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MOGAMBO (1953)

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Only Clark Gable could top Clark Gable. At the age of 52, he starred in a remake of one of his most popular early films, Red Dust (1932), and convincingly romanced two beautiful co-stars, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. Gable had hesitated to return to a role he had played 21 years earlier, but when his previous two films flopped, he took the part hoping for a box-office hit. He stars as a big game hunter in Africa torn between worldly playgirl Gardner and married woman Kelly while on safari. John Ford signed on to direct for the chance to film in Africa, where he captured spectacular footage of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika. It took a staff of 500 to keep the location running smoothly and safely, but it was worth it when the film became a big box-office winner. Gardner would later credit Ford for bringing out her best performance, while the picture also provided a big boost to Kelly’s career. The biggest winner was Gable, however. The film’s success put him back on top just as he was preparing to leave MGM to freelance, allowing him to command top dollar for his later pictures. (d. John Ford, 116m, 35mm)

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