On James Bond

Nobody Does it Better

Why James Bond Still Reigns Supreme

By Louis A. Markos

One of the things that made Clark Gable the undisputed King of Hollywood throughout the 1930s was the fact that he was equally idolized by his male and female fans. Men wanted to be him; women wanted to be with him. His masculinity, his confidence, his strength appealed both to men who desired to possess those qualities and women who desired to be possessed by men who possessed them. The no-nonsense toughness of rubber plantation overseer Dennis Carson (Red Dust), the wisecracking cockiness of reporter Peter Warne (It Happened One Night), the heroic, underdog brashness of Fletcher Christian (Mutiny on the Bounty), the charismatic naughtiness of Barbary Coast saloon keeper Blackie Norton (San Francisco), the noble impertinence and devil-may-care bravado of Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind): through all these roles, Gable personified a kind of dangerous male who was unafraid of life–who was, in fact, larger than life. Of course, there were many other actors who were as masculine, as confident, as strong, others who could exude his brashness and cockiness; yet none of them had that “x” factor which made Gable stand out as the reigning monarch of the screen. He had all the same things that the other great male stars had; he just had more of them. If Clara Bow was the “It” girl, then Gable was the “It” man.

Alas, the Silver Screen has never been able to produce another actor quite like Clark Gable, but it has given to the world something similar in the  …

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