Monday, 11 August 2014


“Film is like a personal diary, a notebook or a monologue by someone who tries to justify himself before a camera.” - Jean-Luc Godard

Movie Monday today is devoted to an old Hollywood film, John Ford’s 1953 “Mogambo” with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.  We watched this on DVD yesterday and despite its age and slightly passé atmosphere, we rather enjoyed it. We made a matinée of it, in fact, with soft fizzy drinks, home-made popcorn and the heater going full blast as it was cold and wet outside.

Rather than concentrating on the story, which was a simple love triangle, I found myself looking more at the cinematography (beautiful!), direction (impeccable) and the chemistry between the Hollywood veterans. The locations in Africa were also breathtakingly beautiful and the film was rather interesting in that the stance taken is one of green environmentalism, with Gable not wishing to hurt animals if he can…

This film is a remake of the 1932 movie “Red Dust”, also with Clark Gable in the lead. Amazingly, the 20 years that passed the two movies did nothing to diminish Gable’s shine and although the more recent film has the advantages of technicolour, gorgeous locations and great on-location safari shots, the older black-and-white film is steamier and more reliant on the plot and chemistry between the stars for its appeal.

Jean Harlow was Gable’s co-star in the older film, a part taken by Gardner in the more recent one. Mary Astor has the role taken in the later film by Grace Kelly. Harlow and Gable have wonderful chemistry together, and the same may be said of Gardner and Gable, however, the on screen interaction between Grace Kelly and Gable falls flat. This is curious as the two enjoyed a steamy real life love affair for several months around the time this film was made.

I think that it’s worthwhile seeing both films and comparing them. I really like the old Hollywood films and some of the 1930s and 1940s are amazingly good, some are classics that will never age and a few are real masterpieces.  Both “Red Dust” and “Mogambo” are good films, and a good to watch if you wish for some classic Hollywood escapism with great performances by some of Hollywood’s “Sacred Cows”. They don't make stars like that in Tinsel Town any more…


  1. Hi. I love the structure of your Blog (and the name!) It's the kind of place I could spend a lot of time reading.
    Old movies can often be hugely entertaining and their quality is not really recognised these days - so; good on you for posting this.
    I often mention the music I’m listening to while posting or commenting. Right now it’s a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Tangled Up In Blue' by the Indigo Girls - don't care for it much!
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  2. Excellent film! I love those old, nostalgic movies.