Blind Spot Series: Platinum Blonde

jean harlow in platinum blonde

Platinum Blonde

Directed By: Frank Capra

I’ve been wanting to watch a Jean Harlow movie for a while now and considering tragically she didn’t make that many I thought Platinum Blonde was a perfect pick for my May Blind Spot film.

I’ve been familiar with the actress through biographies and at that mainly of Howard Hughes. So it was nice to finally check out some of her work.

Platinum Blonde

Platinum Blonde also has the benefit of Loretta Young and both women are great. In the beginning of the film I actually was really enjoying it. Robert Williams plays a reporter who winds up married to the beautiful heiress he was covering (Harlow.) Young plays his friend Gallagher who’s also in love with him.

I thought the film treated Harlow’s character well- she’s never stupid. The relationship is not a good one pretty much from the beginning. But I don’t think we were supposed to believe in it. He likes her looks and she’s like I’m going to change everything that sucks about him.

You aren’t honey.

jean harlow in platinum blonde

And that’s essentially my problem with the film. It tries but its still a product of its time. (Can’t help that I suppose.) The reporter is an idiot, I think he’s basically a drunk, I didn’t care the least bit about him. He’s spoiled and selfish and generally just wants to be taken care of while trying to write a play.

But then Anne descends into jealousy which he finds quiet rich as he never noticed Gallagher was in love with him. Naturally he also never noticed she was a girl. It tends to be my problem with a lot of these movies but especially here where the female leads were so damned good.

loretta young in platinum blonde
Loretta Young is good but wasted in a thankless role.

We’re supposed to be on his side but all I wind up thinking is what an asshole, jump off a bridge loser because these two can and should do better. And one of them super doesn’t. But despite my problems with it how much can you fault a film for being a product of its time? I mean it was 1931 I enjoyed it more than a lot of the later films I’ve seen recently.

I’d give it a watch for the excellent Jean Harlow, some cool shots, snappy dialogue and it does try a little harder to be something more.

Recommend: Yes.

9 thoughts on “Blind Spot Series: Platinum Blonde

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  1. I’m glad you still enjoyed this despite its flaws. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Jean Harlow movie, but then I’ve shamefully seen very little older movies!

  2. Miss Plumtartt and my favourite Harlow movie is ‘Dinner at Eight’.
    We watch a ton of old movies.
    I just found your blog via ‘The Bookworm Drinketh’.
    Happy Trails!
    ~Icky 🙂

    1. Thanks!
      I have that one on my list. Good to know she stands out in that it looks like a pretty interesting ensemble. Looking forward to Libeled Lady as well. I used to watch the classic films a lot more when I was younger- it’s been fun to get back into them if you have any suggestions 😉

  3. Here is a quick, off the top of my head list of old movie faves:
    -We really enjoyed the William Powell ‘Philo Vance’ movies from 1929-1931.
    -‘M’ is a fantastic Fritz Lang movie, and the debut of Peter Lorre.
    -Ronald Colman in ‘Bulldog Drummond’

    Lately, we have been on a noir kick:
    -Dear Murderer
    -The Hitchhiker


  4. Whoa! Good catch! Yes, I mean the originals of D.O.A. and ‘the Hitch-hiker’ featuring Edmund O’Brien, and NOT the Dennis Quaid re-makes.

    Edmund O’brien was young and good looking as a leading man in the 1939 classic, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, but went on to play tough guy character actor roles as his looks declined. This, I think, is his best stuff. I dig low-end production nior. These are good.

    There is one scene where O’Brien is scoping out a bunch of babes at a hotel. For some reason, a goofy slide whistle effect is added to show what a horn-dog O’Brien is. The effect cheapens an otherwise high quality film. Please don’t let the stupid whistle that some production stooge added ruin the film.
    1949 D.O.A.

    ‘The Hitch-hiker’ was directed by a woman: Ida Lupino. Women directors in those days were quite rare. She is also a wonderful actress. This is a quirky film. There are virtually no women in it. O’Brien, who is arguably the top actor in this movie, has almost no lines, yet is completely captivating.
    1953 The Hitch-hiker

    1. I’ve actually read about Lupino sadly in a Howard Hughes book (good book though) she’s fascinating. I definitely need to check out that movie and maybe a bio or two solely about her 🙂 Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Whew. Lol. Wow, okay. Well, at least things have changed (a bit) for the better. I watched a play this year which had a similar premise, but it was brilliant seeing the female lead character fighting back and there wasn’t a “Oh, look, a girl over there who will just look after me and forgo all her own needs to tend to mine.”

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