Mark Fallon, with partner Kansas John Polly, tries to introduce honest gambling on the riverboats. His first success makes enemies of the crooked gamblers and of fair Angelique Dureau, whose necklace he won. Later in New Orleans, Mark befriends Angelique's father, but she still affects to despise him as his gambling career brings him wealth. Duelling, tragedy, and romantic complications follow. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The Biggest Surprise Hit of the 1950s, Great and Absorbing
Seton I. Miller's script for the "Mississippi Gambler" is his masterwork. Ther film is beautifully directed, and for once at UniversalStudios, it even looks like an "A" budget effort much of the time. The costumes are stunning, the storyline continually enthralling and the characters frankly unforgettable. Tyrone Power is a few years too old for the part of Mark Fallon, prototype of many a later gambler in westerns; but his acting in my professional judgment in this film is the best he ever did. Lovely young Piper Laurie's and intelligence both serve her in her portrayal of a skittish young Southern belle running away from her attraction to Fallon. Others in the stellar cast include John McIntire as Mr. Polly, Ron Randell as Fallon's rival, Ralph Dumke, King Donovan, Julie Adams, Dennis Weaver and first and foremost veteran Cavanagh as Ms. Dureaux, notorious rake in his time who sees his sins visited on his uncontrollable son and daughter. The theme of the film is honesty; Power wants to be an honest gambler on the Mississippi where a jackal's code is the norm. Bue Fallon has one weapon on his side in his unequal battle,; he is the best swordsman in the world. He sets out to build a life with only those two weapons. Ther film's action sequences are unusually fine, and the dialogue is frequently superb, and the characters unforgettable. This film out of nowhere became a top ten hit in the busy film year of 1953, helped by Gwen Verdon's choreography, the serviceable music by Frank Skinner and the production values of sets, lighting and art direction that make the feature seem even more expensive that it was to create. A minor masterpiece, and a memorable romance; it is also that rarity, an historical film of ideas as well as sparkling adventures. One of the great movies by any standard.
18 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?