clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

From July 1941:

“[Clark Gable] never once–literally or figuratively–stepped on my toes in the midst of a key scene,” said Miss Russell [of working with Clark in “They Met in Bombay”], “He never tried to ‘throw’ me by altering his actions or his voice unexpectedly. And he never once gave me that superior ‘down the nose’ delivery calculated to unbalance a player opposite. I’ve encountered that elsewhere too.”

Miss Russell further explained that Gable never sought to maneuver her into ungraceful or disadvantageous positions–position which would give the audience an uninterrupted view of the back or her neck while she was speaking her best lines!

“On the contrary,” she said, “Gable pointedly gave me every break, and once halted production to demand a change in the script so that certain ‘business’ involved in his contributions to the scene would not detract from interest in mine.”

“Yes,” Miss Russell summed up, “definitely I like working with Clark Gable.”

This month, Clark Gable is a thief chasing jewelry and fellow swindler Rosalind Russell in They Met in Bombay.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Gable is Gerald Meldrick, a jewel thief who has trailed a British duchess to India to steal her antique diamond necklace. He encounters Anya Von Duren (Russell), a rival thief out for the same score. She succeeds in stealing the necklace, but he fools her into believing he is a detective and gets the necklace from her. She figures him out and he proposes they be partners. They hop on a Chinese ship headed for Hong Kong but the crooked captain (Lorre) tries to turn them in for ransom. Paddling their way to shore, they hide out in Hong Kong. Gerald disguises himself as a British officer in hopes of getting them out of there, but he is soon sent to the front to fight against the Japanese.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Just a few years earlier, Roz was playing second fiddle in Gable films–the funny bridesmaid to Joan Crawford’s bride in Forsaking All Others and the lady from the past who gets passed over for Jean Harlow in China Seas.

But here she is finally Clark’s leading lady and she was happy for the promotion. Hedy Lamarr was originally slated for the lead in the film, but withdrew after adopting a baby.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Roz recalled: “Clark was a delight to work with.He always shared, never upstaged his marks or the other performers. There was nothing small or petty about him. No director ever had to tell how to do a love scene. He was tremendously graceful. Much like a ballet dancer, he had rhythm and timing. There wasn’t all that enormous clinching and awkwardness that some actors put you through.”

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

This film is a typical Gable formula—he’s a rogue pursuing a pretty lady in an exotic location. Roz appears, wearing a ridiculous hat, and of course instantly enchanting our hero.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Clark then starts stalking her in a rather creepy way, not unlike plucky Joan Crawford chasing him in Dancing Lady.

clark gable they met in bombay

And well, if you’ve ever wanted to see Clark Gable getting a haircut, manicure and pedicure at the same time, this film’s your chance.

clark gable they met in bombay

Roz gets to the necklace before Clark does, after getting the baroness drunk and slipping it off her neck, and scurries back to her room with it. Clark knew she was after the same thing he was and makes sure to get his replica onto the baroness’ neck and swiftly makes off with the real thing himself, letting Roz thing he’s a saint for not turning her in.

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She is of course furious when she finds out the truth.

they met in bombay clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay clark gable they met in bombay clark gable they met in bombay clark gable

But no lady’s hatred of Clark lasts too long and soon Roz’s resentment fades and gives away to a typical Gable clinch. “I’m caught all right,” he says.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

The two lovebirds hide out in a basement in Hong Kong (seemingly sharing the same cramped space, I might add) for a few weeks until they start running out of money. Clark, naturally, wants to think up a new swindle, while it seems Roz is ready to play it straight, get married and have little Rozes.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Clark then gets the idea to impersonate a member of the British military to score a few extra bucks and then gets roped into fighting the Japanese. This, of course, makes an honest man out of him, after he is awarded a medal for bravery.

clark gable they met in bombay They Met 7

For me the film starts to go downhill once he joins the military ranks. It stops being a spy caper and becomes something else entirely. But you know that 1941 audiences ate this kind of thing up–exotic locations, military strategy and all!

clark gable they met in bombay

1941 was the last year of what I’d consider the golden era of Clark’s life–married to Carole, fresh off Gone with the Wind–career going great, home life couldn’t be better. So it’s hard not to watch the film and think that, just over a year later, a heartbroken Clark would be saluting for real.

