Today marks the 110th anniversary of Clark Gable's birth, and the photo above is a publicity pic from his one film with eventual wife Carole Lombard, "No Man Of Her Own" from Paramount in late 1932. At the time, there was nothing going on between them (though that would change slightly more than three years later).
"No Man Of His Own" isn't an entirely satisfying movie, particularly after the breeziness of its first half devolves into the moralistic melodrama of the second. But it has its moments, so in honor of Mr. Gable's 110th, a clip from the film. Oh, and even you non-Gable fans will want to watch this, because the first minute or so of it features Lombard in lingerie (hooray!), a still of which is shown below as she hurriedly puts on pajamas:
Clark and Carole did have some nice on-screen chemistry, and it's unfortunate that the only other motion picture footage we see them in are either home movies or newsreels. They apparently had no inherent aversion to working together again, but for whatever reason, MGM was cool on signing Lombard for a film (the only one she made there was "The Gay Bride" in 1934, a relatively unremarkable mob comedy).
The story goes that Carole did find a property she thought would be good for her and Clark, only to discover the rights already belonged to Katharine Hepburn...a little film she and Spencer Tracy would make called "Woman Of The Year."
Here, though, we can imagine, create alternate cinematic universes. So let's do that with Gable and Lombard -- cast them in a movie that would be suitable for their respective talents. It might involve replacing Clark's leading lady with Lombard, or Carole's leading man with Gable...or a film that neither made (such as from the aforementioned Tracy-Hepburn matchups). Heck, since we're fantasizing, if you want to magically transfer Clark and Carole to a film made after their deaths, even one in comparatively modern times, be my guest.
I'll start with a movie they might have improved, and that's to take nothing away from the stars who actually made it. I'm referring to 1941's "The Bride Came C.O.D.," starring James Cagney and Bette Davis (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/75449.html).
While Lombard -- who was 32 when this film came out -- might have been seen as a bit old to have played another heiress, her experience with comedy and younger, less weighty public persona than Davis would have made her ideal in this role. And Gable, like Cagney, had good comic chops and was no stranger to portraying a pilot. Could Clark and Carole have overcome Warners' traditional ineptness with screwball? Maybe not, but it would've been nice to see them try.
What other Clark and Carole pairings could you imagine? Toss some our way. Meanwhile, happy anniversary to Mr. Gable.