Red Dust 1932 PG
6.00PM Wed 21 Feb 2018
GOMA | Cinema A | Free
A film of the pre-code era, a time when taboo topics were open for discussion, Red Dust turns up the heat by drawing on the humid tropical locale of French Indochina. Jean Harlow plays Vantine, a working girl stranded on a rubber plantation with overseer Dennis Carson (Clark Gable). Having dodged solicitation charges in Saigon, she settles into a casual affair with Carson, who is drawn to her despite his jaded disinterest in love. When an ill surveyor arrives with his refined but unstable wife (Mary Astor), Carson's eye begins to wander with unwanted consequences.
Ambling around in slippery silk ensembles, Harlow sizzles as the clear-eyed realist, nailing her sarcastic one-liners in the face of her opposition's well-bred hypocrisy. The jungle atmosphere, sudden storms and rough-hewn outpost provide opportunities for the characters to discard their inhibitions along with the rules of civilised society. Red Dust was the second of six films starring Gable and Harlow whose on-screen chemistry has been well documented. Shot on an MGM sound stage, the landscapes of Indochina were recreated to include a flowing river. The steamy atmosphere was captured by soaking the actors clothing before drying them under the hot studio lights and by releasing live moths before each take. While sexual discussions in Red Dust are progressive the racial depictions are not, illustrating Hollywood's default in the 1930's to colonial condescension and racial stereotypes. The film was the fourth most popular film in the United States that year.
35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 83 MINUTES, UNITED STATES, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: VICTOR FLEMING / SCRIPT: JOHN LEE MAHIN, DONALD OGDEN STEWART / BASED ON THE 1928 PLAY OF THE SAME NAME BY WILSON COLLISON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: HAROLD ROSSON / EDITOR: BLANCHE SEWELL / CAST: CLARK GABLE, JEAN HARLOW, MARY ASTOR, GENE RAYMOND / PRODUCTION COMPANY: METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT