Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair with businessman Gaerste and uses him to force society to pay attention to her. She has another affair with the chauffeur Albert.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
According to Gore Vidal's essay in "The New York Review of Books" (May 1980), F. Scott Fitzgerald resided in Hollywood for five weeks during 1931 and wrote the first draft for the Red-Headed Woman at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). During this period, he became friends with MGM producer Irving Thalberg and his wife Norma Shearer. Unfortunately, Fitzgerald's comportment at a dinner party given by the Thalbergs soured their relationship, and Fitzgerald's contract was not renewed. See more »
When Lillian and Sally exit the soda fountain and walk down the street, the camera dolly grip can be seen reflected in the store windows, bent over and pushing the camera dolly down the street. See more »
Watching this today will give you a quite different impression than it gave its original audience.
Today we will see a film with strong sexual notions that we will note because such things all went away with the censors a year later.
We'll see and you can check it by the comments here a story about a golddigger who uses sex to exploit one poor guy after another. The sexy bitch here is Jean Harlowe in one of the roles that made her the template for Monroe, who is the one we remember. Today, we might even note that she isn't punished for her sins.
But the audience it was made for was deep in a depression. They would have noted that the rich men in this story got their money through coal. They created nothing; they invented nothing. All they had was a government-backed deed that said they could pull stuff out of the ground with virtual slaves and sell it. They are the victims as seen today where monopolists are celebrated. But in its time, these guys were fair targets. The "society" folks would have all been repulsive, and much of that carries over today.
Even though the first guy seems likable enough, its the violent sex that wins him over every time. Its only when he discovers she has moved on that he is able to break the spell. The fact that the story is different in a different context is incidental to my main point, which is about redheads.
Now Jean and Marilyn were blonds, both artificially. But THIS movie starts with the character's new campaign to catch a rich husband. And to start, she dyes her blond hair red. This interests me because I have a small study of redheaded women in film, how they are used and how we reason about them.
Its a relatively simple thing to trace. My interest began when stumbling upon someone in a Disney character research lab who was tied to some spooky government research I was sponsoring. Look at the recent Disney animated women heroines. All but the Arabian princess are red. Now why is that? I am preparing a web site on this topic alone.
Anyway, if you are interested in this, Clara Bow was our first fully sexual movie woman and every moviegoer would have known she was red. Even though the films were black and white, the movie magazines tinted hair color. Red is easier to make look good with those dyes. And later you will see the same effect with hair color and Technicolor. Judy was dyed red for Oz and St. Louis, for instance.
For some reason. Redheads were tied to overt sexuality and explosive tempers. Whether you think film makes or reflects society, you might find a visit to this movie interesting. And yes, the redhead wins against the monied doofuses.
Incidentally, if you follow how memes jump from movie to movie, watch this, then "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," for a redhead newly in monied society in a small town, who wants a party and is snubbed.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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