Adventure (1945) C+
Clark Gable returned from active duty in World War II to star in this MGM feature directed by pro Victor Fleming, heavily advertised as his big comeback.
Gable plays Harry Patterson, the bosun mate on a merchant marine vessel, a tough sailor, fighter, and womanizer. Adrift on a life raft after his ship is torpedoed by the Japanese, Mudgin, a lovable and eccentric old sailor, promises God he will reform if He will save him and his shipmates. Shortly afterward Mudgin and his companions, including Harry Patterson, a hard-boiled guy who shows affection for the old Irish sailor, are rescued and taken to San Francisco.
Within a short time, Mudgin has broken his promises to God. To his horror, his soul drifts off into the fog. Reluctantly, Harry agrees to help his heartbroken friend search for his soul.
Wile in a San Francisco library, looking up a book on the human soul for Mudgin, Harry meets librarian Emily Sears (Greer Garson), whom he woos. In spite of Harry’s arrogance, Emily is attracted by his charm and to the amazement of her roommate, Helen (Joan Blondell), and the bewildered Mudgin, runs off to Reno with him where they are married.
Harry leaves to sail off on another freighter. Emily realizes that for Harry it’s all a lark. To him, she is just another dame and he is now ready to return to sea, confident that she will be waiting when he returns. Bitterly disillusioned, Emily sues for divorce.
At sea, Harry and Mudgin quarrel, as Mudgin believes his friend is giving up the best thing in his life, Emily’s love. Heartbroken when he learns Harry intends to quit the ship, Mudgin deliberately suffers a serious injury, which brings Harry back.
When Mudgin dies, Harry returns to Emily to discover that she has retreated to an old farm to await the birth of their child. Restless Harry continues to resent staying in one place. The child is apparently born dead but Harry prays for the first time in his life and his son breathes. Harry finally finds the reason for living.
Gable’s part in “Adventure” was tailor-made to his specifications. He has played many times before the role of the virile, lusty, swashbuckling adventurer who needs to be tamed by the “right” woman and settle down into domesticity.
Greer Garson and Joan Blondell, as Emily’s outspoken best friend, are decent, but no more. However, the plot is contrived and unbelievable, and, what’s worse, there is not chemistry whatsoever between Garson and Gable.
Clark Gable as Harry Patterson
Greer Garson as Emily Sears
Joan Blondell as Helen Melohn
Thomas Mitchell as Mudgin
Tom Tully as Gus
Richard Haydn as Emo
Produced by Sam Zimbalist.
Directed by Victor Fleming.
Screenplay: Frederick Hazlitt Brennan and Vincent Lawrence, based on the novel by Clyde Brion Davis, adapted for the screen by Anthony Veiller and William H. Wright.
Camera: Joseph Ruttenberg.
Art Directors: Cedric Gibbons and Urie McCleary.
Musical score by Herbert Stothart.
Special effects by Warren Newcombe.
Editor: Frank Sullivan.
Release date: December 28, 1945.
Running time: 125 minutes.
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