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Sunday, May 25, 2008

MOGAMBO (1953)

Remake of RED DUST/’32, with Clark Gable stepping manfully back into his old role some two decades on. And it’s just about his best post-WWII outing. With earthy Ava Gardner & aristocratic Grace Kelly fighting over him (in roles originated by Jean Harlow & Mary Astor) & African game trapping substituting for the old rubber plantation, the film is unexpectedly successful on every front. Stunningly shot by Robert Surtees & Freddie Young, pic nicely demonstrates what a superb craftsman John Ford could be even when just working as a hired hand. Or as he would put it, 'doing a job of work.' As a bonus for his honest labors, Ford fell just a bit in love with Gardner, which shows up in extra/ad-libbed shots of her showing off her astonishing beauty & her natural/unexpected grace with all those animals. You'll fall for her, too.

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