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Clark Gable, Norma Shearer, Idiot's Delight (1939)

Based on the homonymous Pulitzer winning play by Robert E. Sherwood, “Idiot’s Delight” is a magical movie. Norma Shearer is magical. Clark Gable is magical. The direction of Clarence Brown is stupendous. I was spellbound by the terrific acting of Norma Shearer, who plays the role of a very talented and versatile Russian actress, but who also enjoys telling many lies about her background. Clark Gable is her former partner in the vaudeville shows they used to perform in Omaha and, after several years, they get reunited in Poland. Owing to the fact that it was made in 1938 and released in 1939, when the entire world was preparing for the Second World War, this film had two alternate endings. A domestic ending, more optimistic, that was made for the American market, and another ending, adapted to the realities of war, for the international release. I saw both of them and I liked the international version, which is profoundly emotional. In “Idiot’s Delight” you also have the chance to see for the first and only time a musical number of Clark Gable, performing Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, which remains even today one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. And the role of Irene Fellara, played by Norma Shearer (who wears a blonde wig almost the entire film), was first offered to Greta Garbo (who turned it down), but there were other legendary actresses who eagerly wanted the part, including Joan Crawford. “Idiot’s Delight” was a success and it ended the wonderful partnership of Clark and Norma, after making other two great movies together, “A Free Soul” and “Strange Interlude”. I highly recommend “Idiot’s Delight” because you will certainly love the acting, the story, and the direction. A movie that could never be remade, and a real gem of MGM.

Clark Gable, Idiot's Delight (1939)