God knows I’ve covered Harlow’s portraits many times, but today, I’ll show you her candids! Or portraits that look like they can be candids anyway…
Jean Harlow filming a scene from “Red Dust while Clark Gable and Victor Fleming look on.
Jean and Hubby #3, Harold Rosson.
Jean and her dog pose by her car (can’t wait to see this car for myself next month!)
Jean in court obtaining divorce from her third husband, Hal Rosson.
Jean with her mother and stepfather, Marino Bello.
Jean on set.
Jean with her mother (who is reading a thermometer).
Jean with a cute little doggy!
Jean getting some reading done!
Jean in New York, getting off at Grand Central Station!
Jean and her second husband, the tragic Paul Bern.
Jean gets her game face on.
Jean and Paul Bern sign their marriage papers. Her stepfather is behind her.
Jean with her mother.
Having an interesting conversation with William Powell.
Jean petting her dog.
Jean watches the air races.
Jean raises the flag at the air races.
Looking cool watching the air races with binoculars.
Getting that coiffure ready!
Jean after Paul Bern’s funeral.
Jean with a wall full of stars! Among them are Norma Shearer, Una Merkel, Clark Gable, and herself with Ben Lyon.
Part of the famous bear rug photoshoot.
Jean curls up with a script and a drink. Notice the portrait of herself on the wall!
Most likely rehearsing the song “Hold Your Man”, for her film of the same name.
Picking flowers. Captain Obvious provides the caption as always
An ethereal Jean with golfing gear.
Being a good girl and drinking what seems to be a glass of milk (you can never tell with black and white)
Cutest. Photo. Ever.
And on a totally random note, I found it hilarious that I searched for Harlow candids to put in this post and come up with a photo of Cary Grant at a water cooler. He was taking a break on the set of “Suzy”, which starred Harlow (which explains why I got this in the search results!) Still, it cracked me up!
Happy Friday everyone! Here’s some interesting stuff to mull over…
So, every good classic movie fan knows that Jean Harlow was Marilyn Monroe’s idol, right? Monroe appreciated Jean’s work, but most famously she admired Jean’s “blonde bombshell” image. She dyed her hair platinum, and adopted the sex symbol persona she is largely remembered for today. However, Monroe was also a fervent admirer of a Mr. Clark Gable, Harlow’s most frequent costar. This triangle’s connections are quite uncanny, to say the least!
Firstly, Harlow and Monroe had the same movie star image, as I stated above. They were typecast as the sexy blonde who was the despair of any man who laid eyes on her. Many women would give up anything to be in their shoes. But, in their private lives, this image hurt them more than helped them. Both Harlow and Monroe are infamous for their tragic lives, practically enslaved to this persona that they weren’t in actuality. They both sought happiness, but unfortunately, they never achieved it. Also, both Harlow and Monroe passed away at a young age…and both acted their last film with Clark Gable.
When Harlow was at the height of career, making blockbusters such as “Red Dust” and “China Seas” with Clark Gable (with whom she mad six films), Monroe was a little girl, dreaming over him. It’s so unusual that, being a Gable fan and a disciple of Harlow, she too would end up making her last film with him, just like her idol! I actually find it quite creepy. Monroe loved Harlow, but that is just strange! I dunno, I guess Gable is bad luck for all blonde bombshells…
Harlow and Monroe also felt deeply connected to Gable. He was Harlow’s best friend and confidante, he was Monroe’s fantasy man, a man who helped her escape from her abusive, miserable childhood. Monroe would even dream about Gable in her sleep, imagining that he was the father she never had. For Harlow, Gable was just one of the two people (the other being William Powell) who were allowed to visit her on her deathbed. He was with her until the very end, and was a pallbearer at her funeral.
What do you think? Both women were exactly the same: same looks, same life, and both set great store on the same man…how strange is fate!
I’m EXTREMELY sorry for the pause in Harlow month (if you can call it that anymore!) but I had this major calculus exam to prepare for and then my server crashed, so blogging was pushed to the back-burner for a while. I apologize to Jean, because I obviously cannot do her justice. She deserved better. I’ll try to make it up to her and everyone else, and I’ll start by entertaining you with some interesting Harlow facts:
Jean was originally considered for the female lead in the 1932 film “Freaks”. I am having A LOT of trouble imagining this!
Over 500,000 people turned out at Grauman’s Chinese to check out the premiere of Jean’s first film…”Hell’s Angels” (1930)
Jean was the first actress to appear on the cover of Life Magazine, on May 3, 1937.
In 1934, Jean went on a salary strike from MGM. During this time, she wrote a book entitled “Today Is Tonight”. The book was not published until 1965. I do own a copy of the book, and I will review it soon!
Jean had two superstitions: she had a “lucky mirror” in her dressing room, which she would always look inefore leaving, and she wore a “lucky” ankle bracelet.
Jean was curvier than other classic film actresses. Her measurements were 34B-25-36.
Friends had nothing but commendable things to say about Jean Harlow. Here’s how she was, in their own words:
“Harlow was not frightened of the camera; she reacted to it, and in some strange way, I was the third party – THEY were the conspirators.”
~~ photographer George Hurrell
“In the first sitting I fell in love with Jean Harlow. She had the most beautiful and seductive body I ever photographed.”
~~photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull
“A square shooter if there ever was one.”
