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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Red Headed Woman (1932)

A girl (Jean Harlow) from the wrong side of the tracks is determined to climb the ladder to wealth and success no matter how or who it hurts. She breaks up a happy marriage and steals a husband (Chester Morris), blackmails a wealthy businessman (Henry Stephenson), has multiple illicit affairs while married and even attempts murder. One of the most blatant films of the pre-code era, unlike other films which punish their immoral heroines at the end by either giving her a comeuppance or even killing her off, this tart gets away with it and lives happily ever after! Harlow is very brittle in this one with very little chance to show her skills as a comedienne, that falls to Una Merkel as her wisecracking best friend. Actually, it's not a very pleasant (or even very good) movie but Harlow commands the screen like few actresses of her era and part of the film's fascination is watching how much they got away with. Directed by Jack Conway (THE HUCKSTERS). With Leila Hyams, May Robson and a pre-stardom Charles Boyer as Harlow's chauffeur lover.

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