father also added to the film, showing a bit of a generation gap regarding their different views on newspaper reporting

Doris played an educated woman who realised journalism had to change, because of television.
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vallo
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by vallo »

I always liked Gable. I think it has to do with the fact that he is an everyman who not afraid to show his vulnerability. He was durable, Intense, lovable, and one of a kind.
In films I felt sorry for him, laughed or smirked with him and always enjoyed any of his screen appearances. I found him funny and a little melancholy after the loss of Lombard and WWII.

My favorite Gable line is from “It Happened One Night” when Colbert asks him “By the way, what’s your name? Gable as Peter; I'm the whippoorwill that cries in the night. I'm the soft morning breeze that caresses your lovely face.
I crack up every time…


Bill
"We're all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That's all the memorial we should need or hope for."
-Burt Lancaster
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MissGoddess
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by MissGoddess »

Hello, Bill! Beautifully said. His eyes were extremely expressive and showed that vulnerability and lightening quick reaction to anger, pain, fear and humor. An enormous gift any actor would envy.

As a person, after Carole's death and after the war, I too sense the ruefulness and melancholy and also the inherent modesty that was so becoming and attractive to me. He never comported himself as the big so-and-so movie star, not ever, nor did ever seem to take that title "king of Hollywood" as anything more than something slightly embarrassing. He knew there were many more important things in the world than a movie star and that any day fame and fortune could all just evaporate.

Who was it, Kipling, who said look at success and failure in the eye and treat each as imposters? That sounds like a fitting description of Gable's style to me.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I think he's the has the most testosterone of all the male stars, it simply oozes from him. He's more than a ruggedly handsome and well built man. He was as Miss Goddess said an extremely natural and capable actor. Like Cary Grant he never got the awards he was due, at least he did win one, what politics stopped him getting one for Rhett. He played him perfectly, got him down to an absolute tee.

I'm never bored when watching a Clark Gable movie, over the past year or so I've been able to watch a lot of his earlier films. I've not seen Hell Divers, the ones I'd most like to see are Hold Your Man, Susan Lenox the Rise and Fall and Cain and Mabel. My favorite movies apart from GWTW are Red Dust, Dancing LAdy, It Happened One Night, Manhattan Melodrama and The Misfits. I haven't seen many of his older films, what I have seen I think he adapted his screen persona without losing any of his charm.

He was the King of Hollywood, from what I've read the title didn't sit too easily, he wasn't 'up himself' as they say here.

As an aside, Clark Gable stopped here during the war, he was billeted at Washington Hall for a night or so. I heard he was an absolute gentleman who was adored by his fellow men and quite the hero. Of course he set hearts a fluttering too.

My last thing to say is has there ever been a really good biography written about Gable, I bought one a few years ago, looked nice but didn't say much.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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MissGoddess
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by MissGoddess »

Hi CC fan! If you're looking for a bio that gives you an idea what he must have been like to those who knew him best, and if you can find it, his former personal manager wrote a biography called "Dear Mr. G". Amazon sometimes has copies available in their marketplace.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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JackFavell
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by JackFavell »

MissG- I've been lurking here, and I just wanted to say that your photos are marvelous.

I like the adjectives you all have used for Gable - rugged, durable, melancholy, wary, natural. I just think he fit comfortably in his own skin but not in other people's opinions of him. I am appreciating that natural acting you have talked about more and more as the years go by, because I think it is actually much harder to accomplish than more stagy techniques or even method acting. Plain solid acting without resorting to tricks is almost more of an art.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I'll be looking that book up, Miss G.

I agree with you JackFavell, his acting was natural, he made it look so easy that he didn't always get the credit he deserved.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Ollie
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by Ollie »

His "durability" is something I enjoy about his films as he ages. Teacher's Pet is a favorite of mine probably because I'm always fond of Doris Day, but this film lets him be That Man At That Age so easily. No excuses, no pretenses - he gets to play a character who is what he is, and when the character feels out of place or lacking (unexpectedly failing when he compares himself to Gig Young's character), he considers adjustments and moves on.

This is the kind of tale that I wish Hollywood would deliver for more of its actors over their decades.
jdb1

Re: Clark Gable

Post by jdb1 »

Ollie wrote:His "durability" is something I enjoy about his films as he ages. Teacher's Pet is a favorite of mine probably because I'm always fond of Doris Day, but this film lets him be That Man At That Age so easily. No excuses, no pretenses - he gets to play a character who is what he is, and when the character feels out of place or lacking (unexpectedly failing when he compares himself to Gig Young's character), he considers adjustments and moves on.

This is the kind of tale that I wish Hollywood would deliver for more of its actors over their decades.
Ollie, have you seen Gable with Sophia Loren in It Started in Naples? Certainly a great age difference there, but they were so very evenly matched in terms of screen presence, and they had wonderful chemistry. I found that couple surprisingly believable, and Gable is especially light, ironic, and charming; a Cary Grant-worthy performance. My favorite of all the comedies Gable starred in.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I must look that one up, I've looked at it a few times and then thought better of it, I couldn't quite picture them together.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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knitwit45
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Re: Clark Gable

Post by knitwit45 »

The child who plays "Nando" is an absolute delight. Clark Gable seems to really enjoy this movie, but then who wouldn't enjoy being around Sophia Loren AND Naples????
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