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Friday, December 28, 2012

Red Dust (1932)

On a rubber plantation in the Indochinese jungle, the owner (Clark Gable) welcomes a new engineer (Gene Raymond), who unexpectedly brings his wife (Mary Astor), to work on a project. Complications arise when he finds himself attracted to the wife which irritates the stranded prostitute (Jean Harlow) who has designs on Gable. A greatly entertaining romantic drama that showcases the studio system, in this case MGM, at its best. It's based on a play by Wilson Collison which I'm unfamiliar with but I suspect the often amusingly tart dialog is the work of screenwriter John Lee Mahin. Harlow, in perhaps the quintessential Harlow role, is pretty spectacular here. She's never been sexier and she looks like a million. But the sexual tension between Gable and Astor is palpable enough to make one wish they'd done more films together. Directed by Victor Fleming who provides the film with a steamy tropical atmosphere and the requisite tension. Remade in 1953 as MOGAMBO by John Ford with Gable playing the same role. With Donald Crisp and Willie Fung.

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