Bombshell

Platinum blonde superstar Lola Burns (Jean Harlow), touted by her ruthless publicist (Lee Tracy) as “a boon to repopulation in a world thinned out by war and famine,” has had enough of being exploited. In the course of an effort to shift her demographic—less American Sportsman, more Ladies' Home Companion—she discovers the simple, maternal, real Lola…or thinks she does. Harlow brilliantly manages Lola's volatile persona, comically shifting from guttersnipe snarl to haughty mid-Atlantic drawl as befits the occasion, and reveling (as do all the players) in the script's double entendres and relentless verbal sparring. Meanwhile, the film plays with the permeable boundary between fiction and Hollywood “reality” (Lola is called to the set for retakes of the Harlow vehicle Red Dust). This satire will have its cheesecake and eat it too, lampooning the selling of sex appeal while offering up the luscious Harlow in braless satin or a tenuous towel.
—Juliet Clark

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