This biography about Clark Gable provided a look into Hollywood during the time the legendary Clark Gable graced the silver screen. Gable was the biggest male actor of his time, earning him the title “king of Hollywood”. Although the magnetic actor started a catch phrase, “Who do you think you are, Clark Gable?”, I was intrigued that Clark himself had no idea what everyone found so appealing about him.
Like so many big stars, several decision makers in Hollywood initially passed on Gable because they felt his features, including his ears, were too big to make him attractive to female movie goers. Those same features made him a heartthrob and a top box office earner a few years later. It Happened One Night is one of my favorite Gable movies and was one that really cemented him as a star. Not only did he manage to be comedic and dramatic opposite Claudette Colbert, but he had a huge impact on society. Men began to wear his thin mustache and stopped wearing undershirts after Gable was filmed in a scene with a bare chest.
Ironically, I felt that I learned more about Gable in the portion of the book that recounted his experience on active military duty during World War II, than I did reading about his time in Hollywood. Gable was portrayed there as a deeply caring man who was genuinely concerned about those around him, even strangers who were serving next to him. That section of the book gave even more contrast to the earlier discussion of his life that read as too factual and without any insight into Gable as a person.
My biggest issue with the book was that the author wanted to tell every detail about every aspect of a movie. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about the history of everyone else on the movies Gable was in. I was trying to read about Gable! There were hardly any intimate details of Gable’s life revealed. The small stories of him on a personal level were overshadowed by the mountain of facts. Gable was a ladies man who always seemed to have a new wife or girlfriend, but there wasn’t a lot of information about their relationships included here. I just didn’t feel that I got to know him that well after reading this. Instead, it was a general overview of his life with a great amount of information about other people and the production end of his movies.
I enjoyed reading about Gable, but overall, this was not what I considered a good biography and I would not read any more books by this author.