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Across the Wide Missouri

There's much that will seize audience attention in Missouri. The color lensing of the rugged outdoor locations backgrounding the story of beaver trappers and Indians in the early west brings the sites to the screen with breathtaking beauty. Critically, though, the presentation is choppy and episodic, and the device of having the Indian dialog lengthily translated, is dull and boring.

There’s much that will seize audience attention in Missouri. The color lensing of the rugged outdoor locations backgrounding the story of beaver trappers and Indians in the early west brings the sites to the screen with breathtaking beauty. Critically, though, the presentation is choppy and episodic, and the device of having the Indian dialog lengthily translated, is dull and boring.

Story [by Talbot Jennings and Frank Cavett] is narrated by an unseen voice (Howard Keel) identified as the son of Clark Gable and his Indian wife, played by Mexican film star Maria Elena Marques.

Plot finds Gable, a rough and ready trapper, taking Marques as a bride because he believes it will help him get into some untouched beaver country controlled by an Indian tribe led by the bride’s grandfather (Jack Holt). Gable, the wife and other trappers make the long trek and, upon arrival, are temporarily repulsed by young Indians led by Ricardo Montalban.

Wellman’s direction clicks when he has the story on the move in the battle and trekking sequences. He’s not able to do much when the script requires the actors to sit down and talk out the long translations.

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Across the Wide Missouri

  • Production: M-G-M. Director William A. Wellman; Producer Robert Sisk; Writer Talbot Jennings; Camera William C. Mellor Editor John Dunning; Music David Raksin Art Cedric Gibbons, James Basevi
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1951. Running time: 78 MIN.
  • With: Clark Gable Ricardo Montalban John Hodiak Adolphe Menjou Maria Elena Marques J. Carrol Naish
  • Music By: