From April 1940:
I asked Clark Gable if he felt it dangerous to work so long in a single film such as “Gone with the Wind.” Fans forget easily. Will the role of Rhett Butler, no matter how colorful, be strong enough to hold Clark at the top, to overcome the long months of getting him on celluloid? Gable writes thus:
“Rather than being too dangerous to work too long in one picture, I can say from experience that it is of definite value to an actor and makes for a superior film. There is no substitute for adequate and careful preparation. ‘Gone with the Wind’ proves this. From an acting stand point, the player benefits from a long production schedule, which enables him to become thoroughly acquainted with the character he is portraying and develops the characterization to the fullest extent of his ability. I do not believe that working too long on one film is any menace to a career. If an actor makes one role stand out and remain memorable, he has certainly profited as much as if he made four pictures over a similar period. There is no truer saying in Hollywood than that an actor is no better than his last picture. And if working for more than a year in ‘Gone’ has menaced Vivien Leigh’s career, I could stand a lot of menace.”
So there you are, Clark is willing to stand or fall on Rhett. A recent exhibitor poll, conducted by The Motion Picture Herald, a trade paper, found Gable still among the first ten stars. No. 4 to be exact. And he had only two films released in 1939, “Idiot’s Delight” and “GWTW.” Which shows the potency of Gable’s personality. Absence only makes the fans’ hearts grow fonder.