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Bombshell (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 13 October 1933 (USA)
Sexpot film star Lola Burns seeks a new image and tries marrying a marquis and adopting a baby - all sorts of schemes which go awry.

Director:

Victor Fleming (uncredited)

Writers:

John Lee Mahin (screenplay), Jules Furthman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Harlow ... Lola Burns
Lee Tracy ... E.J. 'Space' Hanlon
Frank Morgan ... Pops Burns
Franchot Tone ... Gifford Middleton
Pat O'Brien ... Jim Brogan
Una Merkel ... Mac
Ted Healy ... Junior Burns
Ivan Lebedeff ... Marquis Hugo di Binelli di Pisa
Isabel Jewell ... A Girl Friend (as Isobel Jewell)
Louise Beavers ... Loretta
Leonard Carey ... Winters
Mary Forbes ... Mrs. Middleton
C. Aubrey Smith ... Mr. Middleton
June Brewster ... Alice Cole
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Kennedy ... Minor Role (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Lola Burns is at the top of the pile in Hollywood. But life ain't easy, what with her father and brother always hanging around for handouts, and devious studio publicity honcho Space Hanlon cooking up endless lurid newspaper stories. Makes a girl want to give up pictures. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A romance of the cinema star whose headaches make headlines. (Newspaper ad). See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bombshell See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$344,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was unofficially based on the life of Clara Bow, Holllywood's original "It Girl." Director Victor Fleming was once engaged to her. See more »

Goofs

A piece of debris can be seen at the top of the camera lens in several of the shots of Lola riding a horse in the desert. The debris appears and disappears from shot to shot. See more »

Quotes

Space Hanlon: Don't worry. She can't get very far without being spotted. There's 110 million people that know that face and know that figure.
See more »

Connections

Features Hold Your Man (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Low Down Rhythm
(uncredited)
Music by Jesse Greer
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Your mouth is like a gardenia, open to the sun."
5 February 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Jean Harlow is the "Bombshell" of the 1933 film also starring Franchot Tone, Frank Morgan, Lee Tracy, Pat O'Brien, Una Merkel, Isabel Jewell, Louise Beavers, Ted Healy, and C. Aubrey Smith. Harlow plays a star, Lola Burns, who has a career very similar to Jean Harlow's - in fact, she starred in "Red Dust" with Clark Gable! She's the "It" girl where Harlow was the "If" girl.

From the first time we meet Lola, it's obvious that she is overwhelmed by the pressures of her home life, which in turn puts pressure on her career duties. Her drunken father (Morgan) acts as her business manager but her bills aren't paid and she doesn't have any money; she constantly has to bail her brother out of trouble; there's a newspaper man who prints one lie after another about her; one of the people in her household wears her clothes and steals from her; she has three huge dogs; her brother shows up with a tramp; the assistant director on "Red Dust," Jim Brogan (Pat O'Brien) is in love with her and goes crazy when he sees Hugo, the Marqis de Pisa de Pisa on the set (and it's in his storyline that strong prejudice against immigrants is shown); and her agent (Lee Tracy) is a puppeteer in a sick puppet show - Lola's life.

Lola wants out. She decides that she wants to adopt a child and falls in love with a baby at an orphanage but the home visit is a total disaster. Disgusted with her life and all the leaches around her, she takes off, seeking peace and quiet. It's in peaceful surroundings that she meets the wealthy Gifford Middleton. It's love at first sight. Just when she's meeting Gifford's parents, her father and brother appear.

This is a very funny comedy and also very touching, as Lola's sweet personality and desire for a stable family is evident. She swears to Gifford that she's through with show business but becomes concerned when told there hasn't been anything about her in the papers lately. She's young and has no idea what she really wants. Her agent plays off of this and uses it to his own advantage. To most people, she's a blond gravy train.

All of the actors are terrific. Franchot Tone is hilarious, totally and deliberately WAY over the top saying lines such as the one in the summary box. Harlow is surrounded with the best character actors - Lee Tracy, who despite a scandal in 1934 managed to enjoy a nearly 40-year career is great as Lola's fast-talking scam artist agent; Frank Morgan plays his usual role of a weak man, but not a bad one; Louise Beavers brings spark to the role of a maid; Pat O'Brien is in top form as the volatile Brogan.

But it's Harlow's film, and she keeps up with the frantic pace of the film beautifully. Funny and vulnerable, she's hilarious when she pretends she's upper class, as she's often done in her films - no one has ever pulled that off quite like she has. Certainly one of the most lovable and charismatic actresses ever on screen. It's unbelievable that she didn't have a chance to live a full life. "Bombshell" is one of her best films among a lot of wonderful ones.


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