“Always, she is so straightforward and human and pleasant to observe that she is of inordinate value to a film that certainly does require her gifts.”
~~New York Herald Tribune writer Richard Watts, Jr.
“She didn’t want to be famous. She wanted to be happy.”
Here’s a…creative…way to snack healthy from Jean Harlow. It’s short, sweet, and to the point:
Finely chop several celery sticks and shrimp. Mix in with mayonnaise. Put mixture inside more celery sticks and serve. It is optional to sprinkle it with paprika.
To add more substance to this post, here’s a photo of Harlow eating a burger.
Jean Harlow was famous for her bold, distinctive makeup style. I absolutely love it, but I’m way too afraid to try it completely (I like doing the mouth, and sometimes the eyes, but I’m too chicken to shave off my eyebrows or dye my hair platinum). It’s extreme, beautiful, and mixes twenties makeup trends with the more feminine style of the thirties. For you courageous dames out there, here’s how to achieve the full Harlow look:
Harlow, like many women of the 1930s, wore a lot of foundation. Pancake makeup, which was quite heavy and creamy, was what was used back then. Now that pancake makeup no longer exists (unless your grandmother still has some!) you would have to make do with matte foundation. Finish off with a rosy blush on the fleshiest part of your cheeks to emphasize that “baby” look. Don’t forget to powder your nose!
I adore Jean’s eyebrows, and I hate myself for not being brave enough to style my own that way! But ladies, the hard truth is that yes, if you want those brows, you will need to wax or shave off your natural ones. There’s no way you can keep them that thin or in that shape naturally. You need to draw on your new brows with a black pencil, above the natural brow bone, and in a circular (not too circular!) shape. They are elongated, down to the corner of the eye.
Jean gave her baby blues an exotic twist by using dark, smouldering makeup (to the delight of many men). In order to get a similar look, take a small amount of a dark eyeshadow and smudge it up to the eye socket, giving it a smoky, less harsh look. Apply a thick line of black eyeliner to your top lid (make it a very tiny wing-tip), and a thin line to the bottom lid. You can even apply a light line to your socket line (see photo above). For the lashes, use mascara or falsies. For the bottom lashes, you can do the same, but sometimes Jean would trick the system and actually draw on bottom lashes:
Here’s my favorite part! The first step to achieving Jean’s trademark pout is the cover your entire mouth with foundation or concealer. Then draw on your new mouth with a deep red lipstick (you might want to use lip liner to help with this), emphasizing only the two tips of the upper lip and the lowest curve of your lower lip. Extend gradually thinner for the perfect Cupid’s Bow. If you, like me, are lucky enough to have a mouth that already kind of looks like a Cupid’s Bow, you can cheat a little by applying lipstick only to the emphasized areas, and covering up the very corners with concealer.
Pretty simple: a platinum blonde 1930s bob (which goes a bit past your chin). There’s no escaping that…unless you go auburn and say you’re channeling Jean in Red Headed Woman.
A Finishing Touch…
Don’t forget to draw on a beauty mark! Use black pencil, and draw it on the chin, or by one of the corners of your lips!
Voila! A Harlow look!
I just rewatched Red Headed Woman and re-realized just how much I love it!
This film is a classic pre-Code, about a woman who uses sex to further her position in society. Harlow plays Lil, a dame who wants to drop out of the School of Hard Knocks and live with the cream of the crop (gosh what a sentence!) Lil has no morals or values or anything, and nothing is too shocking for her. She breaks up her rich boss’ marriage, has multiple affairs with wealthy men, marries and divorces in a heartbeat, and even attempts murder.
Harlow’s character in this film was shockingly immoral, even for the pre-Code era, and many would find it difficult to sympathize with her character (Baby and I sure didn’t!). The film was actually banned in Britain and wasn’t released there until 1965, and many 1932 film audiences complained that “the picture reeked of sex” (it was one of the films that caused the tough enforcement of censors in 1934 until the 60s, and it had some moments of exposed skin and suggestive lines). However, I found it an interesting role for Harlow, because it definitely shows she can act (many personify her with light, frivolous comedies, but in Red Headed Woman she proves that she can act a heavy, more serious film as well), but…it firther pigeon-holed her into the “harlot” image that she wasn’t.
Jean gets naughty with her boss…
Here’s a funny bit of trivia about the film: Jean’s first line was “So gentlemen prefer blondes, do they?”. The script was written by Anita Loos, who also wrote “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.
Does anyone else who’s seen this film find the men in it pretty…dumb? Isn’t it pretty obvious that Jean’s character was a heartless gold-digger? They just fall for it! Oh well, who am I to question the charms of Harlow?
One of the best assets of the film was Una Merkel as Lil’s friend and confidante, Sally. She provides comedy and wit to the film, and helps to take the edge off some of the more serious moments. She’s just drop-dead hilarious. Also keep your eyes peeled for Charles Boyer as a womanizing French chauffeur! It cracked me up so much.
Una Merkel, who has the wonderful ability to make good films great.
Don’t crucify me for this, but I think Harlow looks slightly better in red hair (she wore a wig for the film). Don’t get me wrong, I adore her in platinum, but I think she seems more charming in red hair. It also contrasted beautifully with her skin.
Okay, now I’m confused. Which hair color do you prefer?
