In a Nutshell: Chained (1934)
Directed by: Clarence Brown
Co-stars: Joan Crawford, Otto Kruger
Synopsis: Gable is Mike Bradley, a South American rancher who falls for the glamorous Diana (Crawford) on a cruise ship. Diana falls for Mike too, despite the fact that she is romantically involved with a married Manhattan businessman, Richard (Kruger). She decides to leave Richard for Mike but, upon her return home, Richard tells her he has finally left his wife for her. Diana feels obligated to marry Richard and Mike is heartbroken.
Best Gable Quote: “I admit I was on the prowl until you dropped down from the sky.”
Fun Fact: The Crawford-Gable affair had cooled off by this time, as she was with Franchot Tone and he was seeing Elizabeth Allan as well as still being married to Ria. Joan claims however, that they still had some “alone moments” on the set.
My Verdict: Enjoyable little ship romance. The script is good and it’s actually a good little plot, although the conclusion seems a bit farfetched to me. I really like Clark and Joan’s chemistry in this film, mainly because it is at times silly and sweet, rather than sultry. This role was no stretch for Clark, but the film is a good example of early 1930’s romance and it’s a good one to start with if you’re interested in seeing why Clark and Joan were paired together so many times.
In a Nutshell: Forsaking All Others (1934)
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Co-stars: Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery
Synopsis: Clark is Jeffrey Williams, who still harbors a childhood crush on Mary Clay (Crawford). Upon returning from a two year jaunt in Spain, he has plans to finally propose to her until he learns that she is set to marry his best friend, Dillon “Dill” Todd (Montgomery), the next day. He swallows his feelings and agrees to give the bride away. Dill gets an unexpected visit from an old flame, Connie Barnes (Francis Drake), and ends up running off to marry her, sending Mary a telegram explaining and apologizing. Heartbroken, Mary retreats to a cabin to nurse her wounds. She decides to come back to town with encouragement from Jeff and after receiving an invitation from Connie to attend her and Dill’s dinner party. At the party, Dill realizes he is still in love with Mary and soon after they begin seeing each other again, behind Connie’s back. Jeff is Mary’s voice of reason, trying to tell her that Dill will only break her heart again and she is leaving herself vulnerable, all the while hiding his feelings.
Best Gable Quote: “You’re an idiot. A spoiled, silly brat that needs a hairbrush every now and then.” (How many people would dare say that to Joan Crawford?!)
Fun Fact: The screenplay was based on a 1933 play of the same name that starred Tallulah Bankhead. The play had much more of a sexual undertone which was watered down for the film version.
My Verdict: I love the script to this film; it really gives life to what would otherwise have been a rather tired and hokey premise. The film overall is rather silly but it’s great fun. The cast is phenomenal: Gable, Crawford, Montgomery, Billie Burke, even Rosalind Russell in a tiny part. Enjoyable, lovable 30’s romantic comedy fluff.