Love on the Run (1936)
Release Date: November 20,1936
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Available on DVD through The Warner Brothers Archive Collection
Gable is Mike Anthony, a newspaper reporter always in competition with his college buddy, Barnabus Pell (Tone) who works for a rival paper. When Mike attends the wedding of socialite Sally Parker (Crawford) to a European prince, he becomes her confidante and helps her escape the nuptials. With Barnabus hot on their trail, Mike and Sally steal a spy’s plane and head across Europe. The spy wants his plane back (and his secret plans) and Barbabus wants his piece of the story, keeping them on the run, of course falling in love along the way.
Hollywood magazine, January 1937:
Metro’s “storm troops” move into the scene again, and as in Libeled Lady, they take full control of the situation with a barrage of laughs. Picture Franchot Tone and Clark Gable as rival European correspondents for American newspapers, and Joan Crawford as the million-heiress who hates all reporters. With this premise you have a good start on a rollicking yarn, bound to click regardless of illogical situations. When Gable, suppressing his own identity, helps Joan flee from the rival reporter, an obvious day of reckoning is in the offing. The adventures that follow are funny and fully satisfying.
Joan Crawford is given an excellent opportunity to reveal her loveliness as well as have a strong hand in the comedy. Gable’s antics are screamingly funny, yet he is hard pressed by Tone throughout the picture.
Modern Screen magazine, February 1937:
***Here’s a merry little item directed in the fast and furious tradition of W.S. Van Dyke and made terrific by the presence of such box office champions as Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone. The story is an impossible sort of thing, which means that due credit is herewith handed to the scenarists for turning out a script full of comical moments and a generous quota of first-class lines. Here’s the set-up: Joan Crawford is a heiress about to marry Ivan Lebedeff, a phony nobleman, while Gable and Tone are London correspondents for New York papers assigned to cover the wedding. Joan jilts Ivan at the altar, and Clark rushes off with her in a plane chartered by Reginald Owen and Mona Barrie, who turn out to be spies–in fact, international spies. The movies continue to portray newspapermen as half clown and half faun, so perhaps Gable and Tone are not to be blamed for falling into pattern. At any rate, they do it well, with the aid, no doubt, of the Van Dyke touch. Joan Crawford unbends surprisingly in her high comedy moments and handles the romantic interludes in her customary manner. Reginald Owen and Mona Barrie sharply define their spy roles, and Ivan Lebedeff is as phony a count as you could ask for. It’s good fun for all audiences.
Motion Picture magazine, February 1937:
Joan Crawford and Clark Gable are teamed again, in a sure-fire comedy hit that is filled with spontaneous gags, excellent comedy dialogue and plenty of action, with Franchot Tone contributing antics in his role, giving Gable plenty of keen competition. The story relates the friendship of rival newspaper reporters in Europe, with each reporter, Gable and Tone, promising to cover the other on assignments. The fun starts when Gable humorously double-crosses Tone as he gets a scoop on a runaway heiress-bride (Joan Crawford). Joan is excellent as the heiress who doesn’t like newspaper reporters or notoriety, but gets both when she strikes up a romance with Gable. The humorous situations top each other in rapid succession, and with the directorial touches injected by W.S. Van Dyke, the picture moves on with an insane dash over all Europe with all characters involved in the flight. Mona Barrie and Reginald Owen are good as the menaces. William Demarest does a first rate job as the raving city editor. this one is a laugh-provoker that will please the entire family.
Photoplay magazine, March 1937:
Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone in a deliciously amusing comedy. All about a bride who leaves her fiancé at the church, tears across half of Europe pursued by reporters. Swell.
Letter to the Editor, Photoplay magazine, April 1937:
With “Love on the Run” we have lately been privileged to witness another of these so-called sophisticated comedies where the hero is a nit-witted archaeologist, interne, racketeer, writer, artist or editor, and the heroine has the added attraction of money, money, money and clothes (but of course she is just folks at heart, though somewhat kittenish until the hero spanks her), and there is always that little “cute” touch, the teahouse in the lane with the queer old lady or the mildly drunken cockney, or maybe it is a comic taxi driver unlike any possible taxi driver, or just an aquarium or skating rink, or how ducky–Grant’s Tomb. But I forget the old sure fire. Where can a wealthy debutante and a poor boy go and really live. Why some greasy joint on the edge of town. There they meet another “cute” person, the proprietor, and they eat hamburgers. Rabble-baiting, I call it. Some of us are getting pretty sick of these Noel Coward-Charles MacArthur turns of mind. It began with “Private Lives” and “Holiday”, ran through “Animal Kingdom” and poorer copies. Lately Joan Crawford and Carole Lombard seem to run this sort of balderdash pretty regularly.
“Love on the Run” may be funny–oh, dear me, yes it is, but it is also as false as Judas.
Listen to the Radio Commercial
“Never mind, I’ll get it. I think it’s for me!” first line
“Well, we’re either up 2100 feet and going 175 miles an hour or we’re up 175 feet and going 2100 miles an hour!’
“I’m talking to a fairly attractive dame who’s got too much dough for her own good! Between you and me, I’m beginning to think that prince is a pretty lucky boy!”
“You’re the only girl this side of the moon.”
“Would you like to buy a pencil from an ex-newspaperman?”
“An Anthony always goes out the way he comes in!”
“H for how soon are we going to get married?” last line
Behind the Scenes
Gable was assigned to the role to give Joan Crawford a hit; the only hits she had had in the past few years had been her films with Gable and her career was stalling.
Amelia Earhart’s $80,000 plane was used in the film.
Gable and Franchot Tone had become friends during the filming of Mutiny on the Bountyand would play cards between takes. This irritated Crawford. Her and husband Tone spent most of their time between scenes fighting. During the course of filming, Tone moved out of their Hollywood home.
MGM’s head of production (and husband of Norma Shearer), Irving Thalberg, died during the production of this film. An official day of mourning was called and the set was closed on September 16, 1936.