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Robert Z. Leonard
"Candy" Johnson, a great crook of the Wild West, decides to find a town where he could become a big boss. To achieve this, he will need to conceal his true identity and not only pretend to be an honest man, but lead the struggle against the corrupt sheriff. No one in town realizes that the anti-corruption hero is just a greater crook himself. And there is only one person who is stronger than Johnson - a girl he is in love with. Written by
Clark Gable is a rogue trying to go straight, and Lana Turner is his wife in "Honky Tonk," a western from MGM that also stars Claire Trevor, Frank Morgan, and Marjorie Main. Gable is Candy Johnson, who blows into town, and after he wins $5,000, opens his own gambling establishment. He meets Elizabeth (Turner), whose father (Morgan) is an old crook with a respectable front as a judge. After he and Elizabeth get married, Candy gets a taste of power and starts trying to take over the town. All his efforts initially were for his bride, but his intentions get away from him.
The two stars really make this film. Turner and Gable have great chemistry, as they proved in other films together (this was their first). Gable is in his Rhett Butler phase and is at his handsomest and most charming in this pre-war era - clever, tough, sexy, and soft-hearted. The very young Turner is a good match for him - she seems overwhelmed by Candy at first, but she's got her own toughness, too, and knows what she wants. Claire Trevor is Candy's ex-girlfriend, and she's excellent as a woman who knows all there is to know about Candy and has been around the block a few times herself.
"Honky Tonk" is a big MGM picture with wonderful stars and first-class production values. The script isn't the greatest, but you'll hardly notice.
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