MovieChat Forums > Libeled Lady (1936) Discussion > Jean Harlow- Not enough closeup camera s...

Jean Harlow- Not enough closeup camera shots.


I just saw Libeled Lady and enjoyed it very much. It was my first Jean Harlow film and while she looked very lovely, I was wishing the director of photography for the film would have included more closeups of her character. There were one or two but not nearly enough. I realize this was a comic role and that she is today remembered mostly for her comedic, wisecracking roles. I was just hoping the camera could have revealed her classic features instead of keeping a mid-distance range throughout the film.

reply

[deleted]

What's even more fun is that While Spencer and Jean were paired on-screen, and Bill and Myrna were paired on-screen, Bill was with Jean, and Spencer was still chasing after Myrna.

http://edwardianpromenade.com

reply

It probably had to do with her not looking her best at times. After finally reading her true biography and saw the film for the first time, the second she walked into the newspaper office strutting in that wedding dress, I could see a slight puffiness in her face and slight dark circles under her eyes which are early symptoms of kidney failure.


"Any girl can look glamorous. Stand still and look stupid."
--Hedy Lamarr

reply

Could be.

Even though I liked Jean, when I first saw LL, I thought she looked so garish and overdone (the eyebrows, the hair, the make-up; she wasn't looking too good). Funnily enough, after finishing two bios and watching a bunch of her early movies, when I turn on LL she doesn't look as bad as I thought. *g*

reply

I think it is mainly due to MGM not wanting to tilt it toward one star or another although to me it does seem a bit tilted toward being a Powell-Loy vehicle. It's a classic picture of course but it is a bit unsatisfying for Jean fans; I would venture to say it may be her least flattering photography during her MGM stint though of course she still looks good.

reply

Just caught this very entertaining film for the first time today and I agree with your observations about the wonderful Jean Harlow. I was almost shocked at the few close-ups they did show of her face because she didn't look her best at all--as you point out, she appeared a bit puffy and tired-looking. Even her skin looked a tad blotchy.

She was terrific in the movie, though. What a talent.


reply

[deleted]

Although nobody knew it at the time, Harlow was actually slowly dying of kidney failure. You can see it beginning even in "Suzy." She was heavily soft-focused in "Personal Property" (although that was the style then, for every female star) and she looks as sick as she truly was in most of "Saratoga."

reply

Agree that she did not look like someone who was only in their mid twenties.
Her illness apparently was already impacting her and showed on the screen.
The film was released in 1936 and she died in 1937.

reply

You can see Harlow's illness showing in this film. It started showing in Personal Property and Wife v. Secretary as far as being bloated, but here she is VERY bloated; only Saratoga is worse. This is a big sex symbol, known for her body, and she's mostly totally covered up with all kinds of stuff on her dresses to distract the eye. Meanwhile Myrna Loy is in dresses that are barely there and expose a lot of skin, so it's not the style of the movie. It was to conceal what was happening to Harlow's body.

I have always wondered what the movie industry thought, or the wardrobe people thought. Here's this young star, in her twenties, and all of a sudden, three movies in a row, her body blows up. It's not just "weight gain" because she has the sort of bloat you see with hormone and water weight - the boobs especially almost have that pregnant look. What the heck did they think was happening with her? Everybody says Hollywood was shocked when she died, but what was happening to her beforehand must have been pretty perplexing, like something just took over her body.

reply