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Robert Wilson leads safaris on the Kenyan savanna. On this occasion, he takes Mr. and Mrs. Macomber out to hunt buffalo. The obnoxious ways of Margaret Macomber make the three of them get on each others nerves. During the hunt Francis Macomber is shot by his wife. An accident or an attempt to get rid of Francis? Written by
From 1947, "The Macomber Affair" is based on a Hemingway short story about a safari. I watched it knowing full well I didn't want to see animals hunted down, so I admit a certain prejudice.
Joan Bennett and Robert Preston are Margaret and Francis Macomber, an unhappy husband and wife who go on a safari guided by hunter Robert Wilson, played by Gregory Peck. Margaret is openly derisive of her husband, whom she considers somewhat of a coward, and he apparently is on this safari to prove his masculinity. It isn't very successful at first, as Francis runs like a rabbit when he's charged by a lion. I don't know who wouldn't, frankly.
Margaret is attracted to Wilson -- again, who wouldn't be, it's Gregory Peck -- and he falls for her. I don't know why because she's a very unpleasant woman. When a tragedy occurs, Wilson has to decide what really happened - was it an accident or deliberate? This film is somewhat miscast, as it required a Peter Finch or Trevor Howard in the Peck role. Peck doesn't come off as much of a big game hunter. Joan Bennett's character is a little too harsh, which I blame on the director, Zoltan Korda. There doesn't seem to be any reason for his attraction to her; she comes off as emasculating.
The film has an ambiguous ending. I didn't care how it ended, which is a major problem -- you should be invested in the characters.
This is an old-fashioned macho Hemingway story that received better treatment than most of his work. Still -- Hemingway is very difficult to film due to his spare language and all that subtext.
If you like seeing animals shot and killed (though I realize they really weren't) so someone can prove his masculinity, this is the movie for you.
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