The Mississippi Gambler (1953)

98-99 mins | Romance | February 1953

Full page view
HISTORY

Universal press materials identify Albert and Fred Cavens, the film's fencing technical advisors, as father and son. According to a Jul 1952 HR news item, seven Miss Universe contestants, including Anita Ekberg in her feature film debut, were cast as "Guests." Noted dancer and choreographer Gwen Verdon, who was known as Gwyneth early in her career, received onscreen credit for the first time as the choreographer of The Mississippi Gambler .
       This film marked Tyrone Powers' first freelance role after serving out a long-term contract with Twentieth-Century Fox. Acccording to modern sources, despite the fact that Powers was suspended from Fox for refusing to accept roles in period pieces, he agreed to appear in The Mississippi Gambler after producers offered him a percentage of the profits for his work in the film. Modern sources confirm that he received a salary of $250,000 and half of the net profits, resulting in earnings of over $1 million. On 1 Mar 1954, Power reprised his role of "Mark Fallon" in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, which co-starred Powers' wife, Linda Christian, as "Angelique Dureau." Modern sources include Jack Perrin and George Bruggeman in the cast and credit David Sharpe with stunts and appearing as Powers' double in the fight scene.
       The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound (Leslie I. Carey and Richard De Weese. Although Universal had previously used the title The Mississippi Gambler for both a 1929 film and a 1942 picture, neither is related to this ... More Less

Universal press materials identify Albert and Fred Cavens, the film's fencing technical advisors, as father and son. According to a Jul 1952 HR news item, seven Miss Universe contestants, including Anita Ekberg in her feature film debut, were cast as "Guests." Noted dancer and choreographer Gwen Verdon, who was known as Gwyneth early in her career, received onscreen credit for the first time as the choreographer of The Mississippi Gambler .
       This film marked Tyrone Powers' first freelance role after serving out a long-term contract with Twentieth-Century Fox. Acccording to modern sources, despite the fact that Powers was suspended from Fox for refusing to accept roles in period pieces, he agreed to appear in The Mississippi Gambler after producers offered him a percentage of the profits for his work in the film. Modern sources confirm that he received a salary of $250,000 and half of the net profits, resulting in earnings of over $1 million. On 1 Mar 1954, Power reprised his role of "Mark Fallon" in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, which co-starred Powers' wife, Linda Christian, as "Angelique Dureau." Modern sources include Jack Perrin and George Bruggeman in the cast and credit David Sharpe with stunts and appearing as Powers' double in the fight scene.
       The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound (Leslie I. Carey and Richard De Weese. Although Universal had previously used the title The Mississippi Gambler for both a 1929 film and a 1942 picture, neither is related to this film. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Jan 1953.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jan 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Jan 53
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 52
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 53
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Jan 53
p. 1677.
New York Times
29 Jan 53
p. 23.
New York Times
30 Jan 53
p. 5.
Variety
14 Jan 53
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Julia Adams
Gwyneth Verdon
Marcel de la Brosse
Dick Rich
Saul Martell
Albert Cavens
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
DANCE
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Tech adv
Fencing tech adv
Fencing tech adv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1953
Premiere Information:
World premiere in St. Louis, MO: 13 January 1953
New York opening: 29 January 1953
Los Angeles opening: 6 February 1953
Production Date:
10 June--mid July 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
2 February 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2247
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
98-99
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16103
SYNOPSIS

Gambler Mark Fallon arrives in antebellum Mississippi and immediately meets Kansas John Polly, an expert cardsharp who, despite feigning inadequacy, fails to dupe Mark. Polly is even more impressed when he hears Mark's plan to become an honest gambler, and points out wealthy F. Montague Caldwell as an example of the crooked competition Mark will soon face. Mark is more intrigued, however, by lovely Angelique Dureau, who races into town with her brother Laurent and responds to Mark's attempts to help control her thoroughbreds by reproaching him angrily. That night, Mark joins a poker game with Laurent and Caldwell, and, after insisting on a clean deck of cards, wins so much money that Laurent must pay him with Angelique's heirloom necklace. Caldwell warns him that the next time he accuses him of playing with marked cards he might fall overboard by "accident," but Mark remains unintimidated. When Mark spots Angelique in town the next day, he attempts to return her necklace, but she refuses it. Soon after, Polly learns that Caldwell and his friends are planning to assault Mark, and spirits him onto a ship bound for New Orleans. Caldwell's henchmen quickly jump on deck and attack, but Mark fends them off long enough to jump off the boat with Polly. Within a few days they reach New Orleans, a city Mark loves. At a fencing club, his expertise attracts the attention of Edmond Dureau, the club's most accomplished jouster. Mark reveals to Edmond that he is a gambler who has provoked the ire of Edmond's son and daughter, but Edmond, who admired Mark's father, invites him to his home. There, Angelique continues to refuse the marriage proposals of ... +


