Harlow (Magna film)
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|Directed by||Alex Segal|
|Produced by||William "Bill" Sargent Jr.
|Written by||Karl Tunberg|
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
|Music by||Nelson Riddle|
Harlow is a fictionalized drama based on the life of film star Jean Harlow, released in 1965 with Carol Lynley in the title role. It was released shortly before Paramount Pictures' own film on the same subject. This was Ginger Rogers' last film appearance. The film was directed by Alex Segal.
Harlow isn't a trained thespian and is mocked by experienced actor William Mansfield, but she is sexy and she's got something audiences respond to that makes her a Hollywood star. Unfortunately for her, she's also got a mother, Mama Jean, who quickly capitalizes on her daughter's money and fame.
Family and studio demands unnerve Harlow, as does her impulsive wedding to Paul Bern, who turns out to be impotent and suicidal. Harlow has many unhappy affairs and becomes depressed. But the veteran actress Marie Dressler persuades her to take her profession more seriously, so Harlow goes back East to study her craft.
When she returns home, Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer is impressed, as is Mansfield, who also begins falling in love with her. Harlow, however, contracts a serious illness, and at the tender age of 26, she is gone.
- Carol Lynley as Jean Harlow
- Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as William Mansfield
- Ginger Rogers as Mama Jean Bello*
- Barry Sullivan as Marino Bello
- Hurd Hatfield as Paul Bern
- Lloyd Bochner as Marc Peters
- Hermione Baddeley as Marie Dressler
- Audrey Totter as Marilyn
- John Williams as Jonathan Martin
- Audrey Christie as Thelma
- Michael Dante as Ed
- Jack Kruschen as Louis B. Mayer
- Celia Lovsky as Maria Ouspenskaya
- Robert Strauss as Hank
- Sonny Liston as First Fighter
*Judy Garland was originally cast in Ginger Rogers' role.
Comparison to Paramount's version
Filmed in black-and-white electronovision – a photographic technique relegated to television by 1965 – the Magna version was shot in just eight days and put out five weeks before Paramount's, with a more limited release. Directed by television veteran Alex Segal, the film was made on a very low budget and served as a second feature at most theaters. While Lynley was closer to Jean Harlow's actual age than Baker, the film's contrived plot and visibly low budget prevented it from gaining as much attention as Paramount's big-budget version.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.'s character, William Mansfield, is based on William Powell. That part of Harlow's life was entirely ignored by the Paramount feature.
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