Welcome to week four of Ava December!! Happy Ava Tuesday!! In honor of Ava’s birthday week, I have a special surprise today!! Read on…
In 1953, Ava Gardner starred in the John Ford film, “Mogambo” which was a remake of the 1932 film, “Red Dust.” Ava’s performance as Eloise “Honeybear” Kelly in the film garnered her an Oscar nomination, the only one in her long career.
In this film, Honeybear sings the Scottish folk tune, “Comin thru the rye” one night after dinner; dancing, swaying, and enjoying every moment of the song. In Ava’s own words (from her autobiography “Ava: My Life”):
“As far as my career as an actress went, Mogambo was probably as close to a pinnacle as anything I’ve done. For someone with my naturally irreverent temperament, playing a sassy, tough-talking playgirl who whistles at men, drinks whiskey straight from the bottle, and says about wine, ‘Any year, any model, they all bring out my better nature’ was a gift from the gods. I never felt more comfortable in a part before or since, and I was even allowed to improvise some of my dialogue. Yet if you would have told me that I’d feel this way about a film directed by John Ford, I would have sent you straight to Artie Shaw’s psychiatrist.”
I was excited to learn this song, and when it came time to performing, I was actually able to wear a dress that my mother designed and had made for her. In the 1970’s she attended the San Francisco Opera in this dress, notably seeing Tosca from a box seat. For this reason, this video and this performance is very near and dear to me, as I am honoring both Ava Gardner and my mother, who was so generous in letting me borrow her gown AND her pearls. Thank you!!