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Hollywood Movie Memories » clark gable

Posts Tagged ‘clark gable’

Jean Harlow Has Died

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

June, 1937 – Popular actress Jean Harlow has died at the age of 26 as a result of a cerebral edema, a complication of kidney failure. The Hollywood community was shocked to learn of the blonde bombshell’s sudden and tragic death.

Harlow had been working on the set of her new film Saratoga with co-star Clark Gable where she had been experiencing fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain. The actress requested that actor William Powell, with whom she had recently been having a romantic relationship, be notified.

Powell immediately came to the set and escorted Harlow home. He returned to her home 10 days later to check on her condition and found that she had not improved. Powell then called the actresses mother and doctor to come right away.

Initially, it was thought that she may be suffering from a gall bladder infection or a severe case of the flu. However, on June 6th she complained of not being able to see clearly and had great difficulty breathing.

She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles where she slipped into a coma from which she would never awaken. Her funeral was held on June 9th. Jean Harlow was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California in a private room of the Great Mausoleum purchased for her by William Powell.

Harlow was buried wearing a gown she had worn in the film Libeled Lady, holding a white gardenia and a note from William Powell that read: “Goodnight my dearest darling.”


San Francisco

Monday, October 24th, 2011

San Francisco

Tagline – It Started Out Like Any Other Day!

Starring – Clark Gable (‘Blackie’ Norton), Jeanette MacDonald (Mary Blake), Spencer Tracy (Father Tim Mullin), Jack Holt (Jack Burley), Jessie Ralph (Mrs. Burley).

Released – June, 1936

Directed By – Woody Van Dyke, D. W. Griffith

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – Mary Blake has come from Colorado, to the Barbary Coast area of San Francisco, looking for work as a singer. Although classically trained, she is seriously impoverished and will try her luck applying at the Paradise Club.

The club is owned by gambler ‘Blackie’ Norton and, although Mary is not the usual type of woman he would hire, he decides to give her a chance. After all, she sings pretty well and has great legs.

It doesn’t take long before Mary becomes a big hit at the club and draws the attention of socialite Jack Burley and Maestro Baldini of the Tivoli Opera House. The Maestro offers Mary an audition to possibly sing at the opera house. However, ‘Blackie’ refuses to let Mary go and will not release her from her contract.

One evening, ‘Blackie’ sends Mary to sing at the church of his boyhood friend Father Tim Mullin where the church is celebrating the acquisition of a new organ. Father Mullin talks with Mary about his wish that ‘Blackie’ will one day clean up his life and become a more responsible part of the community.

Jack Burley offers to buy out Mary’s contract, with the Paradise Club, so that she can become part of the opera, but she decides to stay with ‘Blackie’ out of loyalty as a result of his giving her a job. To celebrate her decision, ‘Blackie’ decides to throw a party and even to propose marriage.

Thinking this proposal through, Mary realizes that she will just be another conquest on a long list of conquest’s by ‘Blackie,’ and that this would not be the kind of marriage she would like. She decides to leave for the opera.

On her opening night at the opera house Mary thrills the crowd and is proposed to again, this time by Jack Burley. She refuses and this refusal angers Jack who now decides to destroy ‘Blackie’ Norton and the Paradise Club.

Just as the trouble centering around affairs of the heart threaten to get out-of-hand, the ground begins to shake.

It is 5:30 a.m. on the 18th of April, 1906, the great San Francisco earthquake begins and the fires start to blaze.

NOTABLE: San Francisco won the Oscar for Best Sound, Recording, and received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Spencer Tracy), Best Director (W. S. Van Dyke), Best Assistant Director (Joseph M. Newman), and Best Writing, Original Story.

San Francisco was the top grossing movie of the year.

One of the gowns worn by Jeanette MacDonald would be worn again by Glinda, the good witch, in The Wizard of Oz.

Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald could not have had personalities that were farther apart. During filming the pair totally avoided each other when not on the set.

Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy also appeared together in Test Pilot (1938) and Boom Town (1940).


Wife Versus Secretary

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Wife Versus Secretary

Starring – Clark Gable (Van Stanhope), Jean Harlow (Helen ‘Whitey’ Wilson), Myrna Loy (Linda Stanhope), May Robson (Mimi Stanhope), James Stewart (Dave).

Released – February, 1936

Directed By – Clarence Brown

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

NOTABLE: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Myrna Loy had a series of enjoyable performances together as Wife Versus Secretary was the fifth of sex pairing of Gable and Harlow, the fourth of seven with Gable and Loy, and second between Harlow and Loy.

James Stewart relates an interesting tidbit regarding a kissing scene with Jean Harlow. “Clarence Brown, the director, wasn’t too pleased by the way I did the smooching. He made us repeat the scene about half a dozen times…I botched it up on purpose. That Jean Harlow sure was a good kisser. I realized that until then I had never been really kissed”.

Mutiny on the Bounty

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Tagline – A Thousand Miles of Hell for One Moment of Love

Starring – Charles Laughton (Captain Bligh), Clark Gable (Fletcher Christian), Franchot Tone (Roger Byam), Herbert Mundin (Smith), Eddie Quillan (Ellison).

