Red Dust (1932)

73, 76 or 83 mins | Drama, Romance | 22 October 1932

Director:

Victor Fleming

Writer:

John Lee Mahin

Producer:

Hunt Stromberg

Cinematographers:

Harold Rosson, Arthur Edeson

Editor:

Blanche Sewell

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Although Harold Rosson is given sole onscreen credit for the photography of the film, production charts in HF and HR only credit Arthur Edeson. According to contemporary news items and advance production charts, Jacques Feyder was initially set to direct Red Dust and John Gilbert was to star opposite Jean Harlow. Feyder's last American film before returning to his native France was M-G-M's Son of India , released in 1931 (see above). According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection in the AMPAS Library, some territories objected to parts of the film; however, most censor boards approved it for exhibition. In a letter from Hays Office representative Col. Jason Joy to M-G-M executive William Orr, dated 12 Oct 1932, Joy stated "The sex element has, on the whole, we believe, been handled extremely well." News items and some reviews pointed out the sexuality in the picture. In his review of the picture in Life , Harry Evans noted, " Red Dust (the last word is wrong by one letter) is an elemental treatment of the most frequently discussed human frailty. I thought it was pretty awful, and I believe it will make money. (And the censors appear to have learned this lesson about sex: you can legislate against it, but you can't make it unpopular.") Var noted that the picture had been banned in Berlin, having been "deemed too hot for Nazified Germany."
       On 5 Sep 1932, during a Labor Day weekend hiatus from the film's production, Harlow's second husband, M-G-M producer Paul Bern, committed ... More Less

Although Harold Rosson is given sole onscreen credit for the photography of the film, production charts in HF and HR only credit Arthur Edeson. According to contemporary news items and advance production charts, Jacques Feyder was initially set to direct Red Dust and John Gilbert was to star opposite Jean Harlow. Feyder's last American film before returning to his native France was M-G-M's Son of India , released in 1931 (see above). According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection in the AMPAS Library, some territories objected to parts of the film; however, most censor boards approved it for exhibition. In a letter from Hays Office representative Col. Jason Joy to M-G-M executive William Orr, dated 12 Oct 1932, Joy stated "The sex element has, on the whole, we believe, been handled extremely well." News items and some reviews pointed out the sexuality in the picture. In his review of the picture in Life , Harry Evans noted, " Red Dust (the last word is wrong by one letter) is an elemental treatment of the most frequently discussed human frailty. I thought it was pretty awful, and I believe it will make money. (And the censors appear to have learned this lesson about sex: you can legislate against it, but you can't make it unpopular.") Var noted that the picture had been banned in Berlin, having been "deemed too hot for Nazified Germany."
       On 5 Sep 1932, during a Labor Day weekend hiatus from the film's production, Harlow's second husband, M-G-M producer Paul Bern, committed suicide, just two months after the couple had married. The circumstances of Bern's death were the subject of many news stories at the time and have been the topic of widespread speculation in modern sources as well. According to a FD news item, Bern's butler first notified M-G-M production chief Irving Thalberg of Bern's death, then called M-G-M executive producer David O. Selznick. Although Harlow was absent from filming for ten days, scenes were shot around her and the picture's production was not interrupted. Photographer Harold Rosson became Harlow's third husband in Sep 1933. They were divorced in 1934. Red Dust was re-made by director John Ford in 1953 under the title Mogambo , again starring Gable, but set in Africa and co-starring Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner. The 1940 M-G-M film Congo Maisie (see above), directed by H. C. Potter and starring Ann Sothern, is frequently called a remake of Red Dust in modern sources. Although there are similaries between the two films, Congo Maisie was based on another Wilson Collison novel, Congo Landing . The 1933 M-G-M picture Bombshell , which starred Jean Harlow, includes a scene in which Harlow's character, "a movie star," is filming a "bathtub" scene similar to the one in Red Dust in which the actress is bathing in a rain barrel (see above). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
15 Jul 32
p. 2.
Film Daily
6 Sep 32
p. 1.
Film Daily
2 Nov 32
p. 3. (ad)
Film Daily
5 Nov 32
p. 4.
HF
6 Aug 32
p. 16.
HF
27 Aug 32
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 32
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 32
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 32
p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 32
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 32
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 32
p. 3.
Life
1 Jan 33
p. 37.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Oct 32
pp. 31-32.
New York Times
5 Nov 32
p. 12.
Variety
8 Nov 32
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Victor Fleming Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Red Dust by Wilson Collison (New York, 2 Jan 1928).
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 October 1932
Production Date:
late August--late September 1932
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 November 1932
Copyright Number:
LP3397
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73, 76 or 83
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Dennis Carson has lived in Indochina all his life, only leaving his rubber plantation for an occasional fling in Saigon. His new surveyor, Gary Willis, and his wife Barbara arrive just as Vantine, a prostitute who has been lying low at the plantation is leaving. Vantine is in love with Dennis, whom she calls "Fred," but he only thinks of her as a pleasant diversion. Dennis is annoyed that Gary has brought his wife. Barbara is shocked and contemptuous of Dennis until he nurses Gary back to health after an attack of malaria. Soon Vantine returns to the plantation because her boat has been damaged, and Dennis, who is now in love with Barbara, tries to protect her from what he regards as Vantine's unsavory character. One day, after they have been caught in the rain, Dennis and Barbara become lovers. Vantine knows, as does everyone except Gary, who is sent "down river" by Dennis to survey the plantation. Barbara and Dennis want to marry, but Dennis realizes he must tell Gary. He travels to the survey site to do so, but when he realizes how much Gary loves and depends on Barbara, Dennis cannot break up their marriage. He rides all night to get home and starts drinking with Vantine when he arrives. When Barbara interrupts them, Dennis pretends to be a cad and she shoots him. Just then Gary arrives, worried about Barbara and Dennis after hearing some gossip about them from one of the men. Barbara is too upset to talk, but Vantine convinces him that Barbara was merely defending her honor against Dennis. Vantine nurses Dennis ... +


Dennis Carson has lived in Indochina all his life, only leaving his rubber plantation for an occasional fling in Saigon. His new surveyor, Gary Willis, and his wife Barbara arrive just as Vantine, a prostitute who has been lying low at the plantation is leaving. Vantine is in love with Dennis, whom she calls "Fred," but he only thinks of her as a pleasant diversion. Dennis is annoyed that Gary has brought his wife. Barbara is shocked and contemptuous of Dennis until he nurses Gary back to health after an attack of malaria. Soon Vantine returns to the plantation because her boat has been damaged, and Dennis, who is now in love with Barbara, tries to protect her from what he regards as Vantine's unsavory character. One day, after they have been caught in the rain, Dennis and Barbara become lovers. Vantine knows, as does everyone except Gary, who is sent "down river" by Dennis to survey the plantation. Barbara and Dennis want to marry, but Dennis realizes he must tell Gary. He travels to the survey site to do so, but when he realizes how much Gary loves and depends on Barbara, Dennis cannot break up their marriage. He rides all night to get home and starts drinking with Vantine when he arrives. When Barbara interrupts them, Dennis pretends to be a cad and she shoots him. Just then Gary arrives, worried about Barbara and Dennis after hearing some gossip about them from one of the men. Barbara is too upset to talk, but Vantine convinces him that Barbara was merely defending her honor against Dennis. Vantine nurses Dennis back to health, and when she reads an item in the newspaper to him about the Willis' return to America, he has recovered sufficiently to appreciate her charms. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.