Monday, September 12, 2011

Joan Runs

Two years after Clark Gable followed Claudette Colbert to Jericho, he was again portraying a reporter in pursuit of an heiress in 1936's Love on the Run.  Gable plays Michael Anthony, an eager reporter in competition with his best friend and roommate Barnabas Pells (Franchot Tone).  The men are unimpressed with the two stories that they need to cover (an interview with an aviator, or the wedding of an heiress) - they flip a coin, and Michael loses.  Donning top hat and tails, he heads off to cover the wedding of Sally Parker (Crawford) to expatriate Prince Igor.  However, what begins for Michael as a bore, becomes an adventure as he watches the bride run OUT of the church, sans groom, and barricade herself in a hotel room.  Michael convinces her he is NOT a reporter, and the two dash off in a series of fairly silly adventures, with Barnabas in hot pursuit.

This is nowhere as good a movie as It Happened One Night (which is what it wants to be.  One can almost see L.B. Mayer growling that he wants Gable reproducing the story for HIM - after Mayer loaned Gable to Columbia as a punishment!!), but it is fun and Gable and Crawford are a delightful pairing.  Adding to the amusement is the knowledge that Crawford and TONE were spouses, but clearly - on film - the spark is with Gable.  When they are on screen together, you really can't take your eyes off them.

One really outstanding supporting performance here - Donald Meek as the caretaker of the Palace of Fontainbleau.  Having lived alone for many years, the caretaker delights in his imaginary dog, Bismark and looks forward to visitations from ghosts.  Crisp is an absolute riot, and Gable and Crawford especially join in the fun with him.  (Plus, you get Gable dancing in costume. You can't beat that). We won't go into the fact that three people are able to break into the Palace and sleep for the night.  It is just a little too outlandish.

All in all, this is a film well worth your time if you would like a little laugh.  Here's a trailer to get you started: