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Grace Kelly, Clark Gable, Mogambo, 1953

Grace Kelly, Clark Gable, Mogambo, 1953
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John Ford directed the 1953 adventure-romantic film "Mogambo," which starred Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Donald Sinden, and Philip Stainton. The film was nominated for two acting Oscars for Gardner and Kelly, and Kelly won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

Synopsis, via IMDb:
On a Kenyan safari, white hunter Victor Marswell has a love triangle with seductive American socialite Eloise "Honey Bear" Kelly and anthropologist Donald Nordley's cheating wife, Linda.

Some film trivia, via IMDb:

Clark Gable did not get along with director John Ford during filming, and at one point walked off the set in protest at Ford's treatment of Ava Gardner. Ford also made several remarks about Gable's age and weathered appearance.

Only some filming took place in Kenya due to the Mau Mau Uprising, which continued until the autumn of 1956.

Ava Gardner arrived in Africa for location shooting with current husband Frank Sinatra in tow. Their marriage was on the rocks at the time following a huge bust-up during a house party at which Lana Turner was a guest. Some reports claim Sinatra found the two women in bed together. More likely, he caught them giggling over the sexual prowess of musician Artie Shaw, to whom both women had been married (Sinatra was jealous of all of his wife's previous romances). At first he canceled his plans to accompany her to Africa. When Gardner changed her phone number, he proposed a reconciliation in Earl Wilson's gossip column. They spent most of their time on location fighting and making up, both at top volume.

Although the original trailer for the film explains that "Mogambo" means "the Greatest," in fact, the word "Mogambo" has no meaning at all. Producer Sam Zimbalist came up with the title by altering the name of the Mocambo, a famous Hollywood nightclub.

Ava Gardner was pregnant at the start of filming, and as her pregnancy progressed she began to suffer greatly from the heat. Finally, she took a break in England, where she wound up in the hospital. Publicity flacks, who had not released news of her pregnancy, said she was suffering from anemia. A few years later she would say that she had suffered a miscarriage, but in private she told the wife of cinematographer Robert Surtees that she had had an abortion. At that point in her relationship with Frank Sinatra, she hated him so much she did not want to bear his child.

Maureen O'Hara was the first choice for Honey Bear Kelly, but MGM needed Ava Gardner in a movie and made John Ford cast Gardner instead, which was one of the reasons for his vicious treatment towards Gardner while filming.

Clark Gable and Grace Kelly began an affair on the set that lasted for several months. After filming had ended, they resumed the affair while Kelly was filming The Country Girl (1954). Despite this story, Kelly biographer James Spada insists that, although Kelly was infatuated with Gable, he did not want to get involved with a woman 30 years his junior. Although he liked her, Spada claims, theirs was a father-daughter relationship. However, Donald Sinden said that Gable and Kelly did have an affair during filming.

Donald Sinden (and all male members of the crew who removed their shirts) had to shave any hair from their chests daily, as Clark Gable (who did not have a hairy chest) thought it an affront to his "manliness".

The first day of shooting was disrupted by a large baboon that kept getting into camera range to watch Clark Gable and Ava Gardner film a love scene.

During filming in Kenya, MGM hired armed guards to protect the cast and crew in the event of an attack by Mau Mau terrorists. It was rumored that the studio made a secret payment of $50,000 to Mau Mau leader Jomo Kenyatta to protect the cast and crew. Nonetheless, all involved in the filming were issued weapons with which to defend themselves.

The crew created an 1800-yard airstrip in the jungle so they could fly in mail, food and medical supplies from Nairobi and fly out each day's rushes. The camp was first set up in Tanganyika, then reassembled in Uganda.

The censors in Spain did not allow adultery to be shown on the screen. For that reason, MGM changed the relationship of the characters of Linda Nordley (Grace Kelly) and Donald Nordley (Donald Sinden) from wife and husband to sister and brother in the dubbed version released in Spain. However, they did not delete a scene in which both share a bed together.

Hundreds of native tribesmen were flown in to appear in the film, including some from tribes that were traditional enemies. The entourage included 68 members of the Wagenia tribe, hired to film a boat trip through the rapids. When they decided their gods were not present on the river, producer Sam Zimbalist flew in three chiefs from Leopoldville (Congo) to bless the sequence.

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Date: 2017-11-20 00:07:33

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