Showing posts with label Jean Harlow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jean Harlow. Show all posts

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jean Harlow Films @ the Brattle

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.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

China Seas (1935)

I recently watched China Seas (1935) and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's humorous and dramatic as well as being hella sexy. A ship captain has to juggle his sexual feelings for floozy Dolly Portland and his lingering feelings for uppity Mrs. Barclay. All the while a band of pirates are plotting to capture the gold aboard the ship. What's a captain to do? This film has a wonderful cast

  • Clark Gable as Captain Gaskell - A sharp-tongued but soft-hearted sea captain.
  • Jean Harlow as Dolly Portland - The blonde-haired floozy who's got it bad for her toots, Gaskell.
  • Rosalind Russell as Mrs. Barclay - The uppity widower who traveled far to woo Gaskell again.
  • Robert Benchley as Charlie McCaleb - The perpetually drunk author who hasn't got a clue.
  • Lewis Stone as Tom Davids - The disgraced officer given another chance to prove himself.
  • Wallace Beery as Jamesy - The ruthless pirate leader who is smitten with Dolly.
  • Hattie McDaniel as Isabel - Dolly's fashionable and straight-talking maid.

The dialogue is sharp, crisp and quite hilarious. My favorite lines are uttered by the fast-talking Jean Harlow who made them all reflect her character's liveliness and desperation. Here are some of the gems.

Nothing alarming, just showering the dewdrops off the body beautiful.

That's just the soup I'm in.

Get on the belt line and keep them coming!

Come out of the trenches, I'm not gonna throw any bombs. I'm harmless.

You can't quit me anymore than I can quit you. And you can kiss a stack of cookbooks on that!

When a woman can love a man right down to her fingertips, she can hate him the same way.

Come on, Jamesy. Let's you and me take a powder.
(I thought this might be referring to that infamous white powder. However, it just indicates leaving to go somewhere else, like the "powder room".)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

20 Actresses Movie Meme

I was just dying for someone to tag me for the 20 Actresses Movie Meme started The Film Experience blog. But I was patient because I knew that Ibetolis over at the excellent blog Film for the Soul would tag me. He's always very kind to think of me and I appreciate that a lot.

It was a lot of fun working on this list. I discovered that my tastes are by no means mainstream or ordinary. Ladies are presented in no particular order, except for the Queen of MGM who always gets top billing.

~ Norma Shearer ~

~ Joan Blondell ~

~ Susan Peters ~

~ Sandra Dee ~

~ Bette Davis ~

~Ruby Keeler ~

~ Doris Day ~

~ Jean Harlow ~

~ Kim Novak ~

~ Marilyn Monroe ~

~ Bonita Granville ~

~ Ginger Rogers ~

~ Jean Seberg ~

~ Jean Hagen ~

~ Caroll Baker ~

~ Shirley MacLaine ~

I couldn't just make this all about classic film ladies, when there are so many contemporary actresses I enjoy watching too. Here are a few.

~ Amy Adams ~

~ Samantha Morton ~

~ Romola Garai ~

~Ludivine Sagnier~

(thanks Jonas for the photo of Ludivine!)

I'll tag Jonas of All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!, Ginger of Asleep in New York, Carrie of Classic Montgomery, CK Dexter Haven of Hollywood Dreamland and Sarah of Cinema Splendor. Not so much as a tag, more like a smack. Hee hee. Have fun!

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