Carol Lynley as HARLOW (1965)
NY Times, May 1965
"The "Harlow" based on Mr. Shulman's handiwork still lurks around the bend, trumpets blaring. Meanwhile, at the Paramount, is the race-winner penned by Karl Tunberg and shot, in the short-cut Electronovision process, apparently before the ink dried. The picture took eight days for filming, the last two due to inclement weather. It didn't rain long enough.
There is, front, center and anything but alluring, Carol Lynley as the nation's movie sex goddess of the thirties. She squeaks, occasionally furrows her youthful brow and twitches her nostrils.
Let's round out the cast. There's Ginger Rogers, as the star's whining, pushing mother; Barry Sullivan, as the girl's lazy, avaricious stepfather; Efrem Zimbalist Jr., as a lofty-nosed actor the heroine finally loves. Hurd Hatfield plays Paul Bern, her "incapable" producer-husband, and Jack Kruschen is Louis B. Mayer, depicted here as a kind of realistic, owlish Santa Claus.
All these, and unfortunates, under Alex Segal's direction, lope through the vignettes of this bony, bargain-basement appraisal of a famous, misguided and tragic young woman. The story, at least as souped up here, never suggests the evolution of a fine comedienne—an actress who learned—whose radiant, white-hot image brightened the screen, glowed and dimmed.
The picture has the tough-minded young heroine falling into her choice "Hell's Angels" role and then battling her mother, stepfather and studio over her sex synonymity, seeking solace in a doomed marriage and finally expiring, rather mysteriously, attended by true love (Mr. Zimbalist) as "Mr. Mayer" intones, "May God rest her soul." Most of the dialogue is atrocious. The picture hovers over the sequence of her tragic alliance with the suicidal Mr. Bern—a brief, amoral aftermath—with peephole solicitude.
Hermione Baddeley totters in with motherly advice to the heroine, playing Marie Dressler. Michael Dante, as a professional lover, clips off the film's most telling line to Miss Lynley: "Everybody has problems. But you stars are the ones who can afford to have them."
The Electronovision rush job on Miss Harlow's life and career is also a dimly-lit business technically. Maybe it's just as well. This much is for sure: Whatever the second "Harlow" picture looks and sounds like, it can't be much worse than the first.
B/W - Overall good quality for this low budget opus filmed in 8 days in EARLY videotape style media.
Carroll Baker is HARLOW (1965) Angela Lansbury is Mamma Jean
Million dollar Big screen adaptation of the life of Jean Harlow .
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