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(aka 'Jean Harlow')

Directed by Gordon Douglas


Hollywood in 1928 is a land of milk and honey, magic and fantasy. Jean Harlow’s spectacularly controversial and tragic career begins with bit parts in movies while she’s living with her mother and opportunistic stepfather. When Hollywood agent, Arthur Landau (Golden Globe Nominee, Red Buttons), spots her on a film set, he gets her a series of comedy roles and soon realizes he has a gold mine in Miss Harlow (Carroll Baker). She becomes an overnight sensation and critics hail her as the next great sex symbol. This film documents the rise and fall of a true Hollywood Legend. Directed by Gordon Douglas (Tony Rome), Screenplay by John Michael Hayes (Peyton Place, The Carpetbaggers) and Costumes by legendary designer Edith Head.


Released only one month after the first version of HARLOW starring Carol Lynley, this screen biography of the popular female star of the 1930s benefits from better production values and a more talented lead actress (Baker). Unfortunately, the script, based on the best-selling biography by Irving Shulman and Arthur Landau (the starlet's former agent), is no better. An inordinate amount of time is devoted to Landau (Buttons). Lansbury and Vallone turn in competent performances As Baker's conniving mother and stepfather, but Lawford was incongruously cast. Baker is a much better Harlow than the competition's vapid Lynley; she brings a complexity and compassion to the role that could have been stunning, given a better, less sensationalized, script. As far as the HARLOW war at the box office went, this version broke with Hollywood tradition and made more money than the previous effort.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE


Theatrical Release: June  23rd, 1965

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:05:24 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: September 28th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 8



Olive Films niche is in older Paramount releases that haven't yet seen the light of day on DVD. Harlow will become available on the same date as My Favorite Spy , Where Love Has Gone, Knock on Wood and Once is Not Enough. I was impressed with the three Noir films they released - Appointment With Danger, William Dieterle's Dark City and Rudolph Mate's Union Station as well as the enjoyable Hammer-esque sci-fi Crack in the World from the mid 60`s. Even Hannie Caulder had some minor merit.

While I have interest in Jean Harlow - I wasn't overly impressed with this film. Baker was good enough but the whole thing seemed so contrived with much of the cast giving surface performances. That is, aside from Lansbury who stood out amongst the rest. I just wasn't buying into this but I'd like to see the Carol Lynley version one day to compare.   

Like previous Olive Film DVDs this is dual-layered, anamorphic,  progressive and bare-bones. Harlow is on DVD looks good. Colors are notable (reds and blues). Image integrity is a little thin but detail is strong. There was no damage other than light speckles and in regards to video Olive Films are tending to offer competent-to-impressive SD transfers. This is no exception - I just wish this were a better film.  

The consistent 2.0 channel sound wasn't a notable factor in the film but dialogue was clear and audible. Neal Hefti (a lot of famous TV scores to his credit) supplies a decent score running alongside the film. As stated there are no extras - not even a trailer - nor subtitles offered.

I know Paramount has some more 'important' films in their vault for Olive Films to, hopefully, access. After the first three noirs I was very excited but this latest batch is far less appealing. Harlow wasn't totally boring but it really doesn't hold up well for either nostalgia or entertainment. It's kind of caught in 'no-mans land'. So, for the hefty price offered, I think you'd have to be quite a keener to indulge.    

Gary W. Tooze


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