Red Dust - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Red Dust Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 28, 2007
if you could tolerate sexism and racism without taking them into account too seriously, you might emancipate yourself to indulge in the gable-harlow "red dust"....the mode of gable-harlow screen romances would be that the slicitous harlow desperately courts the handsome but crude gable who disregards this aphrodite-like blonde bombshell but enamoured of the other brunette upper-class prim fairlady who seems to have a crush on him that helps to uplevel his selfism. such pattern also repeats in "china seas", but only this time our stingently coy brunette mary astor has some depth by her delicately tormented conflict of adulterous passion and virtuous guilt. (as gable's typical brunette love interest, astor distinguishes herself with such mental complexity much more than rosalind russell in "china seas")

gable always dismisses harlow by shutting at her rudely meanwhile has no objection to acquiant himself with her bedside curtain.(which means he disrepects her but sex with her anyway) however, the intensely lovelorn harlow would always endure his musculine vulgarities (which he makes no attempt to conceal from her) like a good little woman with her own bawdy prole demeanors such as uttering obscenely humorous quib lines.

male audience then had an affinity with gable's character that might be due to their own sense of priviledged gender concepts beautified by gable's dashing good looks and his redundancy of female admirers but also identified with his savage roughness and his abusive manners. he has the vices american audience's fond of and also the shrewd manliness approved by men in general that makes him the so called "diamond in the raw" which is the good-looking sexy beast who takes what he wants egoistically like men assume themselves to be. he proves his competence of male charm by successfully seducing the genteel wife but toss her aside once he finally yields to the bourgeois concern of nobility. he loves and runs, eventually even rewarded with a glamour beauty as compensation.

additionally, the way those characters treat asian coolies is a vital proof of racism then...when astor gives a line like "how could you treat my husband like one of those coolies" or implicitly deeming them as "animals" or "civilized barbarians" constantly with a goofy smirks on their cheeks.

when it comes to the entertainment level, it's still a well-performed flick with engrossing melodramtic clashes between characters that appease audience's salacious want but also concede to the righteously happy ending without intruding the moralistic bourgeois mass.
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2007
jean and clark have a great time here and so do you.
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2010
In "Red Dust," Dennis Carson(Clark Gable) owns a rubber plantation in Vietnam that he runs with his pal McQuarg(Tully Marshall). Along with the usual problems of too much rain or not enough rain in that part of the world, not to mention the large tiger that has his eyes on the parrot, that make such a business proposition risky and occasionally even gives Carson thoughts about leaving, now he has to deal with Vantine(Jean Harlow) who does not sleep that much at night.(Hint. Hint.) At first, they argue but eventually find peace together. Just as she is leaving on the same boat that is bringing in Gary Willis(Gene Raymond), the new engineer, he finds that along with tennis rackets, he is bringing along a wife(Mary Astor).

"Red Dust" is a robust and old fashioned entertainment that transcends its soap opera structure by sheer star power alone. The central message is that one should not always go by first impressions and how people can surprise you, especially in the relationship between Carson and Vantine. However, I know this may be unfair with about eight decades of hindsight but it is disappointing that director Victor Fleming does not heed this same advice when it comes to the natives, going by Carson's and Willis' observations alone of how lazy they are.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2009
A dynamite movie involving three screen legends: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Mary Astor. Gable is Denny Carson, who runs a rubber plantation in Indo-China with a tight fist. Along comes Lily Vantine (Ms. Harlow) who just lights up the screen with her explosive persona. Lily explains she had to leave the states because of certain complex issues. All Denny sees is her trampish looks and the two become attached fairly quickly. But that relationship is put under pressure when Gary Willis arrives with his wife Babs (the terrific Astor) to begin work on the plantation. Denny is immediately attracted to Babs and thus a love triangle is formed. Babs husband is totally unaware of what's going on and to be fair he is under the weather with a fever when they first arrive there. Red Dust is one heck of a movie. I know some people complain of the racial overtones but this movie is set in 1932 so just keep that in mind when watching it. As far as performances go, all three leads are sensational. Gable is definetly a man's man in this one. Holding the screen with all his macho swagger he can muster. Jean Harlow is funny all the way through. She spits out lines with rapid fire regularity. And Mary Astor brings a little class to the proceedings. And believe it or not she has one scene where she manages to out-sex Ms. Harlow. After being caught in an unexpected rainstorm, she gets soaked and is carried back to the house by Gable. In that one instant she gives off so much sexual energy, you can feel it coming off the screen. Red Dust is a solid film that delivers action, humor, passion, and some great acting.
Vantine: You can check the wings and halo at the desk.
Dennis Morgan: I'll be right up.
½ May 9, 2012
Jean Harlow steals this one walking away, but you're left to wonder what Gable's character could possibly see in the weepy, disloyal Mary Astor. Speaking for the audience, I'd have left her in the jungle to fend for herself, and climbed into that rain barrel with Harlow in an instant.
April 20, 2010
I'm not the biggest fan of John Ford's 1953 film - MOGAMBO, which is actually a remake of Victor Fleming's (uncredited) 1932 pre-code drama - RED DUST. Both films star Clark Gable in the lead. I guess my biggest hangup with MOGAMBO is with Gable's he-man character - who persists in getting himself romantically involved with the married ice-queen played by Grace Kelly, especially when there is the much sexier (and available) Ava Gardner character just a-waiting in the wings. Oh well...that's just my feeling anyways - one of those things that I scratch my head over.

