The Mississippi Gambler (1953) Poster

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A gratifying entertainment!
Nazi_Fighter_David2 September 2000
The paddle boats were particularly suited to the shallow waters... The most famous were the very elegant gaming boats with casinos, bars and dancing rounding the bends of the Mississippi River...

"The Mississippi Gambler" is filled with many colorful characters... It is good for the reason that it covers a lot of ground and refreshes the eyes with great stars... It is good because Tyrone Power is excellent as the gallant gentleman, a man of high principles, honorable and courteous with women, a man with a sense of honor, duty and justice, steady in the game of skill, style and finesse, a very lucky man in the poker game...

Power erases the rough edges off his film personality and turns in a characterization that is virile without being rough... He and Piper Laurie make an excellent team... This cute headstrong haughty woman proves herself a good dramatic actress... She declares her love to Power on time, when the boat was about to sail...

Julie Adams breathes life into her characterization... She is a beautiful bereaved young woman who lost her heart on the riverboat and tries gently to discourage her admirer...

John McIntire is the veteran riverboat gambler with a dream - to open an honest gambling house, with a partner, on the bank of the Mississippi River...

John Baer is the unsympathetic compulsive gambler who cannot control the urge to gamble and loses everything... Baer is the arrogant descendant of an aristocratic family who wants to settle his debt by giving his sister's valuable necklace... He is the treacherous young man who turns coward on the dueling field...

Dennis Weaver is the good-looking young man who wrecks his life by gambling away all his money... Paul Cavanagh is the loving father who throws down his gauntlet defending his friend's principles challenging the offending party to a duel... Ron Randell is the banker embezzled to abundant luxuries on his willful and obstinate wife..

The film is beautifully shot with costumes above reproach... It is a gratifying entertainment, where romanticism is above all an exaltation of individual values and aspirations above those of society...
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The Biggest Surprise Hit of the 1950s, Great and Absorbing
silverscreen88814 June 2005
Seton I. Miller's script for the "Mississippi Gambler" is his masterwork. Ther film is beautifully directed, and for once at UniversalStudios, it even looks like an "A" budget effort much of the time. The costumes are stunning, the storyline continually enthralling and the characters frankly unforgettable. Tyrone Power is a few years too old for the part of Mark Fallon, prototype of many a later gambler in westerns; but his acting in my professional judgment in this film is the best he ever did. Lovely young Piper Laurie's and intelligence both serve her in her portrayal of a skittish young Southern belle running away from her attraction to Fallon. Others in the stellar cast include John McIntire as Mr. Polly, Ron Randell as Fallon's rival, Ralph Dumke, King Donovan, Julie Adams, Dennis Weaver and first and foremost veteran Cavanagh as Ms. Dureaux, notorious rake in his time who sees his sins visited on his uncontrollable son and daughter. The theme of the film is honesty; Power wants to be an honest gambler on the Mississippi where a jackal's code is the norm. Bue Fallon has one weapon on his side in his unequal battle,; he is the best swordsman in the world. He sets out to build a life with only those two weapons. Ther film's action sequences are unusually fine, and the dialogue is frequently superb, and the characters unforgettable. This film out of nowhere became a top ten hit in the busy film year of 1953, helped by Gwen Verdon's choreography, the serviceable music by Frank Skinner and the production values of sets, lighting and art direction that make the feature seem even more expensive that it was to create. A minor masterpiece, and a memorable romance; it is also that rarity, an historical film of ideas as well as sparkling adventures. One of the great movies by any standard.
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Beautiful example of dear old classic movie
pzanardo26 February 2002
A joyous technicolor is the symbol of what dear old classic movies mean for us: entertainment, relax, simple but beautiful stories, nice and talented actors, great cinematography and costumes, accurate direction, and, of course, a due happy ending. "The Mississippi gambler" is a perfect instance of what I've just said.

