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Call of the Wild???


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Anyone else watch last night? Anyone else underwhelmed? I was expecting a rousing adventure yarn. NOT! Surely the novel was better? On the other hand, Clark and Loretta's love scenes did seem genuine (LOL).........

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I saw it a few years ago for the first time in at least 40 years. I thought that the film just sits there, not much of anything happens and while they do have chemistry, that's all the film has going for it. Even the scene with the bad guys going off to jump the claim had no danger at all to it, one knew that Jack Oakie was already fining the claim and they would have been caught anyway.

 

 

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It HAD to be better than that 1930 adaptation( used EXTREMELY liberally) of MOBY DICK starring John Barrymore as Ahab. I could only get through 15 minutes of it. NO Ishmael. NO Starbuck. NO Pequod! Just a barely holding it together Barrymore having the "hots" for Constance Bennet playing a character named FAITH, whom I don't believe existed in Mellville's novel.

 

 

I think the only thing they took from the book was the title and Ahab's name. And both IN VAIN!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Not counting GWTW which was a co-venture with MGM and Selznick, this marked the last time that MGM loaned Gable to another studio. He was too valuable to loan.

 

There were edits and reshoots - Oakie was supposed to be killed by dubious lady Katharine DeMille, but her character was just about eliminated which probably gave Oakie a new purpose at the climax.

 

 

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I haven't seen Call of the Wild in a few years but I remember quite liking the film, though it's possible that the activities off screen were more interesting than what we see in the final product.

 

I've heard that Gable and the Saint Bernard that played Buck got along great on the set UNTIL that sled pulling sequence was filmed. They had to really put a heavy load in the sled in order to make it look real when Buck pulled the thing. In order to make him do it, however, they had a female dog in heat off camera, and THAT was the dog's inspiration to pull that sled in the manner in which he did. What we're looking at there is one big randy dog!

 

At the same time, Gable who, again, had made friends with the dog, was also urging him on. Anyway, after the scene was successfully completed (possibly the best scene in the film, too, if memory serves me correctly) Buck didn't get his reward, so to speak, because the ***** in heat was taken away. After that Buck's attitude towards Gable on the set noticeably cooled, considering the actor to have been in on the plot to deceive him.

 

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Yep, these two had been pals until Gable's "betrayal"

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When it comes to the 1935 version of *COTW* & the 1930 version of *MD*, aside from the prologue reference to the actual sinking of the Essex by a maddened **** whale which was likely Melville's inspiration for the book, neither film resembled either book except in title and the names of a few characters.

 

 

IMO this is why classic movie adaptations are generally poor reflections of the novels that they claim to be so loosely adapted from, especially from the early Hollywood era. Not that they can't be entertaining on their own merit, but generally disappoint one who read the book first.

 

 

However there are a few excellent adaptation examples, usually in the form of a mini-series and most often aired from the BBC & PBS.

 

 

In *COTW* I remember seeing an outake where Reginald Owen shot Oakie, which was such a beloved character that most viewers couldn't handle him being killed off in such a callous manner, so they edited him back to life in the end.

 

 

What intrigues me most these days about *COTW* (1935) is the offscreen/onscreen romance between Gable & Loretta, and the ensuing love child that he apparently never claimed...

I generally like Gable in his movies, but in real life the impression I have of the guy was as an opportunistic womanizing cad.

 

 

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Wow, you saw an outtake of the shooting of Oakie? Somewhere I read that the "Marie" character was involved in the shooting, but if you saw a clip, then 24-frames-per-second is worth more than a thousand words. It never fails to amaze me just what can get into print.

 

There have been times that I've wanted to shoot Jack Oakie.

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> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}

>

> There were edits and reshoots - Oakie was supposed to be killed by dubious lady Katharine DeMille, but her character was just about eliminated which probably gave Oakie a new purpose at the climax.

>

 

That's not how it happened!

Jack Oakie's character was killed by the evil Mr. Smith (Reginald Owen), as Stephan55 pointed out.

Oakie and DeMille didn't have any scenes together.

After a preview audience expressed disapproval over Oakie's murder, Darryl Zanuck ordered a change in the script and retakes shot so that Oakie would come back at the end.

Here's a description of the scenes involving Oakie's killing, from the "AFI Catalogue of Feature Films, 1930's" entry on the movie:

 

On his way to file the claim, Shorty (Jack Oakie) eats alone by a stream. Imitating an announcer at a racetrack, Shorty describes a frog race that he initiates, but the race is interrupted by Smith (Reginald Owen), his henchman Kali and Mr. Blake. When Smith asks whether Jack Thornton (Clark Gable) is with him, Shorty says that they broke up and then tries to run. Kali catches Shorty, and Blake tells Smith that he will not stand for any violence. At night, by a campfire, Smith interrogates Shorty about the gold he is carrying, but Shorty refuses to acknowledge that he and Thornton found the mine. When Kali twists Shorty's arm behind his back, Shorty, in pain, admits that they did find the mine. After Kali continues to torture him, Shorty offers to tell them in detail how to get to the mine and then asks for a cigarette. After he lights the cigarette, he sets his map on fire, and he is shot in the back. Blake then goes to him and he dies. Blake accuses Smith of murder, and Smith says that when things get in his way, he gets a little impatient.

 

Here are descriptions of Katharine DeMille's two scenes, neither of which are in currently available prints of the movie:

(Again, from the AFI Book):

 

Two sequences featuring the character "Marie," who was played by Katharine DeMille, were in the final draft of the script dated November 26, 1934 but are not in the print viewed (for research for the AFI Book).

The first scene, which takes place near the beginning of the film, shows "Marie" crying as "Jack Thornton" (Clark Gable) who has left her a "poke" of gold dust, is about to leave her cabin. He reminds her that he earlier said he would be going home as soon as he made his "pile," and when she cries hysterically and urges him to remain, he leaves her with more gold, which mollifies her.

 

Later, after Jack has lost his money gambling, and Shorty has talked him into becoming his partner, he returns to Marie's cabin and finds another man with her. The man stares in terror at Jack, who hits him and says to Marie, "Didn't take you long, did it?" Marie asks Thornton if he's going to hit her, and he replies that he hasn't made up his mind. He then finds his gold, and says, "This is the best way to hit you, sweetheart," before proceeding to sing to her "My Gal Sal." The next scene is the one in which Jack meets Buck (the dog).

 

According to the cutting continuity in the Produced Scripts Collection, only the the second sequence was in the original release of the film. According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, PCA Director Joseph Breen warned Zanuck that the scene with Marie must carry no suggestion that she is a prostitute. About that scene, Breen wrote, "We get the definite impression from the script that Thornton and Marie have been living together and that the 'poke' which Thornton first gives to Marie, and later takes away from her, is money given for prostitution. This scene, as it now stands, is a Code violation....The line, 'Two healthy people who took their fun and asked no questions' will have to be entirely deleted."

 

(Back to my comments):

So DeMille's first scene was cut before the movie's release date of August 9, 1935.

Her second scene made the final cut and even though the film was given a Production Code Approval seal and number (#777, assigned on April 15, 1935) with that scene included, it was cut for the movie's reissue on June 23, 1945 (note the WW2 end title on the currently available prints, including the one shown on TCM). Ten minutes were cut for this reissue, reducing the movie from 91 to 81 minutes, and unfortunately all that cut footage is apparently lost (at least it's never been restored to TV prints). The movie was reissued theatrically again in May of 1953, still at the cut 81 minute version.

 

The movie was filmed between December 14, 1934 and March 18, 1935, with an additional scene shot on March 23, 1935 (presumably the new finale in which Jack Oakie returns to the cabin, bringing along the Indian woman).

 

The scene in which Jack Oakie's character is killed does survive (or, at least some of it) and has been included in documentaries and out-take compilations.

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Thank you for that elaborate correction. I was regurgitating something that I read years ago and I should have known better and double-checked the web to see if there was any confirmation or dispute of that info.

 

Mea culpa.

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This has always been a favorite of mine, from youngster days. Have been waiting 40 years for it to be restored! Did you notice the logo was 20th Century-Fox (inserted to the picture neg for reissue) but the fanfare was the original 20th Century Pictures recording.

 

This is also one of the few films in which I actually enjoy Reginald Owen's performance. Love those spectacles!

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*Not counting GWTW which was a co-venture with MGM and Selznick, this marked the last time that MGM loaned Gable to another studio. He was too valuable to loan.*

 

Actually, in the spring of 1936, Gable filmed CAIN AND MABEL with Marion Davies at Warner Brothers.

 

And another loan-out of Gable's services, to 20th-Century Fox, for IN OLD CHICAGO was arranged in 1937. However, Jean Harlow was also to be loaned for the role of Belle Fawcette in this film, and when she died unexpectedly, the whole arrangement was scrapped . . . to the everlasting gain of movie fans, as the trade off was going to be MGM borrowing Shirley Temple for THE WIZARD OF OZ.

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I think that I'm going to throw out my notes on this film and start all over again. I also better double-check my looseleaf binders that are filled with little things I've been "borrowing" through the years while I'm in the process of consolidating them into a Word file.

 

Thanks for the correction, duly noted.

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