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The Hucksters (1947)

Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner Clark Gable  |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner Clark Gable
  • Producers: Jack Conway
  • Format: Color
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Studio: EuroCinema
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XPZDS6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,383 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Every veteran of the advertising industry is sure to find lots to enjoy and ponder in this Clark Gable-Debra Kerr classic. The Hucksters was an adaptation of Frederic Wakeman's devastating novel -- rumored to be a roman a clef -- about big-bucks corporate thuggery and Mad Ave skullduggery in the 1940s.

Returning ad executive Clark Gable and impoverished war-widow socialite Debra Kerr try to hang onto their integrity and each other in the freewheeling, utterly unprincipled world of Madison Avenue in the years after World War 2. They negotiate a minefield of high-stakes ad campaigns, sexually exploitative art directors, abusive CEOs, lickspittle corporate toadies (literally!), and cutthroat ad-agency politics where senior executives are FBI informants who destroy their rivals by ratting them out to the feds.

The media, mores, and strategies of advertising have changed completely since 1947, but the personalities remain the same. Scenes with Adolphe Menjou as the ad agency owner and unforgettable Sidney Greenstreet as a troglodyte soap tycoon all ring true, even today. Frederic Wakeman's bestselling novel "The Hucksters" was reportedly drawn from life -- years on the corporate floor of the American Brands Company. His pungent characters emerge intact in this film, and shake the viewer with their authenticity, even now.

The film has some flaws in pacing and it's deliberately morally ambiguous, but it really deserves a DVD release. What's the problem?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mad Men circa 1940's October 23, 2010
If you enjoy AMC's "Mad Men," you will like this film which is an amusing critique of post WWII NYC advertising men (the working gals in this film are secretaries and teletype operators). The uber charming Clark Gable still looks handsome after WWII and creates lots of heat with leading lady Deborah Kerr as a well bred English lady who wonders at his ridiculous career and colleagues, while falling hard for him (who wouldn't?). Sydney Greenstreet is memorable as an obnoxious soap magnate (based upon George Washington Hill, president of American Tobacco in the 1940's and known for being particularly repellant), Adolph Menjou is properly loathesome as a groveling ad agency owner who tries to boss Gable around, Ava Gardner is very sexy as a singer who has Gable in her sights, and wonderful character actor Edward Arnold is nifty as a Hollywood agent who is actually more honest than the Mad Men with whom he has to deal. My favorite supporting character is Keenan Wynn's really bad comic whom Gable has to construct a "Beautee Soap" variety radio show around.

The film is an interesting look at post WWII American advertising and big business. The romance between Gable and Kerr is absorbing, and the ending is upbeat, so "Mad Men" fans may be disappointed on that score. It is also an underrated melodrama, which is largely forgotten. If TCM shows it during Ava Gardner month, record it. I think you will watch it more than once.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest Work May 6, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Gable has NEVER been better than in this movie with Ava Gardner. When he spends his last $10 on a "serious tie" for an interview, you will believe him. The movie's plot works well and Gable's scenes with Ava should have driven Frankie Sinatra to lose his voice (HOT).
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars COMMENTS ON THE HUCKSTERS February 1, 2010
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