Mary Poppins Returns
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Jack London's The Call of the Wild has been a difficult book to adapt to film, but this William Wellman-directed entry is still the best. It's probably one of the more interesting films from the first half of the '30s.
Why were the 1930's so chock full of rousing adventure tales? With gold as the Macguffin, Gable (the hardy lead), Oakie (the stalward sidekick), Young (the delectable object of desire) and a huge St.Bernard dog venture into the frozen and windy Yukon wastes. The story practically writes itself afterwards, loosely based on Jack London's story. Worthy of multiple re-viewings, this is one of the good ones.
I watched this American adventure film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Clark Gable, Loretta Young, and Jack Oakie, before and decided to revisit it and write this review. Based on Jack London's novel of the same name, the film omits all but one of the book's story lines! This was the third screen version of the popular Jack London's classic adventure story but the first with sound. And where you find Clark Gable, it was impossible not to have a love story (which wasn't in the book).
A prospector heading for the Alaska gold fields loses most of his money gambling. His luck changes when he pays $250 for a sled dog to keep him from being shot by an arrogant Englishman, who is also headed for the Yukon. The prospector and his friend head off for the Yukon with a map showing the location of a major gold mine. Along the way, they rescue a woman whose missing husband owned the original map. After the dog wins them a thousand dollars used to purchase supplies, the three continue north in search of the gold mine.
There was a lot of real drama connected to this film. This was the last film released under the 20th Century Pictures' banner before it merged with Fox Film Corporation to create 20th Century-Fox, and during the filming of The Call of the Wild, Clark Gable and Loretta Young had an affair that resulted in Young's hushed-up pregnancy and the birth of their daughter Judy Lewis (1935-2011).
The film doesn't even come close to the book in quality and excitement, but it is a solid piece of work from its time... especially the first half hour of it! If you want to see a little bit more about the life on the frontier in the US around 1900, not bad for beginners!
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