Now I’ll leave you with an adorable picture:
Jean with Anita Loos
In my research on Jean Harlow over the past three years since I’ve discovered the classics, I’ve read time and time again that there are no real color photos of her. But today I come here to squash that rumor and show you the ONLY COLOR PHOTOS OF HARLOW IN EXISTENCE.
These photos are from a Technicolor sequence from Harlow’s breakout film, Hell’s Angels. Wasn’t she even more of a beauty? I find it odd, though, that many people say that there is no photos or footage of Jean in color…while she had a whole scene filmed in color in one of her most famous films! Oh well, at least I provided the proof.
Want to eat like Jean? No problem! Here’s her recipe for hot rolls. She probably ate these rolls when she wasn’t working on a film. While filming, she restricted herself to a diet of fruits, vegetables, and salads.
Use the following ingredients:
1 cup of warm milk, 1/2 cup of butter and shortening mixed
1/2 cup of warm water with 1 cake of compressed yeast
1 egg well beaten
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
enough flour to make soft dough.
Set four hours, after which roll to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with biscuit cutter. Then brush with melted butter and put another biscuit on top and daub melted butter on top of that. Let stand two hours and then place them in a hot over for 10 minutes.
You may already know that for my senior prom in May, I’m planning to channel Jean Harlow, the ultimate 30s goddess. I’ve always admired her fashion, and now, since I’m planning to deck myself out as “The Brunette Harlow”, I’ve been even more interested in her impression on the sartorial world. If any of you fellow vintage-loving dames want to channel Jean for a particular event (or for plain everyday!) here’s the guide:
The Satin Dress
Perhaps Jean’s biggest contribution to women’s fashion were her trademark clingy satin dresses. Without a doubt, they caused quite a stir back then! They clung to Jean like second skin, and some 30s conservatives even accused her of wearing underwear as outerwear. However, nobody listened to the geezers, because Jean’s trend helped to bring back femininity after the more masculine fashions of the 1920s. The way these dresses stuck to Jean’s curves made women embrace their natural figures, and it went on to shape women’s fashions up till now (although the classy that were in these dresses is gone today). These satin gowns were absolutely genius. They were sexy but elegant and classy, liquidy without betraying too much, and they gave men something to think about! If I can find a dress like this for prom, my life is complete!
Ditch The Undies
Jean was famous (or infamous) for refusing to wear underwear. Jean, never truly free in her life, felt liberated without undergarments. Many misunderstood people out there find her a floozy because of it, but it was actually a child-like habit. Didn’t you hate having to listen to every word your parents said when you were a child? EXACTLY. And Jean wasn’t the only one who went around au naturel under her designer gowns! Anyway, with her tight satin dresses, it was quite obvious. Her wedding pictures to Paul Bern actually had to be retouched because they left very little to the imagination! However, it helped to sneak in some sex element in her glamor portraits that would probably be missing due to censors.
Every 30s dame had at least one fur, but Jean seemed to adore them! She always had a fur to go with her dress, and since the vast majority of her dresses were white, her furs were white as well (usually you’d see a woman wear a dark fur–not Jean!) White fur became another one of her seemingly never-ending trademark fashions, and it helped to give her that luminous, angelic glow she always seems to have.
Solid Colors and Simplicity
There’s a reason why the first blonde bombshell rarely wore any patterns or any crazy designs. It just wasn’t as elegant as a sleek, solid colored dress that is bold and leaves a great impression. Honestly, don’t you think it would be much more classy to have that one simple stunner instead of many wild-pattered dresses that just don’t work after an event or two? Jean knew the value of a gown, and a simple dress made of a good material would last a lifetime.
The Sporty Look
Harlow’s off-duty look was the total opposite of the glam Harlow we all know and love. However, it is the same in the fact that it is clean, simple, and always elegant! Whenever Jean (a great sportswoman) played golf or tennis, she did it in style, with wide legged pants, and a short-sleeved sweater or cardigan. She looked cute and functional!
The Ankle Bracelet
In many of Jean’s photos, you would find on her left ankle, a simple, dainty bracelet. This was Jean’s “lucky” bracelet, and she never went anywhere without it. Jean hardly ever wore any other jewelry besides her anklet. She believed that her dress should stand on its own, without any jewels disturbing the flow or look of it. Her anklet is simple and tasteful, and is also quite unique!
Jean Harlow was quite the popular dame in Hollywood. Everyone loved “The Baby” (who wouldn’t?) and she was always the center of attention. Here are some photos of her and her famous friends:
With Mary Astor and Clark Gable (perhaps during 1932, when all three were filming Red Dust together…but maybe Clark was filming on Strange Interlude that day, he’s wearing a mustache).
With Marlene Dietrich in 1935.
At the 1934 premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with William Powell
From left to right: Richard Barthelmess, Jean, Mervyn LeRoy, Paul Muni
With First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt
With William Powell in 1936
With Abe Lyman and Sam Wood in 1933
On the set with Lewis Stone
Dining at the Trocadero in 1935 with William Powell
With Louis B Mayer in 1933
With Rouben Mamoulian, Marlene Dietrich, and Josef Sternberg in 1934
Celebrating Lionel Barrymore’s birthday in 1937 with Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell (I NEED to learn how to achieve Jean’s hairstyle here!!!)
