Monday, November 9, 2009

Love on the Run (1936) Film Review - Clark Gable

Plot Summary - MGM romantic comedy about a reporter on the trail of a runaway bride (hm- doesn't that sound familiar?!). Mike Anthony (Clark Gable), reporter for the New York Chronicle, is in London to cover the story of debutante Sally Parker (Joan Crawford) and her wedding to a Russian prince named Igor. But running into her as she's running away on her wedding day, Mike enters her hotel room, comforts her in her tears, and offers his help - the two run off together, disguised as a Baron and Baroness, steal their small plane and oddly manage to fly all the way to France though, apparently, Mike has never flown a plane before! Now Mike is after getting "the biggest exclusive story of the year" for his newspaper, as the two are on the run. Barney (Franchot Tone), a rival reporter and semi-chum of Mike's, is chasing after the two like a bloodhound to get his own story - and also in hot pursuit to catch them is the Baron and Baroness, actually phonies, spies who are after this map that was found by Mike and Sally in the plane. At one point, Mike and Sally end up hiding away spending the night in a huge palace run by a crazy caretaker who thinks they are ghosts (and actually has a pet invisible dog friend). Mike and Sally's obviously approaching romance sparks here, but when Sally finds out he is a reporter, she leaves him. More troubles to come as they are soon at the end of the guns of the evil Baron/Baroness couple (better known as Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein).

Review - Okay, this film is sort of so-so with lots of stuff that doesn't really make that much sense - why is Mike so mean to rival reporter Barney, yet they are bunking together in the same hotel room at the beginning of the film? Why does Sally not even scream or wonder that much at a strange man entering her hotel room, even if he does look like Clark Gable? Of course, the plane flying sequence is pretty absurd - they can barely get the plane off the ground without killing a whole crowd of people but manage to fly to France, fearlessly, I might add! What is good in the film is three great stars of the golden age in one film - all doing a pretty good job of it too. Of course, Franchot Tone is one of my personal favorite actors from that era, though I would rather have seen him in the romantic lead than this sort of thankless role as Mike's object of tricks to get rid of him (locking him in the back of a truck, leaving him in the lurch with the bill unpaid in a French restaurant, tying and gagging him with the enemy in the next room, stuff like that). Saw this one before, but it just wasn't memorable enough for me to realize until halfway through the film. Similarities to "It Happened One Night (1934)". Rating - 6.5 to 7/10 stars

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