Jean Harlow: 100th Anniversary Collection [7 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 19677309
- Release Date: 10/25/2011
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Ratings & Reviews
Jean Harlow offers her final screen performance in this witty and -- in retrospect -- quite moving racetrack comedy-drama co-starring Clark Gable and Walter Pidgeon. When her father dies shortly after losing his horse farm to Duke Bradley (Gable), Carol Clayton (Harlow) refuses the handsome bookmaker's offer to forget the debt and instead vows to pay him back in full. She even forbids her stockbroker fiancé, Harley Madison (Pidgeon), to make wagers that may benefit Duke, but promises to marry him once her champion horse wins at Saratoga. But against all the odds, Carol falls in love with Duke and when he appears in danger of ruination, she finds herself rooting for the competitor to win the all-important race. Saratoga, which was finished using both onscreen and voice doubles for Jean Harlow, was partially filmed on-location at Lexington and Louisville, KY, and in Saratoga Springs, NY. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
The Girl from Missouri
Originally titled Eadie was a Lady, this Jean Harlow vehicle was slated for release under the title Born to be Kissed, but the new Production Code vetoed this "suggestive" cognomen. After a brief and uncomfortable period as One Hundred Percent Pure, the film was finally shipped to theaters as The Girl From Missouri. Harlow plays Eadie, a sexy gold-digger who promises to remain chaste until she finds a wealthy husband. Travelling to New York in the company of her best friend Kitty (Patsy Kelly), Eadie manages to keep that promise, though for a while it looks as though she'll succumb to the charms of playboy T. R. Paige Jr. (Franchot Tone). Once Paige has proven that his intentions are basically honorable, Eadie must break down the resistance of T. R. Paige Sr. (Lionel Barrymore), who is dead-set against his son's romance and intends to frame the girl in a compromising position. She gets even with Paige Sr. by framing him, but there's still a couple of reels to go before the happy ending. Except for some provocative costuming, Jean Harlow's character is essentially decent, thereby "cleansing" some of the more risque elements of this enjoyable romantic comedy. The film's best line is delivered by Patsy Kelly who, when propositioned by an elderly roue, snarls "Look at this! Death takes a holiday!" ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Jean Harlow is the "bombshell" of the title, a popular movie actress named Lola. Though she seemingly has everything a girl could possibly want, Lola is fed up with her sponging relatives, her "work til you drop" studio, and the nonsensical publicity campaigns conducted by press agent Lee Tracy. She tries to escape Hollywood by marrying a titled foreign nobleman, but Tracy has the poor guy arrested as an illegal alien. Finally Lola finds what she thinks is perfect love in the arms of aristocratic Franchot Tone, but she renounces Tone when his snooty father C. Aubrey Smith looks down his nose at Lola and her profession. Upon discovering that Tone and his entire family were actors hired by Tracy, Lola goes ballistic--until she realizes that Tracy, for all his bluff and chicanery, is the man who truly loves her. Allegedly based on the career of Clara Bow (who, like Lola, had a parasitic family and a duplicitous private secretary), Bombshell is a prime example of Jean Harlow at her comic best. So as not to mislead audiences into thinking this was a war picture, MGM retitled the film Blonde Bombshell for its initial run. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Riff-Raff begins riff-raffing when boastful fisherman Dutch (Spencer Tracy) marries down-to-earth cannery worker Hattie (Jean Harlow). Their happiness is marred by Dutch's egomania, which results in the loss of his job and the alienation of his friends. Eventually he deserts Hattie, but she remains in love with him, even going to jail on a theft charge after trying to supply him with money. Reels and reels later, Dutch makes up for his past misdeeds by foiling a plot to sabotage a huge fishing vessel. Unfortunately, his reunion with Hattie is delayed when she tries to break out of prison, earning her an extended sentence, but he magnanimously promises to wait for her. Hard to believe that so sensible a heroine would put up with so much from a guy who's frankly not worth the trouble, but the chemistry between Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow compensates for the film's Grand Canyon-sized logic holes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Suzy is the film in which Cary Grant, overcome by the beauty and vivacity of Jean Harlow, sings her a love ballad! This lighthearted moment aside, Suzy, adapted from a novel by Herbert Gorman is a standard-issue love triangle, set against the tapestry of World War I. Harlow plays a London showgirl, married to Irish engineer Franchot Tone. When foreign spy Benita Hume shoots Tone, mistaking him as a threat against her mission, the terrified Harlow flees into the night, certain that she will be accused of her husband's murder. After the war breaks out, Harlow, believing herself a widow, falls in love with handsome aviator Cary Grant. She marries the well-bred but irresponsible young ace, only to discover that Tone has not been killed after all! This being an idealized World War I film, somebody is going to end up sacrificing his/her life on behalf of somebody else, but we're not about to reveal any more. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
A golddigger finds that romance doesn't always equal finance in this comedy. Crystal Wetherby (Jean Harlow) is an American widow left stranded in London with a stack of debts incurred by her late husband and barely a shilling to her name. Raymond Dabney (Robert Taylor) is the black sheep of a formerly wealthy family who has just been released from prison for fraud and is looking for work. Crystal hires Raymond to watch over her home so that her creditors won't repossess her belongings; Raymond soon learns that Crystal is being courted by his brother Claude (Reginald Owen), much to Raymond's amusement, since both Crystal and Claude are motivated less by love than the mistaken belief that the other has money. However, Crystal and Raymond become increasingly fond of each other, even though they know they're both flat broke. The supporting cast features two of Old Hollywood's favorite U.K. expatriates, E.E. Clive and Una O'Connor. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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