In 1935 with Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell, and Delmer Diggs
With Gloria Swanson, Marion Davies, and Constance Bennett at one of Marion’s famed costume parties
Yes, I ended yet another post with that photo
Everyone knows that Jean Harlow’s most defining feature was her platinum blonde hair. However, Jean’s hair wasn’t always styled the same, nor was it always platinum blonde! Here’s all of Jean’s hair phases:
Jean had a cute little bob with bangs as a child!
Jean around 1930, when “Hell’s Angels” was released. She had platinum hair, and it was cut very short.
Around 1931. She was really really platinum then (Platinum Blonde came out that year) and she began to fingerwave her hair 1930s style.
With red hair in 1932 for “Red Headed Woman”.
Around 1932-1933, back to platinum
In the mid 1930s, Jean adopted a brownette color. Years of platinum were not good to her, and she needed a break.
My favorite hair look on Jean: Curly! Around 1936.
1937. Jean’s last hairstyle from her last film “Saratoga”
China Seas (1935) is another great Gable/Harlow gem. It has everything: a romantic triangle, a rivalry, and a dangerous plot. The film revolves around a ship captain named Alan Gaskell (Gable), who needs to transport some extremely important cargo from Hong Kong to Shanghai. On the ship he finds a harlot named China Doll (Harlow), who was his main squeeze while he was on the mainland. China Doll is in love with him, but he rejects her and instead, he goes for the high-class, elegant Sybil (Rosalind Russell), a British socialite who was another former paramour of Gaskell’s. While Alan tries to juggle the two women and while the women fight over him, Alan’s first mate, Jamesy (Wallace Beery) is plotting to hijack the ship with Malay pirates to steal the gold that Gaskell needs to transport.
This film is great! It’s not just a straight romance, but it has tons of adventure in it. What happened behind the scenes is just as fun as the action on-screen. Wallace Beery and Clark Gable never got along, and this film was no exception. During a scene in which Gable’s character gets tortured, Beery actually slapped Gable in the face instead of the usual fake smack. Gable then threatened to break Beery’s neck, and a fight almost erupted. The crew had to separate them and shooting was shut down until the next day. This was also the film in which Gable discovered that Loretta Young was pregnant with their daughter, Judy Lewis. Goes without saying that this was not an easy film for Gable.
But let’s focus on our birthday girl. I think that Jean’s character was cute here, but there were some points in which she got a tad annoying, especially when she was trying to throw herself at Clark, and was constantly whining about it. However, she makes up for it in her scenes with Wallace Beery. She was her usual snappy self then, and they had surprisingly good chemistry, eventhough they seem polar opposites.
However, I felt really bad for Jean in this film. Years of dying her hair platinum with extremely harsh chemicals (peroxide, ammonia, Clorox, and Lux detergent flakes) totally destroyed it, and caused it to dry up and fall out. Therefore, she was outfitted with a wig that is so obviously fake, and reminds me a lot of cotton candy (which isn’t good).
How badly do you want to take a scissor to those three curls on top of her head?
During the big hurricane scene, you can actually see Jean’s real (wet) hair for a couple of seconds. The wig probably looked like a wet poodle, so they could not use it in that scene.
This film also has an excellent supporting cast. Lewis Stone is heart-wrenching as a sailor seeking redemption, and there are other extra characters that keep the film light and add comedy to contrast some of the heavier scenes. Oh, and did I mention that there is a scene in which Gable’s character gets tortured by Malaysian pirates that is absolutely hilarious? This is a very fun film that has it all.
Wife vs Secretary (1936) is one of my favorite Harlow/Gable pairings. Here, Harlow is out of her character, and Gable is his usual womanizing self, with Myrna Loy as the picture of elegance. Best of all, the film takes a usually serious subject and manages to make it light and even fun. What’s not to love?
Clark Gable is a magazine publisher named Van Stanhope. He is married to the elegant, loving Linda (Myrna Loy), and their marital life is absolutely perfect. However, rumors begin to swirl that Van is having an affair with his beautiful secretary, Whitey (Jean Harlow). When Linda calls Van’s hotel room at two in the morning, guess who answers. Are the rumors true? Sorry folks, but I’m not going to give it away!
Also in this film is a very young Jimmy Stewart, who played Jean’s fiance. While shooting a love scene with her, Jimmy confessed to messing up on purpose, just so he can kiss Jean over and over again!
As I’ve mentioned before, Jean’s character is quite different from the ones she played in earlier films. No longer the fast-talking platinum blonde harlot with loose morals and crazy male manipulation skills, she plays a girl-next door who is impressed by riches and the big city, is engaged to an average Joe, lives in a two-story house, and does her work efficiently and responsibly. To me, it shows that Harlow truly could play a variety of roles. She was more than just a pretty face. At this point in her career, Jean was trying to break away from her racy image and took on more demure roles. It would’ve helped her to fit in with the rest of MGM’s female stars. She was also ready to marry William Powell, and was thinking about settling down.
Great scenes from this film: Jean doing a nice impersonation of George Barbier, Clark getting into a steam bath, Clark and Jean ice-skating, and of course, any scene with Clark and Myrna Loy, who have great chemistry.
Overall, this is a light, fun, and witty film. It’s fast-paced and teaches a lesson. It also shows our star of the month in a much different light, much like the way she was in real life (except that she wouldn’t steal anyone’s husband!).
