Clark Gable is one of my favourite actors, although he died before I was born. Whenever I watch his films, I can always see just why he was so popular – women loved him, and men wanted to be like him. He was the ultimate in masculinity, and was not known as King of Hollywood for nothing.
This book is a fairly decent biography, which seems pretty evenhanded throughout. It does a good job of telling the facts – although there are a couple of errors regarding some of the films – so in a sense, it does do its job, but while I understand that it is impossible to include every single story from someone’s life, I felt that certain things were missed out, which should have been included. For instance, the book acknowledges that Gable wanted to boycott the premiere of Gone With The Wind, out of solidarity with his friend Victor Fleming, who was in dispute with producer David Selznick, over his (Fleming’s) directorial credit. However, it did not even give mention to the well documented fact that Gable was furious that the black members of the cast would not be able to sit with the white members of the cast at the premiere due to Atlanta’s segregation laws, and that he wanted to boycott the premiere for this reason. Such an occurrence reveals a lot about the measure of a man, and I was amazed that it wasn’t included.
However, the book does a fairly good job of describing Gable’s rise to movie star from very humble beginnings, and generally portrays him as an approachable and agreeable man, easy to work with, and courteous and kind by nature. It goes into detail about his five marriages – one can’t help but wonder what would have happened had his very happy marriage to actress Carole Lombard not have been cut tragically short by her death in a plane crash.
I would recommend the book to fellow Gable fans – it might not be the most comprehensive biography available, but it’s certainly readable, and respectful without being fawning.