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Bombshell (film)

Directed by Victor Fleming
Produced by Hunt Stromberg
Irving Thalberg
Written by Norman Krasna
Screenplay by John Lee Mahin
Jules Furthman
Based on Bombshell
by Caroline Francke and Mack Crane
Starring Jean Harlow
Lee Tracy
Frank Morgan
Franchot Tone
Pat O'Brien
Una Merkel
Ted Healy
Mary Forbes
C. Aubrey Smith
Cinematography Harold Rosson
Chester A. Lyons
Edited by Margaret Booth
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • October 13, 1933 (1933-10-13)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $344,000 (estimated)

Bombshell is a 1933 American Pre-Code romantic comedy-drama film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan, C. Aubrey Smith, Mary Forbes and Franchot Tone. The film is based on the unproduced play of the same name by Caroline Francke and Mack Crane, and was adapted for the screen by John Lee Mahin and Jules Furthman.

Movie star Lola Burns (Jean Harlow) is angry with her studio publicist E.J. "Space" Hanlon (Lee Tracy), who feeds the press with endless stories about her greatness. Lola's family and staff are another cause of distress for her, as everybody is always trying to take money from the actress. All Burns really wants is to live a normal life and prove to the public that she's not a sexy vamp but a proper lady. She tries to adopt a baby, but Hanlon, who secretly loves her, thwarts all her plans.

Burns decides she can't stand any more of such a life, and flees. Far from the movie fluff, she meets wealthy and romantic Gifford Middleton, who hates the movies and therefore has never heard about Lola Burns and her bad press. They soon fall in love and Gifford proposes marriage. Burns is to meet her fiancé's parents, but everything collapses when Hanlon together with Burns' family finds her, and tells the Middletons the truth. Burns feels hurt by the rude way Gifford and his parents dump her, and accepts Hanlon's suggestion to return to Hollywood with no regrets. Little does she know that the three Middletons were all actors hired by Hanlon himself.

Bombshell is a pre-code screwball comedy. The story satirizes the stardom years of Clara Bow: "Lola Burns" – Clara Bow, "E.J. Hanlon" – B.P. Schulberg, "Pops Burns" – Robert Bow, "Mac" – Daisy DeVoe, "Gifford Middleton" – Rex Bell. Victor Fleming was Bow's fiancee in 1926.



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