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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Reckless (1935)

Although a promoter (William Powell) is in love with his actress client (Jean Harlow), she ends up marrying an alcoholic playboy (Franchot Tone) from a very rich family ..... with tragic results. Produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming (THE WIZARD OF OZ). Very loosely based on a 1931 scandal when torch singer Libby Holman married tobacco heir Zachary Reynolds which ended in his suicide. The scandal was also used (with modifications) as the basis for Sirk's WRITTEN ON THE WIND (1956). In the 1930s, MGM had a habit of putting actors with no singing or dancing abilities into musicals. Thus we had James Stewart, Joan Crawford and Robert Taylor in musicals and here it's Jean Harlow's turn. The opening musical number is very bizarre ending with Harlow getting shot to death and her body tossed away! Harlow has a nice jazz number but it's clear that she has a dance double in the more difficult dance moves. The movie's first half hour or so is tiresome and leads you to believe you're getting a romantic comedy until the film takes a dark turn in its last hour. That's when it kicks into gear and it's pretty good until the film's hokey last five minutes. With Rosalind Russell, May Robson, Henry Stephenson, Allan Jones and Nat Pendleton.

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