Released – November, 1935

Directed By – Frank Lloyd

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – Clark Gable, as the daring mutineer, in the screen’s most exciting adventure story!

Although having several historical inaccuracies, this version of the real-life mutiny aboard the HMS Bounty is the most popular.

Midshipman Roger Byam has joined the crew of the HMS Bounty on a voyage to Tahiti to obtain a cargo of breadfruit plants. While Byam signed on willingly, many were “strong-armed” into becoming part of the ships crew. It can be quite difficult putting together the men necessary to complete a ships crew when the captain of the ship is known to be a brutal tyrant.

Captain Bligh’s reputation has been earned, but on this trip his command will be stripped from his hands. His barbaric acts on this particular journey, including flogging, and cutting of rations, always disguised as discipline, will lead to his first-mate Fletcher Christian and most of the other ships officers to mutiny.

The mutiny occurs on the return portion of the trip and is easily accomplished. Captain Bligh and his supporters are set adrift in a small boat while the mutineers return to the beauty and peacefull island of Tahiti. Midshipman Byam, who did not participate in the mutiny, chooses to stay on the island.

The mutineers never expected Bligh to survive being set adrift, but he has. The small ship has made it back to England. Almost immediately, Captain Bligh obtains another ship, sets sail for Tahiti, and vows revenge on those who participated in the mutiny. There will soon be a great deal of trouble in paradise.

NOTABLE: Mutiny on the Bounty won the Best Picture Oscar and was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Clark Gable), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Charles Laughton), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Franchot Tone), Best Director (Frank Lloyd), Best Film Editing, Best Music, Score, and Best Writing, Screenplay.

MGM had hoped to have Cary Grant play the role of Roger Byam, but Grant was under contract to Paramount Pictures, who refused to allow him to take the role.

Clark Gable had to shave his trademark mustache for the picture as they were not allowed by the Royal Navy during the time of the film.

While sailing his boat off Catalina Island, California, actor James Cagney came across the area where the film was being shot. Cagney called director, and old friend, Frank Lloyd telling him he had a little free time and would like to earn a few bucks. Lloyd put Cagney in a sailor uniform where he spent the remainder of the day as an extra in the film.

Actor Wallace Beery turned down the role of Captain Bligh because he didn’t like Clark Gable and couldn’t bear the thought of being stuck on a long location shoot with Gable.

Mutiny on the Bounty was the only film in Oscar history to have three Best Actor in a Leading Role nominations. Because of, and shortly after this, the Academy created the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Clark Gable did not initially approve of actor Franchot Tone being cast as Roger Byam. It seems the two had been bitter rivals for the affection of actress Joan Crawford. However, as filming progressed the two became friends. It seemed that they had two important things in common…alcohol and women.

In a later conversation with playwright George S. Kaufman, Charles Laughton attributed his fine performance in the film because he had come from a long line of seafarers. Kaufman, reminding  Laughton of his equally impressive performance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame commented, “I assume, then, that you also came from a long line of hunchbacks”?

Personal Note: This is the best known and most engrossing adaptation of the famous mutiny. Charles Laughton is superb and unforgettable as the merciless Captain Bligh. His work is supported by Clark Gable’s fine performance as Fletcher Christian.

Every bit as enjoyable today as it was in 1935.


China Seas

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

China Seas

Tagline – A challenge to all screen history!

Starring – Clark Gable (Alan Gaskell), Jean Harlow (Dolly Portland/China Doll), Wallace Beery (Jamesy MacArdle), Lewis Stone (Davids), Rosalind Russell (Sybil Barclay).

Released – August, 1935

Directed By – Tay Garnett

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

Description – Ship Captain Alan Gaskell is sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore with a large shipment of gold. Gaskell is in the process of trying to turn his hard-drinking life around. Why the change? His motivation comes in the form of a woman.

Refined Englishwoman Sybil Barclay has caught the captains eye and captured his heart. But, not everyone is happy with the situation. Gaskell’s former girlfriend China Doll is more than a little jealous and is trying everything within her power to get him back.

China Doll is a beautiful woman, but Gaskell is having none of it. Tired of her loud, obnoxious, and crude behavior, he makes it clear to her that they are through.

Furious at the rejection, China Doll conspires, with her drinking pal Jamesy MacArdle, to aid the Malay pirates in an attempt to take over the ship and steal the gold.

This oceangoing romantic triangle comes with a surprise ending as to who ends up with who, and just what did happened to all that gold?

NOTABLE: Clark Gable reportedly had a number of temper tantrums during filming. These were tolerated by MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer because Gable had just won an Academy Award for his work in It Happened One Night and Mayer, knowing Gable’s box office appeal, didn’t want to risk losing him.

During the shooting of China Seas, two stuntmen were nearly killed after being overcome by 50 tons of water.

The films perceived negative portrayal of those from Malaysia and Singapore resulted in the film being banned from both countries.