Entertainment » Movies

Call Of The Wild

by Ed Tapper
Contributor
Tuesday Dec 10, 2013
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As a fledgling studio, 20th Century Fox produced its first, major films in 1935. Having invested in the company, mogul Louis B. Mayer agreed to loan out his MGM superstars for many of Fox’s early projects. One of these was "Call of the Wild", a screen adaption of Jack London’s popular novel.

Ensuring the success of the movie, box office draw Clark Gable was borrowed for the lead role of Jack, a boisterous adventurer seeking gold in the Yukon Territory of 1900. Contract player Loretta Young portrayed Claire, a prospector’s widow who is rescued from a blizzard, and later romanced by Jack. The pair’s onscreen chemistry was palpable, and, off-screen, the two answered the "call of the wild" as well. Their romantic liaison resulted in the birth of a child, which Young claimed to have adopted, revealing the truth only later in her life.

Rotund funny-man Jack Oakie provided comic relief as Jack’s sidekick, Shorty. Gable himself insisted that the film’s true star was the remarkable St. Bernard who portrayed the hero’s loyal sled-dog, Buck. William Wellman’s rugged direction keeps this action yarn taut and exciting throughout. The film’s opening sequence, a chaotic street scene in the bustling Alaskan mining town of Skagway, is truly memorable.

Hardly a stranger to home video, "Call of the Wild" has been released on both VHS and DVD. Among a new crop of classics remastered in high-definition, the film was just issued on Blu-ray by Fox, and the results are impressive. Considering the grainy quality of the original film stock, the high-def transfer boasts much improved black and white contrast, as well as overall sharpness. DTS-HD re-mastered sound brings out the dialogue with great clarity. The special features are identical to those offered on the DVD, and include only the theatrical trailer and audio commentary. However, author Darwin Porter contributes remarkably comprehensive documentation on the making of the film, as well as the resulting Gable/Young affair.

Call of the Wild
Blu-ray
$24.98
www.foxconnect.com

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