So last night, old movie fan that I am, I watched two Clark Gable films on Turner Classic Movies. The first was Red Dust (1932) and the second Mogambo (1953).
What both movies share, besides Clark Gable in the lead, playing essentially the same role, is the same plot.
Both movies take place in exotic locations, and both movies involve a man involved with two women, one of whom is married.
In Red Dust, Gable is the owner of a rubber plantation. Jean Harlow is a prostitute whom Gable dallies with but it’s Mary Astor, who plays the part of the wife of an employee, that Gable really lusts for.
Harlow and Astor play the archetypal roles of the Whore and the Lady.
In Mogambo, Gable is a big game hunter and Ava Gardner plays the Whore role (although this movie is tamer than Red Dust in that the fact that Gardner is a prostitute is not as blatantly stated as it is in Red Dust). Grace Kelly is the Lady, wife of a client Gable is taking on safari. (And, rumors say, Kelly and Gable spent a lot of time alone in a tent while this movie was being filmed. At the time she was 24 and he was 52).
I actually preferred Red Dust. For one thing, it was made before the Hollywood censors began to do their thing so it’s a bit racier than the 1952 version and Clark Gable was, obviously, a lot younger. I also liked Jean Harlow and Mary Astor over Gardner and Kelly.
It was also interesting watching a remake of a movie, especially when the lead was played by the same actor, only 21 years later. Gable is definitely a lot more long in the tooth in Mogambo but still Gable.
Red Dust, due to the times it was made, is rife with racist depictions of Asians and that is a lot to swallow. And Mogambo, though not as bad, still treats Africans as nothing more than part of the exotic backdrop. But those were the times these movies were made.
All in all, it was interesting to compare the two movies; one in grainy black and white; the other in stunning Technicolor. Both movies, apparently, were very successful when they were released but there’s nothing like lust in the jungle, adultery and a love triangle to get the blood going I guess.
Speaking of lust, I’m finishing up revisions on my vampire erotica which I had planned to submit this past Monday but it needed more work so will be submitting later in the week.
I’ve also been working on world-building for some future projects. World-building is not my favorite thing to do. I know some people love building their worlds but I have to admit I tend to get bored. I prefer to build my world as I go along, but I realized there are some things about my world I still need to know before I can start drafting. So I’ve been working on what I call Jenna’s Quick & Dirty Guide to World-Building. 🙂