Mogambo (1953)

Mogambo (1953)

“I guess there’s all sorts of hunger in the world, isn’t there?”

A big-game hunter (Clark Gable) in Africa has an affair with a sassy playgirl (Ava Gardner) who arrives at his camp, but falls hard for the prim wife (Grace Kelly) of a scientist (Donald Sinden) hoping to study local gorillas; which of the two beauties will Gable end up with?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Africa
  • Ava Gardner Films
  • Clark Gable Films
  • Grace Kelly Films
  • Hunting
  • Infidelity
  • John Ford Films
  • Love Triangle

John Ford directed this remake of Red Dust (1932), starring the same leading man (naturally, 20 years wouldn’t make a difference in Gable’s sexiness factor) and incorporating much footage shot on location in Africa.

Gable and Gardner have tremendous chemistry together:

… though Gable’s attraction to beautiful Kelly (whose husband is a complete milquetoast) makes sense as well:

There’s not too much to the storyline other than this sticky love triangle — and those who’ve seen the original know how things will turn out; however, it’s easy to understand why audiences in the ’50s would enjoy seeing these gorgeous stars together, and also appreciate the location footage (which today comes across as both exoticizing and — in terms of the perceived harm caused to several wild animals — somewhat disturbing). The film primarily remains noteworthy for Gardner’s Oscar-nominated performance, which is consistently a delight — and of course, Ford’s direction is solid throughout.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Ava Gardner as “Honeybear” Kelly
  • Robert Surtees’ and Freddie Young’s cinematography

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look if you’re a fan of any of the three stars.


2 thoughts on “Mogambo (1953)

  1. Not must-see; strictly for fans of the stars.

    John Waters once said that a film should never be remade if it worked the first time; I more or less agree with that. ‘Red Dust’ is generally held in high regard but, as I remarked when I rewatched it, I find it kind of dull overall. So a remake of it makes more sense. Thing is, though, I don’t find that the remake has all that much punch either. It’s not a terrible film, just so-so.

  2. This movie seems to have been made to get everyone out to Africa for beautiful nature and big game hunting – and earn some money for MGM (which it did).

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