The whole cast works beautifully. I like Tyrone Power. He succeeds in the difficult task of being a beautiful man and an incredibly nice guy. He is a very good actor, too, largely underrated, in my opinion. For the talent of pretty Piper Laurie just refer to "The hustler". Here she manages to be brilliant even in the somewhat straightforward role of the spoiled girl. And then we have John McIntire: he is a member of the club of the all-time-greatest supporting actors, together with Walter Brennan, Thomas Mitchell etc. His mere presence improves a film.

The story is quick-paced, interesting, entertaining, romantic, much 1800ish. The good taste rules. There's plenty of amiable 19th century cliches. Who doesn't like the old gentleman (great job by Paul Cavanagh) who faces a duel to defend the reputation of a young woman? According to the literature of the 19th century, brothers seem to exist mainly to cause major troubles and misery to their affectionate sisters. In "The Mississippi gambler" we have no less than two independent examples in this direction. By the way, John Baer is very good in the role of the debauched, arrogant but coward youngster.

The photography, costumes, and locations are gorgeous. The interiors are outstanding: look at the furniture, it's magnificent. Everything is merged in a glorious, shining technicolor, the main ingredient of our dreams, the vehicle for us to be transferred into another epoch.

Something to add? A fine design is made of the 1800ish psychology of the characters: romanticism, honor, duels, pride, want of adventure, and all that sort of likeable things.

"The Mississippi gambler" is a really good movie, worth of a golden age of cinema.
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you have seen it all, but here it works better
tmwest4 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
When seeing The Mississipi Gambler you have the feeling you have seen it all before, I did, a great deal of it in "The Iron Mistress" but somehow here it works better. Tyrone Power was great in the swashbucklers, but the only western he made was "Rawhide" where he played a city dude. I would call this film a half western and Power is absolutely great. Just the gambling scenes make the film worth seeing. Piper Laurie in a Virginia Mayo or Rhonda Fleming type of role does her job well and so does Julia Adams as the loser for Power's Love. When you see a film so many years after, that does not seem old fashioned and keeps you interested every second, you can say "Well done, don't miss it"
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Ty Power as Gaylord Ravenal
bkoganbing1 September 2006
Mississippi Gambler was Tyrone Power's first film since Darryl Zanuck loaned him to MGM for Marie Antoinette away from Twentieth Century Fox. Ty produced this one and filmed it under the banner of Universal- International. It got deserved good reviews.

No actor in the history of cinema was better suited to period pieces and costumes as Tyrone Power. If Power had been possessed of a good singing voice he'd have made the ultimate Gaylord Ravenal.

As Mark Fallon he's a gentlemen riverboat gambler who gets involved with a pair of women, the spoiled Piper Laurie from an aristocratic New Orleans family and Julie Adams, a down to earth person of few pretensions, but she comes to love Ty deeply. Who could blame her.

Ty with partner John McIntire set out to and succeed in owning a gambling palace where honest games of chance are the rule. They don't need to cheat because they're both the best at their trade.

Villain of the piece is John Baer, Laurie's weakwilled and spoiled brother. He becomes a truly hateful person in this film, the kind audiences love to hiss.

Making a film debut here is Dennis Weaver as a man who goes broke at Power's tables and then commits suicide. You could tell Weaver was going to have a big career from this brief role. You can also spot Guy Williams as one of Baer's aristocratic friends.

If Universal had used one of their contract players for Mississippi Gambler, the part would undoubtedly have been played by the fast rising Rock Hudson. But I don't think Rock could have touched what Power did in a role perfectly suited for him.

Hopefully Mississippi Gambler will come out on Video and DVD soon. Too many of Tyrone Power's performances are unseen by today's generation.
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No shadow would ever stand between us.
Spikeopath3 December 2011
The Mississippi Gambler is directed by Rudolph Maté and written by Seton I. Miller. It stars Tyrone Power, Piper Laurie, Julie Adams, John Mcintire, Paul Cavanagh, John Baer and Ron Randell. A Technicolor production out of Universal Pictures, the cinematography is by Irving Glassberg and music scored by Frank Skinner.

