Guest Author - Amber Grey
"Gable and Lombard" By Warren G. Harris would benefit the casual reader who finds himself curious about the general idea of the couple's life together. However, to the reader who wants a more intimate look at their relationship, there may be disappointment in the book's lack of in-depth details. Also, Harris’ book is slightly flawed with continuing the circulation of damaging gossip to other classic film stars.
Harris’ narrative is a decent biography showing both the faults and perfection of not only Lombard and Gable but of the studio system as well. In examining both sides of Gable and Lombard, Harris maintains an objective point-of-view. He does not put them under scrutiny or gives cause to ruin their reputation as people. However, not every word of Harris’ biography should be taken literally. He does pepper the book with defunct rumors about other classic film stars.
The “It” Girl Clara Bow, Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe are Harris’ unintentional targets. Bow’s so-called “orgy” with the USC Football Team as being reason for Paramount Pictures’ morality clause is not true. The truth behind reason for the clause can be read about in the excellent Clara Bow biography “Clara Bow: Runnin Wild” by David Stenn. When pointing out the events of Jean Harlow’s death, Harris claims that Harlow’s mother allowed her daughter to die because she held her religious beliefs over medical science -- another common rumor that has been proven wrong as well.
Gable is not completely protected by Harris’ rumor wheel either. The relationship between Gable and Marilyn Monroe on the set of “The Misfits” was not as he described. Harris uses a quote by Kay Gable, Gable’s fourth wife, about how she accused Monroe for killing Gable. This is not true. It was pure tabloid at the time of Gable’s death. In reality, Kay knew the value of Gable and Monroe’s relationship. Kay continued to remain close friends with Monroe until her tragic death in 1962.
However, Harris’ biography helps in giving a broad picture of Gable and Lombard’s relationship. And since biographies about Carole Lombard are scarce or out-of-print, Harris’ biography also shows how Lombard’s lovable personality and vulgar language gave her the name “Profane Angel.”
*I borrowed a copy of "Gable and Lombard" By Warren G. Harris from my local library.*