Saturday, May 7, 2011
his own man
what's more beautiful than grace kelly and ava gardner combined? a young clark gable, that's what. while watching the 1932 film, 'red dust' i was experiencing deja vu by the second scene. this is because i am familiar with 'mogambo' (the 1953 film starring gable, kelly and gardner) so i kinda knew what was gonna happen. still, when you throw jean harlow into the mix everything gets upset in the best possible ways.
the plot stayed the same. whereas grace was made to be seen in color (in 'mogambo' she truly looks like a animated photo by paul outerbridge), jean glows in monochrome. in the earlier version it was the brunette who tempted gable's fate, played by one of my favorite actresses, mary astor. as much as i love to watch ava gardner, it is harlow as the patient loner out to win this man that i will remember best when thinking of this story of people battling with their emotions as the sap slowly drips from the trees on the rubber plantation in the jungle that is home to both wild animals and wild hearts.
if you only know gable from 'the misfits' or 'gone with the wind', well, you can't stop there. in his heyday he was considered the king of hollywood. watch this, or any of the pre code films he made, and you will see why women adored him and men wanted to be like him. the man personified virility, weakness be damned. you will understand why harlow's character wanted nothing more from life than to sit in his lap.
photos: gable and harlow/gable and astor