This film for me is just ok. It’s not without its charms, it’s just the wide swing from fancy debonair caper to military man on a mission is rather jostling. Roz and Clark’s chemistry is plausible, but not white hot.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

They Met in Bombay is available on DVD.

Read more about the film here and see pictures from the film in the gallery.

In a Nutshell: Comrade X (1940)

clark gable hedy lamarr comrade x

Directed by: King Vidor

Co-stars: Hedy Lamarr, Felix Bressart, Oskar Homolka, Eve Arden

Synopsis: Gable is McKinley Thompson, an American reporter living in Russia who is secretly sending news out of the country as the elusive “Comrade X”. His bumbling valet, Igor (Bressart) discovers who he is and blackmails him to take his headstrong Communist daughter (Lamarr) out of Russia to protect her from prosecution. Everything doesn’t go as planned and soon the three of them are racing out of Russia with the Russian army on their tails.

Best Gable Quote: “I don’t talk to ladies that start yelling. It’s a rule I’ve got.”

Fun Fact: This film was made to hurriedly reteam Clark with rising star Hedy Lamarr, since audiences responded so well to their chemistry in Boom Town. When the screenplay was originally accepted, Greta Garbo was in mind for Lamarr’s role, but it was thought it was too close to her recent role in Ninotchka.

My Verdict: At times very funny, it’s best taken at face value as a comedy rather than rolling one’s eyes at the obvious Russian stereotypes displayed here. Clark is at his wisecrackin’ best and Lamarr is pretty to look at although I find their chemistry is not exactly earth shattering. Bressart and Eve Arden are a hoot.

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It’s on DVD.

Read more here.

It was Movie of the Month in October 2013.

In a Nutshell: They Met in Bombay (1941)

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Directed by: Clarence Brown

Co-stars: Rosalind Russell, Peter Lorre

Synopsis: Gable is Gerald Meldrick, a jewel thief who has trailed a British duchess to India to steal her antique diamond necklace. He encounters Anya Von Duren (Russell), a rival thief out for the same score. She succeeds in stealing the necklace, but he fools her into believing he is a detective and gets the necklace from her. She figures him out and he proposes they be partners. They hop on a Chinese ship headed for Hong Kong but the crooked captain (Lorre) tries to turn them in for ransom. Paddling their way to shore, they hide out in Hong Kong. Gerald disguises himself as a British officer in hopes of getting them out of there, but he is soon sent to the front to fight against the Japanese.

Best Gable Quote: “When a man’s a dreamer, a woman wants him to be practical. When he’s practical, she wants him to be a dreamer. That’s the story of my whole life.”

Fun Fact: Gable, tired of being cast with the same leading ladies over and over again, was pleased with the casting of Rosalind Russell. She had had supporting roles in two other films with him a  few years prior, but this was her first (and only) as his leading lady.

My Verdict: It’s a joy to watch Clark onscreen with Rosalind Russell, even if her character here is more tame than her eventual zany comedies. While I wouldn’t call their chemistry white hot, it is comfortable and believable. The film really loses its way halfway through and the spy caper storyline feels stale. It’s kind of a cross between Comrade X and Love on the Run. I think both Gable and Russell deserved a better vehicle.

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It’s on DVD.

Read more here.

Ratings

clark gable joan crawford robert montgomery forsaking all others

This month, Clark Gable plays the heartbroken guy to Joan Crawford’s wide-eyed heiress and Robert Montgomery’s selfish but lovable cad in Forsaking All Others.

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.

clark gable robert montgomery joan crawford forsaking all others

As far as mid-1930’s romantic comedies go, te formula for this one is run of the mill, but the script is actually quite clever and snappy–thanks to Joseph Mankiewicz. Originally a play, many of the sexual undertones were removed but the script more than makes up for any missing steam with its vigor.