Today’s Jean Harlow’s centenary, everyone! Although Harlow died at the tragically young age of 26, she nevertheless left behind a wonderful filmography, and continues to influence and enchant many today. Harlow will forever remain the quintessential 1930s girl, and she exemplifies so much of what was associated with that time period. She was so glamorous, yet so down-to-earth. She’s beautiful, but not classically beautiful. She helped to bring back femininity after the boyishness of the 1920s, and she made blonde THE hair color. Harlow’s life may have been tragic (she was constantly being sucked out of her money by her controlling mother and her gangster husband, Marino Bello…the only good thing about her death is that she did not have to suffer any more), we’re here to make it up for her, and give her, in heaven, the happiness that she missed out on in life. Here are some beautiful photos of Jean that exemplify just who she really was: a sweet, friendly, attractive woman, who loved to talk fast and sharp, who had a unique personality, can be the epitome of glamour, yet be one of the people. Jean was the 1930s.
In yesterday’s post, I’ve mentioned that a lot of great quotes seemed to have been spoken by Miss Jean Harlow. Here are some of her best quips from her films. It’s Life According To Jean:
Jean On Clothes:
(In “Red Headed Woman”, Jean tries on a dress and stands in front of a sunny window) “Can you see through this?”
I’m afraid you can, miss.
“I’ll wear it.”
“Underwear makes me uncomfortable, and besides, my parts need to breathe!”
“Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?”
Jean On Makeup:
“I’ve told you a million times not to talk to me when I’m doing my lashes!”
Jean On Men:
“When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas”
“I like to wake up each morning feeling a new man.”
“No one ever expects a great lay to pay all the bills.”
Jean On Germophobes:
“One day when he was eating a cookie he offered me a bite. Don’t underestimate that. The poor guy’s so frightened of germs, it could darn near have been a proposal.”
Jean On Parrots:
“What you been eatin’? Cement?”
“You can check the wings and halo at the desk.”
“You wouldn’t be a bad-looking dame, if it wasn’t for your face.”
Who are you?
“I’m the Queen of Sheba!”
“This place certainly reeks of happiness and good cheer. Or maybe it’s this cheese.”
“Politics? Ha! You couldn’t get into politics. You couldn’t get in anywhere. You couldn’t even get in the men’s room at the Astor!”
Remember what I told you last week?
“I don’t remember what you told me a minute ago.”
“Get away from me, all of you! You’re nothing but a pack of leeches!”
“You’re a fool, for which I’m grateful”
Do you want me to kill myself?
“Did you change your insurance?”
Jean On Blondes:
“Don’t worry about me, blondes never go broke. Being a brunette, you wouldn’t understand that. But you very seldom catch a blonde in financial trouble. Besides, I’ve got a rich uncle.”
“For the love of mud!”
Some Great Conversations:
Just two weeks ago, he sent me ten bucks for Christmas. I bet that’s a bit of news to certain somebody.
“He was tossin’ ten-dollar bills to ALL the tramps at Christmas!”
Did you get yours?
“I was reading a book the other day.”
Reading a book?
“Yes. It’s all about civilization or something. A nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy says that machinery is going to take the place of every profession?”
Oh, my dear, that’s something you need never worry about.
Where were you yesterday?
“Oh, Stew and I went for a long ride. Dexter, is there any finishing school we could sent him to?”
Yes – Sing Sing!
“I don’t care who he is. Nobody talks to me like a house detective. “
How do you know how a house detective talks?
“Don’t you think I read?”
If You’re Bored:
“I thought we might run up a few curtains and make a batch of fudge while we were planning on what ti wear to the country club dance Saturday night.”
It’s not quite Jean’s birthday yet, but who said it was too early to celebrate? Here’s a corny tribute to her that I concocted in school today, while not paying any attention to my classes and thinking about what was REALLY important:
AN OPEN LETTER TO JEAN HARLOW
Even though you are reaching your centennial in three days, that doesn’t mean we are going to stop calling you “Baby” any time soon. It’s the same with my sister. She’s so baby-faced, I’m never going to stop calling her “Baby” either. However, there’s only one word to describe you–AMAZING! How can someone with so short a career make such a strong mark on filmdom? Now that’s what I call star power! You changed our idea of beauty, and you taught us that yes, blondes can be smart! You’re snappy, witty, and oodles of fun, and you still continue to enchant and fascinate millions! The best quotes in the entire world always seem to have came out of your mouth! (I use your quips endlessly) The fact that you still have a large fan base today is a testament to your endless charisma and charm. And thanks to you, brunettes like me can never have fun! But that’s okay, we love you anyway! (Oh, and did I mention that you’ve inspired me to try platinum one day, when I become more courageous? I need to have some fun too, ya know!)
The Dames here at An Elegant Obsession
Remember to check out the link to “Harlow In Hollywood: The Blonde Bombshell In The Glamour Capital”, the superb biography on Baby coming out on her birthday: (http://www.angelcitypress.com/harl.html).
Jean rocks our socks, folks!
In honor of Jean Harlow’s centennial (March 3), a blogathon has been organized by the Kitty Packard Pictorial (http://kittypackard.wordpress.com/). The blogathon takes place from February 28 to March 6, so it’s a week full of Harlow…and I’m happy to announce that this dame is participating in the blogathon! However, here we’re going to dedicate the entire month of March to our favorite platinum blonde! Can’t wait!!!
If you run a blog and wish to to participate in the blogathon, do not hesitate to contact Kitty Packard on her site.
