Bombshell (1933) Review

Proof That It’s Pre-Code

  • One man describes Jean Harlow‘s movie star character Lola Burns as “a boon to re-population in a world thinned by war and famine!” That’s a great line.
  • Jean Harlow’s maid, a black woman named Loretta (Louise Beavers) gets paid in undergarments, because she goes through a lot of them. Harlow even comments, “Your day off is sure brutal on your lingerie.” Needless to say, implying that a black character is going around and having a ton of sex is not something you catch a lot in movies of this era.
About ten minutes of this film are about Lola Burns starring in Red Dust. I’ll get into that more below, but, yeah, Lola is instructed to strip down and get ready for the rain barrel.
  • When Burns is ordered down to the movie set, she’s told to wear a white dress without the brassiere. Oh, Hollywood, and their belief that the male audience will be enraptured by only the basest of titillation!
  • … she doesn’t wear the bra, in case you were wondering.
  • There’s lots of double entendres, with things like Burns’ dad discussing his horse racing habit:

“We’ve been discussing methods of breeding…”
“Don’t tell me!”

  • There’s plenty of government corruption on display, as Hanlon is paying off the cops and press left and right to get people out of the way.
  • Jim Brogan (Pat O’Brien) mutters at one point something dangerously close to being dangerous:

“Oh fer f–“

  • Drug references (including one man basically asking if another is high), jokes about sleeping around, and extramarital/pre-marital shenanigans galore. Hell, Burns’ dad hits on and leers at his son’s girlfriend.

Continue reading “Bombshell (1933) Review”