The Hucksters (1947)
Release Date: August 27,1947
Directed by: Jack Conway
Available on DVD through The Warner Brothers Archive Collection
Clark’s second picture after returning to the screen, The Hucksters is categorized as a drama but really it is a bit of a satire, poking fun at the advertising industry.
Clark’s character, Victor “Vic” Norman, is just home from the war and immediately sets his sights on returning to the advertising game. He seeks a job from Adolphe Menjou (an off screen pal of Gable). To land the job, he must entice a British widow (Deborah Kerr) to pose for a soap campaign. He falls in love with her, as a nightclub singer (a young and fresh-faced Ava Gardner, their first film together) falls for him. He is constantly at odds with himself: is all this manipulation and diminishing self respect worth it, just to please a bellowing soap company tycoon (Sydney Greenstreet)?
Ava Gardner singing “Don’t Tell Me”
“How are you, Frank?” first line
“I want to remind myself that money is only money. It’s a thought that will make me sincere about not needing a job.”
“I want a very sincere necktie!”
“I’m not married. Not the type.”
“I get paid for my opinion!”
“Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? Get a massage, get drunk!”
“I’m just as insensitive as they come.”
“Women always seem to trust a man who smokes a pipe. If I had a dog, I would try to smell a little doggy.”
“A huckster is a peddler. You know, a hawker. We’re professional hucksters but with station wagons instead of push carts.”
“I haven’t had much experience with honest people and I’m not sure I like them. How can you tell what they’re going to do next?
“Have you gotten prettier since I last saw you?”
“Unfortunately what the public wants has nothing to do with radio. It’s what the sponsor wants that counts.”
“Everybody was a nobody once!”
“Now we’re starting with an even nothing in the world—it’s neater that way.” last line
Behind the Scenes:
The book upon which the screenplay was based had Kerr’s character as being married and having an affair with Gable’s character. The script was changed to make her a widow and a more sympathetic character.