Though Robert Mitchum seems to hold some kind of record when it comes to criminal records, there are other stars and starlets who have hip-hopped over the line that divides "good" and "bad" behavior. Of course, as we tend to find stainless people a bit boring, these naughty deviants seem far more interesting with their tangibly hardened edge after hard time.
Next on the list is John Gilbert. True, the gentlemanly Lothario with a poetic soul seems like the last guy who would be imprisoned-- although, he was onscreen from time to time, in Monte Cristo for example. John had a wicked sense of humor, but his boyish hell-raising was a far cry from anarchy. Police had no reason to go looking for this good guy; it was actually he who walked directly into a cell. The reason for his unusual arrest? The killer combo of love and alcohol. John Gilbert's long and temperamental affair with Greta Garbo, his unattainable ice minx, nearly drove him mad (in Love, right). Left at the altar multiple times, nothing seemed to dissuade John from his infatuation with Greta. Her need for independence and his need to possess were conflicting vices that would never mix well-- nor did the cocktail John helped himself to in 1927. He and Greta were nearing the end of their roller-coaster romance when they attended a dinner with Donald Ogden Stewart at his home. John, battling the anxieties Greta was causing him, had had a few too many to drink that night, but he was focused enough to enjoy a painting of the Crucifixion in Donald's possession by artist Peter Breughel. He was not, however, sober enough to stop Greta from fleeing his intoxicated arse. John eventually followed her to the Miramar Hotel, where she holed up with Mauritz Stiller, the director who had acted as her Pygmalion of sorts. "Feeling no pain" with his liquid courage, John gallantly began scaling the walls of the hotel to his beloved. As he approached Stiller's balcony, the irritated director warned him to stop, halt his climbing, and go away. John ignored him, and the next thing he knew, Mauritz had pushed him from the balcony! John landed on his rump, to the great surprise of the passing Carey Wilson and Carmelita Geraghty. He began rambling angrily: "He tried to kill me!" Eventually, Carey calmed him down and thoughtfully followed John home in his own car.
Yet, this was not the end. Apparently, John ventured back out after his brief return home. Yet, he did not make a second attempt to woo Garbo Romeo-style. Instead, he marched into the police office and declared that they arrest the man who had tried to murder him! Now, it was hard enough for the policemen to believe a drunken man-- who was probably slurring his words and swaying from one foot to the other-- but John made his story even more difficult to believe, due to the fact that he would not release his attacker's name. Therefore, the police had no one to arrest but a supposed, amorphous, mystery killer. They decided to arrest John instead for being drunk and disorderly. To add more comedy to the mix, it appears that John used his one phone call to summon Donald. He did not ask for bail money; he simpy asked that his friend bring the aforementioned Breugel painting to the station. Donald, used to John's ways by now, did as requested, only to arrive at the jail to find John giving the officers a lecture on Flemish art. One can imagine the assortment of faces: some cops rolling their eyes, others partly interested, and the rest trying to muffle their laughter. John was a movie star, after all, so at least the coppers were being entertained. The harmless John was given the ultimatum of enduring his 10-day stay for his crime in the pen or at the hospital-- where he was scheduled to undergo surgery on his appendix. He opted for jail. He only remained 1 1/2 days, mostly because the jail became overcrowded with press-hungry actresses, friends, attorneys, and John's personal physician. The policeman, it is said, were glad to be rid of him. (John, an artist to the end, left).