Picture of the Week #68: The Jean Harlow Centenary


3rd March marks 100 years since the birth of Jean Harlow. She packed in more than 40 movie appearances in the decade before her early death at the age of 26, from uncredited extras work (including the party scene of Chaplin’s City Lights) to full-blown starring roles in Hell’s Angels, The Public Enemy,  Platinum Blonde, Red Dust, Dinner at Eight, and finally Saratoga, which was completed after her death using a body double for unfinished scenes. Seemingly spending most of her time, if publicity portraits are anything to go by, dressed for bed, Harlow could alternate overt, almost cartoon sexuality with goofy innocence, strategically mask a keen intelligence behind oblivious allure, or effect a more deliberate kind of seduction. Watch how she effortlessly elicits a full catalogue of ways to be emotionally helpless from Ben Lyon in this scene from Hell’s Angels: