The Mississippi Gambler (1953)

The Mississippi Gambler (1953)The Mississippi Gambler is a 1953 film released by Universal International Pictures. The film stars Tyrone Power as Mark Fallon, a gambler who tries to bring honest gambling to the riverboats. Along the way, Fallon makes enemies with various crooked gamblers, and develops a complicated romance with Angelique Dureau, a woman whose necklace he wins in a poker game.

Cast and Crew of The Mississippi Gambler

The Mississippi Gambler focuses on three central characters: Mark Fallon, Angelique Dureau, and John Polly, who are played by Tyrone Power, Piper Laurie, and John McIntire respectively. The cast also includes Julie Adams, Paul Cavanagh, John Baer, Ron Randell, Ralph Dumke, Rober Warwick, William Reynolds, and Guy Williams.

The Mississippi Gambler was directed by Rudolph Maté, and produced by Ted Richmond. Frank Skinner composed the score, while Irving Glassberg was the cinematographer. The screenplay for The Mississippi Gambler was written by Seton I. Miller, and Edward Curtiss edited the film.

The Mississippi Gambler was released in February of 1953, as has a running length of 99 minutes.

Plot Summary for The Mississippi Gambler

Mark Fallon, an expert gambler, arrives in Mississippi and meets up with John Polly, an expert card player who pretends to be incompetent. Polly is impressed by Fallon’s skill and commitment to fair gambling, and warns him of the crooked players he’ll encounter, such as F. Montague Caldwell.

Fallon is intrigued by Angelique Dureau, a female gambler who has arrived in town along with her brother Laurent. Fallon plays in a poker game with Caldwell and Laurent and asks for a fresh deck of cards. Fallon wins the game handily, and Laurent pays him with Angelique’s necklace. Caldwell tells Fallon that he should be careful about accusing him of cheating, or he might "accidentally" fall overboard. Fallon dismisses his claims. Fallon sees Angelique the next day and offers to return the necklace, but she refuses.

Polly finds out that Caldwell is planning to attack Fallon, and take him to a ship heading for New Orleans. Fallon meets Edmond Dureau at a fencing club. Edmond is a friend of Fallon’s father, and invites him to his home despite the fact that his children dislike Fallon. Fallon returns the necklace to Edmond. Later, at a governor’s ball, Fallon asks Angelique to dance. Fallon informs Angelique that he knows she is developing a romantic interest in him.

Fallon continues to gamble and raise funds to support his casino and restaurant. He beats another gambler, Julian Conant, in a poker game, and Julian shoots himself. Fallon contacts Julian’s sister Ann and begins to give her money in secret. Laurent falls in love with Ann, but she rejects him and says she’s in love with Fallon. Ann doesn’t care when Laurent tells him that Fallon loves Angelique. Laurent decides to duel Fallon, with Fallon choosing to use pistols. Laurent shoots early and misses Fallon, who then decides to call the duel off. Laurent and Angelique leave.

Angelique is about to be married to George, a banker, against her will. Edmond contacts Fallon and asks him to stop the wedding, and the two agree that Angelique is not yet ready to marry anyone, including Fallon. The wedding occurs anyways, but George begins to suspect that Angelique doesn’t really love him. Edmond begins to believe that Fallon is romantically involved with Ann, and loses to him in a duel. Laurent attacks Fallon, and accidentally falls on his own knife and dies. Fallon informs Edmond on his deathbed, and Edmond asks Fallon to look out for Angelique.

George’s bank begins to fail, and George leaves town with the remaining funds, including Fallon’s money. Fallon resumes gambling on riverboats in order to earn his money back. Angelique gets an annulment, and moves back in to Edmond’s house. She has a sudden change of heart, and races for Mark’s riverboat. Angelique jumps on board, embraces Fallon, and he kisses her.

Additional Information on The Mississippi Gambler

The Mississippi Gambler was nominated for one Oscar in 1954, in the category of best sound recording. The film marked the first screen appearance of Anita Ekberg, a Swedish actress who went onto an illustrious film career.

The critical reception for The Mississippi Gambler has been mixed. Some critics regard The Mississippi Gambler as a fine example of the golden age of cinema. Reviewers cite excellent cinematography, fine acting performances, and attractive costumes and locations as The Mississippi Gambler’s strengths. The film offers plenty of gambling scenes that will be thrilling for poker players.

Other critics have said that The Mississippi Gambler offers too little in the way of story to be considered a truly great film. They claim that there are too many scenes that don’t directly contribute to the progression of the story, and that too much of the film is based on weak clichés typical of the era, including an improbably happy ending and a helpless woman who relies too heavily on the men in her life.