March 13, 2011

Movie Monday: Bombshell


Today I have a special review: a movie that's coming on TV tomorrow night so you have the chance to watch it or record it. I'm going to try and be better about pre-viewing movies. This month the TCM Star of the Month is one of my very, very favorites: Jean Harlow.

This picture hung on my wall all through high school.

They say that part of her star quality was the fact that "she looked like a goddess and talked like a diner waitress." You see her picture and expect one of the '30s cultured, highly-trained voices with a refined accent and perfect grammar. What you get is exactly the opposite, and 100% Jean.

Every Tuesday in March, TCM is having a mini-film festival of her movies. Tomorrow night they are playing what is probably my favorite of her films:

Lola Burns (Harlow) is THE movie star of her day. She's a platinum blonde romantic idol in the biggest pictures with the most popular leading men. She has a huge mansion. She's in all the fan magazines (and tabloids). Back then, when stars were "managed", the public saw her as living a charmed life. (oh, how I long for those days!)

Of course, the reality was anything but. Her freeloading family lives with her in her mansion, constantly tapping her for money to fund their vices. She can't seem to have a stable romantic relationship and settles for trying to adopt a baby alone. When it finally seems like she's found true love, obstacles arise. And through it all is her manager, manipulating her private life to boost her public image.

This is a fun comedy that is really neat to watch, especially compared to the way movie stars today have little-to-no privacy from the public eye. Jean Harlow is a great comedienne. She knows she is parodying herself and pulls no punches. Franchot Tone, who plays her love interest, is very dashing and one of my favorite B-list actors.

This is on tomorrow night on TCM at 9:30/8:30c. Set your DVRs! You won't want to miss this! (If you do, I think it's on Netflix, but trust me, it's better to have the TCM version because it includes Robert Osborne's fabulous, priceless commentary.)


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