Adventure (1945 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Victor Fleming|
|Produced by||Sam Zimbalist|
|Based on||The Annointed
by Clyde Brion Davis
|Music by||Herbert Stothart|
|Edited by||Frank Sullivan|
Adventure is a 1945 American romantic drama film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Clark Gable and Greer Garson. Based on the 1937 novel The Annointed by Clyde Brion Davis, the film is about a sailor who falls in love with a librarian. Adventure was Gable's first postwar film and the tagline repeated in the movie's famous trailer was "Gable's back and Garson's got him!" Victor Fleming was one of Gable's favorite directors.
When his ship is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, Harry Patterson(Clark Gable), a World War II merchant marine boatswain, is cast adrift on a launch with a few of his shipmates. While Harry remains calm in the face of disaster, his friend Mudgin ( Thomas Mitchell) prays desperately, promising to avoid women, liquor and fighting and to donate money to the church if they are saved. Harry finds Mudgin's pleas ridiculous, but no sooner does Mudgin complete his pact with God than a rescue plane appears on the horizon and the men are saved.
They are then deposited in San Francisco, "R&R" care and grooming and dinners and fun to celebrate rescue. Mudgin quickly breaks all his promises to God soon after and becomes depressed, certain that he has "lost his immortal soul."
Mudgin's shipmates laugh off his concerns, but Harry realizes that Mudgin is truly wracked with guilt and they take a walk, arriving at the city library, because Mudgin and Harry think there may be some helpful information on the subject of the human soul there.
Here, Harry and Mudgin meet the attractive, straight-laced librarian Emily Sears (Greer Garson). Although intrigued by Emily, Harry repeatedly angers her with his wiseguy remarks and inappropriate behavior. However his attention turns swiftly to her outgoing roommate, Helen Melohn (Joan Blondell), who has stopped in to walk her home. Harry and Helen decide to go on a date and convince a reluctant Emily to join them. At the restaurant, Emily stuns Harry when she abandons her reserved demeanor and joins a bar fight and effectively. They leave the bar. Astounded, Harry decides to pursue Emily's affections and arranges to meet the two women the following day to visit Emily's farm outside the city.
Charmed by Emily and her family farmhouse which includes the big bed in which she was born, Harry and Emily soon fall completely in love and get married in Reno in a wild expression of love of life. However, upon their return to her farm, he tells Emily that he will be shipping out in a few days, which comes as a shock to Emily, who promptly asks for a divorce, insisting that she is just being a free spirit and giving Harry his freedom, as the best expression of love. Harry sails away, and Emily and pals go back to Reno for the quick divorce. But in Reno, with "the girls", Emily faints - the doctor called declares that she is pregnant with Harry's child.
While docked in a South American port city, Mudgin falls off the ship and claims, before dying in Harry's arms, that his soul has been returned to him. A wise elderly gentleman, a friend whose son died in the ship disaster at the film's start gives Harry a good talking to, when Harry complains about this relationship with Emily.
Nine months after his departure, now ready to commit to love and marriage, Harry comes back to San Francisco and finds out from Helen that Emily has long since given up on him and went to her farm to give birth to his child - insisting the baby born in the same bed she was.
Harry follows and arrives just as Emily goes into labor, so the meeting and reunion are brief - there is just time to give Emily reason to hope in improvements in Harry's character; he shares sad news of Mudgin's death, but it was peaceful and happy because Mudgin says his soul returned and he'd now go to heaven.
Waiting, Harry paces outdoors with Emily upstairs in labor, until Helen calls him in saying that Emily is fine and that he has a little boy, but there is trouble.
Harry races upstairs to the room across the bedroom set up to see to the baby. The child is stillborn, in spite of the efforts of Doctor, nurses and aide and Harry positions himself at the Doctor's side and won't be moved. The Doctor finally gives up trying to get the baby to breathe, sadly turning away, but then Harry moves in and crying, calls desperately to the baby to breathe, breathe - for him , for his Mother - whatever - but breathe. And we have the miracle as the little chest rises and the child's triumphant howl is astoundingly heard.
In the hall, happy tearful Helen hugs Harry as he races back across to Emily's side, thrilled to hear their baby , but she says she is just as moved to have heard Harry and his passion to save the child - finally honest caring sentiment. They decide to call the baby Mudgin, after their lost friend, and the film closes as Harry and Emily share a tender kiss, with baby's Joyful cries in the background.
- Clark Gable as Harry Patterson
- Greer Garson as Emily Sears
- Joan Blondell as Helen Melohn
- Thomas Mitchell as Mudgin
- Tom Tully as Gus
- John Qualen as Model T
- Richard Haydn as Emo
- Lina Romay as Maria
- Philip Merivale as Old Ramon Estado
- Harry Davenport as Dr. Ashlon
- Tito Renaldo as Young Ramon Estado
According to MGM records the film earned $4,236,000 in the US and Canada and $1,848,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $478,000. Critically they say it slightly missed its mark. This film was made in part to re-introduce Clark Gable to the filmgoing audience - His hit "Gone With the Wind" about the Civil War promised to make him and all-time winner as a leading man, but was followed by his own military service and no movies for a bit. The movie poster slogan read "Gable's back and Garson's got him!"
It must have been the idea to recapture some of Rhett Butler in this film because there many elements from "GWTW" in "Adventure" : "GWTW"s Victor Fleming did it here, too; the "lassie" leading lady, the irresponsible slightly wild leading man , who grows up and finds salvation and deep love, in the story's way; there is the wisdom symbol - Melanie in "GWTW" and the ancient Don in South America in "Adventure"; Thomas Mitchell, who played Scarlett's Father in "GWTW" returned here as "Mudgin" , and Harry Davenport , who played the doctor who could not come to help Melanie deliver, in GWTW plays the trusty Doctor who inadequately assists at this childbirth , too.
At the time the critics were not so impressed as hoped but it did well. Today old film fans call it a favorite. Not easy to find sometimes in DVD or online but a fine one.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Domestic figures at "All-Time Top Grossers", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 69
- Adventure at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Adventure at the Internet Movie Database
- Adventure at the TCM Movie Database
- Adventure at AllMovie