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Jean Harlow Movies: ‘Bombshell’ & ‘The Public Enemy’

Jean Harlow Libeled Lady William Powell Myrna Loy Spencer Tracy
Jean Harlow in Libeled Lady with William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy.

Turner Classic Movies’ Jean Harlow film series continues this evening with four of Harlow’s MGM vehicles – Bombshell, Personal Property, Reckless, and Libeled Lady – and one supporting appearance in Warner Bros.’ The Public Enemy.

Harlow really doesn’t have much to do in The Public Enemy (1931). She looks about as out of place in this otherwise solid William A. Wellman crime drama as she is in Frank Capra’s melodrama Platinum Blonde, released that same year. James Cagney, however, looks anything but out of place as a sociopathic gangster. Cagney, in fact, was so right for that particular role that early on in the production he exchanged gangsters with fellow player Edward Woods.

In Victor Fleming’s Bombshell, Harlow, known as the Blonde Bombshell, stars in a send-up of her own Hollywood stardom (and Clara Bow’s as well). Personally, I find Jack Conway’s Libeled Lady funnier. The cast in this Oscar-nominated comedy of manners includes William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy.

Schedule (ET) and synopses from the TCM website:

8:00 PM The Public Enemy (1931) Cast: James Cagney, Edward Woods, Jean Harlow. Director: William A. Wellman. Black and white. 84 mins

9:30 PM Bombshell (1933) Cast: Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan. Director: Victor Fleming. Black and white. 96 mins

11:15 PM Libeled Lady (1936) Cast: Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy. Director: Jack Conway. Black and white. 98 mins

1:00 AM Reckless (1935) Cast: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Franchot Tone. Director: Victor Fleming. Black and white. 97 mins

2:45 AM Personal Property (1937) Cast: Jean Harlow, Robert Taylor, Reginald Owen. Director: W. S. Van Dyke. Black and white. 84 mins

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