As you can guess by the title, this post has nothing to do with Gable Month. I’m pretty bad when it comes to sticking to one thing, aren’t I? Anyway, I’m really bored, so I’m just going to sound off on something that every single person has been talking about for the past month or so–PROM. The senior prom is coming up in May, and everyone is freaking out as though it’s like, tomorrow or something.
Okay, I’m going to make this somehow relatable to Gable Month—I wish Clark Gable was my prom date!
Anyway, creating more hullaballoo than after-prom, pre-prom, date vs no date, limo vs party bus and all that wonderful crap, is buying a prom dress. I usually love shopping, but dear God, this is insane! Okay, first of all, I find a navy blue dress I like and I show a picture of it to everyone, saying I might consider getting that. But NO, because these little Einsteins thought that the dress was too simple (and since when have I been accused of simplicity?! Geez.) they all think they can buy a blue dress! Uh, hello, didn’t I just say I was potentially going to purchase the dress? Since WHEN did I care about their opinions? If I did, then yours truly would be sporting straight hair, side bangs, and horrendous amounts of cheap black eyeliner than my usual finger waved bob, red cupid’s bow lips, and the ever-present feather! Why do I need a not-simple dress anyway? It’s just a dance party! I’m not getting married!
This one friend even had the audacity to tell me she had a dream in which she went prom dress shopping and all the dresses in the store were BLUE, meaning that it was a sign from the good Lord in heaven that she needs to get a BLUE dress. Oh, excuse me, I wasn’t so divinely blessed, so I guess I should go look for another dress. And you know what? I bet you this kid didn’t even have a dream! It’s her way of saying “Uh, I hate your freaking guts so I don’t want you to get what you want and I really wanted a blue dress from before but I just wasn’t smart enough to tell you. Anyway, I’m glad I waited until you showed me a blue dress. It gives me a chance to rain on your parade.”
Anyway, then I started to hear about a zillion other girls in the school are vying for a blue dress. So I quit it. The dress I liked was expensive anyway. Who wants to blend in with the crowd? I’LL be having the last laugh when I see everyone in a blue dress, and there I am, in a fiery red!
So, I decided that I don’t want what is commonly known as a “prom dress”. You know, bright colors that make your eyes bleed (hot pink, fluorescent yellow), bad bedazzling jobs, and enough ruffles and tulle to create dresses for about three little girls. I want something elegant, more of an evening gown, something that my favorite movie stars would wear in a 1930s high society film. Because prom is the last big party of the year, I’m going to channel the most 1930s, most glamorous one of all—Jean Harlow. I scoured the Internet for some dresses (but of course my father doesn’t approve with dress shopping online–I need to physically buy it, according to his “Law”). Hopefully I find one of these dresses, or something similar to them, when I go to Manhattan on Friday. If not, I’m shopping online, no matter what the loving patriarch says. Here’s what I found:
So far, if I’m shopping online, my top choices are the green satin and any of the red ones. If I’m not, at least I know the style, cut, and colors I’m looking for. What do you guys think? Tell me your opinions by Friday!!!
Also, if there are any glamour girls out there that want to channel Old Hollywood for your prom, I hope this helped!
Happy Friday everyone! Ever wonder what it looked like during the filming of a Gable film? These pictures will take you behind the scenes of movie-making at its finest (some photos from dearmrgable.com):
Hanging around on the set of Adventure, with Greer Garson and Victor Fleming
Relaxing on the set of Adventure with Joan Blondell
Playing with probably the cutest baby in the entire world on the set of Boom Town. Spencer Tracy looks a tad concerned.
Giving Joan Crawford a hand on the set of Love on the Run
With costar (and gal pal) Elizabeth Allan on the set of Men In White
With the locals on the set of Mogambo in Africa
Only Clark can make sneakers look cool! On the set of Never Let Me Go with Gene Tierney and a HUGE dog
Standing behind the (wrong) chairs on the set of The Misfits
On the set of To Please A Lady
On the set of The White Sister
Whoa guys sorry about the length of this thing…I can never get enough of behind the scenes pictures!
Quite often, classic Hollywood stars seem almost like demigods. They have immeasurable talent, unearthly beauty, and juicy, interesting lives. It’s sometimes hard to belive that they’re actually normal, everyday people like you and me. But hey, that’s what makes them so much more special and cooler than whatever the hell we’ve got today. To bring them back to earth, here are some photos of our favorite stars when they were babies! Be prepared for cutie overload! (Photos from Corbis)
Loretta Young, who’s kind of a scary-looking baby if you ask me.
Look at that little man! He grew up to be Cary Grant.
Did Tallulah Bankhead ALWAYS look the same?!
Cutie Jean Harlow! Before she had her famous platinum mane, she was a bit of an Elmer Fudd baby!
Not exactly a baby…Joan Crawford at age six
AWWW!!! Baby Bette Davis!
Wasn’t Tyrone Power adorable? And he always did have those expressive brows!
Obviously, Gary Cooper was meant to be a cowboy
A precious Katharine Hepburn
Baby Jimmy Stewart on a cool vintage tricycle
Perhaps the cutest picture EVER. Baby Judy Garland!
ADORABLE Lucille Ball!
Norma Shearer lookin’ pretty serious
Claudette Colbert as a little tyke
Adorable baby Carole Lombard! I think she’s so cute, but party-pooper Jean thinks she looks like Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter!
