Getting To Know Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow was one of Hollywood's biggest sex symbols during her tragically short career. She didn't make a ton of films, but a novice might not know where to start in order to fully appreciate Harlow's talent.

These are my personal picks.
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1.
Red-Headed Woman (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair... (79 mins.)
Director: Jack Conway
“ A departure from her signature peroxide look, Harlow stars as a woman on the make in this racy pre-Code movie, seducing her married boss and clawing her way up the social ladder. A good example of Harlow's raw sex appeal, before the sanitizing Production Code came into force. ” - Jimmy L.
 
2.
Dinner at Eight (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Affluent Millicent and Oliver Jordan throw a dinner for a handful of wealthy and/or well-born acquaintances, each of whom has much to reveal. (111 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
“ In this all-star ensemble piece, Harlow's comedic talents shine. As the glamorous, but unrefined (and unfaithful), wife of Wallace Beery's crooked businessman, she aspires to be welcomed into higher social circles. ” - Jimmy L.
 
3.
Red Dust (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The owner of a rubber plantation becomes involved with the new wife of one of his employees. (83 mins.)
“ Harlow shows up in Clark Gable's water barrel and his rubber plantation is never the same. Playing a sexy and charismatic city woman, she crashes Gable's stag party and wins him over, until a prim and proper married lady enters the picture. The chemistry between Harlow and Gable sizzles onscreen. Harlow's part would be played by Ava Gardner in the color remake "Mogambo" (1953). ” - Jimmy L.
 
4.
Bombshell (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Sexpot film star Lola Burns seeks a new image and tries marrying a marquis, adopting a baby -- all sorts of schemes which go awry. (96 mins.)
“ Harlow plays a fictionalized version of herself (and movie stars like Clara Bow), a Hollywood sex symbol who must deal with her mooching family members, tabloid reports, and her scheming publicity agent as she searches for true personal happiness. It's a fine satirical comedy about Hollywood, featuring some interesting peeks behind-the-scenes at MGM Studios. ” - Jimmy L.
 
5.
Libeled Lady (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A newspaper man, his jilted fiance, and his lawyer hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news-story into the truth, before a high-society woman can sue for libel. (98 mins.)
Director: Jack Conway
“ This screwy romantic comedy boasts four stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, and Jean Harlow. While the main romance occurs between Powell and Loy, Harlow is used as a sort of decoy, with layers of marriages and divorces meant to deceive Loy, all so that Tracy's newspaper can prove its claims that she's a homewrecker. Harlow gets to chew the scenery as the flustered dame who's along for the ride. ” - Jimmy L.
 
6.
China Seas (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
When earthy Dolly Portland is rejected by Captain Gaskell in favor of a socialite, she aids Jamesy McCardle, in league with Malay pirates, in his plot to seize his ship. (87 mins.)
Director: Tay Garnett
“ Harlow re-teams with Clark Gable, vying with Rosalind Russell for his affections on a perilous sea voyage. Harlow is in her element as the tough-talking jealous dame, in contrast to Russell's prim English widow. ” - Jimmy L.
 
7.
Wife vs. Secretary (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The wife of a publishing executive mistakenly believes that her husband's relationship with his attractive secretary is more than professional. (88 mins.)
Director: Clarence Brown
“ Harlow gets to play a little against type in this light drama made towards the end of her career. Her hair a more natural-looking honey color at this point, she was really looking her best in these latter movies. She plays Gable's girl Friday: his trusty secretary, with whom he can confide anything. She's not a floozy or a man-eater. She's not a dumb blonde or even a glamour girl. She's a smart woman and a good-hearted human being, who keeps her relationship with Gable strictly platonic. It's a rare opportunity to see Harlow play a straight dramatic role. ” - Jimmy L.