Dueling Harlows

The Race to Bring the Actress’s Life to the Silver Screen

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About the Book

In 1965 producers Joseph E. Levine and Bill Sargent were racing to get their problem-laden biopics of Jean Harlow (both titled Harlow) into theaters first. Levine’s film starred Carroll Baker in a big-budget, color production. Sargent’s movie starred Carol Lynley in a quickie, black and white production shot in a new process called Electronovision. In the press the two producers conducted one of the nastiest feuds Hollywood had ever witnessed, nearly culminating in fisticuffs at the 1965 Academy Awards ceremony.
In recounting the making of the two films, this book (expanded from the original self-published edition) touches on Jean Harlow’s life, the failed attempts to make a Harlow biopic in the 1950s, and the reviled, bestselling 1964 biography. It details the aftermath of each movie’s release, from scathing reviews to disappointing box office returns to the several lawsuits. Newly discussed are the portrayals of Jean Harlow on stage shortly after the Levine and Sargent films, and the making of the 1977 film Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell starring Lindsay Bloom as Jean Harlow. The book is generously illustrated and includes interviews with people associated with all three films, including Carol Lynley and Lindsay Bloom.

About the Author(s)

Tom Lisanti is the award-winning author of multiple books about 1960s and 1970s film and television history. He has appeared as a cohost on Turner Classic Movies and has written for Cinema Retro, Films of the Golden Age, Cinema of the ’70s, and Scary Monsters.

Bibliographic Details

Tom Lisanti
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 227
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9259-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5166-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Jean Harlow 5
2. The Return of the Platinum Blonde 11
3. Blame It on Irving Shulman 15
4. The Harlow Sweepstakes 22
5. Let the Race Begin 41
6. Harlow, Electronovision Style 56
7. Harlow, Paramount Style 87
8. And the Winner Is… 102
9. Last but Not Least… 121
10. The Aftermath 137
11. Harlow’s Second Act: On Stage and Screen 151
Biographies—Post Harlows 183
Film Credits—Detailed 198
Chapter Notes 201
Bibliography 207
Index 215