In Africa, a hunter (Clark Gable) has two women come for safari: One is a worldly, nightclubbing dame (Ava Gardner) and the other a prim, Bostonian wife (Grace Kelly). Both instantly find the macho man irresistible.
I usually like these three stars a lot, but I didn't care much for this movie. Gable's character is a silly caricature of rugged manliness; he growls orders, drinks a lot, and grabs women too roughly. He was only 52, but looked much older and was past his Rhett Butler glory days. Kelly is good but seems to be trying oh-so-hard to be stern and matronly with much lip-pouting and overdoing the accent. Gardner plays her usual sexy, sadder-but-wiser part, but her dialogue is phony and stagy, her character overblown and never believable.
While the animal-catching and scenes of marginalized natives are terribly out of fashion and off-putting, the location scenery is beautiful, especially filmed in brilliant Technicolor. With two gorgeous women (inexplicably) fighting over one man, I imagine the movie was quite sensational when it came out in 1953, but now I find it corny and silly.
MOGAMBO is a remake of the 1932 classic "Red Dust", based on Wilson Collison's Broadway play. John Lee Mahin re-tooled his original screenplay, and Clark Gable returned to reprise his role of a rubber plantation owner (Dennis Carson in "Red Dust", but called Victor Marswell in the remake). Clark Gable's performamce is amazing. How often does an actor have the opportunity of revisiting a character 20 years later, and use their maturity and experience to flesh out the role to … more
This remake of the 1932Red Dustis famous for using the very same romantic leading man--21 years after the fact. But when that leading man is Clark Gable, what's a little gray hair in the temples? Gable was certainly still the great strutting rooster of American movies in 1953, whenMogambomade him a safari guide juggling two much younger women. First up is good-time girl Ava Gardner, who's game for a little harmless romp with Gable after she gets stood up by a playboy in the African jungle. But when Grace Kelly--the proper wife of a visiting anthropologist (Donald Sinden)--arrives on the scene, a new affair begins. The location shooting is much in the vein ofKing Solomon's Mines, although the story is much more intimate. This feels like a bit of a holiday for Hollywood's top director, John Ford, and not one of his most committed pictures. Still, Ford's unparalleled eye for backlit exteriors and for the way people move around in rooms is on display, even when the script wobbles. People always joke about Gable being too old for this movie, but that doesn't take into account his durable movie-star appeal--he certainly looks every inch the Hemingwayesque hunter, and it's not that big a stretch to imagine Gardner or Kelly in the clinches with him. Indeed, he and Grace Kelly had an offscreen affair during shooting, graying temples or not.--Robert Horton