Reporter Gallagher loves reporter Smith who marries Anne. He's soon bored being married to a socialite and asks Gallagher to help him write a play. She arrives with a bunch of reporters and the mansion turns into a party. Anne arrives and orders them out and Smith goes with them.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
In The Films Of Frank Capra Citadel Film Series and in his memoirs, Frank Capra described Platinum Blonde as a film that Columbia did strictly as a moneymaker, no messages of social significance that would be found in his later classic work, just a nice girl-boy-girl comedy. Still and probably because Robert Riskin did some of the dialog I found plenty of things that would be instantly recognizable in Capra's more well known films.
The Platinum Blonde is of course Jean Harlow and this film title gave her the title she would have the rest of her short life. She's a society girl who sweeps reporter Robert Williams off his feet and into marriage much to the chagrin of her formidable dowager mother Louise Closser Hale.
Someone else is chagrined as well, Loretta Young who was only 18 when she made this film. Loretta and her sisters added a few years onto their ages in order to work back then. Loretta plays one of Williams fellow reporters who is known only by her last name of Gallagher. Just like Jean Arthur was known as Saunders in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Lots of similarities between the two though Arthur's character was far more sophisticated than Young.
Still Platinum Blonde more closely resembles Mr. Deeds Goes To Town. Williams is like Gary Cooper trapped in that big mansion. Only it was Cooper's own mansion that he inherited. Robert Williams is in on a pass and on a kind of probation so to speak, to see if he can adjust to life among the idle rich. In 1931 lots of people would have liked to have been given the opportunity.
The only one in the household he strikes up some kind of friendship with is butler Halliwell Hobbes. Note the echo business with them, it would be repeated in Mr. Deeds.
The week Platinum Blonde was released with reviews acclaiming Williams as a new star, he died of peritonitis. What an incredible loss, he was an actor with a breezy insouciance just like Robert Montgomery or William Haines over at MGM. He probably could also have done parts at Columbia that James Cagney was doing at Warner Brothers. Williams could have been Harry Cohn's first major star of the sound era. Anyway his comic timing was perfect and he steals the film from those two movie legends who were his leading ladies.
You'll also like Reginald Owen's portrayal as Harlow's family attorney and general busybody. Williams also deals with him in the way Gary Cooper ultimately dealt with his shyster.
Platinum Blonde is one of Frank Capra's best early films and watching it will make you sad though when you see Robert Williams and you will agree that he had a brilliant career ahead of him.
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