Red Dust

RedDustSuggested by Brad Nelson • The fetid red dust of a Malaysian rubber plantation is the setting for an adulterous triangle involving the quick-tempered, rawboned manager (Gable), a brassy American (Harlow), and the upper-class wife of a new employee (Astor).
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One Response to Red Dust

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Having watched “Mogambo” and “Red Dust” (the original) back-to-back, I have to declare that the winner is “Red Dust.” The dialogue is snappier. Harlow, although not a particular favorite of mine, does sort of grow on you and she is good in counterpunction (just made that word up) with Mary Astor.

    And Harlow does a much better job needling Gable about his coming and ongoing premeditated affair with Astor. Gardner plays hard-bitten well, and far surpasses Harlow in wardrobe and looks, but it works better between Harlow and Astor than it does between Gardner and Grace Kelly, with Kelly being a bit of the weak link in the duo.

    The downside is that Gable is a much better actor in “Mogambo” which was shot twenty years later. Also, at a bare 83 minutes, the romance between Gable and Astor is cut short in “Red Dust.” It’s not developed well at all and is left entirely to the imagination beyond a kiss here and a gentle hug there. This film will leave you thinking that someone must have accidentally cut something out of the reel.

    Also, in “Red Dust,” the guy who plays the husband of Mary Astor (Gene Raymond) is a very weak character compared to the more realistic and sympathetic one played by Donald Sinden in “Mogambo.” There is no comparison and Raymond degrades every scene he is in with his simpleton acting.

    For sure, watch both. They are classics.

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