Saturday, March 30, 2013

1953 - MOGAMBO, one of John Ford's lesser films.

After battling Republic pictures president Herbert Yates during the making of The Quiet Man and The Sun Shines Bright, John Ford signed up with MGM for an elaborate big budget remake of Clark Gable's early "sex in the jungle" film Red Dust.

MGM and Ford hired Gable again  for this remake of Red Dust now titled Mogambo.  Ava Gardner got the role of the sexy, naughty bad girl with a heart of gold and Grace Kelly got the part of the uptight and prim English wife who was basically a dirty tramp underneath all her refinement.

The plan was to shoot on location in Africa to capture some spectacular scenery.  John Ford who was a master of scenic compositions would seem to have been the perfect person to hire for this film.  Ford could do for Africa what he did for Monument Valley, the problem was that Ford hated filming in Africa.

Once Ford arrived in Africa he found out he hated everything about it, the weather, the living conditions, the animals and the dust.  Ford shot quickly and dumped large chunks of the script in order to get out of there as fast as possible.  The production ended up filming on studio sets in London.  The climatic action scenes involving gorillas were shot with a phoney looking rear projection.

The end result, Mogambo is essentially a boring soap opera which shows a director completely detached and uninterested in the story.

115 minutes.

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