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Love on the Run
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MGM. 81 minutes. US release: 11/20/36.
VHS release: 7/21/93.
Warner Archive DVD release: 3/23/09.
Cast: Joan Crawford (as "Sally Parker"), Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Reginald Owen, Mona Barrie, Ivan Lebedeff, Charles Judels, William Demarest.
Credits: From the story by Alan Green and Julian Brodie (or Breen, depending on source). Screenplay: John Lee Mahin, Manuel Seff, and Gladys Hurlbut. Producer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Director: W.S. Van Dyke. Camera: Oliver T. Marsh. Costumes: Adrian. Editor: Frank Sullivan.
Plot Summary: Having turned down the opportunity to produce Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934), MGM's Louis B. Mayer had second thoughts when the Capra film swept the 1935 Oscars ceremony. Mayer hastily commissioned an It Happened One Night wannabe titled Love on the Run, tailored for the talents of Joan Crawford and Clark Gable (who, of course, had starred in the Capra picture, and had copped one of those Oscars). Gable and Franchot Tone play rival journalists Michael Anthony and Barnabas Pells, who travel the length and breadth of Europe to outscoop one another. Crawford portrays madcap heiress Sally Parker, who is engaged to marry fortune-hunting Prince Igor (Ivan Lebedeff). Whereas in It Happened One Night the heroine (Claudette Colbert) linked up with Gable in order to expedite her elopement with the wrong man, in Love on the Run Crawford seeks out Gable's help to escape her impending marriage with Prince Igor. The two stars combine their flight across Europe with business, dogging the trail of international aviator Baron Spandermann (Reginald Owen), whom Anthony suspects of being a spy. Pells goes along with Anthony and Parker, and soon all three of them are tied up (literally, in Pells' case) with an espionage ring. While it is Clark Gable who ends up with Joan Crawford at fadeout time, it was Franchot Tone who claimed her as his bride in real life. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Total Gross: $1,862,000 ($677,000 profit)
J.T.M. in the New York Times
A slightly daffy cinematic item of absolutely no importance, "Love on the Run," is currently at the Capitol, with Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone in roles that by now are a bit stale. In all good conscience, the film ought to bow, in turn, to several distinguished antecedents, for it has borrowed liberally here and there of tried and true screen devices and situations.
Mr. Gable and Mr. Tone are allegedly rival foreign correspondents for New York newspapers, but Mr. Tone is too easily outwitted to be called a rival. Their current assignments are a stratosphere flier who turns out to be a spy (Reginald Owen), and an heiress (Joan Crawford), who is scheduled to marry royalty, but on reconsideration turns out her prince.
In the course of helping Miss Crawford escape Mr. Gable unmasks the spy, leads the heiress over the face of Europe at a dizzy pace by air, auto and oxcart; invades Fontainebleu for a night's lodging, arousing new hallucinations in the mind of the unstable caretaker; and eventually leads Miss Crawford to the altar after a characteristic interlude of trumpeted vituperation on his part and scorned woman fury on hers. Mr. Tone, meanwhile, tags along, permitting himself to be hoodwinked thoroughly from London to Nice.
Honors must go to Mr. Tone, Reginald Owen and Donald Meek. W. S. Van Dyke has injected a few of his own tested touches, and some in the Rene Clair and Frank Capra manner, with a resulting mad pace and pleasing familiarity for the audience.
Howard Barnes in the New York Herald Tribune (1936):
A lot of gay nonsense has been strung together....a fantastic and insubstantial narrative, with the result that it is almost continuously amusing and frequently hilarious... Miss Crawford, of the big eyes and flowing hair, turns in a surprisingly volatile and amusing performance as the heiress.
crazy4cinema.com:This certainly isn't one of the most memorable Gable or Crawford flicks, but their onscreen presence and chemistry overpower the thin plot, making this an enjoyable romantic comedy....Gable and Crawford are wonderfully entertaining, hamming it up for the camera and making the most of their time together. There's nothing surprising to be found here, but fans of either star will enjoy themselves enough.
If you've seen Love on the Run and would like to share your review here, please e-mail me. Include, if you like, a picture of yourself to accompany your review, as well as a star-rating (with 5 stars the best) and any of your favorite lines from the film.
Michael Lia (September 2009)
Rating: of 5
I love Love on the Run. It fits into another one of my moods when I just want harmless comedy and when I get tired of and Myrna Loy and the over-watched Libeled Lady.
Yes, it is a comedy and yes, Miss Crawford can do comedy. If you do your research, Jean Arthur, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard, Rosalind Russell, and Irene Dunne have made some big boring bombs of their own and some are painful to sit through. I find that Miss Crawford is capable of handling this fun bouncing comedy like Love on the Run (Bette Davis couldn’t). The difference is, you can always watch Crawford -- that was her gift. I can turn Loretta Young off in a bad movie but I can’t turn off Crawford. I watch movies according to my moods; I can even get through Goodbye My Fancy.
The script can go on and on, but I enjoy watching Gable and Tone and Joan running around together; though the plot does not matter, I cannot be harsh to this movie. (I giggle every time Gable flies that plane.) The character actors save every movie made in Hollywood; I watch these movies also to see and Donald Meek, etc. They make me feel at home, and I never tire of them.
Gable is at the height of Roaring Youth. With his physical side, which is in complete control, crossing the screen like a carefree stallion, his face is wonderful to look at: He is truly a masculine male. And his Comedy is good: He and Franchot Tone play off together like old vaudeville pals; they are smart enough to just have fun with the script and Joan. I agree with Miss Crawford’s friends: “Everybody seemed to love the thing.” I love the thing.
Mark Frewert (July 2007)
I have just finished watching Love On The Run. It was a delightful picture, with Joan fluttering around like mad and making grand gestures, and more wide-eyed than ever. Joan looks marvelous and is a perfect match for Mr. . Clark gets to tease Miss Crawford, and she does seem to enjoy! There is a lot of running around and plenty of play. I think you do need to have an interest in or to sit through the whole film and if either or both are of interest you will enjoy very much.
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