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Across the Wide Missouri

Across the Wide Missouri

William A Wellman (1951)

75min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
It would have been interesting had MGM left director William A Wellman's epic vision untouched, but after unfavourable previews this western adventure was hacked down to its current length. Narration was added, which, despite being superbly delivered by an off-screen Howard Keel, only serves to diminish and simplify a movie of real grandeur. What's left is fine, though. Cameraman William C Mellor's use of Technicolor is exemplary, as vast landscapes are bloodied by the advance of "civilisation" in the shape of pioneers in the Rocky Mountains of the 1820s, and the score by David Raksin (Laura) is outstanding. Clark Gable seems uncomfortably cast as real-life trapper Flint Mitchell, and the complex dialogue scenes with the native Americans severely hinder the plot's progression. There's a lingering feeling that this could have been magnificent; perhaps the theme was a little too bitter for MGM's outgoing boss, the wholesome family entertainment-loving Louis B Mayer.

Summary

An ambitious fur trapper plans to make his fortune in beaver pelts. To do so, he needs a safe passage through Blackfoot territory, so he marries the chief's daughter and together they lead an expedition that takes them deep into the uncharted wilderness. Western adventure, starring Clark Gable, Ricardo Montalban, Maria Elena Marques and John Hodiak.

Cast & Crew

Flint Mitchell Clark Gable
Ironshirt Ricardo Montalban
Brecan John Hodiak
Pierre Adolphe Menjou
Kamiah Maria Elena Marques
Looking Glass J Carrol Naish
Bear Ghost Jack Holt
Captain Humberstone Lyon Alan Napier
Gowie George Chandler
Dick Richard Anderson
Narrator Howard Keel
Director William A Wellman
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Other Information

Language: English Colour Theatrical distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Available on: Available on DVD

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