FILM: FATHER GABLE

Do you know how many times Gable played a father figure on screen? I thought it's an interesting idea to explore on. Bonnie Blue Butler (from GWTW) was the only daughter he had. The rest of the time, they were all boys. I plan to work on these kind of Film Trivials from time to time. If you have a good idea in mind, let me know. Enjoy reading.

1932 STRANGE INTERLUDE
1933 HOLD YOUR MAN
1938 TEST PILOT
1939 GONE WITH THE WIND
1940 BOOM TOWN
1945 ADVENTURE
1949 ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY
1951 ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI

1932 STRANGE INTERLUDE


Gable was Norma Shearer's secret lover, and she becomes pregnant by him.  While Sam (Alexander Kirkland), her husband, thinking the child was his.  Though Gable and Shearer were in love, they set aside of their feelings for each other to care for Sam.    

Things to watch out for:  Intensified scenes when Gordon, the child, confronted Shearer about his birth father.

1933 HOLD YOUR MAN


Jean Harlow was Gable's girl.  When Gable accidentally killed a man, he flied and Harlow took the rap.  Harlow went to reform school and found out she was pregnant.  Upon hearing the news of the coming child, Gable wed Harlow and served his time.   

I wonder if Jean Harlow had ever played a mother before.  Maybe this is the only film she had a son.  Hmm, need to check up on that... 

1938 TEST PILOT


After the death of Spencer Tracy, Gable's mechanic, and best friend, Gable settled down with Myrna Loy and gave up the career of test pilot.  In the very last scene, he looks onto the sky with his newly-born son and wife Loy.

A star-studded film with three heavy weights.  One of the Ten Best List of 1938.

1939 GONE WITH THE WIND


What else is there to say about Gone with the wind?  You know the story from inside out.  So I won't repeat it here.

Prior to GWTW, Gable's screen image has always been a romantic Macho guy.  But in GWTW, there is something incredibly touching about Gable the father figure.   When Bonnie fell off the horse, the tragedy brought the best acting out of Gable.   It's such a pity he didn't win the Best Actor in Oscar.  When a broken-hearted Rhett explained to Scarlett why he's leaving,  my heart broke too.  It's one of the finest and heart-felt performances ever given by Gable. 

1940 BOOM TOWN


Only MGM could do this.  Teaming up Gable & Claudette Colbert for the 2nd time since It Happened One Night, then throw in Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr, you got yourself the dream cast.  An undefeatable box champ!

Gable, the big John, and Tracy, the square John, were oil-driller buddies who hit big time.  Claudette Colbert were the girl they all wanted.  After Colbert happily married to Gable, Tracy accepted the loss without resentment.  When an attractive Hedy Lamarr came to Gable's life, Tracy came to rescue and return Gable to Colbert.

I remember there is one real funny line about Gable's intruding ears.  Tracy said to the kid he needs to wear a helmet just like his father.  Mockingly, Gable looked at the kid, then Tracy.  It's hilarious. 

1945 ADVENTURE


The child only appeared for a split of second during the film.  But it's also the turning point of Gable & Greer Garson's marriage.

Gable plays a sailor who never took his marriage seriously, his love is with the sea.   When their child appears to be born dead, he prays for the first time in his life and his son breathes.

1949 ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY


A grown son!  In the majority films, Gable's children were all young and they never had any real impact on the film.  But in Any Number Can Play, Paul (Darryl Hickman), was the seventeen-year-old son of Gable and Alexis Smith.  He loathes the fact his father runs a gambling joint.

In the final sequence where the father and son found an understanding, Gable deliberately lost the game and gave the casino to his employees.  He starts out with his wife and the boy to begin a new life.

1951 ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI


Gable was a trapper from Kentucky who married an Indian maid Kamiah (Maria Elena Marrques).   But the happy marriage ended bluntly when Kamiah was killed in a trapper attack.  Gable lives on with the memory of his wife and his infant son.

This is truly a Western film, and Gable gave an outstanding performance.  There are lots of vivid action, horse riding and fighting scenes, watching out for the gorgeous Technicolor scenery on the background of Durango, Colorado.

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