Gambler Mark Fallon arrives in antebellum Mississippi and immediately meets Kansas John Polly, an expert cardsharp who, despite feigning inadequacy, fails to dupe Mark. Polly is even more impressed when he hears Mark's plan to become an honest gambler, and points out wealthy F. Montague Caldwell as an example of the crooked competition Mark will soon face. Mark is more intrigued, however, by lovely Angelique Dureau, who races into town with her brother Laurent and responds to Mark's attempts to help control her thoroughbreds by reproaching him angrily. That night, Mark joins a poker game with Laurent and Caldwell, and, after insisting on a clean deck of cards, wins so much money that Laurent must pay him with Angelique's heirloom necklace. Caldwell warns him that the next time he accuses him of playing with marked cards he might fall overboard by "accident," but Mark remains unintimidated. When Mark spots Angelique in town the next day, he attempts to return her necklace, but she refuses it. Soon after, Polly learns that Caldwell and his friends are planning to assault Mark, and spirits him onto a ship bound for New Orleans. Caldwell's henchmen quickly jump on deck and attack, but Mark fends them off long enough to jump off the boat with Polly. Within a few days they reach New Orleans, a city Mark loves. At a fencing club, his expertise attracts the attention of Edmond Dureau, the club's most accomplished jouster. Mark reveals to Edmond that he is a gambler who has provoked the ire of Edmond's son and daughter, but Edmond, who admired Mark's father, invites him to his home. There, Angelique continues to refuse the marriage proposals of banker George Elwood, and also spurns Mark. When he notices a portrait of her mother, who died in childbirth, which depicts her wearing the heirloom necklace, he gives the piece back to Edmond. Realizing that Mark is in love with Angelique, Edmond arranges to "bump into" her that night while they are with two beautiful women. She tries to hide her jealousy, but cannot. At the governor's ball held later that week, Mark tricks Angelique into dancing with him by asking her in front of the governor. On the dance floor, he informs her that although he knows she loves him, she must come to him of her own will. Over the next months, Mark earns money gambling to build his own restaurant and casino. One poker game is joined by Julian Conant, who bets badly and, after losing all his money, immediately shoots himself. Mark insists on notifying Julian's sister Ann, a sweet young woman who is now alone in the world. He and Polly help her through the next days, secretly funneling money into her account. As soon as Laurent sees Ann in town, he falls deeply in love with her, but when he proposes marriage, she admits that she loves Mark. He reveals Mark's feelings for Angelique, but she replies that she expects no reward for her love, and Laurent stalks out, enraged. That night, he drunkenly challenges Mark to a duel. Angelique soon hears that Mark has chosen pistols instead of swords, and visits his room to thank him. When he kisses her and accuses her of avoiding men because she is haunted by her mother's death, she runs out angrily. During the duel, Laurent shoots before the countdown is finished. Although Mark is permitted one free shot, he throws his pistols down. Humiliated, Edmond asks Laurent to leave his home, and is crushed when Angelique goes with him. Within days, Angelique is planning her marriage to George and protecting Laurent, who has been socially shunned. Saddened by both events, she visits Edmond, who welcomes her. He then visits Mark to urge him to stop the wedding, but agrees with the gambler that Angelique does not yet know herself well enough to marry happily. Days after the wedding, Laurent has disappeared and George is concerned about Angelique's distant manner. One day, Edmond hears a man refer to Ann as Mark's mistress and challenges him to a duel, which he loses. The same night, Laurent shows up in town and attacks Mark at a bar. They tussle, and Laurent dies, falling upon his own knife. When Mark visits Edmond's deathbed to relay the sad news, Edmond requests that Mark watch over Angelique. Soon after, Mark's financier friends reveal that they are pulling their money out of George's bank, potentially ruining it, because he spends too liberally. George will not listen to Mark's warnings, but when the bank fails, he disappears with the remaining monies, including Mark's. Mark now must resume his riverboat gambling to make more money, and although Ann lets him go gracefully, she breaks down after he leaves. Meanwhile, Angelique's marriage is quickly annulled, and she is compelled to move back into her father's house. There, while looking at her mother's portrait, she hears Mark's words in her head. She races to Mark's riverboat and, just before it sails off, jumps on board and into his arms. When she tries to explain, he kisses her before she can speak. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.