Adventure / Drama
Adventure / Drama
Having missed connections with a maharajah, gorgeous, adaptable playgirl Eloise Kelly descends upon white hunter Vic Marswell. After brief resistance, they fall into each other's arms. Then anthropologist Donald Nordley arrives; Vic is inexplicably drawn to Mrs. Nordley, a blonde twit. Kelly, her departure delayed, must go along on the Nordley safari where the two women clash over Vic. Much local color along the way.—Rod Crawford
Downloaded 445 times
9/15/2023 12:30:02 PM
23.976 fps / English 2.0
P/S 4 / 76
This is a strange, but good picture coming from John Ford. It's not about the usual themes he normally tackles, it lacks the usual supporting cast from a Ford film. Yet it is a good piece of movie making.<br/><br/>In a biography of John Ford by his grandson he said that Gable and Ford were friends for years, not particularly close, but friends nonetheless. Whenever they were together Ford and Gable talked about working together. Finally Gable got MGM to get Ford for his next film and it was Mogambo.<br/><br/>I like Mogambo because it was the start of a trend in Hollywood to show some realism when dealing with Africa. To this day there are people in the United States whose knowledge about things African were gained from Tarzan movies. African Queen, King Solomon's Mines, and Mogambo were all shot on location and all show the native Africans in reality. I was a kid at this time and my first bit of education about Africa came from Ramar of the Jungle. This is light years better.<br/><br/>Gable was criticized for reprising a role he did 20 years earlier in Red Dust. The plot line stays the same, but in Red Dust, Gable is the hard-nosed manager of a rubber plantation in Malaya. Gable as Vic Marswell here is a world weary and cynical game hunter and safari guide. Both portrayals are very good and very different.<br/><br/>By all accounts it was not a happy set. The usual problems with location in Africa presented themselves. In addition Frank Sinatra was on the set. He was waiting on word whether he would get the part he sought in From Here To Eternity. At the time he was married to Ava Gardner and there's was one of the most tempestuous marriages in Hollywood history. He was jealous of Gable as he was of all Gardner's leading men. To be just Ava kind of encouraged the jealous. When Harry Cohn gave him the word about From Here To Eternity he left with the gratitude of Ford, Gable, Gardner and everyone else, he'd become a royal pain in the neck.<br/><br/>Ava Gardner was one of the most beautiful women God ever created and a lot of times she could get by with that. But when called on to act she could. As Eloise "honeybear" Kelly she's as cynical in her own way as Gable was. They were a perfect fit. This was the last of three films she and Gable made.<br/><br/>I don't think Grace Kelly is shown to best advantage here. Her British accent was a bit affected. I'm not sure why MGM just didn't cast a British actress like Deborah Kerr in the part. Of course she also was involved with From Here To Eternity if I remember.<br/><br/>Mogambo because of the location shooting and much bigger budget is better than its predecessor Red Dust. For all the unhappiness on the set, the stars and its director did some good work.
Clark Gable stars in the remake of a film he did in the '30s, "Red Dust," now called "Mogambo." Gable plays Vic, a big game capturer this time (last time he made rubber) who sells animals to zoos and circuses. Already I was turned off. He meets a young woman, "Honeybear" (Ava Gardner), who is as tough and streetwise as he is. When Donald and Linda Nordley appear to go on safari so they can study gorillas, Vic falls for Linda (Grace Kelly).<br/><br/>This film was done on location in Africa, so there are some unbelievable scenes with animals and with African tribes speaking their language and going through their rituals. At a down period in his career, Frank Sinatra was in Africa with Ava waiting on his screen test for "From Here to Eternity," which he got thanks to Ava's appeal to Mrs. Harry Cohn. I'm sure his presence did not contribute to a fun time on the set. When he got the role and didn't need Ava to hold his hand anymore, he left.<br/><br/>You can probably enjoy this film a) if you don't compare it to "Red Dust," and b) if you don't care about seeing animals trapped in nets. It didn't look all that humane to me, and I found it distasteful. Ava Gardner has the Jean Harlow role in "Red Dust" and makes it her own. She is less funny than Harlow was; Harlow was more childlike and overtly sexual. Ava is beautiful as always and very earthy, and in her way is as good with Gable as Harlow. Honeybear is the most likable and best drawn character in "Mogambo." Gable is 20 years older than his first time around but still darn attractive and sexy. Which brings me to the real problem I have which is Grace Kelly. There is no unearthly reason why Vic would have been attracted to the staid and priggish Linda. Kelly is not particularly good. Yes, she's beautiful but her bright overenthusiasm doesn't play. I actually didn't get Gable's attraction to Mary Astor either, but she was much more believable in the role.<br/><br/>"Mogambo" doesn't have the spunk of "Red Dust" but shot in color and on location in Africa, it's watchable with the above caveats.
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"Mogambo" is a remake of "Red Dust" (1932) and is not as good, nor as funny, but it's still not bad at all. Poor Clark Gable must choose between Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. With both actresses at the height of their beauty this is a tough call - but I would have taken Ava any day. She is stunning in this film - sultry, sexy and warm - very different to the flighty sex kitten that Jean Harlow played so brilliantly in "Red Dust". And Ava is photographed lovingly, in gorgeous colour, by Robert Surtees and Freddie Young. She deserved her Oscar nomination.<br/><br/>Kelly is good too as the rather prissy wife of a very English scientist. But she's too nice - Ava is much more real. Gable was a bit old for the role here - after all it was 21 years after he first played it in "Red Dust" - but his performance is strong.<br/><br/>Great African scenery and animals too - "Mogambo" got out of the studio that confined "Red Dust". Who could forget Ava trying to feed a very hungry baby elephant and a baby rhino at the same time? The gorilla sequence was a little weak - in that the film stock used to film the gorillas was completely different to that used to film the actors - and the actors were obviously in a studio. But most of the work is on location and stunningly shot.<br/><br/>You'll have fun with this one.<br/><br/>PS In the canoe scene are they really talking about female circumcision?