Mark Fallon (Power) is an ace and honest card player who earns his crust gambling on the river boats. Along with Kansas John Polly (McIntire), he aims to bring honest gambling to the card playing masses. When during one high stakes game he beats and embarrasses Laurent Dureau (Baer), it takes him to New Orleans where into his life comes danger, wealth, beautiful women, friendships and tragedy.

Sometimes horses and beautiful women are upset by whistles.

A forgotten film in the output of matinée idol Tyrone Power, The Mississippi Gambler is a different kind of adventure to the type he was ultimately known for. Perhaps this is why it's still relatively obscure? That it isn't a swashbuckling tale of derring-do and testosterone fuelled bravado? As fun as his swordsman pictures are, and they are, it's a shame that the films such as this and Nightmare Alley, that contain some of his best performances, neither get the praise or exposure they deserve.

Mississippi Gambler finds Power getting his teeth into a role that can in many ways be seen as the ultimate male. Mark Fallon lives and breathes honesty and integrity, he is not only an ace card player, he's an expert swordsman, a gentleman, an excellent dancer, and of course, handsome into the bargain. What makes the film so intriguing and ever watchable, is that Fallon does everything correct as he lives his life, but pain, misery and tragedy surrounds him. The majority of people who come into contact with him invariably suffer in one form or another, marking Fallon out as a homme fatale type through no fault of his own, with the film being structured in such a way you just have to wait for the finale to see if your hopes will be fulfilled?

Entering into this one expecting a high velocity adventure will only lead to disappointment. There is action, quite a bit in fact, as we are treated to some fencing, old fashioned fist fights and a duel, while fans of card playing get a couple of high stakes battle of wills to gorge upon. But all these moments are just insertions into a character driven whole, a whole based on romance, passion and yearnings for the unobtainable. The lead characters are nicely drawn by Maté (D.O.A.) and Miller (The Adventures of Robin Hood/Here Comes Mr. Jordan), where the psychological make up and traits of the important individuals is there to absorb, ensuring the story is never dull, that it has a belief in what it will deliver come the end. The only real misstep is with Adams' character, Ann Conant, it's a thankless role and really needed some more flesh on her bones. But boy does Adams look stunning!

As a production the film also scores incredibly high. Bill Thomas' period costumes are feasts for the eyes, beautifully realised by Glassberg's (Bend of the River) Technicolor photography, and the back drop set decoration (Russell Gausman/Julia Heron) is fit to have graced a bigger budgeted epic in the same decade. Prolific music man Frank Skinner (Arabian Nights) scores it thematically reflective, while Gwen Verdon deserves a mention for her choreography, notably for the excitingly macabre Haitian Devil Song. On the acting front it's ineviatbly Power's show, but he is well supported by McIntire (crafty sidekick), Laurie (pulse raising lady axis) and Baer (snivelling spoiled fop). However, best of the support bunch is Cavanagh (Magnificent Obsession), he gives Edmond Dureau a regal quality, a bastion of moral codes, a hark back to when men were correct in manners and parental skills. The relationship between Fallon and Edmond is one of the film's true highlights, and that's because of Power and Cavanagh's performances.

A wonderful movie that's just crying out for a wide home format release, if you get the chance to catch it then grasp it with both hands. 8/10
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Tyrone gambling on the Mississippi
blanche-218 December 2005
"The Mississippi Gambler" is largely responsible for the downfall of Tyrone Power's marriage to Linda Christian. The film was originally developed as a vehicle for the two of them, but Universal Pictures prevailed and Piper Laurie was cast. As Laurie herself put it, "When I did the test, my competition was Mrs. Power!" Christian never forgave her husband. Add to that his affair with Anita Ekberg (who is uncredited in this movie), and you've got a recipe for divorce.

Needless to say, the role was tailor-made for Power - that of a handsome, honorable, gentleman-gambler who's in love with one woman, Angelique (Laurie) and has the love of another, Ann (Julia Adams). Power is magnificently handsome, if maybe a little too old for this part. He is meticulously dressed and has the opportunity to show off his sword play. It's an excellent role for him, and one he does beautifully.

