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PLATINUM BLONDE

Director: FRANK CAPRA

89 minutes| U.S.A.| 1931| Black and White| 35mm


A brash New York reporter (Robert Williams) marries into high society but finds he does not belong. Jean Harlow plays his socialite wife; Loretta Young is the tough fellow-reporter secretly in love with him. On reflection, Capra felt the female roles should have been reversed, for he never could get Harlow to pronounce the word ‘library’ correctly. Still, if not suggesting the aura of a rich sophisticate, Harlow more than makes amends in terms of sexiness and humour: the film made her a star. Capra’s characteristically ambivalent attitude to money is particularly demonstrated in a funny and finely developed sequence when old friends visit the hero at his mansion and proceed to mock the sham superiority of his new lifestyle. Robert Williams’ leading performance is hugely engaging but it was a promise tragically unfulfilled: after completing the film, he contracted pneumonia which then turned into peritonitis and he died four days after the premiere.

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