Loosely based biography of 1930s star Jean Harlow as she begins her climb to stardom.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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William Mansfield
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Hurd Hatfield ...
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Marc Peters
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Marie Dressler
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Jonathan Martin
Audrey Christie ...
Thelma
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Ed
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Marie Ouspenskaya
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Hank
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First Fighter
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Storyline

One of two "Harlow" film biographies that appeared in 1965, this one stars Carol Lynley in the title role that begins as Jean Harlow, a bit player in Laurel and Hardy comedies, is invited to test for director Jonathan Martin for the lead in Howard Hughes's "Hell's Angels." She is an instantaneous sensation, and in a series of films devoted more to her body than her talent, she becomes Hollywood's "Platanum Blonde." Written by alfiehitchie

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The Picture The World Has Been Waiting To See!

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Drama

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Release Date:

14 May 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blonda bombnedslaget  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Completed in just eight days, this black-and-white production was shot in Electronvision, a television process which looked dark and grainy when projected on a movie screen. See more »

Goofs

Towards end of film a Variety headline announces HARLOW LEAVES HOLLYWOOD but as camera scans down page, opening paragraph is clearly dummy type having nothing to do with Harlow's departure. See more »

Soundtracks

I Believed It All
Written by Al Ham, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Performed by the Nelson Riddle Chorus
Vocal by Mary Mayo
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User Reviews

Second of Competing "Harlows", with Better Lead, Weak Plot...
2 April 2004 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

In 1965, in yet another classic example of "Copycat Movie Making" Hollywood produced not one, but two film biographies of Jean Harlow, the 30s 'Blond Bombshell' whose tragic, short life was reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe. One was a gaudy, ambitious big-budget production starring theater and film actress/sex symbol Carroll Baker; the other was a low-budget, experimental film starring television actress/sex 'kitten' Carol Lynley. Both films failed, both in capturing the essence of Jean Harlow, and as film biographies. While the Lynley film, which I'll discuss here, stars the actress who 'looked' more like the real Harlow, poor production values and a fabricated story would 'do it in'.

The 'real' Harlow, born Harlean Carpenter, in 1911, arrived in Hollywood at 16, with an over-ambitious mother and newlywed husband in tow. Divorcing her husband, she appeared in 'bit' parts until Howard Hughes 'discovered' her, and cast her "Hell's Angels", in 1930. She was a sensation, despite possessing a tinny, twangy speaking voice (which voice coaches would work on, throughout her career.) Eventually signing with MGM, she would become a sensation, frequently co-starring with Clark Gable, and her off-screen life would be even more sensational; her second marriage, to producer Paul Bern, would last only two months, and he would soon commit suicide, fueling rumors of his inability to 'perform' his duties as a husband; a third marriage, to cameraman Harold Rosson, soon followed, only to last eight months. She finally found happiness with actor William (The Thin Man) Powell, but before they could marry, she developed uremic poisoning and kidney failure, dying in 1937, at 26.

Lynley's "Harlow" dumped any references to Gable and Powell (Efrem Zimbalist Jr. plays the character 'based' on Powell), offered the legendary Ginger Rogers as her mother (which must have felt like deja-vu for the actress, as her mother accompanied HER to Hollywood), and offered a brittle, angry, ultimately bitter Harlow, fighting both the studio and the men who attempted to 'use' her.

Jean Harlow was an optimist, self-reliant and resilient, with a ready laugh, and an often too-generous nature. She never took her sex appeal too seriously, and preferred 'being comfortable' to creating illusions. She was adored by her co-workers, and the grief everyone felt at her death was genuine, not staged.

If "Harlow" had gotten even a part of this right, it would have been a far better film!


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