Marlene Dietrich, always the glamour girl
GORGEOUS Vivien Leigh! Look at those eyes!
Grace Kelly, already a beauty
And now the most adorable, cutest little baby of all…Humphrey Bogart! He’s so lucky I wasn’t around when he was a baby. He would’ve been kidnapped in 3,2,1!
Hellooo to all my readers! I come with both good news and bad news…first of all, sorry for not blogging in a long while. School is messing around with my classic movie life. I’m sorry to say that for the next week, I will not be able to blog. :( Us dames here at An Elegant Obsession are having midterm examinations next week, so we need to concentrate all our time and effort on getting good grades!
But to make up for this hiatus, I promise we will come back with a bang! As soon as I am done with these stupid tests, I, Carole Irene, will be back with one of my infamous lists (the most EXPLOSIVE one yet!). In the next coming months, we will also be witnessing some very important milestones:
On February 1st, we will be celebrating the 110th birthday of Hollywood’s greatest leading man (and my leading man) Clark Gable! Since I was still a tyke when the rest of the world was celebrating his centennial, this birthday will become a big deal for us! Every day in February, there will be a new Gable-related post to read and enjoy! This February, we’re going to party like it’s 1901!
Even bigger is that on March 3, Jean Harlow is turning 100! Now HERE’S a centennial I’m old enough to know about and celebrate! Every day in March, tune in for a Jean-related post and celebrate with us Hollywood’s first (and greatest, in my opinion) bombshell! Prepare to be Jean-ified!
Goodbye for now, folks, but don’t worry, we’ll be back…and HOW!
Happy New Year everyone!
To celebrate, I’m going to look back on my 2010 classic movie escapades. Get ready for An Elegant Obsession’s Annual Classic Movie Yearbook!
Best Movie: Gone with the Wind (1939). This film won ten Academy Awards in 1939, and it deserved every single one!
Worst Movie: Apologies to The Painted Desert (1931), but it was the stinkiest Western ever created. It even has the stinkiest film poster ever created:
Best Female Performance: TIE! Rosalind Russell in The Women (1939) was witty, charismatic, funny, and engaging. Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) was complex, emotional, and heartbreaking.
Best Male Performance: TIE AGAIN! Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous (1937) was simply amazing. William Powell in The Thin Man (1934) was smooth, suave, and urbane.
Best Villain: Ray Milland in Dial M for Murder (1954). That guy was an evil CREEP.
Best Female Comedic Performance: Carole Lombard in To Be Or Not To Be (1942). She made me laugh to tears.
Best Male Comedic Performance: the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup (1933), Horse Feathers (1932), and Monkey Business (1931). Laugh out loud HILARIOUS!
Best Romantic Screen Team: Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. Platinum blonde stunner with an acid tongue and jug-eared, burly ex-lumberjack? Their chemistry and spark is inimitable.
Best Hero/Sidekick Team: Clark Gable and Franchot Tone. They complimented and played off each other so well, it’s a darn shame they only made three movies together
Best Dressed: Joan Crawford. She always looks her best
Best Kiss: Clark Gable and Mary Astor in Red Dust (1932). Considered to be one of the best classic movie kisses
Best Line: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” fills me up with tears every time
Best Newcomer: I recently discovered Rudolph Valentino, and he has quickly become one of my favorites
Most LOL-worthy Moment: TIE! William Powell cooing in Myrna Loy’s face in I Love You Again (1940) and Norma Shearer’s Jungle Red Nails in The Women (1939)
Hope you enjoyed our first annual Classic Movie Yearbook! Look forward to a new year full films, fun, and a whole lot of insight and sarcasm! As Frank Sinatra said in his song, The Best Is Yet To Come: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
It’s Christmas Eve wootwoot!!!
Here’s our treat to you, my wonderful readers: the rundown on Clark Gable’s sexiest films! Whenever you need something good to look at after a day of horror, pop one of these into the DVD player, or make a search on youtube. Consider this the greatest Christmas present you’ll get this year.
Just a note: I personally think Clark is sexy in ALL his films. But there are some performances that I just can’t forget…
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939): Come on! Rhett Butler is the sexiest male character ever created! Every Windie knows that the censors were all over that movie like a duck on a junebug (to borrow a Rhett quote!). But his cat-like grace, his smooth careless mannerisms, his heavy muscles, the naughty gleam in his eye, and the dimples in his cheeks scream SEXY! And what’s sexier than being the first man to utter an expletive in the history of film? Just look into his eyes, it’s all there!
IDIOT’S DELIGHT (1939): In this film, you’ve got an extremely handsome man with an electric personality and a wonderful brain. He forms a band with six blondes, performs in an all-male chorus and in a routine with a midget, plays everything from jazz standards to solemn hymns on a piano, reads minds, gets trampled by a crowd, breaks the top off his hat, and makes Native American noises on the top of his lungs. But it doesn’t get better than performing “Puttin’ on the Ritz” with all two minutes of the actual song and the encore performance devoted to showing off his perfect pelvic thrust. He-man King of Hollywood throwing around his 6’1″, 190 pounds for two hours? You know it’ll be sexy! It’ll be unforgettable! And I’ll be there!
