25 August 2013 | atlasmb
A Great Love Story
Test Pilot surprised me with how good it is. As a love story, I rank it right up there with The Way We Were.
Clark Gable plays a test pilot, Jim, who lives hard and fast. Like many who live on the edge, he is superstitious and has an addictive personality. To cope with the risks he must take, he never deals with his feelings and drowns his fears in excesses of liquor and women.
Then he meets Ann, played by Myrna Loy--a fresh-faced, wisecracking Kansas girl who falls hard for the guy. Likewise, he falls for her and before you know it, they are married.
After they are married, Ann learns quickly what life with Jim must be like. It is a harsh reality that she cannot shake; she loves the mug.
Jim's sidekick is Gunner, a guy who also loves him but has learned to cope with Jim's short-sighted view of life. When Ann enters the picture, it becomes more than he can bear; he can endure his own pain, but cannot stand to witness hers.
We see a love story that can only end in pain, made all the more painful because all three characters are lovable.
The writing in this movie is among the best I have seen. There is not a false note in the entire film. It's difficult to write this kind of banter without making it seem false or shallow. Later in the film, when the going gets tougher, the writing conveys the feelings deep within even when they are talking only about the mundane.
It has been written that Myrna Loy liked this film best of all she acted in. Personally, I would give her the Best Actress award for this performance, though she was not even nominated.
Gable holds his own. And Tracy plays Gunner with a convincing subtlety.
Victor Fleming, who directed The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind the very next year, had another winner in this one. I am surprised it does not get much mention.