18 June 2010 | blanche-2
MGM Propaganda Film
"Somwhere I'll Find You," released in 1942, was produced amid some chaos. Lana Turner was fired after marrying Arte Shaw against Mayer's wishes, and Esther Williams was given the role. However, Turner got the role back. Filming was halted for five weeks due to Carole Lombard's death. And then Gable wanted the title changed, because he said he wouldn't walk back on the set with the film being called "Somewhere I'll Find You." Supposedly the film's name was changed to "Red Light," probably just to get him through the rest of it.
Since seeing "Cass Timberlane," I've been giving some thought to MGM taking the easy way out with their scripts at times. I think this film is another example. The story is quite ordinary - two brothers (and two pretty unlikely brothers, Clark Gable and Robert Sterling with nearly a 17-year difference in their ages) both interested in the same woman (Turner). All three are reporters; the film takes place right before Pearl Harbor.
This would have been a much more interesting film with more focus on the situation in Hanoi, where the Turner character goes missing, and the efforts of the reporters to get the truth printed so that the average U.S. citizen would be aware of what was really happening. This is touched on, and actually, one of the scenes in the editor's office is very funny. Instead, we have Gable going after Turner because he thinks she's a tramp and bad for his brother, who wants to marry her. You can see the ending coming a mile away.
Keenan Wynn and Van Johnson have small parts in the film. By the end of the war, Johnson would be a very popular leading man at MGM, and Wynn would see bigger roles.
The very end of "Somewhere I'll Find You" is the pure propaganda found in films made during this period. It was an important part of film-making, and it's always interesting to see the U.S. atmosphere in these years. The world was going to change mightily, and so was Hollywood, with its major stars going off to war.
Gable's return would be the most difficult - he was older than some of the other classic stars, a grieving widower, and he would forever be in the shadow of Rhett Butler. When Turner cuts a deck of cards in the film, she gets the King. And that's what we get here, just before he goes into the service.