30 December 2002 | telegonus
Ad Man's Progress
The Hucksters has a lot of good clean fun with the advertising business of the 1940's. Clark Gable, newly discharged from the service, returns to his old haunts as an ad man and finds himself involved with two women, a tyrannical client, and an obnoxious, not too talented radio comedian. This is high class melodrama, and has some pretty good satirical moments, though I don't think that the guys who wrote it were as smart as they thought they were, it's a decent, watchable movie.
One can see Gable slipping into middle age here, and though he seems spry enough, he's clearly not the man he was five years earlier, and I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for him. Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner are attractive if otherwise unremarkable as the women in his life. Sidney Greenstreet does a nice turn as the sinister, demanding client. Keenan Wynn's the one to watch here, as the (so-called) comedian Gable must contend with; and he does a smashing job, managing to be pathetic, sympathetic and obnoxious all at once, not, I imagine, an easy thing for an actor to do.
Worth keeping an eye out for: excellent production values from MGM's art department in its glory years. Marvelous sets, expert lighting. The movie is a pleasure to look at, if not always to listen to.