The King Of Hollywood Blogathon- Red Dust and Jean Harlow

2018 is here and I for one cannot think of a better way than to kick of the year than by writing about the King of Hollywood (click banner for host site). I can already tell that 2018 is gonna be a great year- especially for classic Hollywood fans like us because of so many awesome events (*cough*cough*- William Holden Centenary) Anyways back to the King!

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My ultimate favorite pic of Mr Gable!

Clark Gable is someone who in my view is not overrated- I think he’s a wonderful and humble man who never thought of himself as a star. He was so down to earth and someone who seemed like he would be a great friend to chat with. And of course I can’t mention the man without his great lady, Carole Lombard- to me they are the definition of true love!

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But getting back to the friend label- Clark Gable is a man I would want as my best friend- and that’s just what Jean Harlow had in him- a great friend and brother.

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Their first real movie Clark and Jean were in, Red Dust (1932) (they made The Secret Six-1931 but had no scenes together)  first came to my attention through the OTHER movie Gable was in, Mogambo (1953) in which as most of us know; Gable played the same part (different character name yes- but same part). I saw Mogambo first thanks to Grace Kelly and I really didn’t understand why people were calling referring to Gable as “past his prime”. I thought he looked good with a bit of graying temples and looked distinguished.  It wasn’t until a few years later when I finally saw Red Dust- and watching it didn’t alter my opinion- Gable looked good younger, in black and white, and later when his hair was black and white- I think we can appreciate Gable at both stages of his life- he’s just that swell!

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Red Dust tells the tale of a love triangle- with plantation manager Clark, prostitute (!?) Jean, and married woman Mary Astor – set on a rubber plantation in French Indochina. The details of the story aren’t really important but let’s be frank– or rather- fred– its Clark and Jean playing opposite each other!

While I love Mogambo and Grace Kelly and think she’s the greatest- I do believe I have to give Jean Harlow the best Gable co-star award. The chemistry she brings to her scenes with Gable in Red Dust is electric- you are just waiting for them to clap back at each other with that sharp and witty pre code dialogue. It’s peculiar to think but Clark and Jean are the type of stars you root for to be together on screen, but off screen you just love their friendship. You can certainly get a glimpse of their friendship in any movie they did together- but I declare its Red Dust in where it’s the most evident because it is a pre-code- they were more free to be- such as with their body language- the scene in which Clark and Jean sit on the bed together!!!

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             And let’s not forget that rain barrel scene– which of course Jean absolutely nailed despite dealing with the shocking death of husband Paul Bern. To me that scene personifies what a professional she was. Behind the scenes I  have no doubt that Clark was the rock for Jean during this incident- and then their friendship just took off from there.

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Behind the scenes (Credit- to Dearmrgable.com)

Clark was the only one not to refer to Jean as “the baby” instead opting to call her “sis”. I think she was his best leading lady and they would have made even more films beyond Saratoga 1937 had she not died.

Personally, I still need to watch China Seas (1935) but I think Red Dust will forever remain the best pairing between the two. I for one would love to have a friendship like that of Clark and Jean’s- it’s really their type of friendship that lacks in today’s modern world and I say we all can learn by example from it.

No Man of Her Own (1932)

The Star Studded Couple Blogathon- The Profane Angel and Mr Charles:

This entry is for the Star Studded Couples Blogathon hosted by a cool gal Phyllis, at the blog Phyllis Loves Classic Movies. Please click the Banner to find out more!

My entry is about a possible lesser known, but still super awesome star couple (who happen to be two of my personal favorite stars), William Powell and Carole Lombard- The Profane Angel and Mr. Charles. And before you double take and look at the banner- yes I know that’s Clark and Carole- but believe me, Bill Powell wouldn’t be jealous- he and Clark were pals! And Carole- why, I’d think she’d get a kick out of it!

Carole Lombard and William Powell were married for only a short while (1931-1933), but their marriage was definitely one for the ages. They first met on the set of their first movie, Man of the World (1931), although, for Carole, she already felt she knew Powell, for she had been a fan of his and was immediately attracted to his good looks, screen persona, and not to mention, his dry but awesome sense of humor.

It wasn’t long after they met, the two entered a relationship. Many were shocked they were going together, as there were multiple differences between them.  Carole was carefree, 22, and foul mouthed (in the most classy and lady like manner of course!) while Bill was 16 years older, intellectual and sophisticated. Nevertheless, Carole defended their love stating it was the perfect “see saw” relationship.

The two were married shortly after filming their second film, Ladies Man (1931).

During the course of the marriage, Carole’s popularity increased considerably thanks to her new husband. Most of her roles were not breakout hits, but it was during this time she made No Man of her Own (1932) with Clark Gable. For the record there were no romantic feelings between the two whatsoever, and any flirting between the two was just that- platonic flirting.

For Bill, he was still about two years away from the first Thin Man, but during this time he starred in the now famous pre-codes- Jewel Robbery, One Way Passage,  and Lawyer Man (all 1932)

Despite having a good relationship with each other, in August 1933, the two decided to divorce after 26 months as man and wife. Carole initially blamed the split on their careers, but later then claimed her and Bill were “two completely different people”.

