Thursday, June 22, 2006

the king (no, not that one)

Classic film fans- I know what you are thinking. You are thinking "Mr. Loophole, in your Superman fanboy excitement you seem to have forgotten something in the media roundup."
Yes indeed it would appear that way, but in fact it is not the case. Call it technical difficulties or a blog malfunction, but this week's media roundup had a section deleted either before or during posting. Blogger hasn't been kind the past weeks, but we will attribute the *ahem* problem to a bit of a snafu.
What in the world am I talking about? Well in the latest edition of the media roundup, apparently a previous draft is what made it on the front page without a key DVD release mentioned- a DVD release that was surely in my final draft. I just happened to notice today it was missing. So to right the wrong, correct the incorrect and return the unreturnable without a receipt, I give you our second Top Shelf Pick of the Week in what I like to refer to as Media Roundup II: The blogger strikes back

Top Shelf Pick of the week II
Clark Gable Signature Edition
Perhaps you have seen the actor they used to refer to as "The King" - Mr. Gone With The Wind himself, Clark Gable. If you are a classic animation fan, I know you've seen caricatures of him on Looney Tunes. Sure, big ears and goofy grin... but let me tell ya' something: the ladies love Gable. And not just Rhett Butler. They love Gable. And apparently, Gable loved the ladies.
I had a girlfriend in High School that was ga-ga over Gable. She was a certified GWTW freak. It wasn't too bad- she was more inclined to watch classic films and was easy to shop for at Christmas time. One time, I even asked her why she liked him so much. She shrugged her shoulders and just sighed. "He's Gable," was her faint reply. "Geezz, get a room" I retorted, having just really learned retorting in Junior English. Then she turned the tables on me, which I wouldn't have minded, except some tables can be heavy. "Well, why do you like him?" she asked. I'll give you Shelfers the same answer I gave to her- cause he's bad dude. As in Michael Jackson album"Bad", not Michael Jackson now lives in another country even thought he was found innocent "bad". Hey, it was the 80s- cut me some slack jack (more on our Airplane! argument another day).
Why do guys like Gable, Cagney, Wayne, Bogie and Flynn? Quite simply because they were good actors and they were at their best when they told the world to take a flying leap. Gable didn't take any lip. No closed door was going to keep him out and nobody was going to push him around. In short, these characters that these actors portrayed didn't take any crap off of anybody. And believe me, there is a lot of crap in the world, and a lot of people slinging it.
These movies and actors gave a certain vent to that- to the movie going public who was getting pushed around, stepped on, and taking crap in real life. Whether it was the depression, the war, or hard times- it was carthardic. The ladies came because of the romance, intrigue, and the "sigh" factor. These were movies that both the sexes could get into. Nowadays that combination is very rare. There are now "Guy movies" and "Chick Flicks." Back then, you could go watch a good flick that had a little something for everyone. See, the movies brought us together. I think that today, marketing types spend too much time finding a "niche" and putting us into demographic categories. That's just sad.
The thing is that Gable and these other actors were so very good in the movies, that they last the test of time. Many of their films are still revered, loved, and watched today. Even this batch of flicks in the Signature Collection series may not be a GWTW, but they are heckuva lot better than what I've seen previewed at the multiplex lately.
The set feautures six films, five early Gable films and one from the 1950s.
Boom Town features Gable and Spencer Tracy as oilmen who strike it rich and what it does to them and the women in their lives, Hedy Lamar and Claudette Colbert.
Dancing Lady is a sort of Backstage Musical type of movie starring Gable as a Broadway Director and Joan Crawford as a struggling young dancer. The film also features the film debut of The Three Stooges. (Guy factor increases 30%, which makes up for the "Backstage musical" factor)
China Seas pairs Rosalind Russell with Gable, as a merchant sailor carrying a ship full of gold in Asian seas. Russell plays his fiance, and the film also stars Jean Harlow as Gable's mistress along for the ride. If that wasn't bad enough, Wallace Berry is round looking for a way to take the gold for himself.
San Fransisco is a period film starring Gable, Tracy, and Jeanette MacDonald and is set during the time of the great Frisco earthquake. This film has one of most hailed disaster sequences filmed up to that time.
Wife Vs. Secretary brings Harlow and Gable together again and adds Shelf favorite Myrna Loy to the mix. And yes, that is James Stewart that you see in one of his first major film roles.
Mogambo is the (better) 1953 remake of the earlier Gable film, Red Dust. This time however, Gable's Big Game Hunter and guide finds himself persued by Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. Problems, problems.

The extras are many, of course, as befitting a Warners Home Video release. Two in particular stand out - an early short featuring the Three Stooges (with Ted Healy) in Plane Nuts and one that features Curly sans Moe and Larry before he was known as Curly: Roast Beef and Movies. Also not to be missed is the 1996 bio-documentary, Clark Gable: Tall, Dark & Handsome, narrated by Liam Neeson. This set is definitely a Shelf must-have.

And Gable fans- Fox will be releasing a different set of Gable films on August 15 of this year- The Clark Gable Collection, featuring three films, Soldier of Fortune, The Tall Men and The Call of the Wild. So be on the look out for that.

Well that's all for today Shelfers. We wouldn't be The Shelf without the classic films, we hope we have restored your faith and have done the King some justice. For a more in depth look and some fantastic images from these films, go on over and visit John at Greenbrier Picture Shows. It will be well worth it as Mr. McElwee never disappoints.

Oh- and don't forget to vote in our Superman poll on the sidebar!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I make my contribution to this mixed-up community they call the world.


juliasmile said...

Excellent DVD set. I wondered if you had missed it. Usually all of the classics are covered here, glad to see you didn't overlook this.
Actually saw Boom Town on TCM recently. It was quite good. Looking forward to getting my set from Amazon- order it today.

Anonymous said...

Good article, you definately convinced me to want to go out and buy that box set!

Wolf Flywheel said...

Yes, anonymous. Mr. Loophole can be quite convincing at times.That's how he get me to write the occassional drivel I post on this site. I think it's his mutant power.


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