Clark gets some of the best lines and even gets to whack Joan with a hairbrush!clark gable joan crawford forsaking all others

“You’re an idiot. A spoiled, silly brat that needs a hairbrush every now and then.” Joan doesn’t mind too much…

Clark and Joan, off-screen lovers for years off and on, have great chemistry. Their scenes together here are sweet and funny. Clark has just the right amount of suave to cover up his broken heart, and Joan is busy fluttering those eye lashes over her innocent baby blues.

joan crawford clark gable forsaking all others joan crawford clark gable forsaking all others

Robert Montgomery is rather foolish, but he’s also hilarious. The part where he catches on fire in the cabin is quite amusing—especially when Clark finds him all burnt up the next day and makes fun of him!

clark gable robert montgomery forsaking all others

It’s funny how Bob and Joan go up to an abandoned house together and end up spending the night and this is a great scandal–how times have changed! Bob is in an interesting position here, as he really is a heartless jerk. He up and leaves Joan at the altar, then tries to woo her behind his wife’s back just weeks later. He even schemes to get her alone at a cabin for the night, telling his limo driver not to show up until morning. But as devious as he is, Bob still makes him a likable character in many ways. He may be devious, but he still has that impish quality!

clark gable robert montgomery forsaking all others

Quite amusing is hung-over Clark after the “bachelor dinner.” Despite the fact that the groom didn’t show up, the groomsmen all ended up drunk in a trashed hotel room, with a firehouse flung into the room, flooding the whole hotel! Clark is sleeping head to toe with the hilarious Charles Butterworth, wearing the top half of his tuxedo and Charles only has the bottom half of his. I think this is why most people don’t have their “stag parties” the night before the wedding anymore…

clark gable forsaking all others

clark gable forsaking all others

Clark and Bob were friends in real life and both liked Joan. I think it makes a difference in a film when the actors are friendly. This film comes across as light and airy as a result.

clark gable robert montgomery joan crawford forsaking all others

 Billie Burke is excellent as the twittering, disapproving stand-in mother for Joan. She is in the fortunate position of being swooped up in Clark’s arms and covered in his kisses…not once, but twice! “Haven’t you buried three husbands already?” he asks her. “Two. I don’t know where the last one is!” she replies.

clark gable billie burke forsaking all others

And in a small part, is future Clark Gable leading lady Rosalind Russell, as one of Joan’s bridesmaids. Her part may be small, but you can see the future snappy Roz the world would soon come to know with lines like “I’m so tired of being a bridesmaid. I’d like to get married so I can wear a decent hat!”

clark gable forskaing all others

It’s nice to see Clark pine for a bit before he wins the girl at the end. Speaking of the end, it is quite a cop out—one of those where you just assume they live happily ever after without any evidence to back it up.  I really like the sweet, quiet way Clark tells Joan that he’s in love with her before he leaves. But I guess we are supposed to cheer for the fact that Joan decides to go after him and leave Bob in the lurch? So the whole film she’s been heartbroken over Robert but now suddenly realizes it’s Clark she wants? Oh well, way it goes in movie land!

Forsaking All Others Part 4 clark gable joan crawford forsaking all others

Forsaking All Others is available on DVD from the Warner Brothers Archive Collection. You can see over 100 pictures from the film in the gallery and read more about the film here.

I’m sure you’ve heard the song by the Postal Service, which is titled “Clark Gable.” The line that features his name is “I’ll kiss you in a way Clark Gable would have admired.” Say what you want about Clark and his acting limitations, but that man was a born onscreen lover!

Rosalind Russell recalled: “The only man who could make a love scene comfortable was Clark Gable. He was born graceful, he knew what to do with his feet and when he took hold of you, there was no fooling around.”

