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Platinum Blonde DVD1931. Jean Harlow/Robert Williams,
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This review is from: Platinum Blonde [DVD] (DVD)
I had only seen still shots of Jean Harlow,and of course read about her tragically early death due to terminal illness, so I was delighted to see this classic film on offer. Unfortunately I find this film which began her ledgendary career, a little disappionting. If I had seen this at the local cinema, and paid hard earned money, it would not tempt me to see more during the depression of the 1930's.
In comparison with ledgends such as Mae West,Alice Faye, Bette Davies, Eleanor Powell and later Judy Garland and Marylin Monroe, her screen presence seems very slight.Her acting as socialite Ann Schuyler seems contrived, tired, and stilted. One feels like quoting a line by Nathan Lane in The Producers - "the producer's girl friend always gets the lead"
Produced and Directed by Frank Capra in 1931,this film is a spoof exposing the opulent pretensions of the wealthy at the expense of the less fortunate, who in reality want to be one of them. Robert Williams 'acts his socks of' as they say, attempting to give the film credibility as the fast talking, irritating Newspaper reporter Stew Smith. Whilst investigating a scandal relating to her brother, Stew falls in love with Ann and they marry secretly. He does not fit easily into the gentlemanly life style with a valet, and she of course does not relish living in a small two roomed appartment. He is reviled by former friends for being a 'kept man'. The black and white picture quality is sharp, and there are some good effects, as they kiss behind a glass screen covered in flowing water, and later' bill and coo' on a bed singing an affectionate little ditty.
There is a one liner by Mae West in 'Belle of The Nineties'- "better to be looked over, than overlooked" and somehow in spite of the racy platinum hair and silk dresses, Jean Harlow is easy to overlook. Likewise Louise Closser Hale does not really gell as the indignant and comical mother. There are shades of the Marks Brothers and Laurel and Hardy, but here it is a case of knowing it is all meant to be amusing, rather than really finding it funny.
Lovely Loretta Young plays Gallagher, Stew's down to earth and patient newspaper buddy, who finally makes him realise that their love is the real thing.