30 Day Film Challenge: Day 6

A Film That Reminds You of Somewhere

This last year I spent more time on Greyhound than anyone should ever have to. Some people probably think this is a sentence worse than death. But I freakishly love bus travel.

My bus travels are marked by the waiting, the constant smell of urine, the angry passengers who just can’t go with the flow, the people watching (so much people watching), the weird dude who will undoubtedly snore, and the unexpected sense of calm that falls over me. Especially if it is around 4 p.m. on a bus bound for upstate NY with only ten other passengers. It is those nearly deserted bus rides that are the best.

I like Greyhound so much that sometimes I am moved to take pictures.

How does my freakish fascination with bus travel relate to movies? As you can imagine, I adore anytime a movies features a bus (except Speed).

Like Bus Stop.

And the “Tiny Dancer” scene in Almost Famous.

And when Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert meet in It Happened One Night

Once again, the movies have set me up to have false expectations about everything and everyone I meet while traveling.

What I like most about buses, if I will attempt to rationalize this, is that they are this confined in-between space.  Even though there is a destination in mind, for a few hours you are just somewhere. And that is what these three movies are about: just somewhere, but really no where importantl. They’re special because of the parts that make the movie.

The Movies Journalists Like

The November 10 release of Morning Glory is fast approaching.

I have my doubts because the trailer and posters just seem too good to be true. I am a sucker for any movie that has to do with journalism, thanks to my days as a collegiate journalist.

In honor of this movie, which will undoubtedly find a way into my cynical-onetime-journalist’s heart, I’ve compiled a list of the movies all about journalism that journalists like.

Continue reading “The Movies Journalists Like”

Quotable Classic: It Happened One Night (1934)

Two of my favorite moments from It Happened One Night (1934), starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

Ellie: By the way, what’s your name?
Peter Warne: What’s that?
Ellie: Who are you?
Peter Warne: Who me? [smiling]
Peter Warne: I’m the whippoorwill that cries in the night. I’m the soft morning breeze that caresses your lovely face.
Ellie: You’ve got a name, haven’t you?
Peter Warne: Yeah, I got a name. Peter Warne.
Ellie: Peter Warne. I don’t like it.
Peter Warne: Don’t let it bother you. You’re giving it back to me in the morning.
Ellie: Pleased to meet you, Mr. Warne.
Peter Warne: The pleasure is all mine, Mrs. Warne.

Ellie: I’ll stop that car, and I won’t use my thumb!

[after Ellie stops a car by showing her leg]
Peter Warne: Why didn’t you take off all your clothes? You could have stopped forty cars.

Ellie: Well, ooo, I’ll remember that when we need forty cars.

Clark Gable: Signature Collection

Releasing tomorrow (Tuesday June 27) is the Clark Gable: Signature Collection. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times review:

Clark Gable: Signature Collection
Warner Home Video, $59.98, not rated.

Is it possible to be a great star without appearing in very many great movies? Clark Gable is probably the test of that proposition: he’s one of the few major box office stars of the 1930’s who might produce a glimmer of recognition from a contemporary audience, but after Gone With the Wind and perhaps It Happened One Night, most people would be stuck naming many more of his films.

What would Gable be without Gone With the Wind, or for that matter, what would Gone With the Wind be without Gable? It’s his leering masculinity that gives Margaret Mitchell’s weepy epic the balance and the ballast it needs to keep it from becoming the world’s longest Harlequin romance, and it’s David O. Selznick’s film that finally gives Gable a social context and a personal history to anchor his free-floating libido in something solidly dramatic.

Gable’s curse, of course, was that he spent most of his career under contract to MGM, and being a team player, never seemed to balk at the unimaginative, repetitive assignments he was given. A new box set from Warner Home Video, Clark Gable: The Signature Collection, brings together six Gable films, all but one (John Ford’s 1953 Mogambo) from his prewar period of greatest fame. (Gable spent World War II in the Army Air Corps, after his wife, Carole Lombard, was killed in a plane crash on her way home from a war bond drive.)

And while Gable’s sexual magnetism is still evident, even in a piece of cheese like Clarence Brown’s 1936 Wife vs. Secretary, there’s little in that film or the set’s remaining four (Robert Z. Leonard’s 1933 Dancing Lady, Tay Garnett’s 1935 China Seas, W. S. Van Dyke’s 1936 San Francisco, and Jack Conway’s 1940 Boom Town) that suggests the hold that Gable had over audiences of the period. Without Gone With the Wind — made, like It Happened One Night, while he was on loan to another studio — Gable would probably rank no higher in contemporary consciousness than Robert Montgomery or Robert Taylor, to name just two of his in-house MGM rivals.


This review poses some interesting questions about the career of Clark Gable. There’s no denying his iconic status, but his filmography doesn’t exactly shine.

But here is how I see it. What it comes down to is how you measure an actor’s iconic status. Is it based on awards and recognition? On career choices? On social impact? On charm? It’s a combination of all of this. What I do know is that when you starred in It Happened One Night and you were Rhett Butler, then you deserve to be a film icon, even if you don’t have the most outstanding filmography.

Clark Gable will always be an icon.