In a Nutshell: Command Decision (1948)
Directed by: Sam Wood
Co-stars: Walter Pidgeon, Van Johnson, Brian Donlevy
Synopsis: Gable is K.C. Dennis, a and American General in England during World War II. His duty is to plan bombing missions over Germany, at the loss of hundreds of men. Despite objections from fellow soldiers and Congressmen, he continues his mission because he believes it is key to the U.S. victory over Germany.
Best Gable Quote: “Someday you’re going to wisecrack yourself right into the infantry, sergeant.”
Fun Fact: The only Gable film in which there is no love story. There are no females in the cast. MGM received thousands of letters from angry female Gable fans complaining that there was no romance in the picture.
My Verdict: Ok, I don’t like this movie. I’ve seen it a few times and I am always trying to give it another chance, but the fact of the matter is…this film is just plain boring. You can wander in and out of the room while watching it and not miss anything. It truly is one of those films that I am sure was an interesting play, but it just doesn’t translate onscreen. It’s all talk, talk, talk and no action.Talk about the deaths of servicemen we never get to meet, talk about bombings, talk about women they are going to marry or babies they are going to have. Problem is, we never see any of this. I would feel a bit better about the film if we got acquainted with soldiers before they burst into flame on a runway, or actually saw Clark talking to his wife on the phone, or even maybe him changing into a polo shirt and having a drink outside the barracks. I find the film completely lacking in human touch.Clark does a fine job with what he has to work with, but he doesn’t have much.
In a Nutshell: Any Number Can Play (1949)
Directed by: Mervyn Leroy
Co-stars: Alexis Smith, Audrey Totter, Wendell Corey, Mary Astor, Frank Morgan
Synopsis: Gable is Charley King, the owner of a gambling house in New York. After learning he has a heart problem, he begins to re-evaluate his life: his relationship with his wife (Smith) and teenage son, his business and his associates.
Best Gable Quote: “Honest kid, I don’t think you’re old enough to judge your father.”
Fun Fact: During production Gable started dating co-star Audrey Totter, who played his sister-in-law in the film. (Totter just died in December of last year.)
My Verdict: It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s fine for what it is. The role is age-appropriate for Clark and I always like seeing him play dad. It’s kind of refreshing to see nearly-50 year old Clark playing a married man with a teenaged son. The script is kind of blah but I’ve seen worse. Alexis is neither great nor bad. Altogether just an “okay” film.