Monday, June 26, 2023
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Currently fixated on the film Red Dust, MGM's hit from 1932 starring Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Mary Astor. Lots of drama occurred during the production of this film (which we will talk about later on), but what always astounds me is the setting and the costumes from this film and how they juxtapose each other so well, and so...weirdly.
This film takes place in Southeast Asia during the early 30's, with Gable being the head honcho at a rubber making plant. He has many native workers and shacks up in a pretty nice place considering he is in the middle of nowhere. The house has Swiss Family Robinson vibes, with wood paneled walls, awning windows, and rolling doors. The decor is simple but quaint with basic furniture, simple curtains, and comfy small beds. Yes beds, as in plural, for this rubber plant has many visitors.
The costumes for this film where done by Adrian, which as the chief costumer at MGM makes sense, but in this film, he goes full force with the actress's wardrobe and forgets completely that this is not your average song and dance picture. All outfits worn by Harlow and Astor are to the nines, with satin biased cut nighties, lace and feather trim robes, and well constructed dresses with all the accessories to go with it. Perfect for the jungle. Harlow's character is supposedly a prostitute, but it is very subtly explained. She has a bubbly personality and a temper to match. Her costumes for her character fit the part, with 30's floral dresses and satin lounge wear.
This film was made pre-code and it is apparent. The love triangle between the characters is very sexy for the time. There are several make out scenes where Harlow is horizontal on a bed while she is being kissed - the audacity! A famous scene that proves there were no rules at this point is when Harlow is bathing in a barrel and Gable pushes her underwater. Harlow is topless, and even though you see nothing, it is very suggestive for the time. Allegedly Jean stood up bare chested right before a cut and shouted, "Here's one for the boys in the lab!" This was referring to the men who were editing the film. Fleming removed the film from the camera before any chance of it getting out to the public could happen.