Directed by: John Francis Dillon
Co-stars: Richard Barthelmess, Fay Wray
Synopsis: Barthelmess is Breckenridge Lee, a naive Southerner who comes to New York to be a newspaperman. It isn’t long before his innocence falls victim to gangsters, under the wing of tough guy Louis Blanco (Gable). He begins taking bribes and covering up stories for them. Breck’s girl, Marcia (Wray), urges him to go straight before it is too late.
Best Gable Quote: “Double-crossing is very unhealthy in this town. Do you feel well?”
Not on DVD.
In a Nutshell: The Secret Six (1931)
Directed by: George W. Hill
Co-stars: Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Johnny Mack Brown, Lewis Stone, Marjorie Rambeau
Synopsis: Gable (billed seventh and not appearing until half an hour into the film) is Carl, a reporter for a New York newspaper, always out sniffing for a story. He competes with Hank (Brown), who works for a rival newspaper, for stories and the affection of Ann (Harlow). Ann works at a steakhouse owned by crooked Louie (Beery), who rises very fast to the top of a crime gang. Carl tries to play both sides of the coin and befriend Louie and his cronies while also giving tips to the police and “the secret six”, masked men bent on capturing the gang.
Best Gable Quote: “Say, listen, if you’re going to fall for anybody, make it me. I’m the dependable guy!”
Fun Fact: Gable’s first film with Jean Harlow. She was loaned to MGM from Warner Brothers for the role.
My Verdict: Great cast and a good pre-code gangster story. Even though Clark is hardly the star of this film, it’s interesting to see that budding chemistry between him and Jean!The film is all Wally Beery’s though, so if you’re not a fan, you’ll have a lot of fast forwarding to do to get to Clark’s parts!
In a Nutshell: Laughing Sinners (1931)
Directed by: Harry Beaumont
Co-stars: Joan Crawford, Neil Hamilton
Synopsis: Gable is Carl, a saintly Salvation Army officer who rescues Ivy (Crawford), distraught over being dumped by her boyfriend (Hamilton), from jumping off a bridge. Under Carl’s influence, Ivy gives up her hard-drinking, hard-partying nightclub lifestyle and joins the Salvation Army. Temptation proves to be too great though, when her ex-lover returns and she falls back into old habits
Best Gable Quote: “I just want you to be happy, whatever you do. But if you’re going back because of what you’ve done, you don’t need to, Ivy. We all stumble. All we can do is pick ourselves up again and go on and on and on until we find ourselves through our own mistakes.”
Fun Fact: Johnny Mack Brown was originally cast as Carl. At a preview, audiences laughed at his performance and lack of chemistry with Crawford. MGM replaced him with Gable and re-shot all of his scenes.
My Verdict: Joan is again a down-on-her-luck dancer, plucky but heartbroken. But Clark is not the bad guy here, quite the opposite, he’s pretty much a saint. The role doesn’t exactly fit him like a glove (and Joan’s blonde hair isn’t her best look), but the duo have chemistry and the film is a nice peek into 1931.