I know so little about Jean Harlow. I know that she was the actress for whom the term ‘blonde bombshell’ was coined, that she was an inspiration to Marilyn Monroe, and that her sudden death at only 26 sent shockwaves through Hollywood.
The actress known as ‘The Baby’ may have only lived for a short time but she left quite the imprint.
My most recent addiction has been to the Discovering Film documentary series shown on Sky Arts. These infinitely digestible episodes take the hungry viewer through the career of a film star per show; everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Bridgette Bardot, Doris Day, Errol Flynn, and this is just me naming a few. I cannot recommend them enough if you love movies as I do.
When I saw that there was an episode entitled Discovering Jean Harlow, I wondered how the career of one who died so young could be stretched out to fill a full hour of television. What I had not appreciated was the 1930s film industry’s ability to churn out content! Jean Harlow may have lived for only 26 years but she made 34 films across 10 years. Beat that, 21st century Hollywood!
Though quantity does not necessarily indicate quality, it does ensure a certain legacy; a body of work to live long after the body has gone. This amount of work almost ensures that an artist can be rediscovered at any point in the future. So much so that this 2017 platinum blonde can get to know this actress 80 years after her death. She is right there, up on my television screen in Howard Hughes’ WWI epic Hell’s Angels. I picked up the DVD for a song and Chris and I both marveled at the aerial battle sequences, my only distraction being trying to spot the actual accidents that made the final cut.
Apparently, Howard Hughes’ own plane crash (one of several during his life but this one specifically resulting from piloting a stunt that his stunt pilots refused to carry out on account of it being too dangerous) made the final cut of the film. There are a few crashes but I’m sure the eagle-eyed movie buff would know where this is in the film.
I am loving having a little time to watch old movies after a hectic year of shows and articles and cakes. 2017 has been amazing and this quiet time most welcome. Getting to know Jean Harlow, to fill in the gaps in my (embarrassingly extensive) movie viewing, to think, to be inspired is a treat to which I have looked forward all year! I hope that you have a little quiet time coming up too.
To sit down and eat cake with Jean Harlow would be a treat. I would love to steal her style, even more than I have been known to do, and have her tell me tales of being a young actress in 1930s Hollywood. I wonder how different her experiences would have been from those young actresses breaking into the industry today…