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Movie Info

When earthy prostitute Vantine (Jean Harlow) arrives at Dennis Carson's (Clark Gable) rubber plantation in Indochina, she initiates a steamy affair with the rugged foreman, but is sent packing when the passion cools. Soon Dennis is joined by new employee Gary (Gene Raymond) and his classy but high-strung wife, Barbara (Mary Astor), who falls into Dennis' arms while her husband is away. When Vantine returns, Dennis must decide between the refined adulteress and the tramp with the heart of gold.

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Critic Reviews for Red Dust

All Critics (8) | Fresh (8)

Audience Reviews for Red Dust

  • May 30, 2018
    Ahh, the white man's burden and then some, as Clark Gable fights the good fight against Mother Nature, indolent coolies, and the local loose women (jean Harlow, playing "desperate for a break" throughout) floating around Vietnam when all he's trying to do is harvest rubber for yankee tires and erasers. Loaded with jungle atmosphere and plenty of swelter, things only get hotter when "good" white woman Mary Astor arrives, needing a real man. Get past the antiquated political splatter and there's still a decent adventure/romance in here.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2016
    I should warn you up front that to like this movie, you'll have to overlook some serious racism, both in the horribly stereotypical portrayal of an Asian servant referred to as 'boy' (who unfortunately appears many times), as well as in the depiction of the native workers on a rubber plantation in Indochina as lazy and unintelligent 'coolies'. You will have to mentally block that out of your mind, stifle your disgust, or chalk it up to the times. There is also a fair bit of sexism as well. Clark Gable is in one of his usual roles, the tough guy with loose morals, and Jean Harlow is a prostitute he has a one-night stand with. The prim and proper Mary Astor and her sick husband Gene Raymond arrive on the plantation, and Gable has his eyes on her from the start. Harlow has returned as well, but instead of complicating things, her presence serves as sassy comic relief. Gable sends Raymond away on a difficult assignment so he can seal the deal with Astor, but the resulting affair brings about emotions that are hard for him to deal with - love with Astor, guilt towards Raymond. Harlow and Gable have good chemistry, but I thought it was matched (if not surpassed) by what he shares with Astor. Harlow of course has the famous scene bathing in a rain barrel, but the scene which has Gable carrying Astor through monsoon rains and then kissing her for 17 seconds is far steamier. It's the rain barrel that drew all of the attention, however, and Harlow's natural charm does shine through. The dialog is engaging and this is a good pre-Code picture that will hold your attention. Just be prepared to cringe at times because of the racism.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 06, 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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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.
    monty h Super Reviewer

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