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Sporting Blood is a key work in Clark Gable’s 1931 leap to stardom, a film in which he plays a race-fixing underworld gambler who rediscovers his inner decency. It marks the first time Gable tops a cast list, although the future Hollywood King doesn’t appear until midway in the film’s story. Even more, it “proved [Gable] could carry a picture to profitability without a top female star” (John Eames, The MGM Story). John Larkin plays Uncle Ben, the devoted stable groom of Tommy Boy, a magnificent thoroughbred who triumphs over owners’ mistreatment to gain a shot at the Kentucky Derby. In a historical sense, the movie is Gable’s. But its powerful and soul-touching last scene rightly belongs to Uncle Ben and Tommy Boy.

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WAA22347 Sporting Blood DVD (1931/Clark Gable) $21.49