Monday, April 20, 2009

Red Dust (1932)

Clark Gable is the hunky proprietor of a rubber plantation in "Indochina". Gene Raymond (not the Match Game guy) and Mary Astor are an educated, proper couple. He surveys the ranch while she gets plowed by our man Clark. Jean Harlow is the whore on the run, who knows what goes on.

Ah, to be Clark Gable in pre-code Hollywood.

This film has it all: racism, adultery, prostitution, more racism. Not sure where the red dust fits in. There were dust storms, maybe it was red. It looked grey to me.

Jean Harlow had the famous water barrel scene, where she bathes, presumably nude, in the plantations drinking water. According to legend, she stood up to reveal her hoo-ha's and said "This one's for the boys in the lab". That footage does not seem to exist. Here's another tid-bit I learned from IMDB: during the filming, Jean Harlow's husband commits suicide. She took a leave of absence, and when she returned her revealing outfits were gone. In five years she would be dead. That girl had a sad life.

Mary Astor had an interesting quote about actors: There are five stages in the life of an actor: "Who's Mary Astor? Get me Mary Astor. Get me a Mary Astor Type. Get me a young Mary Astor. Who's Mary Astor?" I just found that funny. 22 years after her death, we are squarely in the Who's Mary Astor zone. Personally, if I were Clarkie, I wouldn't have given her a second look. Jean Harlow was on the set, after all. Maybe I'd feel differently if I lived on a plantation in the middle of a rainy jungle usually devoid of women.

And I'm no Clark Gable. I hope he wore his rubbers.

AMRU 3.5.

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