Bombshell, (1933) starring Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan, Una Merkel and Franchot Tone.
Harlow plays Harlow. That’s what this film is all about.
Jean Harlow, spitting world-weary wisecracks and fed-up with Hollywood’s merry-go-round insanity, is Lola Burns, a Hollywood sexpot. Her father and brother are always looking for handouts, and the studio publicity flack cooks up outrageous publicity stunts to add heat to an overheated reputation as a smoldering blond bombshell.
Harlow, a hugely appealing and gifted comedienne, delivers the best, most energized performance of her short career. She died tragically of renal failure at age 26. And though her career was brief, she was, from 1931 to 1937, an enormous star. Depression era audiences sparked to her blond bombshell image, sensing a down to earth girl next door who just happened to be draped in clinging silk gowns—it was obvious she wasn’t wearing underwear—ermine robes, and diamond necklaces.
In truth, like Lola, Harlow yearned for a normal life of domesticity: a comfortable home, a loving husband and happy children. Sadly, she was thwarted by wretched judgment in men, and a monstrously overbearing mother who controlled every aspect of her daughter’s life and career.
The great director Victor Fleming with ace screenwriters John Lee Mahin and Jules Furthman cooked up this Hollywood tale as a thinly disguised look at Fleming’s former lover, silent film star Clara Bow. Fleming observed that Bow’s life was, on the surface, a glamorous Hollywood dream, but when Bow went home at night, her mansion was filled with dog droppings and her deeply unstable family soaked her for every penny she earned. Bombshell is a screwball comedy before Hollywood invented that most entertaining genre.
Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a miracle in Shabbat.