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   PLATINUM BLONDE (1931) 

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CAST
Robert Williams
Loretta Young
Jean Harlow
Halliwell Hobbes
Reginald Owen
Edmund Breese
Don Dillaway
Walter Catlett
Louise Closser Hale
Claud Allister

DIRECTED BY
Frank Capra

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 104 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy/Romance


SYNOPSIS: A young woman from a very rich family impulsively marries a reporter, but each assumes the other is the one whose lifestyle must change.

BOTTOM LINE: You couldn't cast two more disparate leading ladies when it comes to looks and style than Young and Harlow. I'm more familiar with Harlow's films than Young's so it came as a surprise to me to see Jean playing the girl from the right side of the tracks and Loretta cast as the lonely cub reporter. Living the high life agrees with Harlow though her attitude – brassy, sexy and spoiled – is nothing new for her onscreen. Her character, Anne Schyler, is clearly used to getting what she wants and in this instance it's the clever and handsome reporter Stew Smith, played with wicked delight by Robert Williams. His simple assignment to get some dirt on her family introduces him to a lifestyle and a type of woman he's never encountered first hand before. Both are instantly smitten, though for very different reasons. What begins as "love at first sight" becomes a tempestuous and tenous union as each fights for the upper hand in their relationship.

Anne believes she has everything under control and will break Stew's spirit eventually. I mean, who wouldn't want to live with her in her mansion? Why work when you don't have to? Unfortunately, her overbearing behavior and boring friends force him to take a hard look at his life and the people in it. Namely, his trusty sidekick Gallagher, played by the sweet and delicate Young. As his best friend, his wedding comes as quite a blow to her, mostly because she had hoped that one day he would see and treat her like the woman she is. His eyes are finally opened at a party where Gallagher shows she's all woman and Anne reveals how spiteful and petty she is under all the glamour. One can almost pardon Anne, since Stew never mentioned Gallagher was a girl. Young's luminous appearance and Stew's obvious pleasure to see her would make any wife more than a bit jealous. Especially one with such a tenuous hold on her man.

It doesn't take much imagination to see where this film is headed, but the acting and dialogue more than make up for any obviousness of plot. At only twenty, Harlow's command of the screen is impressive, despite her character being mostly unlikable. As we all know, you can't change your man and it's a hard lesson for Anne to learn. Williams is so charming, I had no trouble believing both of these woman were madly in love with him. I wondered why I had never heard of him before, since this performance was so great. Then I discovered that he died just as the film was released from appendicitis. If this role is any indication of his talent, he would have been a huge star. He steals the show and that's hard to do when acting between two such lovely ladies. Have to give props to both Hobbes, as the Butler, and Catlett, as a rival newsman, for bringing much comic delight to the film along with Williams. The three of them are clearly having a blast and their antics brought many a smile to my face. Capra seems to be defining his directoral style and refining his talent for comedy with this effort. Not the best use of a love triangle, but it's mindless fun and worth a look for Williams' performance.




"I was too poor to buy her a wedding present when we married, so I'll give her a divorce for a wedding present!"

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