Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Call of the Wild (1935).

The Call of the Wild(1935). Adventure film adaptation of Jack London's novel of the same name. A prospector heading for the Alaska gold rush rescues a sled dog from its cruel master. Cast: Clark Gable and Loretta Young. This was also the last film released under the 20th Century Pictures' name before it merged with Fox Film Corporation to create 20th Century-Fox.

During the gold rush, prospector Jack Thornton, plans to return to Chicago from the Yukon's, but loses all his money in a card game. Shorty, just released from jail after a six-month sentence for mail tampering, tells Jack about a letter with a map he read, before being arrested. The letter was written by a dying prospector, Martin Blake, to his son John, who lives in San Francisco.

Shorty, draws the map from memory and admits that he may have not remembered everything and then adds that John Blake and his wife, are on their way in search of the mine.

While looking to buying a dog team, Jack and Shorty meet a very mean cutthroat prospector, Mr. Smith, who wants to buy a untrained St. Bernard named Buck. But.. it is Jack, who buys the dog. Although, Buck runs away, he returns later that night during a snow storm and curls up to sleep beside Jack.

While, on the road they meet up with Blake's wife Claire, who is surrounded by wolves, she then tells them Blake has been gone two days looking for food. Believing, that Blake is now dead, Jack forces Claire to come with them to Dawson, for her safety.


 The three become fast friends overtime and decide to become partners.

After, losing most of their provisions crossing a river, Jack refuses to sell Buck, to Smith, for the money that they need. Until, Jack gets drunk and brags that Buck can pull a sled loaded with 1,000 pounds 100 yards, Smith bets $1,000 against Buck that he cannot. Jack accepts and Buck barely makes it.

As they leave Dawson, Blake, unknown to them, is brought in barely alive. At night, Jack sits with Claire by the fire and explains the "Law of the Klondike".. if there is something you want, you just take it. Which, Claire finds hard to believe.

They eventually find the gold and Shorty, leaves for town to file a claim. As the winter closes in, Buck is tempted by the "call of the wild", while Jack and Claire, alone in the cabin, consummate their love.

Recovered, Blake leads Smith to the gold. When they find the cabin, Smith orders one of his men to knock out Blake. Smith, then takes the gold from Jack and Claire, at gunpoint.. but, dies with his men when their canoe overturns in rapids.

After Buck finds Blake, Jack carries him to the cabin, where he and Claire tend to his wounds. Will Claire, go back to Blake or stay with Jack?

Fun Facts:

The World Premiere was held at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. However, the public would not accept the killing of Jack Oakie at the end so a new ending keeping Oakie alive was filmed before national release.

Like many films of the era, this production was originally slated to film in the Southern Sierra Nevada near Sonora. In fact, production had already begun when a warm front melted the snow and forced a expensive move to Washington state.

Loretta Young had a romance with Clark Gable while making this film, resulting in the birth of an out-of-wedlock daughter, Judy Lewis. For years, Ms. Young claimed she went away for a while, found the girl and adopted her.
Please click here to read the post " In Memory of Judy Lewis".

In 1994, Judy Lewis revealed the truth (which had long been the subject of speculation because of her resemblance to both parents) in her book "Uncommon Knowledge".

Madeleine Carroll was originally set for the female lead, but it was eventually given to Loretta Young.

This is a very entertaining film, with Gable and Jack Oakie, playing very believable roles as best friends. Gable, makes the perfect adventurous gambler, who takes many risks for his fortune. Loretta, is very beautiful in this film and she and Gable, make a very handsome couple.

 Katherine DeMille (June 29, 1911 – April 27, 1995), was born Katherine Lester in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was orphaned as a child by the death of her father, an officer in the Canadian Army who died in World War I combat and loss of her mother to tuberculosis in 1920.

When she was nine years old, she was found in an orphanage and legally adopted by film director Cecil B. DeMille and his wife Constance.

She first appeared as an uncredited "Zeppelin Reveler" in Madame Satan (1930) and made thirty film appearances until she retired from films in 1956.

DeMille married actor Anthony Quinn on October 3, 1937. They had five children: Christopher(born 1939), Christina(born December 1, 1941),Catalina (born November 21, 1942), Duncan (born August 4, 1945)and Valentina (born December 26, 1952).

Their first child, Christopher, was found drowned in the lily pond of W.C. Fields at age two.

DeMille accepted the 1953 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on behalf of her husband, who was not present at the ceremony. They divorced in 1965, following his affair with costume designer Jolanda Addolori.

Katherine DeMille died from Alzheimer's disease in Tucson, Arizona in 1995, aged 83.


  1. Young and Gable certainly made a striking couple. Interesting bio on Katherine DeMille. So sad about losing their first born at 2yrs.

  2. What a difficult life deMille must have had in many ways -- her baby's death, and much as I love Anthony Quinn, it is certain he was a roving husband. Then she has to endure Alzheimer's -- what a shame.

    I hopped over to your article about Judy Lewis, and she certainly does have aspects of both parents in her face. For Young and Gable to do what they did (I blame him as much as her) is reprehensible. I'm afraid there is much about our favorite stars we would rather not know about. We tend to forget that they were just human beings with looks and luck, and acting talent. None of that tells us who they really are. Wonderful article, Dawn.

  3. Becky, Thank you. DeMille, sure did have a lot of heartbreak, in her life. I can not imagine, what it would be like to be married to Anthony Quinn. Although, his personality was perfect for some of the parts he played.

    I think that Judy Lewis, looks more like her father. It must have been a difficult time for everyone involved. With that said.. I know.. that I could not do what they did.

  4. Me either! Especially not just so I could be a movie star!


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