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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Victor Marswell runs a big game trapping company in Kenya. Eloise Kelly is ditched there, and an immediate attraction happens between them. Then Mr. and Mrs. Nordley show up for their gorilla documenting safari. Mrs. Nordley is not infatuated with her husband any more, and takes a liking to Marswell. The two men and two women have some difficulty arranging these emotions to their mutual satisfaction, but eventually succeed. Written by
Rob Hardy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The lead role was originally intended for Stewart Granger, but MGM decided to employ Clark Gable instead. Production chief Dore Schary suggested to Granger that the film would entail a long separation from his wife Jean Simmons, though Granger wanted to make the film regardless and later spoke disparagingly about Gable in his memoirs. See more »
After Victor rescues Mrs Nordley when she wanders off, a sudden storm blows in. But only the trees and bushes near the actors are blown about by the 'storm', the trees visible a short distance behind them are completely calm. See more »
Opening Title Card reads: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is grateful beyond measure to the government officials of Kenya Colony, Tanganyika, the Uganda Protectorate and the Republic of French Equatorial Africa, whose limitless co-operation made this motion picture possible. See more »
Exciting jungle adventure, boasting outstanding direction and first-rate performances (especially Ava Gardner's)
In all earnestness, can you imagine a more enjoyable way of spending two hours than journeying through the jungles of Africa with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, in a film directed by the legendary John Ford? Neither can I, and `Mogambo' does not disappoint.
It is a remake of `Red Dust,' a film made by Gable over twenty years earlier, and here (remarkably enough) Clark reprises his role from the first film, with a few small changes. This time around he plays Victor Marswell, a rugged big game hunter and safari leader. Into his African camp comes Gardner, a wisecracking American chorus girl stranded in the jungle and none too happy about it. She and Gable have a brief affair, but the arrival of a British anthropologist and his sheltered wife (Kelly) quickly puts an end to it. Gable agrees to lead the anthropologist on an expedition into gorilla country, and along the way he falls deeply in love with Kelly, and she with him. Gardner, feeling rejected by Gable, first tries to make his life miserable with constant innuendos, but later admits defeat and becomes his ally. In the midst of the gorilla hunt, Gable and Kelly try to find a way to explain their situation to her husband.
Their main problem is that the husband is just too likable. He is a decent, good-humored man who loves Kelly dearly and is filled with admiration for Gable, so neither wishes to hurt him. Meanwhile, developments occur in the Gardner character she once loved and lost, and is now on the lookout for another man, setting her sights on the macho Gable. She, too, is impossible to dislike, with her sharp wit and ability to size up every situation. She knows where she stands.
This is one of the few remakes in Hollywood history to equal, and in my opinion surpass, its predecessor. Of course, this film is not constrained by indoor sets as was the previous one, but there is much more to it than that. `Red Dust' was directed by Victor Fleming, certainly a competent filmmaker, but Ford was a master. He cleverly decided not to use a musical score, but instead to rely on jungle sounds and tribal chants for the soundtrack. Gable is more confident here than before, replacing his earlier smugness with a more mature and hard-bitten performance. Kelly, on the brink of achieving stardom, is rightly prim and proper but still produces a strong, rich characterization.
However, the film belongs to Gardner, who admittedly has all the best lines but makes even the mundane ones sound appealing. She lights up every scene she is in, and unfortunately those she is not in are weaker by comparison. Her performance is at once radiant, robust, perceptive and exuberant, and yet somewhat sad. She really gets under the skin of her character and gives arguably the finest performance of her career.
The bottom line is that this movie is downright fun. Everyone involved does a top-notch job, and not once does the story drag. It is beautifully photographed in Technicolor, and the animal sequences are exciting and well paced. It's a joy to watch from start to finish, and is highly recommended to all those who love movies. Enough said.
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