Saturday, April 3, 2010

Red Dust(1932)- Pre Code: You can check the wings and halo at the desk.

Red Dust (1932). Romantic/drama . Director; Victor Fleming. The picture is the second of six movies Clark Gable and Jean Harlow made together and was produced during the Pre-Code era of Hollywood.

Dennis Carson lived in Indochina, leaving his rubber plantation occasionally for fun in the city of Saigon. Soon Vantine a prostitute, arrives at the plantation. She quickly becomes comfortable in the plantation's harsh environment and begins playfully teasing Carson. He resists her charm at first, but soon gives in, and they develop a casual sexual relationship.


His new surveyor, Gary Willis and his wife Barbara, arrive just as Vantine, was about ready to leave. Barbara does not like Dennis, until he nurses Gary through malaria. Soon Vantine returns to the plantation because her boat has been damaged, and Dennis, who is now in love with Barbara, tries to protect her from Vantine's character.

One day, after they have been caught in a monsoon rain storm, Dennis and Barbara begin to fall in love. Everyone knows about their romance except Gary, who is sent out on a job by Dennis to survey the plantation. Barbara and Dennis want to marry and Dennis realizes he must tell Gary. He travels to the survey site to break the news to him....Will Dennis break up their marriage?

For me this is one of the films that defined the Pre-Code Era. This film had it all, prostitution, adultery, sex, partial nudity, drunkenness and strong women characters. Plus, it has a very interesting story-line and setting.

One of the most interesting things that I found about this film, was how fun the dialog was. Loved the characters: Clark is handsome as ever and Jean Harlow was a wonderful character, even with her personal problems. Mary Astor's character is also very well done and believable .

I also enjoyed remake, Mogambo (1953), by director John Ford in 1953. This time set in Africa rather than Indochina and shot on location in color, with Ava Gardner in the Harlow role and Grace Kelly playing Astor's part. Clark Gable returned, twenty-one years later, to play the same character.

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