The production values are sumptuous, including the sets, costumes, and a marvelous supporting cast which includes John McIntyre, Ron Randell, and John Baer, and the wonderful Paul Cavanagh, who plays Angelique's father. Laurie, once the President of her local Tyrone Power Fan Club, is exquisite in the ingénue role. The beautiful Julia Adams (who looks eerily like Connie Selleca in this film) does a great job of suffering from unrequited love.

Nearly twenty years of working at Twentieth Century Fox had taught Power a lot. This film was a huge hit and, with a percentage of the gross, made a ton of money for him. He needed it for the divorce settlement.
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An enjoyable movie
Jimjnx17 December 2005
Excellent and a bit different action type story line. Great mix, of old world, upper echelon Mississippi River gambling life. Also the rift between "commoners" and the "rich elite" who like to make believe they don't have all the same feelings and faults like us average folk. It has a good supporting cast as well. Tyrone Power was a bit older by this move but we all age and he still looks darn good. He also is still a fine actor and personality and can command the screen too. It's has some excellent sword play and it also provides a bit of a real fencing education. Besides all that it's in color and It's got Julie Adams and Piper Laurie too!
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Gambler wins by playing honestly at cards and love
rowiddow6 February 2001
Tyrone Power does a fine turn as a gambler who prevails at cards and life by playing honestly at both. Director Billy Wilder later used Power's talent at playing the honest-joe in Witness for the Prosecution. In the latter movie, Power's characterization is richer and more nuanced than here(but you'll need to see Witness to find out why!). Seton I. Miller, the chief screenwriter for Mississippi Gambler, worked with Powers in an earlier movie, The Black Swan. Both movies feature a dance sequence highlighting black "ethnic" musicians and dancers. Gwen Verdon provides the dancing talent in Mississippi Gambler. Worth watching for the lavish costumes, detailed sets, and excellent cast. Sadly, by the time this movie was made, Power had lost the aura that caused him to shine as a younger star.
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More twists and turns than the mighty Mississippi itself.
mark.waltz5 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It is obvious to me from the start that New Orleans belle Piper Laurie is not deserving of the undying love that gambler Tyrone Power holds on for her during the course of this colorful period drama. The love that he has for her is more worthy for the beautiful Julia Adams who is as kind as Laurie is troubled and selfish. Certainly on the surface, Lori's character seems decent and loving, but underneath all that, is she really worth all the trouble that Power goes through? With father Paul Cavanaugh and brother Ron Randell, she's been far too spoiled and thus has a distorted loyalty to them that will stand in the way of the "true love" that the writers want us to believe she has for Power. When Adams' brother commit suicide due to deep gambling debts, Power helps her through the tragedy and Laurie is instantly jealous when she sees them together in public. It also makes Randall furiously jealous as well, demanding a day to which there really can be no winner.

it took me a good half hour to become interested in what was going on here, and that happened with the sudden appearance of Julia Adams, pre-"Creature From the Black Lagoon" who could be described as the Melanie to Laurie's phony Scarlett O'Hara. Up till that time, the only thing remotely curious about the film is a Creole dance number which features Broadway legend Gwen Verdon in extreme black face in a dance number she choreographed (billed as Gwyneth).

The period detail is certainly outstanding and many of the supporting performances (particularly Cavanaugh and John McIntyre) are very good as well. However I found no chemistry between Power and Laurie, and whatever hold that Randall had over her to be unrealistic and found Randall's character to be insufferable. Therefore, I had no emotional reaction to the conclusion and thus have to mark this as a disappointment.
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Honest gambler and swordsman Ty spars with reluctant lady love
weezeralfalfa12 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Certainly, a classic portrayal of the gentleman riverboat gambler who excels at playing cards when no trickery is involved. He is also an expert swordsman, taught by his father. Along with dancing, these seem to be his main skills, but should be sufficient to support a wife and children, in the right environment. We might contrast Mark with Gaylord Ravinal, of "Showboat", also a riverboat gambler. After marrying Magnolia, his gambling luck turns sour, and he leaves Magnolia. Her father says "Ï told you so". In contrast to the aristocratic Leia in the present film, who tried to deny her attraction to this social underling, Magnolia practically threw herself at Gaylord, who was handsome, dressed as a gentleman, and was an excellent singer, besides apparently skilled at gambling. Gaylord left Magnolia, but eventually came crawling back to her. In contrast, in the present film, it's Leia who comes running to Mark, asking forgiveness for all her putdowns.