In the years to come, Carole and Bill remained a part of each others lives and even though they each found someone else- Bill was the partner of Jean Harlow until her death and later married Diana Lewis in 1940 (which of whom he remained with until his death) and Carole married Clark Gable-  they were always on the best of terms, for they truly were lifelong friends from then on. They went to horse races, danced at night clubs, and once even double dated (Jean and Bill, Clark and Carole). Although many speculated the two would get back together, Carole and Bill just enjoyed each other’s company.

They even had enough class to star opposite each other in the classic and landmark screwball comedy My Man Godfrey (1936) (seriously, who doesn’t love this film?), for Bill insisted Carole be his leading lady- NOW THAT’S CLASS EVERYONE!!!!!

IN the end, Bill and Carole defined a new way of partnership. They may have only been married for a little over two years, but they proved that marriage and divorce can’t break up a good friendship. Two very classy people indeed!!!

Pictures from wikipedia, pintrest, and IMDB. 

 

Grace Kelly Blogathon: Mogambo

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This entry is part of “The Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon” hosted by Virginie at “The Wonderful World of Cinema”. I would personally like to thank her for allowing me to participate at such short notice. This is officially my first blogathon- I entered at the last minute- its Grace Kelly, my favorite actress so I couldn’t let it pass me by!  For me, Mogambo was the second Grace Kelly picture I saw, and I watched for the first time on my 17th Birthday.

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(Photo-Wikipedia)

Mogambo… what is Mogambo? According to the trailer, Mogambo means “The Greatest”. And maybe that’s because MGM really had the “greatest” elements going for the film- Technicolor, location shoot, and the “greatest” actor in all of Hollywood, the king of himself, Mr. Clark Gable. Of course, MGM also had the “greatest” source material for the picture, as Mogambo was to be a remake of their own 1932 Jean Harlow pre-code Red Dust (which also had Gable as the leading man- Only Gable can replace Gable folks, even if its twenty years later!)

Like its predecessor, Mogambo was to have the same plot- two women (one married, one single) vying for the affections of Clark Gable in an exotic location- but instead of taking place on an Indochina rubber plantation, Mogambo was to be set in the African jungle. To cast the female leads, MGM turned to some of Gable’s former co-stars: Ava Gardner, who had previously worked with Gable on both The Hucksters and Lone Star; and Gene Tierney, his leading lady from Never Let Me Go. With Gable, Gardner, Tierney and veteran western/ action director John Ford all attached, Mogambo was set to be a smash even before it hit the big screen.

So how does the wonderful Grace Kelly fit in of this? It actually turned out to be a twist of fate, as right before filming began, Gene Tierney dropped out due to illness. Needing to find a new actress for the part, John Ford went to MGM executives and showed them Grace’s 1950 screen test from the film Taxi. Of her test, Ford said Ms. Kelly had “Breeding, Quality and Class” (I agree Mr. Ford, I agree!!!)

At the time Grace only had two films to her name, (14 Hours and High Noon) but MGM execs clearly agreed with Ford when they offered her the role of Linda Nordley (the married woman; Donald Sinden played her husband), as well as the traditional 7 year studio contract. Grace accepted, but careful as ever, signed on the conditions that A– she was able to live in New York and B– every two years she could get time off to work in the theater.

Filming took place from Fall 1952- Winter 1953. During the duration of the shoot, Grace naturally got along with all her co-stars (she found a life-long friend in Ava Gardner; with Clark, while on location, she joined him on hunting trips ) and even impressed everyone at dinner one night by ordering in Swahili! On the downside, behind the scenes, there were also some problems- Frank Sinatra and Ava’s deteriorating marriage (and her abortion during a filming break), Ford’s nasty treatment to all the stars, and of course the allegedaffair” between Gable and Grace.

In the end, however, Grace’s hard work prevailed, as was she was nominated both for a Golden Globe and an Oscar with both noms in the category of Best Supporting Actress. I think Grace gave a good performance and her character proves glamour can exist even in the most un-glamourous of places. Her scenes with Gable and Gardner are well acted and it’s easy to believe she’s falling for Gable, even though she’s a married woman. The costumes are also wonderful as Helen Rose made Grace to be “Safari Chic”.

Today, Mogambo may not be regarded as a “classic” classic, however, it still is a fan favorite and is considered by many to be John Ford’s most under rated work.  I think Grace herself summed it up well as to why we still watch the film today, when she later said,“Mogambo had three things that interested me-John Ford, Clark Gable, and a trip to Africa.”

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(photo- DVD Beaver)

What I like about Mogambo is even though it’s a re-make- it’s a good one that’s worth watching. It’s different to Red Dust and is not a shot by shot, word for word re-make. The film also has nice parallel between Grace and Mr. Gable, in regards to their careers- his last real success and a breakout performance for her. My favorite scene has to be the lake scene with Clark, Grace, and their embrace- it’s just so pretty and it’s really the moment Grace’s character falls for Clark’s (seriously who can blame Grace!!)

After all everyone, with talent like that Mogambo truly is “The Greatest”!

Sources

Spoto, Donald.  High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly.  1st Ed.  New York: Harmony Books, 2009.  Print.

MOGAMBO 1953 Available on DVD