Conditions are spartan on Dennis Carson's Indochina rubber plantation during a dusty dry monsoon. The latest boat upriver brings Carson an unwelcome guest: Vantine, a floozy from Saigon, hoping to evade the police by a stay upcountry. But Carson, initially uninterested, soon succumbs to Vantine's ostentatious charms...until the arrival of surveyor Gary Willis, ill with malaria, and his refined but sensuous wife Barbara. Now the rains begin, and passion flows like water... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
To me this is one of the films that defined the Pre-Code Era. Complete with prostitution, adultery, sex as a major plot point, partial nudity (well, much more than was allowed during the Code enforcement), drunkenness, and strong women characters, this film has it all. Plus, it has an extremely engaging storyline, interesting setting, and an explanation of how rubber is made. Aside from the racism present, this film is great. One of the most interesting things about this film, which I have studied a great deal as a part of my senior thesis in undergrad film school, is the freshness of the dialogue. Coming only a few years after the addition of sound to films I was shocked to find how fun and refreshing the dialogue was. Whereas lots of films these days disappoint me in that the dialogue is so overly cliched and stale, Red Dust has lines about favorite cheeses and stories read about bunnies-- how fun!
All and all, this movie is terrific. Clark is as virile as anything and Jean Harlow is full of strength and sass and dimensions-- just a great female character. And hell if she isn't going to fight for her man! Mary Astor's character is also very well done as we see and believe that Clark is just so tempted by her and she by him. I recommend this movie to anyone and everyone-- It's a 120 times better than its remake, Mogambo, which despite Gable's presence just totally loses everything that Red Dust had.
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