In Mank (2020) at 1h:12mins, Mank, who was lighting a cigar, and Sara, carrying bags, walked out of the building. Then, Mank encountered C.C, who was carrying a sandwich board promoting Sinclair for governor:

Mank: Looks like you found work, C.C.

C.C: Don't nose it around, but yeah, just in the nick.

Mank: Who's hiring?

C.C: MGM. They cleaned out the Washington and Culver gates like a dose of Ex-Lax. Grady gets a speaking part. They told us to come dressed as we are. I don't know who thought of it, but it keeps a lot of us off the streets.

What does "cleaned out" mean?

  • Did you look up "clean out" in a dictionary?
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 6:39
  • @gotube The phrase "cleaned out" can also mean to remove or get rid of something completely, but in this case, it is clear that MGM did not fire or lay off a lot of people. Instead, they hired a lot of new people? My assumption is correct ? Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 7:02
  • This question probably belongs on Movies and TV Stack Exchange because answering it requires knowing what the Washington and Culver gates were, rather than any special usage of the verb "to clean out". (The OP should have indicated if they know what the gates were, as part of demonstrating research.)
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 10:03

1 Answer 1


'Cleaned out' is often used to mean emptied, or used up.

In the context of the movie script - the characters are talking about getting work in acting. I believe the 'gates' referred to are the gates where actors and extras wait to be auditioned, and he is saying that MGM 'cleaned out' the gates in the sense of using everybody.

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