A robust, exciting tale, MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER has dashing Power in the title role, playing the son of a renowned New York fencing master. En route to New Orleans from St. Louis, Power gets into a poker game with Baer, snobbish son of a wealthy Southern family. When Baer loses a fortune he
pays off by giving Power an expensive necklace belonging to his haughty sister Laurie. The gallant Power offers to return the necklace to Laurie but arrogant Laurie refuses, telling him he can put on all the airs of a cavalier he wishes but he's still a low-life. Power teams up with veteran
gambler McIntire on board ship and makes plans to open a lavish but honest gambling casino in New Orleans. He does, winning many friends who admire his chivalric manners, including Cavanagh, father of Baer and Laurie, who accepts the necklace and returns it to a daughter who continues to treat
Power as dirt. Though she loves Power, Laurie cannot bring herself to show it. Power later meets improverished belle Adams and becomes her protector after her brother, Weaver, commits suicide over gambling losses. Laurie becomes bitterly jealous when seeing Power escorting Adams about New Orleans.
Her brother Baer falls in love with Adams, who lets him down gently for she, too, is in love with Power. Baer, incensed at being rejected and blaming Power for his romantic plight, challenges the gambler to a duel. He cheats on the dueling ground but Power does not use his shot to kill his
opponent and Baer is sent away in disgrace. Now Laurie really hates (and continues to love) Power for bringing her brother to social ruin and she spitefully marries banker Randell, even though she doesn't love him. Randell, meanwhile, to satiate his wife's appetite for expensive things, embezzles
bank funds, and Baer, who runs into Power on a riverboat, attempts to kill his rival but falls on his own knife and dies. Power then learns that his friend Cavanagh is dying from wounds he received in a duel while defending Power's honor and the gambler rushes back to New Orleans to be at his
deathbed. Randell's crooked ways are discovered and a run on his bank causes Power and McIntire to lose their fortune. Out of money, Power returns to the river and is about to sail north to gamble his way into another fortune when Laurie arrives to tell him that Randell has deserted her and that
she has loved him and only him all along. He embraces her and they leave for a new life together.
This costumer is handsomely mounted and Power is commanding as the suave, noble gambler. Mate directs with great vigor and the production values are superior in every sense. Laurie plays the petulant belle with a little too much venom, although she is ravishing and appealing. McIntire is excellent
as the seasoned gambler, a role he had earlier played with much more sinister overtones in THE FAR COUNTRY. The theme of this film has been worked and reworked many times and much of the story's content, plot, and even the characters, chiefly the roles essayed by Power and Laurie, owe a great debt
to THE FOXES OF HARROW and, to a lesser degree, THE GAMBLER FROM NATCHEZ, starring Dale Robertson. Jeff Chandler, one of Universal's top leading men at the time, was originally slated to play the lead role here, but other commitments kept him from the chore. Rock Hudson was also considered for the
part but then Power was brought in at a whopping salary in his first production away from his home studio, Fox, since his disastrous loan-out to MGM for MARIE ANTOINETTE in 1938. Power and producer Richmond became fast friends while working on this film and the two later formed a production
company, Copa Productions, for independent filmmaking. Oscar nominated for Best Sound.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A robust, exciting tale, MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER has dashing Power in the title role, playing the son of a renowned New York fencing master. En route to New Orleans from St. Louis, Power gets into a poker game with Baer, snobbish son of a wealthy Southern fami… (more)