STRANGE CARGO (1940): The first three minutes of that film are burned into my mind as though a red-hot poker impressed them there FOREVER. A musty jail cell…the barred door opens…and out walks Clark Gable, covered in filth, wearing a ripped shirt, his hair a mess, growing a beard. My heart stopped beating and lungs stopped breathing. These girls today think Taylor Laughtner (I can’t even spell his friggn name for Pete’s sake) is sexy!? They need to learn a thing or two from Strange Cargo. His role here is very different (this is an allegorical film) and quite out of the ordinary for his image and the types of roles he was usually given. Clark showing off his talents as an actor? Very sexy.
A FREE SOUL (1931): Even though Clark’s character has a funny name (Ace Wilfong!) he romanced Norma Shearer and made her swoon with his debonair attitude in 3,2,1. And then he beat her up. Because you see, there is something sexy about a man who can slug just as easily as he can love. This is the film that shot Clark up to superstardom, because he redefined what it meant to be a man. Women no longer wanted thin, mellow, effeminate types. They wanted BIG! BOLD! BROAD! They wanted electricity and charisma! They wanted SEXY! They wanted GABLE! And by the way, any man who beats up Norma Shearer is good enough for me!
LAUGHING SINNERS (1931): No, you read it right. I wrote laughing Sinners. Here, Clark Gable is a good-hearted, charitable soul who works for the Salvation Army. A FAAAR cry from the lovely troublemakers he usually plays. And not only is he kind and good, but he’s funny, helpful, and patient. And tall and young and handsome with a wardrobe full to bursting of extremely tight, two-sizes-too-small white button-downs. A man who looks like a bad boy but is actually a good boy? very sexy indeed. The Salvation Army never looked so good.
NIGHT NURSE (1931): Clark Gable appeared in this film for approximately five minutes. probably less. And yet there probably has never been a stronger performance by any novice actor to date. Gable plays Nick…THE CHAUFFEUR! But don’t be fooled by the retarded name! Nick…THE CHAUFFEUR is a truly evil man who plots to kill two little girls so can get his big paws on their giant fortune. But this doesn’t get past their nurse, barbara Stanwyck! Gable played this role without any direction, so it’s all him! Gable’s evil manner came off as sexy in a bad-boy way. Weird but true, The dude can’t help it, I guess. And once more, he beat up another innocent–this time Barbara Stanwyck. 1931 was obviously th year of the old-fashioned slug.
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934): Nothing’s more attractive than a man who is both smart and adorable! That’s exactly what Clark is in It Happened One Night! He’s got a brain behind that face of his (to borrow a quote!) He teaches you a lot, including how to properly dunk a donut, how a man undresses, how to get rid of annoying people, how to hitchhike (actually Claudette Colbert teaches that!), how to score hot gossip, how to steal a car, and much much more. In the film, he dreams of writing a book more than once, and I can’t help but wish he had. There’s no way you can hate him in this film! Smart, funny, witty, adorable, and sexy without knowing it? Clark is attractive in that schoolboy way, because not only is he funny, he is charming and handsome. By the end, you will be dying to go to that island with him!
MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935): A bunch of 18th century men at sea…a cruel captain endlessly tormenting…an escape to the island paradise of Tahiti…and suddenly a dashing mutineer rises up and declares freedom and equality FOREVERRRR! That my dears, is Mutiny on the Bounty in a nutshell. Clark as kind-hearted mutineer Fletcher Christian gives one of his sexiest performances. His entire wardrobe is comprised of tights, breeches, and tight white shirts that show off his heavily muscled abdomen. You may think it sounds effeminate, but you’ll do a 360 when you see how masculine he makes it look! And men who cry out against injustice are mucho sexy. His cause and his arguments will move you. The blatant exploitation of his body will make you swoon. And the thick, luscious, shiny waves of his hair will give you heart palpitations. This film should’ve come with a warning: MAY LAND SOME VIEWERS IN THE HOSPITAL.
RED DUST (1932): yeah people, a lot of STUFF happens in Red Dust. This film has been named the sexiest film of both Gable’s and Harlow’s careers, so of course it has to be on this list! And honestly, what’s sexier than Clark sweating like a friggin bull in the middle of the jungles of Indochina? You know a man is truly sexy when he looks just as good covered in sweat and dirt 95% of the time. Seriously, I don’t know when’s the last time he hopped into a shower in this film, but it doesn’t matter, he looks wonderful that way. As a matter of fact, he looks so amazing, he attracts both bad girl Jean Harlow and good married girl Mary Astor. One of the sexiest movie scenes ever? The Clark Gable/Mary Astor makeout in the rain amongst the trees. That shot actually graces the cover of TCM’s Movie Kisses cards, so you know it’s something special.
THE CALL OF THE WILD (1935): This is easily Gable’s hairiest film. And yet, it is very sexy. What’s better than Clark wearing a fur coat and sporting a fantastic stubbly beard? Absolutely nothing. If I had a choice of a) going to heaven or b) rubbing Clark’s amazing stubble for five minutes, I’d choose b in a heartbeat. And it’d very sexy to see Clark bond with his dog over Loretta Young (who, by the way, he got pregnant during shooting, which is saying something, since she was Hollywood’s only goody-two-shoes). Clark looks amazing in this movie. there’s no other way to describe him. It’s getting to a point where Jean is starting to get really pissed at me swooning over him all the time.
LONG LIVE THE KING OF SEXY!!!
Happy Holidays from your favorite Dames!