Okay, okay. I should have really titled this post Victor Fleming Films @ the Brattle but I didn't go to the Brattle because of Victor Fleming, I went because of my darling Jean Harlow. The Brattle Theatre was showcasing 2 Victor Fleming films, Bombshell (1933) and Red Dust (1932). Michael Sragow, author of the book Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master, was there to talk about his book and the Fleming films. The big coincidence here is that even though these are Fleming films, Jean Harlow happens to star in both. I wish I had stayed for Sragow's talk and Q&A, but it was a miserable day outside and a big crockpot full of beef stew was waiting for me at home.
I did however get to see Bombshell (1933) on the big screen with my beau Carlos and what a treat it was! Jean Harlow plays Lola Burns, a superstar blonde bombshell who graces the cover of every movie magazine read by her legions of fans. You'd think she has it all but she's surrounded by leeches. Her drunkard father and brother are gambling away her millions and her assistant (Una Merkel) is helping herself to Burns' wardrobe and everything else. The worst of them all is publicist/reporter Hanlon (Lee Tracy) who is so hell-bent on getting lots of juicy gossip and keeping Lola Burns on the headlines of newspapers that he willingly sabotages Burns' life whenever he can.
The film has a lot of rapid-fire dialogue. So much so, that it's very easy to miss a lot of great one-liners. It's a film that begs several viewings. In fact, they cram so much dialogue that when there is a moment of silence in the film it seems very strange, like the silence is out of place. The audience at the Brattle seemed to enjoy Franchot Tone's performance the best. He plays Burns' fake lover and the cheesy lines he uses to woo Burns made the audience laugh out loud.
Bombshell is not available on DVD and TCM shows it on occassion. So it's really a treat to have been able to see this on the big screen (I had seen it once before on a TCM Harlow marathon). I'm glad Carlos was willing to trudge through the cold rain, which later became snow, to see this hilarious film with me at the Brattle. And how lucky am I that there is a local repertory theatre like the Brattle that will show films like this to the public.