Cinema: Three of a Kind

The big-budget western with expensive box-office names sometimes takes its root in history—or in an unreasonable facsimile:

Lone Star (MGM) shows how Clark Gable and Ava Gardner helped persuade the Republic of Texas to become one of the United States. Gable plays a soldier of fortune dispatched by ex-President Andrew Jackson (Lionel Barrymore) to Texas Patriarch Sam Houston with a message urging Texas statehood. Ava ("That's a lot of woman") is an Austin editor who sides with Broderick Crawford, would-be dictator of an independent Texas empire, until Gable closes her eyes in kisses and...

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