West, Harlow, & Dietrich

Discussion in 'Movies' started by ClassyCo, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    In remembrance, I thought I would start a thread in dedication to three classical blondes from the 1930s: Mae West, Jean Harlow, and Marlene Dietrich.

    This isn't necessarily meant as a popularity poll to see whom the majority prefers, but rather as a tribute to the three ladies as individuals. Of course, comparing and contrasting them is perfectly alright. Obviously, they were all fair-haired actresses whose film roles often placed considerable emphasis on their physical attributes. Even so, each of them presented significant talent that was sometimes blurred in the mind of the critics that saw them simply as another pretty face. Likewise, all of them sizzled the screen in Pre-Code Hollywood, but that very sizzle fueled the more morally aware to start the Production Code, which took to effect in 1934.

    Let the conversation roll....

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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
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  2. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    No one has anything to add about these iconic ladies?
     
  3. ginnyfan

    ginnyfan Soap Chat Member

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    I like all 3, most of all Harlow cause I've seen her the most. A true comedienne with huge potential that was tragically cut short.

    Mae is hilarious with her thing but ultimately one dimensional which is why she couldn't really keep up her momentum/career plus the code kicked in.

    Dietrich, I've seen more of her 50s movies than her prime 30s work. She is terrific in Witness for the Prosecution and should have been nominated for Academy Award for it.
     
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  4. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Of the three, I'd have to agree that Harlow had the most potential, and was the best actress. Well, we all know her earliest work was substandard, but around the time of Red-Headed Woman she hit her groove and came into her own. She excelled in comedies, naturally, and played well opposite the likes of Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and William Powell. Her platinum hair (she owned that word) gave her individuality, but she also had class. By the mid-thirties, she was solidified as a box office powerhouse and was well on her way to becoming one of the screen shiniest pennies. (Well, truth be told, she already was.) Her spark did shine brightly, but all too briefly.

    West, on the other hand, goes into her own category --- at least in my mind, anyway. She wrote her own material, which was an achievement in its day. Aside from Cary Grant, however, she never really had too many "major" stars surrounding her. Actually, Grant wasn't too big then; and she did grab W.C. Fields later on. The Production Code fastened her down and she wasn't nearly as edgy post-Belle of the Nineties. Her popularity dropped considerably, and by 1938, she was among the dozen or so stars dubbed "box office poison" by independent theater owners. She drifted away from the screen, as we know, after 1943, and didn't return until 1970. She toured with tremendous success in her nightclub acts, and was a living legend by the time she passed.

    And this leads me to Dietrich, who was always somehow considered a German incarnation of Garbo, and that's certainly how Paramount marketed her. Many of her roles were, in some way or another, all inspired by Garbo's successes. (The ones from the same time frame, naturally.) I generally prefer Dietrich over Garbo, and I personally find Dietrich more attractive. She was beautifully photographed in her films directed by the talented Josef von Sternberg, but both of their careers suffered following the dissolving of their friendship. She was "box office poison" by the late thirties, but she continued successfully in a string of noteworthy films for the next two decades. She had a sellout cabaret act that kept her going after her film career ended. Another living legend, but never quite used to her potential, either.
     
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  5. ginnyfan

    ginnyfan Soap Chat Member

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    Red Dust is such a great movie, a juicy, funny, dramatic pre-code that Mogambo was based on. Jean is fab in it and this one shot of her is pure magic. They sure knew hot to shoot their leading ladies at MGM.

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  6. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I've never been privileged to see this movie.
     
  7. ginnyfan

    ginnyfan Soap Chat Member

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    You should definitely see it. It has young Gable at his hunkiest, sultry seductive Jean and bitchy Mary Astor hamming it up in the tropics.

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  8. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    It's definitely on my list. I just hope TCM airs it.
     

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