Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jean Harlow

When I was just a kid and paper dolls were something that was common, my mom bought me this book of paper dolls with stars from the 30s. I had no idea who any of these actresses were, but I became enamored with them. I found their names exotic and memorized them. I memorized the films that the costumes were from as if I were a fan of their films and knew them all. I knew of these women and their films before I ever got a chance to actually see them on screen.

The only actress I knew in the book was Judy Garland because I had seen the Wizard of Oz or at least I knew about the Wizard of Oz. It is still one of my favorite movies.

I may have known who Joan Crawford was simply because my mother would do an imitation of her that always made us laugh even though we weren't familiar with who she was.

Where my mother found such a treasure of a book in 1970s small town New Brunswick I have no idea. I am surprised that such a find could be found and I also think it's pretty cool that my mom had sense to avoid the mass marketed Barbie crap that was out there even though I secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) wanted a Barbie and all of her accessories. In retrospect I am grateful that my mom tried to give us another choice outside of the most popular and dominant toys.

The paper doll book was treasured by me and it is where I first learned about Jean Harlow.

I've been watching a lot of movies lately. We have the Turner Classic Movie channel (TCM) now that we've switched to Shaw (don't even get me started about Bell) and I've just discovered TCM and the classic movies that play without commercials. I'm in heaven.

The other night I watched three Jean Harlow films in a row: Bombshell, Hold Your Man and Platinum Blonde.
I think there were more films later, but I packed it in after three.
Bombshell was by far the most fun. Harlow is great in a comedy. Bombshell is a bit self-reflexive as it mimics Harlows life at times through the character of Lola Burns. The cast is wonderful and Harlow is center stage. The film is so much fun. I'll have to see Dinner at Eight because I understand it is her best comedic performance.

Such a short life and yet so many films. I've only just begun to enjoy her films.

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