Mogambo (1953)

Mogambo (1953)

Directed by John Ford this better than average remake of screenwriter John Lee Mahin’s adventure drama Red Dust (1932) also stars Clark Gable in the leading male role but replaces Jean Harlow with Ava Gardner and Mary Astor with Grace Kelly as well as altering the story. Instead of Gable running a rubber plantation for its owner and having an affair with the owner’s wife Gable is a big game hunter who has a dalliance with one of his client’s wives. Donald Sinden plays the cheated on husband that Gene Raymond played in the original. Gardner plays a former showgirl (in lieu of the “on the run” prostitute that Harlow played) that loves and understands “Gable” more than the “pristine” wife blonde Kelly in this one vs. Astor that falls for his testosterone oozing if somewhat crude character which provides a stark contrast to her more proper husband. It’s a credit to Gable that his sex appeal endured for so long such that he could credibly play the role in both films. Gardner who sings “Comin’ through the Rye” earned her only Academy Award recognition with a Best Actress nomination; Kelly (Best Actress in The Country Girl (1954) a year later) received her first (and only other) with a Supporting Actress nod. Lots of great African scenery action from three time Oscar winning Color Cinematographer Robert Surtees (King Solomon’s Mine (1950)) and Freddie Young who would go on to win three Oscars for his work starting with Lawrence of Arabia (1962)).

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