Mogambo (1953) Poster


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  • Stranded at the Marswell big game trapping company in Kenya (Africa) when the Maharajah who invited her there goes back to India, Eloise 'Honey Bear' Kelly (Ava Gardner) falls in love with white hunter Victor 'Vic' Marswell (Clark Gable). After a brief fling with Kelly, however, Vic falls hard for Linda Nordley (Grace Kelly), wife of anthropologist Donald Nordley (Donald Sinden), who has hired Vic to take them on safari. Friction arises between them during the safari to gorilla country.

  • Mogambo is a remake of Red Dust (1932) (1932), which was based on a 1931 play, also titled Red Dust, by American playwright Wilson Collison. The screenplay for Mogambo was written by American screenwriter John Lee Mahin. Interestingly, Clark Gable starred in both Red Dust and Mogambo.

  • The meaning of Mogambo is questionable. Some sources say that it means 'passion' in Swahili. Others claim that it translates as 'the greatest'. However, native Swahili-speakers say that 'mogambo' is not a word in the Swahili language unless it is from some tribal dialect. Hollywood legend says that the title was taken from the Mocambo, a famous Hollywood nightclub. To make matters worse, the word 'mogambo' does not appear in the movie, so context is of no help.

  • Angry at being rebuffed by Vic, Linda shoots him in the shoulder, which brings her husband and the other hunters running. Kelly makes up a story about Vic being after Linda during the whole trip and Linda having to shoot him in his drunken state, 'as any decent woman would do.' Vic and Linda both realize that Kelly is lying, but they hold their tongues, knowing this is the best way for Linda to go back to Donald without having to tell him about her affair with Vic. The next day, they break camp, leaving Vic behind to 'pick up a couple of baby gorillas and make the trip pay for itself.' Before Kelly gets into the canoe with Brownie (Philip Stainton), Vic comes over to say goodbye. He asks Kelly to stay behind with him and suggests that they could stop at Father Josef's and make an honest woman out of her. Surprisingly, Kelly refuses, saying that she would rather go back where she 'can be honest without getting kicked around for it.' As her canoe begins moving up the river, Vic calls out to Brownie 'Take good care of her!' In the final scene, Kelly jumps out of the canoe and wades back to shore and into Vic's arms.


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