John McIntire, as John Polly, serves as Mark's sidekick, sharing Mark's dream of creating a no-cheating gambling establishment. Ralph Dunke, as Caldwell, tries to prevent the two from accomplishing this goal, as he has made his fortune cheating at gambling. His goons try to rough up and dump overboard Mark and Pool. The two manage to beat their opponents and dive overboard in a shallow stretch, to take another boat the rest of the way to N.O.. Surprisingly, the pair don't seem to encounter Caldwell in N.O..

Another villain is Laurent(John Baer): Leia's brother, and the son of Edmond Dureau(Paul Cavanagh), who runs a fencing club in N.O., and knew Mark's father in Paris. Both Laurent and Edmond are marked for death in the near future. Laurent considers Mark an unqualified upstart in the quest to win the hand of Leia. He challenges Mark to a formal duel. Surprisingly, Mark chooses pistols instead of rapiers as the weapons. Laurent cheats by firing his pistol before the count is finished. He misses, in his haste, leaving Mark to spare his life. However, Laurent was ostracized for his cheating. Why did Mark choose pistols rather than rapiers, which he was sure to win with? Apparently, he wanted to be seen as giving Laurent a sporting chance. Laurent would later again attempt to kill Mark, but only succeeded in killing himself. Laurent's father was mortally wounded in another duel. His death symbolically opened the way for Mark to become his successor as the champion swordsman of N.O..

Yet another villain is George Elwood(Ron Randell). He is a banker and becomes Leia's husband. Some rumors are spread about what he does with the bank's money, causing a run on the bank. He absconds with the remaining money, and Leia has the marriage annulled.

Piper Laurie, as Leia, isn't exactly a pleasant character. If I were Mark, I would have chosen the non-aristocratic Ann(Julie Adams)over her. Apparently, Mark preferred aristocratic breeding over personality and usefulness.

Tyrone Power isn't my favorite actor, and I find many of his films dull. However, this one is OK, although he can look menacing when he scowls, at this age.

In the middle, the acclaimed Gwen Verdon stars dancing to ""Haitian Devil Song". It's pretty long and ornate. See all at YouTube
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Kind of dull...
MartinHafer31 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
While I am a fan of Tyrone Power's film, I gotta admit that this is not one of his finer moments. The story is about a very, very successful riverboat gambler, Mark Fallon (Power) and the weird infatuation he has with a very screwy young lady (Piper Laurie). Throughout the course of the film, the lady's brother is a shiftless jerk--gambling away their money and behaving VERY impulsively. He also seems to blame Fallon for everything and tries to kill him a couple times. As for Fallon, he's practically perfect in every way and repeatedly lets the bother off the hook for his own awful behavior. Ultimately, however, the jerk brother tries (again) to murder Fallon and Fallon kills him while trying to protect himself...and the stupid sister STILL acts like Fallon is the Antichrist! As for the father of the two dopes, he knows what's going on and likes Fallon. Can all this get straightened out by the end of the film AND can anyone tell me why Fallon wants to marry this flaky lady? Sure, she's gorgeous but the guy could easily find another lady who apparently isn't totally stupid.

While my summary might sound a bit flippant, it IS essentially the story and this all gets tiresome after a while. Not terrible...the film has its moments, but it suffers from a silly cliché-ridden script. Not one of Power's finer endeavors.

By the way, look for Dennie Weaver in a small role as an even stupider gambler...the guy who offs himself after gambling away his company's funds.
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