A glamorous film star rebels against the studio, her pushy press agent and a family of hangers-on.A glamorous film star rebels against the studio, her pushy press agent and a family of hangers-on.A glamorous film star rebels against the studio, her pushy press agent and a family of hangers-on.
From the first time we meet Lola, it's obvious that she is overwhelmed by the pressures of her home life, which in turn puts pressure on her career duties. Her drunken father (Morgan) acts as her business manager but her bills aren't paid and she doesn't have any money; she constantly has to bail her brother out of trouble; there's a newspaper man who prints one lie after another about her; one of the people in her household wears her clothes and steals from her; she has three huge dogs; her brother shows up with a tramp; the assistant director on "Red Dust," Jim Brogan (Pat O'Brien) is in love with her and goes crazy when he sees Hugo, the Marqis de Pisa de Pisa on the set (and it's in his storyline that strong prejudice against immigrants is shown); and her agent (Lee Tracy) is a puppeteer in a sick puppet show - Lola's life.
Lola wants out. She decides that she wants to adopt a child and falls in love with a baby at an orphanage but the home visit is a total disaster. Disgusted with her life and all the leaches around her, she takes off, seeking peace and quiet. It's in peaceful surroundings that she meets the wealthy Gifford Middleton. It's love at first sight. Just when she's meeting Gifford's parents, her father and brother appear.
This is a very funny comedy and also very touching, as Lola's sweet personality and desire for a stable family is evident. She swears to Gifford that she's through with show business but becomes concerned when told there hasn't been anything about her in the papers lately. She's young and has no idea what she really wants. Her agent plays off of this and uses it to his own advantage. To most people, she's a blond gravy train.
All of the actors are terrific. Franchot Tone is hilarious, totally and deliberately WAY over the top saying lines such as the one in the summary box. Harlow is surrounded with the best character actors - Lee Tracy, who despite a scandal in 1934 managed to enjoy a nearly 40-year career is great as Lola's fast-talking scam artist agent; Frank Morgan plays his usual role of a weak man, but not a bad one; Louise Beavers brings spark to the role of a maid; Pat O'Brien is in top form as the volatile Brogan.
But it's Harlow's film, and she keeps up with the frantic pace of the film beautifully. Funny and vulnerable, she's hilarious when she pretends she's upper class, as she's often done in her films - no one has ever pulled that off quite like she has. Certainly one of the most lovable and charismatic actresses ever on screen. It's unbelievable that she didn't have a chance to live a full life. "Bombshell" is one of her best films among a lot of wonderful ones.
- Feb 5, 2007