Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair with businessman Gaerste and uses him to force society to pay attention to her. She has ... See full summary »
Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair with businessman Gaerste and uses him to force society to pay attention to her. She has another affair with the chauffeur Albert. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Joan Crawford and Clara Bow were the most prominent actresses considered for the title role before the younger, less experienced Harlow was cast. There had, in fact, been so many candidates for the role that MGM's Marie Dressler donned a red wig and posed for some gag publicity stills. See more »
In the scene where Sally is removing her pajamas to give back to Lillian, the camera is constantly moving to keep the nudity out of the frame. However, when Sally removes her top and hands it to Lillian, you can easily see Jean Harlow's right breast fully bared for a half second. (About 12 frames between 0:17:18 to 0:17:19 on the DVD.) See more »
Hello, Lil. What have you been doing? A little racketeering?
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Jean Harlow is the star of "Red-Headed Woman," a precode film about a golddigger men can't resist. Irving Thalberg thought the audience didn't catch onto Harlow's character immediately, so the scene at the beginning, when Harlow asks if the dress she tries on is see-through, is his. And yes, it certainly does establish her character: Finding out that the dress can be seen through, her character, Lillian, announces, "I'll wear it." Lillian is a riot - completely obvious, with her tight-fitting, low-cut clothing, cupie-doll voice, and swinging hips - everything about her says "trash," and she makes sure she follows the perception up with action by showing her garters (one of which has a picture of the boss inserted) and not hesitating to remove them and everything else if the situation calls for it. It's in this way that she breaks up the marriage of the boss, the hapless Bill Legendre, Jr. (Chester Morris) and gets into the big money. When that doesn't give her the social standing she wants, she seduces the fabulously successful Charlie Gaerste and then blackmails him into making the socially acceptable crowd attend a party at her home. She continues from there.
This is precode, so don't look for any type of punishment or for the character to take the moral ground. The ground she's on is too lucrative. Harlow is a delight -- pretty, vivacious, sexy, and always likable as the outrageous Lillian. A great loss to the world that she died so young. No matter what type of role she played, there was something very lovable about her, as demonstrated by her tremendous popularity. She has been compared to Monroe for obvious reasons, and both left lasting legacies as sexy, funny, vulnerable stars.
Una Merkel gives Harlow good backup as her roommate, and Charles Boyer appears in a small role. Though it's not my favorite Harlow - I love her in films like Libeled Lady, Wife vs. Secretary, and Suzy, where she sparks more with the other actors - this is very good and a great example of a precode film.
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