Monday, May 01, 2017

TCM Star of the Month: Clark Gable

Oscar-winning actor Clark Gable is the May Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies.

Over 50 films starring "The King" will be shown on five Tuesday evenings in May, continuing into the following Wednesday.

The series begins on Tuesday, May 2nd, with 13 Gable films plus the documentary CLARK GABLE: TALL DARK AND HANDSOME (1996).

The first movie on the schedule is the classic IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), for which Gable one his Oscar. The film also won Best Picture, Actress (Claudette Colbert), Director (Frank Capra), and Best Writing Adaptation (Robert Riskin).

That's followed by the pre-Code drama NO MAN OF HER OWN (1932), the lone film in which he teamed with his future wife, Carole Lombard; they married in 1939.

Also showing that evening, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935), for which he received a Best Actor nomination. Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone costar. I saw that film on a big screen as a teenager and wow, did it make an impression.

There are numerous additional pre-Codes on the May 2nd-3rd schedule, including the tremendously fun NIGHT NURSE (1931), in which Gable plays a rare villainous role. Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Blondell star.

Another 13 films are scheduled on May 9th, including eight in which he teamed with Joan Crawford. Gable-Crawford films being shown which have been previously reviewed here are DANCING LADY (1933), FORSAKING ALL OTHERS (1934) with Robert Montgomery, and LOVE ON THE RUN (1936) with Franchot Tone.

Other films showing on the 9th and 10th are AFTER OFFICE HOURS (1935) with Constance Bennett, CAIN AND MABEL (1936) with Marion Davies, IDIOT'S DELIGHT (1939) with Norma Shearer, THEY MET IN BOMBAY (1941) with Rosalind Russell, and finally ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY (1949) with Alexis Smith.

On May 16th the focus is on Gable's films with Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, or, in the case of WIFE VS. SECRETARY (1936), both! WIFE VS. SECRETARY is a fun film I recommend.

The ten films showing on the 16th and into the 17th include CHINA SEAS (1935), RED DUST (1932), and HOLD YOUR MAN (1933) with Harlow. The Loy titles include MANHATTAN MELODRAMA (1934), TOO HOT TO HANDLE (1938), and MEN IN WHITE (1934). I particularly recommend RED DUST, HOLD YOUR MAN, and MANHATTAN MELODRAMA.

Some top Gable classics are on the schedule on May 23rd, with an 11-film lineup which starts with GONE WITH THE WIND (1939).

Also on the schedule: SAN FRANCISCO (1936) with Jeanette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy, one of the great examples of the studio system firing on all cylinders in the '30s; it's got romance, music, and disaster all in one fabulous package.

Gable's other two films with Tracy will also be shown that night: TEST PILOT (1938), costarring Myrna Loy, and BOOM TOWN (1940) with Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr.

The underrated war film HOMECOMING (1948) will be shown that night, costarring Anne Baxter and Lana Turner. Additional films with Turner, HONKY TONK (1941) and SOMEWHERE I'LL FIND YOU (1942), also air that night.

The William Wellman Western ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI (1951) is also on the schedule for the 23rd-24th, plus another Western, LONE STAR (1952) with Ava Gardner; that one was a staple on local television when I was a kid. Also showing: ADVENTURE (1945) with Greer Garson, Gable's first postwar film which was famously tagged "Gable's back and Garson's got him!"

The series concludes with 10 films on May 30th. Titles showing that night which have been previously reviewed here are THE KING AND FOUR QUEENS (1956) with Eleanor Parker, RUN SILENT RUN DEEP (1958) with Burt Lancaster, KEY TO THE CITY (1950) with Loretta Young, MOGAMBO (1953) with Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, and NEVER LET ME GO (1953) with Gene Tierney.

NEVER LET ME GO, in which Gable must rescue his Russian ballerina wife Tierney from behind the Iron Curtain, is a personal favorite, a lovely romantic adventure with two wonderful stars.

BETRAYED (1954), which was Gable's last film with Lana Turner, and BAND OF ANGELS (1957) with Yvonne DeCarlo round out the month's Gable lineup.

For those who are curious, this is Clark Gable's third time as the TCM Star of the Month. He was previously the Star of the Month in October 1995 and November 2004.

For more information on this month's schedule, please consult TCM in May: Highlights or the complete online schedule.


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