Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Battle of the Blondes: Judy Holliday VS Jean Harlow.

Both of these actress died, at the height of their careers. Both actress were great comediennes and I often wonder what great roles they might have had if they had lived longer.

Born Yesterday(1950). A corrupt tycoon brings his showgirl mistress with him to Washington when he tries to buy a Congressman. He hires a journalist to educate his girlfriend, and in the process, she learns just how corrupt her boyfriend is.

The Solid Gold Cadillac(1956). Directed by Richard Quine and written by Abe Burrows, Howard Teichmann and George S. Kaufman. It was adapted from the hit Broadway play of the same name by Teichmann and Kaufman, in which they expose corrupt businessmen. The film stars Judy Holliday and Paul Douglas.

Bombshell(1933). Pre-Code film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan, C. Aubrey Smith, Mary Forbes and Franchot Tone.

Please click here to view Bombshell(1933) post.

Platinum Blonde(1931). Romantic/comedy, starring Jean Harlow, Robert Williams, and Loretta Young. The film was written by Jo Swerling and directed by Frank Capra.

The story begins when news Reporter Stew Smith, is covering a breach of promise suit filed by chorus girl Gloria Golden, against wealthy Michael Schuyler. Stew, then tricks Mrs. Schuyler into admitting Gloria was paid off, then calls in his story to his editor, Conroy.

That night Stew, talks about the case with reporter Gallagher, who is secretly in love with Stew..

The next day, Stew goes to see Ann, to return Michael's letters, which he took while he was interviewing Gloria and they begin dating.

A month later, Stew and Ann elope. The Schuyler family, are not very happy about the marriage, but Ann promises them that everything will work out. When Stew arrives, he reluctantly agrees to move into the mansion.

Later, at a party for the Spanish ambassador, Stew is bored out of his mind, until.. he sees Gallagher. They are soon joined by rival reporter Bingy Baker, who offers Stew a job, writing a article for Bingy's paper. He then makes the mistake calling Stew, "Cinderella Man," which angers him and he punches him in the nose. The next day, the argument is slapped on the front page of Bingy's newspaper.

On the night, before going to the mayor's reception, Ann leaves without Stew, when he tells her, he can no longer tolerate her friends. Stew then asks Gallagher for help with the play he is writing. She asks Hank and his friends to chaperon. When Ann returns, she orders Stew to throw everyone out, but Stew packs his bags and leaves with his friends. Will Stew return to his wife or will he marry Gallagher?

Jean Harlow, plays the society dame and Loretta Young, plays the reporter. I think it might have made more sense if they switched roles. There are some Pre-Code, sexy love scenes between Williams and Harlow...

The Girl from Missouri(1934). Romantic comedy-drama film starring Jean Harlow and Franchot Tone. The movie was written by Anita Loos and directed by Jack Conway.

Eadie runs away from her and while traveling by train, she tells her friend Kitty that she wants to marry a some one very important.

It does not take her long before she finds a job as one of the chorus girls entertaining at a party at the mansion of wealthy Frank Cousins. She finds away to see Cousins alone, where he wants to give her a expensive gift, but she refuses to accept them until they become engaged.

She is surprised to learn that T.R. Paige had refused to save Cousins from financial ruin. After Eadie leaves Cousins shoots himself. Eadie, then meets T.R. just before the police arrive on the scene.

Eadie goes to visits T.R. and when she says that she wants to marry a rich man, T.R. gives her some money and high tails it for Palm Beach, Florida. Eadie and Kitty, hot on his heels visit T.R.'s office, where Eadie meets Tom T.R.'s son. Eventually, she learns who he is, but it is clear that he is not interested in marriage. Tom gets her alone in his bedroom, but she is able to stop his advances.

Tom, changes his mind and tells his father, that he wants to marry Eadie and T.R. gives his blessing, but after Tom leaves, he calls the district attorney, who comes up with a plan to accuse her of stealing Cousins' jewelry and then has her arrested. When Tom and his father come to see her, she tells Tom that she must have been framed , but Tom does not believe her and breaks up with Eadie.

Her friend Charlie Turner, bails Eadie out. For revenge, she sneaks into T.R.'s stateroom on the ship he and Tom are taking to London. Eadie, wearing only lingerie, hugs T.R just as photographers take his picture.

Heartbroken, Eadie gets drunk and turns to Charlie Turner. Tom arrives just in time, having changed his mind. T.R. wanting to save his reputation, has told the press she was innocent of the theft. Will he now allow the happy couple to marry?

"The Girl From Missouri" is worth seeing though it's not as wonderful as her earlier films, "Red Dust", "Red-Headed Woman" and "Dinner at Eight". It does have some great supporting actors, Lionel Barrymore and Patsy Kelly. If you are a Jean Harlow fan this film is fun from start to finish.


  1. I totally adore Judy Holliday...she is one of my faves. I've seen all her movies. Born Yesterday is my fave...but since it also has William Holden in it, that isn't surprising.

    I've only recently started getting to know Jean Harlow...haven't seen alot of her stuff yet, but I've enjoyed what I've seen. I especially like Libeled Lady.

    And, yes, they both died way too young.

  2. Judy, with her stage background, came into movies with an assured talent and rightfully took her place among the best.

    Jean had to learn on the job, and it is interesting to watch the attractive youngster grow as an actress on screen.

    Both ladies left us too soon, but left us with a legacy of great comedic roles. My daughter (21) wonders where the actresses like Jean Harlow are these days - beauties who can be sarcastic without being bitchy. It's a lost art.

  3. Patti, I'm a big fan of both actress, so.. it was a great night on TCM.

    Caftan Woman, it seems to me.. that movies made today have lost the glamour and it is all about the special effects.

  4. Holiday was a wonderful comedic actress. Sad that she died so young. I don't think I have ever seen her give a poor performance. As for Harlow, Her pre-code films suited her better. Once the code took effect, she seemed to lose her strength (sort of like Samson after Delilah cut his hair). I agree with you on PLATNUIM BLONDE, the two female leads should have reversed roles. From a guy's point of view, at least for me, I would take Loretta Young's elegant beauty over Harlow's sassiness. Not that there is anything wrong with being sassy!

  5. Twentyfourframes, I agree, Holiday.. was a wonderful actress, who was great in everything she performed in. I also agree with you.. that Harlow, was better in pre-code films. I love sassy.. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.