HOME ENTERTAINMENT : Remembering the Gable Legend on Video
Next Thursday marks the 35th anniversary of the death of movie great Clark Gable. “The King” died at 59 of a heart attack he suffered soon after completing “The Misfits.”
The macho, mustachioed Gable made more than 50 films during his 30-year-plus career. A man’s man, he also was a favorite with female audiences, especially for his Oscar-winning, undershirt-less turn in 1934’s “It Happened One Night” (Columbia/TriStar) and as the ultimate romantic hero, Rhett Butler, in the legendary 1939 blockbuster “Gone With the Wind” (MGM/UA Home Video).
Nearly all of Gable’s films are available on video. Here are some worth checking out.
The 1931 melodrama “A Free Soul” (MGM/UA) features his breakthrough performance as a suave, violent gangster. Listen for Gable’s famous line: “You’re mine and I want you.”
Victor Fleming directed the ribald 1932 comedy “Red Dust” (MGM/UA). Gable is at his he-man best as a Southeast Asian rubber plantation owner romancing a good-time gal (Jean Harlow) and a refined married woman (Mary Astor). Also entertaining is John Ford’s 1953 Technicolor remake “Mogambo” (MGM/UA). Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly are the objects of Gable’s affections.
John Dillinger was gunned down outside a movie theater in 1934 after seeing the riveting “Manhattan Melodrama” (MGM/UA). Gable and William Powell star in this oft-told tale of boyhood friends whose lives take different paths: One becomes a criminal, the other a district attorney.
Six years after winning Oscars for “It Happened One Night,” Gable and Claudette Colbert starred as husband and wife in the rip-roaring “Boom Town” (MGM/UA). Gable and Spencer Tracy are two wildcatters who strike it rich in the oil fields. Hedy Lamarr also stars.
After returning from World War II, Gable starred in the 1947 hit “The Hucksters” (MGM/UA), a slick, classy melodrama about the New York advertising world. Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr (in her first American film) and Sydney Greenstreet also star.
The 1950 drama “To Please a Lady” (MGM/UA) certainly isn’t a classic, but it’s great fun watching pros like Gable and Barbara Stanwyck breathe life into this rather stale tale of a hard-nosed race car driver and a tough newspaper columnist who fall in love.
Gable proved he was still a romantic leading man in the rollicking 1958 comedy “Teacher’s Pet” (Paramount Home Video). Gable’s a tough newspaper editor who poses as a college student and ends up falling for his professor (Doris Day). Gig Young and Mamie Van Doren also star.
Gable’s last film, 1961’s “The Misfits” (MGM/UA), is one of his finest. Gable gives a sensitive performance as an aging cowboy who falls for a frail divorcee (Marilyn Monroe) in Arthur Miller’s complex drama. Montgomery Clift also stars; John Huston directed.
Batter Up: Orion Home Video’s “The Official 1995 World Series Video” ($20) features highlights of the games between the world champion Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians.
Gift Sets: MGM/UA’s “That’s Entertainment!” set ($43) features the three “That’s Entertainment!” compilation films, plus a bonus tape containing never-before-seen footage.
Richard Kiley and Jean Simmons narrate “Mysteries of the Bible: The Story Continues” (A&E; Home Video, $100), a compelling seven-volume series exploring the great mysteries of the Old and New Testament. The programs examine new archeological discoveries and scientific evidence.
Killer Bs: Bobby (Boris) Pickett performs his ‘60s novelty hit “Monster Mash” in “Frankenstein Sings” (Turner Home Entertainment), an off-key musical horror spoof.
Kim Delaney, Chris Sarandon, Ben Cross and Corbin Bernsen star in Playboy’s “Temptress” (Paramount Home Video), a silly erotic thriller about a photographer who returns from a spiritual retreat in India obsessed with a mythical goddess who is a deadly seductress.
Mickey Rourke, Stephen Baldwin, David Arquette and Jason London star in “Fall Time” (Live Home Entertainment), a Tarantino-esque film noir about a bank robbery that goes awry.
New This Week: Kathy Baker and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in Stephen King’s “Dolores Claiborne” (Columbia/TriStar).
Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington headline the Tony Scott-directed submarine thriller “Crimson Tide” (Hollywood Pictures Home Video).
James Richter and his Orca pal Willy reunite in “Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home” (Warner Home Video, $23), a sequel to the 1993 hit family film.
Also New: “The Underneath” (MCA/Universal); “Strawberry and Chocolate” (Miramax Home Video); “The Infiltrator” (HBO Video); “Coldblooded” (PolyGram), and Derek Jarman’s “Blue” and “Wittgenstein” (Kino Video).