I just finished the worst movie ever. So what better thing to do than write a blog about it while the disgust is still fresh!
As a last minute contribution to the Jean Harlow Blogathon, I decided to watch the 1965 Carroll Baker version of the movie “Harlow” so I could critique how she was portrayed after her death. You may think, “Why did she say version?” Because there are two movies made in 1965 called “Harlow.”
One movie stars Carroll Baker as Harlow and Angela Lansbury as her mother and it is in color. The other movie, which is lesser known, stars Carol Lynley as Jean Harlow and Ginger Rogers as her mother and is in black and white.
This question plagues me: Why are there two movies about Jean Harlow in 1965? Any answers?
I watched Baker as “Harlow” knowing it would be pretty awful, but I wasn’t aware how awful it would be. Within the first eight minutes, I was growing weary thinking “Do I really want to watch this?” and I’m not sure if Baker had even spoken yet.
The movie was inaccurate about a lot of things. Jean was married 3 times-they only had her married once. Jean died of uremic poisoning- they said she died of pneumonia. All of the movies she made were phony titles like “Love Me Forever” and “Luscious Lady,” none of which are real movies. Sure she was sexy in her movies, but she was also FUNNY. They really ignored the fact that she was funny and wise cracking in all her films.
I was also really confused about who people were supposed to be. Peter Lawford’s character Paul Bern was a real person, but many of the other names were not (I IMDBed it). Mike Connor’s character Jack Harrison wasn’t real and I couldn’t figure out who he was supposed to be the whole movie. The only conclusion I drew was maybe Clark Gable, but Harlow and Gable were good friends, I’m not sure if they were lovers. I’m pretty sure that Martin Balsam as the studio head was supposed to be Louis B. Mayer, but I’m also not positive.
The use of fake names isn’t surprising. In 1965, several of the people talked about in this movie-minus Harlow-were still alive. Similarly in “The George Raft Story,” Betty Grable’s name wasn’t used because she didn’t want any part of the film. I’m just not sure why they used fake movie titles, unless there was some sort of copy right issues.
However, I’ve seen a couple clips from the Carol Lynley version and there is a Marie Dressler character and it looks like they are working on the film “Dinner at Eight.” I actually am interested in seeing this version, because from the clips I’ve seen, it may be a little more accurate-hopefully. I at least thought Lynley looked a little more like her.
I am really curious who has seen this movie and thought it true. I’m no Jean Harlow expert, but I questioned a lot that was going on. One thing’s for sure: I intend on reading a biography about her so I can see what her life was really like. I guess it’s lucky that a book just recent came out about Jean called “Harlow in Hollywood” by Darrell Rooney and Mark Vieira.
I will now share a few of the notes I took while watching this movie. Enjoy!
-Bouffant 60’s hair and cheesy 1960s music.
-Corny. Already struggling to stay tuned in 8 minutes in
-On personal appearance, Harlow dances around in an awfully 60s manner in the 1930s
-Cover of Photoplay looks more like Marilyn Monroe than Jean Harlow.
-“Your bedroom is never empty and always busy, judging by the sounds I always hear from it”- Harlow to Marino. My, my this certainly is a post-1964 movie!
-Corniest Line: “I can get books at the library, music at the record shop, but where do I go to become a bride and a mother.”
-Bern and Harlow were married for about 2 or 3 months, not 3 days before he killed himself
-“Oh Marino I need help, the kind of help you seem to be an expert in.” Oh dear, is Jean trying to seduce her step father? Noooooooooo
-Another dumb line: “She didn’t die of pneumonia. She died of life.” She also didn’t die of pnemonia.
-And now we are singing a corny song…….with a montage of Carroll Baker