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Monday, October 25, 2010

Harlow (1965)

The role that seemed tailor made for Carroll Baker and the botched job it became. Baker would seem the ideal choice for the famed platinum blonde 1930s superstar, Jean Harlow. While not possessing Harlow's magnetic screen personality, Baker is as beautiful and a better actress. Yet the film makers: producer Joseph E. Levine, director Gordon Douglas and screenwriter John Michael Hayes apparently didn't think Harlow's actual tragic life dramatic enough for the screen so most of it is fabricated. Two husbands are omitted from the scenario, one husband Paul Bern (Peter Lawford) commits suicide the day after their wedding eliminating their actual two months of marriage and even her death is a falsified. The movie has her dying of pneumonia after an all night drinking binge and passing out on a beach when in actuality she died in a hospital of kidney failure. Baker is good, good enough to regret that she didn't have a better vehicle rather than having to espouse such cringing lines as "A bedroom with only one person in it is the loneliest place in the world". Edith Head did the 30s costumes and Neal Hefti contributes a terrific score. With Angela Lansbury, Raf Vallone, Red Buttons, Mike Connors, Leslie Nielsen, Martin Balsam, Mary Murphy and Kipp Hamilton.

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