Let’s get a lesson in the fine art of onscreen lip locking from Mr. Gable himself…

rosalind russell clark gable they met in bombay

with Rosalind Russell in "They Met in Bombay" (1941)

clark gable norma shearer a free soul

with Norma Shearer in "A Free Soul" (1931)

greer garson clark gable adventure

with Greer Garson in "Adventure" (1945)

joan crawford clark gable chained

with Joan Crawford in "Chained" (1934)

ann baxter clark gable homecoming

with Ann Baxter in Homecoming

clark gable idiot's delight

with a lucky nurse in "Idiot's Delight"(1939)

hedy lamarr clark gable comrade x

with Hedy Lamarr in "Comrade X" (1940)

clark gable lana turner honky tonk

with Lana Turner in "Honky Tonk" (1940)

jeanette macdonald san francisco clark gable

with Jeanette MacDonald in "San Francisco" (1936)

clark gable myrna loy men in white

with Myrna Loy in "Men in White" (1934)

clark gable constance bennett after office hours

with Constance Bennett in "After Office Hours" (1935)

mary astor clark gable red dust

with Mary Astor in "Red Dust" (1932)

grace kelly clark gable mogambo

with Grace Kelly in "Mogambo" (1953)

marion davies clark gable polly of the circus

with Marion Davies in "Polly of the Circus" (1932)

greta garbo clark gable susan lenox

with Greta Garbo in "Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise" (1931)

doris day clark gable teacher's pet

with Doris Day in "Teacher's Pet" (1958)

claudette colbert clark gable boom town

with Claudette Colbert in "Boom Town" (1940)

loretta young clark gable call of the wild

with Loretta Young in "Call of the Wild" (1935)

yvonne de carlo clark gable band of angels

with Yvonne de Carlo in "Band of Angels" (1957)

deborah kerr clark gable the hucksters

with Deborah Kerr in "The Hucksters" (1947)

barbara stanwyck clark gable to please a lady

with Barbara Stanwyck in "To Please a Lady" (1950)

jean harlow clark gable china seas

with Jean Harlow in "China Seas" (1935)

carole lombard clark gable no man of her own

with Carole Lombard in "No Man of Her Own" (1932)

Holy Cross Cemetery

Holy Cross is a scenic Roman Catholic cemetery in Culver City that opened in 1939. It is said that if a star is Catholic, they’re buried here.

Holy Cross Cemetery

Here in this scenic area called the Grotto are several celebrities grouped close together.

Holy Cross Cemetery

Holy Cross Cemetery

The main reason for our visit was the grave of this eccentric fellow, Bela Lugosi (Dracula). To my classic-horror-fiend friend who traveled with me, Bela Lugosi is her Clark Gable. So he was a must visit!

Holy Cross Cemetery Bela Lugosi

I stumbled upon the grave of “Der Bingle”, Bing Crosby, not too far from Bela.

Holy Cross Cemetery Bing Crosby

Nearby too is the grave of  French actor Charles Boyer, known for his role in Gaslight (1944).

Holy Cross Cemetery Charles Boyer

Also here is “Gilda” herself,  Rita Hayworth.

Holy Cross Cemetery Rita Hayworth

And we happened upon the grave of actress Sharon Tate, who, along with her unborn baby, was murdered by the Manson gang.

Holy Cross Cemetery Sharon Tate

Around the corner from the Grotto is the grave of Gladys Belzer. Who? Gladys was the mother of Loretta Young. Loretta had requested that her ashes be spread over her mother’s grave, but cemetery rules prohibited this, so Loretta’s ashes were placed in with her mother’s instead. So here is the final resting place of Loretta, Clark’s co-star in Call of the Wild and mother of his only daughter, Judy.

Clark Gable and Loretta Young

Holy Cross Cemetery Loretta Young

Holy Cross Cemetery Loretta Young

The one grave you can’t miss no matter where you are in this cemetery is Rosalind Russell‘s. You can see this giant cross from the street before you even enter the gates. Quite the monument!

Holy Cross Cemetery Rosalind Russell

Rosalind co-starred with Clark in China Seas and They Met in Bombay. She also had a small part in Forsaking All Others.

Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell

Holy Cross Cemetery Rosalind Russell

Holy Cross Cemetery Rosalind Russell

I had read on the internet that Cammie King (Bonnie from Gone with the Wind) was interred here after her death last year. But nobody at the office knew where exactly she was and apparently have no record of her. So I am not sure what’s going on with that.

I will say one more thing about Holy Cross. If you are in LA and decide to stop in here, LOCK YOUR CAR. Or, better yet, take your purse and anything you care about with you as you wander.  Trust me.