At least in RED DUST, Gable's character explains himself as to why he doesn't readily jump all over Jean Harlow's character: ", I've been lookin' at her kind ever since my voice changed". Okay, I'll buy that...and besides, I don't think I've ever seen Mary Astor (who plays the married ice queen here) look sooo sexy. Nothing like a good soaking from a monsoon rainstorm to help drive up one's libido! But that's Hollywood pre-code for you. This film just wallows in adultery thematically...and became one of 1932's biggest hits.

Dennis Carson (Clark Gable) owns a rubber plantation in French Indochina. He's a rather testy individual and spends his time either berating his drunkard of a foreman (Donald Crisp) or yelling at his "coolie" workers. Carson's right-hand man, McQuarg (Tully Marshall) suggests he take a trip to Saigon (they pronounce it "Say-Gon", rather than "Sigh-Gon") to blow off some steam. Carson declines the offer saying he is expecting Gary Willis (Gene Raymond) - his new surveyor, to arrive at any moment by steamboat.

But arriving first at the plantation is Vantine (Jean Harlow), a "working woman" *wink wink* hiding out from the law. Although Carson usually doesn't allow women onto his plantation, he reluctantly gives Vantine permission to stay. When the surveyor Gary Willis finally arrives...Carson is surprised that he has his prim & proper wife, Barbara (Mary Astor) in tow...and the basis for a love triangle falls neatly into place.

I think Jean Harlow has some of the best lines here. She certainly livens up the film whenever she is onscreen. I think she really steals the show from Gable here. Harlow had previously co-starred with Gable in the 1931 flick, THE SECRET SIX, and was already a rising star before the release of RED DUST. Publicity surrounding the suicide death of her then husband (Paul Bern) during production - help made this a box-office hit. She would be re-teamed with Gable for 4 subsequent films (before her untimely death in 1937).

In a way, RED DUST kind of reminds me of a similar film, RAIN directed by Lewis Milestone, which stars Joan Crawford and Walter Huston. I think RAIN is the superior of the two - but RED DUST has it's moments and is certainly a pre-code classic.
Super Reviewer
June 22, 2007
It's pretty much the same story as Mogambo. Clark Gable even played the same role in Mogambo as in this film, but I think I prefer Red Dust when I compare the two.
December 1, 2007
I love the snappy dialogue in "Red Dust." But I was disappointed that Gable and Harlow didn't have more screentime together.
June 12, 2007
Super sexy, and Harlow and Gable were such a great, great pairing. She was no lady, and he was no gentleman.
July 5, 2005
May 21, 2012
For old movie buffs (like me).....Can't get much better than this....
January 11, 2015
wow! that was terrific. I see now why the seeds of Ignatius Reilly were sown on that day!
November 21, 2014
For those that have never seen a pre-Code film, RED DUST is a great film to begin with. It certainly isn't shy about dealing with adultery, prostitution, or heavy drinking. Although it was made over 80 years ago, it holds up extremely well by today's standards... Steamy sizzler - Harlow outdoes Gable--You can check the wings and halo at the desk... Sexy, Sultry and Slippery When Wet!!
½ March 9, 2014
gr8 cast fuel this romantic love triangle
February 7, 2013
Ms. Harlow's vocal delivery is almost tolerable.
August 18, 2013
Great early Clark Gable film, just one year into his long MGM contract with greater stardom on the way. Now that was a star! Take note Justin whatever your name is. And then there is Jean Harlow , who virtually steals the show with her comic performance. No small feat considering she experienced a terrible personal tragedy right in the middle of filming. Great early film worth seeing.
April 18, 2013
It was a long time ago, but I remember enjoying the chemistry between Gable & Harlow in that hot red dust.
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