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The Hucksters (1947)

 -  Drama | Comedy | Romance  -  27 August 1947 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 945 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 7 critic

A World War II veteran wants to return to advertising on his own terms, but finds it difficult to be successful and maintain his integrity.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Hucksters (1947)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Kay Dorrance
...
Evan Llewellyn Evans
...
Mr. Kimberly
...
Jean Ogilvie
...
Buddy Hare
...
David 'Dave' Lash
Aubrey Mather ...
Mr. Glass, Valet
Richard Gaines ...
Cooke
...
Max Herman
...
Georgie Gaver
Clinton Sundberg ...
Michael Michaelson
...
Mrs. Kimberly
Connie Gilchrist ...
Betty - Switchboard Operator
Kathryn Card ...
Miss Regina Kennedy
Edit

Storyline

Victor Norman is just out of the service and looking for a job in advertising. By playing hard to get, he figures that he can get a good job and a large salary. The first thing he has to do is get a war widow to endorse Beautee Soap - a client of the Kimberly Agency. He meets with Kay Dorrance and gets the endorsement and Mr. Evans, the head of Beautee Soap is temporarily happy. Victors job is now to work with Mr. Evans, a man who is a strict and demanding client. Everything should be rosy, but Victor, a bachelor, finds himself more attracted to Kay, a widow, than young single Jean Ogilvie. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love that GABLE...Lovin'...Cast! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 August 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A házalók  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The novel upon which this film is based was itself inspired by a real-life exposé in "The Saturday Evening Post". The four-part article, entitled "The Star Spangled Octopus," was a look at how the talent and promotional agency MCA had managed to monopolize most areas of popular entertainment by the mid-1940s. In the novel, the character of Dave Lash is based directly on MCA founder and president Jules C. Stein and his right-hand-man is based on Lew Wasserman. The movie version retains these elements of the book's form but is otherwise fairly sanitized. The one exception: the exterior of the fictional agency Talent Ltd. is shown once during the movie - and the building in the shot is unmistakably MCA's Beverly Hills headquarters. See more »

Goofs

The shaving cream on Gable's face changes from the two-shot to the close-up and back again. See more »

Quotes

Victor Albee Norman: [to Kay] I don't want anything from you except you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in What's My Line?: Episode dated 9 August 1953 (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Tell Me
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Buddy Pepper
Sung by Ava Gardner (dubbed by Eileen Wilson)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The ugly side of beauty soap.
19 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Madison Avenue gets a dusting up by Hollywood in this mainstream star driven vehicle featuring Clark Gable and Deborah Kerr. Usually the topic of provocateurs and malcontents outside the big tent The Hucksters does not shy away from the surly, high pressure of selling beauty soap or any other product for that matter to the masses by incessant drilling, usually by way of a jingle, to the public.

Victor Norman has just been discharged after the war. He seeks a high paying job working for soap titan Evan Evans and quickly impresses him by signing war widow Kay Dorrance (Kerr) to endorse his product. Victor falls for Kay in the process but she is hesitant in committing leaving the door wide open for torch singer Jane Oglivie (Ava Gardner) to walk through. Meanwhile the job is peeling away Norman's self respect working for the humiliating Evans and playing some ugly hardball with former friends and associates. Dangling a huge salary before him Norman is faced with the decision to sell out or walk out.

Any intention by The Hucksters to soft soap the advertising business is immediately extinguished by the ogre like appearance of Greenstreet's Evan's who enters the boardroom and spits on his polished table while lackeys quake about him. Gable may have been able to handle the China sea and darkest Africa but Greenstreet in the boardroom poses a different threat to his dignity and self worth.

Gable brings a war weary look and background to Norman that allows his incredulity to resonate in a business that calls for him to create fantasies for day dreaming housewives. At the same time he is seeking normalcy and knows if you are going to get along you have to go along.

As love interests Kerr as the tentative, responsible, vulnerable widow and Gardner as the vivacious good time girl are much better fits than Garson in Gable's first picture after the war Adventure. In spite of their disparate character personalities Gable shares a convincing chemistry with each causing me to wonder if Ms. Kerr might have been a better fit in Mogambo. In addition to the ladies fine performances veterans Adolph Menjou and Edward Arnold convey the pressures of the work while Keenan Wynn as a corny comic steals his scenes from everybody in the room.

While it may be a little dated and not be a full frontal assault or satire on the advertising business in total The Hucksters for its day lands more than a few subversive punches to get its point across. Not exactly Putney Swope but in its own tempered way still gets its digs in.


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