DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Clark Gable Signature Collection (RECOMMENDED).

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, Jun 11, 2006.

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  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]

    Boom Town (1940)

    Directed by Jack Conway, with a screenplay by John Lee Mahin, Boom Town, is a romantic comedy with an all-star cast, which features Spencer Tracy and his buddy Gable who decide to head west and become oilmen. Caludette Colbert and Heddy Lamarr are women who wind up as potential love interests in their chaotic lives. Unfortunately, the group of four friends struggle through the personal turmoil as loyalties and love get in the way. They eventually strike it rich, however, a sudden accident soon puts everything in jeopardy. The film was a critical and box office success and garnered two Academy Award nominations for Cinematography and Special Effects.


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    China Seas (1935)

    China Seas, marks the fourth film between Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. Tay Garnett directs this wisecracking romantic comedy. Captain Alan Gaskell (played by Gable) charges his ship through the dangerous waters between Hong Kong and Singapore with a secret cache of British gold aboard. Dolly Portland (played by Jean Harlow) and his sophisticated fiancée Sybil Barclay (played by Rosalind Russell) are also crew members, however the ally the captain feels he has in his secretive mistress turns out to be a dangerous adversary when she befriends fellow shipmate, Jamesey MacArdle (played by Wallace Beery). The on-board drunk Charlie McCaleb (played brilliantly by Robert Benchley), doesn’t steal the gold, but he certainly steals the show.


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    Dancing Lady (1933)

    In Dancing Lady, a number of screen legends give this song & dance musical a boost. The film is filled with show support by Nelson Eddy and Robert Benchley with tunes by Rodgers and Hart, Burton Lane and Dorothy Fields. The film led Joan Crawford to the biggest hit of her early career and would lead to eight other films between herself and Gable. The female lead aspires to Broadway star from chorus girl to while debating the virtues of two interested acquaintances, Franchot Tone and Clark Gable. In the final number, help comes in the form of a new kid from New York, Fred Astaire, in his first screen appearance. Even the Three Stooges make an amusing appearance.


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    Mogambo (1953)

    Mogambo, a romantic adventurer is a remake of the 1932 film Red Dust, which starred Jean Harlow. Gable appears once again and now teams up with Ava Gardner in a film directed by John Ford. This 1953 remake features Clark Gable, a big game hunter, to lead a safari in Kenya as his boss' wife (played by Grace Kelly) and a Broadway showgirl (played by Ava Gardner) take a sudden interest in him. The film garnered two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Ava Gardner) and Best Supporting Actress (Grace Kelly).


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    San Francisco (1936)

    Blackie Norton (played by Clark Gable) and Mary Blake (played by Jeanette MacDonald) appear in San Francisco, a musical drama. Circa 1906, Mary portrays a singer torn by her desire to fit in as an aristocrat and her sudden interest in Blackie who comes with a shady past. Spencer Tracy plays a priest who offers spiritual guidance. He tries to change Blackie but mother nature might be the only thing capable of Blackie’s transformation.


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    Wife vs. Secretary (1936)

    Wife vs. Secretary is the light and entertaining story of publisher V.S. Van Stanhope (played by Gable). Although happily married to Linda Stanhope (played by Myrna Loy), his interfering mother-in-law suggests that Stan may be involved in an adulteress affair with his loyal secretary, Whitey (played by Jean Harlow). The film also features Jimmy Stewart in one of his first roles, playing Whitey’s boyfriend.

    The Features:
    Boom Town 3.5/5 [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    China Seas 4/5 [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Dancing Lady 3/5 [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Mogambo 3.5/5 [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    San Francisco 4/5 [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Wife vs. Secretary 3.5/5 [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Richard M S

    Richard M S Supporting Actor

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    Thanks! Excellent review! I am really looking forward to this set. And I am particularly excited about the DVD of San Francisco being well presented.
     
  3. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    I can't wait to get my hands on this set either. It must be remembered that many of the treasured MGM original B&W negatives were lost in the tragic 1970s nitrate fire at George Eastman House. This may account for the less-than-perfect quality of the one or two titles Mr. Kane mentions.

    Accordingly, I remember distinctly reading somewhere (perhaps from Robert Harris?) that DANCING LADY was one of the few MGM nitrate camera negatives not to have perished in the Eastman House fire, and that WB had done preservation work on it. I don't recall the exact source, but I'm pretty sure it was in some piece written by Mr. Harris.

    Nonetheless, each one of these films is a true classic, and the boxed set is an amazing value, too! Mine is already pre-ordered after reading this great review.
     
  4. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Herb,
    Before anybody else ask, does "San Francisco" have the Golden Gate bridge in it during the ending sequence?

    Also, how was the video quality of "Boom Town" which is my favorite Gable/Tracy film?




    Crawdaddy
     
  6. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Another Dancing Lady trivia note: this film was also Eve Arden's Hollywood debut, in a brief but memorable cameo.
     
  7. Vegas 1

    Vegas 1 Supporting Actor

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    Looks like another purchase for me. It's about time we had more Clark Gable on dvd. Thanks Herb!
     
  8. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Hi Crawdaddy,

    Yes – The GG Bridge appears in the Alternate Ending and runs 00:45 seconds. In it, the bridge actually appears 2 or 3 times from various angles interspersed among a group of shots showing various SF buildings and skyscrapers etc. A couple of marks and scratches, but it looks great.

    BT is one of the stronger transfers. Great blacks and grayscale with only a few marks and blemishes. My favorite in the set, China Seas, contains the most scratches and marks, but really, all of these look very good considering their age. I think fans are going to be very pleased.

    Herb.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  10. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    So close to pay day - I had the set in my hands and almost had the eqivilant of withdrawal symptoms when I had to put it back on the shelf. After all, aren't we all addicted?
     
  11. Junior_V

    Junior_V Stunt Coordinator

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    I am very disappointed that Warner does not give us a Crawford/Gable set with the movies they made together.
     

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