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carole lombard 02

Conjecture casting Clark and Carole

Posted by vp19 on 2011.02.01 at 00:59
Current mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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.


(Anonymous) at 2011-02-01 21:55 (UTC) (Link)

A meaty script for Carole Lombard and Clark Gable?

Moving the timeframe forward a bit, how about "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" It would give both Carole and Clark a chance to show their acting chops. And it might finally bring a touch of realism to our romanctic discussions of their developing relationship.
caroleirene at 2011-02-02 00:57 (UTC) (Link)

This Is So FUN!

Okay, you are going to get a barrage of films now lol. I'm having the time of my life thinking up the possiblities...
1) Casablanca, because when people think of movie romance, I want them to think "Gable and Lombard" instead of "Bogart and Bergman"
2)Anything with the Marx Brothers. Enough said.
3)Arsenic and Old Lace, because I always believed Clark had a fear of Peter Lorre (who gags and binds Cary Grant's character towards the end). Also, Lombard would not have been half as annoying as Priscilla Lane in the film
4)A film noir. How cool would that be?
5)Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. That film never gives me a chance to catch my breath between laughter.
6)The Prince and the Showgirl. Hilarious.
7)Idiot's Delight. Carole would've busted my lungs as Norma Shearer's character
8) Cain and Mabel. Gable and Lombard would've been cute as the couple forced into a publicity romance.
9) We're Not Dressing. This film is so funny! And besides, who needs Bing Crosby singing?
10)Penny Serenade. We need some drama on this list!
12)True Confessions. That would be GRAND.
13)I wish Clark could replace Gary Cooper in Now And Forever, so he can get a chance to act with Shirley Temple.
14)Marie Antoinette! Can you imagine them in a historical epic?!
15)Any Busby Berkeley musical, because I'm weird like that.
16)A Hitchcock thriller, like North by Northwest or Dial M for Murder. If not, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I wish Clark got the chance to work with the Hitch!

Alright, my novel here is done!
diamondandruby at 2011-02-02 01:34 (UTC) (Link)
Caroleirene, AWESOME list! My favorite is #11, The Long, Long Trailer. I never thought of them in this movie, but I can totally see Gable and Lombard in place of Lucy and Desi.

You mentioned switching Clark for Bing in We're Not Dressing. What about exchanging Gable for some of her other co-stars? How about Gable with Carole in Nothing Sacred, Mr. & Mrs. Smith or Made For Each Other? Really, adding Clark to the mix in ANY Lombard film is quite intriguing!

On a more modern note, how about Clark and Carole in place of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail?
lombardarchive at 2011-02-02 08:35 (UTC) (Link)
We actually have a letter from CL to her good friend Natalie Visart which mentions that the studio "...is working on a script of Midnight for us to do..."

I can totally see it.

Also think that plugging CG into the Freddie March role in "Nothing Sacred" would be a blast. God bless him, Fred just didn't have the right brand of pizazz to romance La Lombard onscreen. I'm sure he was a lovely fellow, but the pairing here lacked something. Oomph, perhaps.


Carole S.
The Carole Lombard Archive
caroleirene at 2011-02-02 14:01 (UTC) (Link)
You're so right about Nothing Sacred, diamondandruby! I have no idea why it didn't hit me before, it's one of my favorite Lombard films. Clark would brought that spark and chemistry that kinda lacked with mellow, serious Fred March.
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