Mogambo (Ford, 1953)

This review contains spoilers (last sentence).

Mogambo (John Ford, 1953)

Mogambo, or the Ava Gardner one-gal show. Seriously, she absolutely makes this movie. Playing an outgoing, easy-living gal without a care in the world (seemingly), Gardner gives her role enough attention to where the quality of everything else wouldn’t have really mattered in this film. That’s not to say the rest of the film is awful. In fact, the on-location shooting is more than great. But the way Gardner is able to harbor her character’s past secrets and turn that into a realistic and detailed presentation is the highlight. (What was annoying is having another character ask her twice about her ‘scars’, as if Ford didn’t trust the audience to pick up on the fact that she has a not-so-perfect past.) She covers her loneliness with a loud persona, clings to a man far past her welcome with a refusal for abandonment, but never attempts to hurt or disrupt anyone. Late in the film, when we learn of her first husband’s tragic death and the turns her life took from there, it is solidified how perfectly written and performed her character was.  8/10


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