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Bombshell – 1933 Fleming
- A fast-paced raucous comedy that would fit well in in any study of screwball comedy (we’re at the very origins of it here in 1933 as this is the year before It Happened One Night and Twentieth Century) or in a double-bill pairing with David O. Russell’s work
- It is an inside Hollywood picture (What Price Hollywood? is the year before), settings include the studio backlot, a Hollywood mansion, the Coconut Grove club— based loosely on Clara Bow (they call her the “It” girl) and star Jean Harlow herself.
- There’s not really a plot. The jokes just fly at you— “No oranges? This is California, man!” The film is a string of tangents, deviations or “whims” as she calls them. She’s involved with four men Harlow is great—certainly centered on her- but there is plenty of room for a large talented comedic ensemble (Frank Morgan is her dad) despite being only 96 minutes. It is probably because everyone is talking so fast and overlapping each other. This is probably a 135 minute movie at normal speed with one person speaking at a time.
- it is loud and crass- complete with the dysfunctional family (and the servants here substitute for additional family) which is where the Russell comparison comes in
- Is 1933—so this is before the Hays code- Harlow is in almost every frame and braless for 75% of the time
- Lee Tracy isn’t really miscast, he’s just not up to the role. He was a big deal in 1933 doing the play version of The Front Page—but this film is remarkably stronger with a 1932 Clark Gable in it or even Cary Grant though he wasn’t quite “Cary Grant” in 1932 yet
- Highly Recommend- top 10 of the year quality film