Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
Bombshell - The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017) poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byAlexandra Dean
Produced by
  • Adam Haggiag
  • Katherine Drew
  • Alexandra Dean
Written byAlexandra Dean
Music by
CinematographyBuddy Squires
Edited by
  • Lindy Jankura
  • Penelope Falk
  • Alexandra Dean
Reframed Pictures
Distributed by
Release date
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.5 million
Box office$1.2 million[1]

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (referred to onscreen as simply Bombshell) is a 2017 American biographical documentary film directed, written and co-edited by Alexandra Dean, about the life of actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr. It had its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival[2] and released theatrically on November 24, 2017.[3] The film was broadcast in the United States on the PBS biography series American Masters in May 2018.[4][5] As of April 2020, it is also available on Netflix.


The film follows the life story of Lamarr from her youth as the daughter of assimilated Austrian Jews through her rise to fame, the Nazi onslaught, her departure for the United States, six marriages, her acting career, her landmark invention, decline, and finally her death at the age of 85 in the year 2000. The focus of the film is on her co-creation with George Antheil of the technology of frequency hopping.

The film delves into Lamarr's different, seemingly unhealthy relationships with Louis B. Mayer (the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios), Max Jacobson (Dr. Feelgood), and director Cecil B. DeMille. The film also shows how Lamarr became so reclusive at the end of her life.


Distribution rights to the film were acquired by Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber in August 2017.[6][7]


Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 96%, based on 81 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Inspiring and tragic, Bombshell is a bittersweet celebration and reclamation of Hedy Lamarr's journey from Hollywood legend to technology genius."[8] Metacritic gave the film a score of 70 out of 100 based on 20 critical reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]

Manohla Dargis, writing in The New York Times, said of the film, "'Bombshell' is a very enjoyable addition to what has become a minor Hedy Lamarr industry that includes documentaries, books and stage productions.... Ms. Dean relates Lamarr's ventures, those onscreen and off, with savvy and narrative snap, fluidly marshaling a mix of original interviews and archival material that includes film clips, home movies and other footage."[10] She later listed it among her favorite films of the year.[11]

The Hollywood Reporter stated, "First-time director Dean does an excellent job of marshalling old source material, setting the scene for an account of Lamarr's life on- and off-screen."[12] Kenneth Turan, writing in the Los Angeles Times, called the film "timely" and noted, "what makes 'Bombshell' intriguing is not just Lamarr's gift for invention, it's also what a fiery individualist she was, someone who had no regrets about her eventful life ("You learn from everything"), not even its racy, tabloid elements."[13]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film has won several awards since being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, including a New York Times Critic's Pick and five audience awards. J. Hoberman named it "one of the ten best films of 2017".[14]

In December 2017, the song "She" from the film by Alice Phoebe Lou was included on the Oscars shortlist for Best Original Song[15] but it was not ultimately nominated.


  1. ^ "BOMBSHELL: The Hedy Lamarr Story". Box Office Mojo. June 24, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2018. (Box office total based on manual addition of BOM grosses.)
  2. ^ "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Harvey, Dennis (November 30, 2017). "Film Review: 'Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  4. ^ Shechet Epstein, Sonia (May 26, 2017). "World Premiere of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story". Sloan Science & Film. Museum of the Moving Image. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "American Masters – Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story". THIRTEEN (Press release). WNET. December 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (August 3, 2017). "Hedy Lamarr Documentary 'Bombshell' Lands at Zeitgeist, Kino Lorber". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Hipes, Patrick (August 3, 2017). "Hedy Lamarr Documentary 'Bombshell' Acquired By Zeitgeist & Kino Lorber". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  8. ^ "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  10. ^ Dargis, Manohla (November 23, 2017). "Review: 'Bombshell' Tells the Amazing Story of Hedy Lamarr, the Star and Inventor". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Dargis, Manohla; Scott, A.O. (December 6, 2017). "The Best Movies of 2017". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  12. ^ DeFore, John (April 25, 2017). "'Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story': Film Review | Tribeca 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  13. ^ Turan, Kenneth (December 7, 2017). "'Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story' uncovers the secret life of a Hollywood glamour queen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  14. ^ Hoberman, J. (December 2017). "Film: Best of 2017". Artforum. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  15. ^ "70 Original Songs Vie for 2017 Oscar". (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017.

External links[edit]