The Mississippi Gambler (1953 film)

The Mississippi Gambler is a 1953 American Technicolor Western adventure film directed by Rudolph Maté.[2] The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound Recording (Leslie I. Carey).[3] This film was the third Universal Studios film to bear this title--though with a different plot each time, The Mississippi Gambler (1929), Mississippi Gambler (1943).[4]

The Mississippi Gambler
Directed byRudolph Maté
Produced byTed Richmond
Written bySeton I. Miller
StarringTyrone Power
Piper Laurie
Julie Adams
Music byFrank Skinner
CinematographyIrving Glassberg
Edited byEdward Curtiss
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • January 13, 1953 (1953-01-13) (St. Louis Missouri)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$5 million[1]


Mark Fallon (Tyrone Power) meets professional gambler "Kansas John" Polly (John McIntire), who takes him under his wing. As they board a riverboat bound for New Orleans, Kansas John advises him to be wary of F. Montague Caldwell (Ralph Dumke), an unscrupulous riverboat gambler.

Mark makes the acquaintance of two fellow passenger, attractive Angelique Dureau (Piper Laurie) and her brother, Laurent (John Baer). Laurent loses a great deal of money at cards. He gives Mark a valuable diamond necklace to redeem his gambling IOUs. When Mark learns that it is Angelique's, he offers it back to her, but she angrily declines. Caldwell hires some men to ambush and rob Mark, but a friend warns Kansas John, and he and Mark jump ashore to reach New Orleans alive.

There he meets the father of Angelique and Laurent, the sophisticated Edmond Dureau (Paul Cavanagh), a noted fencer who is impressed by Mark's own skill with the sword. He invites Mark to his home, despite Mark's warning that his son and daughter would not welcome him. Dureau wishes his daughter would feel differently toward Mark, but Angelique instead weds a banker, George Elwood (Ron Randell).

Mark builds a successful casino. He and Edmond also give a helpful hand to Ann Conant (Julie Adams), the sister of an unlucky gambler who committed suicide after losing the money entrusted to him by his firm. Laurent falls for Ann, but she is smitten with Mark, so Laurent forces Mark into a duel. As the challenged party, Mark has the choice of weapons; he selects pistols instead of swords. Laurent dishonorably fires prematurely and misses. Mark refuses to shoot back.

Angelique's husband skips town with everyone's money after a scandal is uncovered. Mark, who had refused to withdraw his money out of consideration for Angelique, despite widespread disquieting rumors, is left penniless, so he returns to his old life as a gambler. Angelique realizes her true feelings and asks to go along.



The film was very popular. Variety estimated it had earned box office rentals in America of $3 million by the end of 1953.[5]


  1. Edwin Schallert (March 6, 1953). "Sobbin' Women' Shaping for Betta St. John; 'Far West' Set for Hornblow". Los Angeles Times.
  2. "The Mississippi Gambler". NY Times. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  3. "The 26th Academy Awards (1954) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  4. "The Mississippi Gambler (1953)". American Film Institute.
  5. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954. Please note this figure is rentals, not box.
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