I’ve never really ‘got’ the Clark Gable thing. I’ve watched Gone With The Wind without him leaving any particular impression on me but after watching Red Dust I get it. Maybe there’s something about a rough-and-ready Gable and the sultry heat of the jungle, both women in this movie certainly seem to think so! It’s not surprising that Gable and Harlow were paired together for six movies, their chemistry is sizzling, especially as this movie is pre-code so it’s a lot naughtier than it’s 1940s counterparts! And boy can you tell this movie is pre-code!There’s nudity, promiscuity, adultery and loose morals galore!
The plot is the same as the 1940s movie Mogambo which starred Grace Kelly (in the Mary Astor role), and Ava Gardner (as the good time girl played by Jean Harlow).
So, here’s a brief recap: Gable is in charge of a rubber plantation and Jean Harlow strolls in, and with her platinum blonde hair and non-stop wisecracks soon has our hero in the sack. She’s a pretty much a cartoon cliché of ‘the tart with a heart’, whenever she was onscreen I kept thinking of the Jessica Rabbit quote ‘I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way’.
The next morning an engineer and his wife (Mary Astor) arrive on the plantation and Gable throws off Harlow and begins chasing after the engineer’s beautiful high-class wife. They begin a torrid affair. I won’t spoil the story for you but the story unfolds with passion, drama, noble sacrifice and a healthy historical dose of shooting tigers and complaining about lazy natives.
This movie was great fun, especially the scene where Harlow is in the bath, and her and Gable are great together. I haven’t watched Mogambo so I’m not sure how the 2 movies compare – if you’ve watched them let me know! I’ve put Mogambo on my list of movies to catch-up on!
If you’d like to watch Red Dust, you can stream it online her for free.