Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Pre-Code: Red Headed Woman (1932).
Red Headed Woman (1932). Film of the Pre-Code era, based on a novel by Katherine Brush. Directed by Jack Conway. Cast: Jean Harlow, Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Leila Hyams, Una Merkel, Henry Stephenson, May Robson, Charles Boyer and Harvey Clark.
The story begins when Lilian Andrews, will do anything to seduce her wealthy boss, William Legendre Jr. and break up his marriage. His wife Irene, soon after the divorce finds that she does not want to live without him and tries to get back with Bill, only to find he has married Lil.
Lil, is not happy because she is shunned by Bill's father, Will Legendre Sr., because of her low class behavior. When Charles B. Gaerste, a coal tycoon visits the family, Lil thinks she has found a way into the higher social circles. She seduces him, into throwing a party for her. Things are looking good for Lil, until her hairdresser Sally, informs her that all the guests have left early to attend a party for Irene.
She decides to move to New York City, without her husband. Will finds Lil's handkerchief at Gaerste's place and shows his evidence to his son, who hires a detective, who finds out that she having two affairs. One with Charles and the other with his French chauffeur, Albert. Bill shows Charles the photographs. When Lil learns that Charles has found out about her, she returns to Bill, only to find that he has gone back to Irene. She shoots him, but he survives, will he have her arrested?
Jean Harlow's first line is "Who says gentlemen prefer blonde's?" which was written by Anita Loos for the movie who's most famous work was the musical comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blonde's (1953).
No matter what type of role Jean Harlow played, it seems like she loved acting. Una Merkel, gives a wonderful performance as her roommate and look for Charles Boyer, in his small role. This film is very good example of a pre-code film.
Her parents were vaudeville comedy performers John Hyams and Leila McIntyre, Hyams performed on-stage with her parents as a child. As a teenager she worked as a model and become well known after appearing in a successful series of newspaper advertisements. This success led her to Hollywood.
She made her first film in 1924, and with her blond hair, she was cast in many supporting roles. She proved herself in her small roles and over time she came to be taken seriously as an actress.
Her first first talkie was the film, Alias Jimmy Valentine (1928) opposite William Haines, Lionel Barrymore and Karl Dane. The following year she performed in the murder mystery, The Thirteenth Chair, a role that allowed her to showcase her dramatic abilities. The quality of her parts continued to improve, like her performance in the film, The Big House (1930) and in the film, Surrender (1931).
She is maybe best remembered for two early 1930s horror movies, Freaks (1932) and in the film, Island of Lost Souls (1933).
She also performed in the once controversial Jean Harlow film, Red-Headed Woman (1932), the musical comedy, The Big Broadcast (1932) and the film, Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) .