“Is it possible to be a great star without appearing in very many great movies?,” asks N.Y. Times DVD guy David Kehr in a brief riff on Clark Gable before getting into the subject of Warner Home Video’s new Gable box set. Gable, says Kehr, “is one of the few major box office stars of the 1930’s who might produce a glimmer of recognition from a contemporary audience, but after Gone With the Wind and perhaps It Happened One Night, most people would be stuck naming many more of his films.” That’s because Gable generally made run-of-the-mill programmers. I have a better example of this never-so-few syndrome — Steve McQueen. He made 23 or 24 films between 1960 and 1980, and his mythical reputation arose out of only five films, one of which — 1962’s Hell Is for Heroes — the public is barely aware of. His rep really boils down to four quintessential performances — Vin in The Magnificent Seven , “Cooler King” Hilts The Great Escape, Jake Holman in The Sand Pebbles and Frank, the taciturn San Francisco detective who drove a mean Mustang fastback and occasionally smiled at Jacqueline Bisset in Bullitt…and that’s all. Everything else he did was marginal, not bad, pretty good, so-so. There are several others whose esteem rests upon two or three or four films. Look at Willem Dafoe — Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ and “Clark” in Clear and Present Danger…that’s it. Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen have only Platoon. Most actors, I would venture to say, are lucky to star in only one incandescent classic film….just the way of the draw. Life is short, chances are few, count your blessings.