The Macomber Affair

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THE MACOMBER AFFAIR—-Hemingway’s story “The Short, Happy Life Of Francis Macomber” became one of the first ‘Great White Hunter’ sagas that enjoyed popularity for around a decade (this came out in 1947). Directed by Zoltan Korda, with a script adapted by Casey Robinson, it’s clever, with a good amount of bristling dialogue between the three leads.

Guide Gregory Peck takes out a safari for rich weakling Robert Preston and his wife, Joan Bennett, whose nose is markedly in the uptilted position. No bones are made about where beds are laid, and the trek into the bush becomes more of a hassle than anticipated.Macomber Affair 01

Good acting from the three stars, effective musical scoring from Miklos Rozsa and location shooting (2nd- unit in Kenya mixed with isolated areas around Tecate, Mexico as a substitute for Africa) are all commendable.  A brisk 89 minutes, co-starring Reginald Denny.  The script is regarded as one of the best adaptations of Hemingway’s work (the story was written in 1936), though the ending was softened to conform to production code restrictions.

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Box-office was around $2,500,000. For Peck, it was a satisfying personal and professional experience, though the little picture was rather lost, sandwiched between his huge hits Spellbound and The Yearling, then Duel In The Sun and Gentleman’s Agreement.  As the venomous wife, Bennett, 36, added another winner to her gallery of femme fatale parts that spiced that phase of her career. Preston, who had been out of circulation since going into the Air Corps in 1943, drew the best reviews, and the attention sparked a fresh spate of good roles.

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