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The Macomber Affair

Released Apr 20, 1947 1h 29m Drama List
67% Tomatometer 9 Reviews 58% Audience Score 50+ Ratings Francis Macomber (Robert Preston) and his wife, Margaret (Joan Bennett), hire experienced hunter Robert Wilson (Gregory Peck) as their guide on a safari through Kenya. After embarking on the trip, Margaret becomes quickly and openly attracted to Robert. The safari guide refuses her advances, but the situation causes tension between husband and wife. When Margaret shoots Francis, it's up to a jury to decide whether she meant to kill her spouse or the stampeding buffalo behind him. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (9) Critics Reviews
James Agee TIME Magazine There is hardly a point that Hemingway made in this savage, complex communique about the war between the sexes that Korda and his actors fail to make in movie terms. Feb 27, 2018 Full Review Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader One of the more respectable Ernest Hemingway adaptations. Oct 18, 2008 Full Review Tom Milne Time Out It gradually begins to fall apart in the last third. Oct 18, 2008 Full Review Nell Dodson Russell Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder If you're an A.S.P.C.A. sympathiser, stay home and catch up on your sleep. Dec 15, 2021 Full Review Manny Farber The New Leader This movie suffocates you with Hemingway's puerile notions about what makes men heroes and cowards, and it will probably sell only the five-year-old yeggs in the audience. Nov 17, 2021 Full Review Jack Moffitt Esquire Magazine The Macomber Affair is a good picture that can be great if the theatre owner bribes the American Express Company not to deliver the last reel. Mar 11, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (6) audience reviews
Steve D Kind of a Red Dust rip off with a lame ending. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/20/24 Full Review Tom M You don't expect a film based on a Hemingway safari short story to include a vindictive and lustful femme fatale but Joan Bennett fits the bill and she's gorgeous and nasty. Adaptation is flimsy but easily overlooked because Peck takes over scene with his cool, calmness. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 12/28/20 Full Review Audience Member a good noir drama film set in Kenya good acting by Peck,Bennett and cast Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Audience Member The melodrama has terrific measured performances by the three stars. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member With all my praise on classic movies, you'd think that every old movie would deserve the title "classic". Wrong! Like many films of today's time, there are some classic films that really disappoint. Examples include the very dull and disappointing western Major Dundee, the highly overrated, disgusting musical Gigi, and the boring 1953 version of Titanic. The Macomber Affair, a drama starring Gregory Peck, Robert Preston, and Joan Bennett, joins the list of a disappointing old film. Gregory Peck plays Robert Wilson, a expert big-game hunter who takes fellow hunter Francis Macomber (Robert Preston) and wife Margaret (Joan Bennett) off to Kenya on a hunting expedition. Margaret does not like her husband, believing him to be a cowardly idiot, and after the killing of a ferocious lion, Margaret starts to fall for Robert, which leads to jealousy, competition, and tragedy. The Macomber Affair is a drama, but it can also be viewed as a film noir. There's a score that feels reminiscent of a noir, black-and-white cinematography that feels like a noir, and a story written by the infamous Hemingway that feels like a noir. I've seen some excellent noirs in my life (Key Largo, Sunset Boulevard, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Maltese Falcon), and I've seen some let-down noirs (The Big Sleep, The Postman Always Rings Twice). When it comes to The Macomber Affair, it joins the list of the let-down noirs. To be honest, the beginning really intrigued me. It opens with an aftermath of a tragedy, and then leads to what happened that led to the tragedy. But when the story unfolds, the film starts to bore... and bore... and bore. The ending, which leads up to the aftermath of the said tragedy, leads to heavy confusion and left me puzzled. Normally I like films with these kinds of endings, but when it comes to a film like this, I was heavily let-down. The reason why I don't believe the film worked for me is that the story was made by Ernest Hemmingway, a writer who's known for getting drunk when writing his stories. When it comes to The Macomber Affair, you can clearly tell that Hemmingway was super drunk when writing this cause it leads to dullness to dullness to disappointments. Gregory Peck is one of the most acclaimed actors in Hollywood, winning an Oscar for his role as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Here, he actually does give a good performance. He was just given a dull screenplay and wasted material. Joan Bennett was nice as well, and I liked her chemistry with Peck. But the performance that really disappointed me was Robert Preston's. He was definitely miscast. Every time I saw Preston on the screen, I kept picturing Harold Hill in The Music Man. His role was also really boring. When your only remembered scene is a racist scene involving the beating of an African-American waiter, then you know how bad the film is going to be. Also, the film is called The Macomber Affair, and there was no affair. There was an implied adulterous relationship between Peck and Bennett, but it just doesn't come out. All that's seen is a kiss in a jeep that all the characters got to see, including Preston. I think the film censors really dumbed the movie down. I'm reminded of The Postman Always Rings Twice, which has a similar problem. It has a wonderful cast, but a dull story and a dumbed-down romance. While I can understand why there were censors in the day (cause audiences then were very over-reacting), in today's time, it's a huge letdown. While there were excellent performances from Gregory Peck and Joan Bennett, plus a wonderful film score and an intriguing opening scene, The Macomber Affair is a very disappointing film noir, with a dumbed-down romance, a horribly miscast performance from Robert "The Music Man" Preston, and a highly racist scene. Alfred Hitchcock managed to get around the film censors, especially in Vertigo, so it would be better to watch his films instead if I were you. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review Audience Member Taking into account the shortcomings of the period: rear projection and non location filming this is a solid adventure film. Really a three person chamber piece the success or failure of the film rests on the performances of its leads and there it's on solid ground. Both Peck and Preston do good work but the standout is Joan Bennett. As a woman turned into a hard article by a bad marriage though subtle gestures and sly looks she gives the film a tough grounded center and she has rarely looked so beautiful. Not having read the book I'm not sure how closely it follows but the film does have a Hemingway feel. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Macomber Affair

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Movie Info

Synopsis Francis Macomber (Robert Preston) and his wife, Margaret (Joan Bennett), hire experienced hunter Robert Wilson (Gregory Peck) as their guide on a safari through Kenya. After embarking on the trip, Margaret becomes quickly and openly attracted to Robert. The safari guide refuses her advances, but the situation causes tension between husband and wife. When Margaret shoots Francis, it's up to a jury to decide whether she meant to kill her spouse or the stampeding buffalo behind him.
Director
Zoltan Korda
Producer
Benedict Bogeaus, Casey Robinson
Screenwriter
Frank Arnold, Seymour Bennett, Casey Robinson
Distributor
United Artists
Production Co
Benedict Bogeaus Production
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Apr 20, 1947, Original
Runtime
1h 29m