Director: Frank Capra
Cast: Loretta Young, Jean Harlow, and Robert Williams
Modern audiences will find Platinum Blonde predictable, not humorous, and lacking in the intended sensuality.
This movie, which is about a love triangle, and about the differences between the rich and the poor in America has lost a lot of appeal since the original release of the film. Robert Williams, who plays the lead, is mildly amusing and charismatic but mostly comes across as a sub-par comedian trying to squeeze laughs out of a mediocre script.
While I don’t know for sure, I imagine this is one of the roles where critics found Jean Harlow’s performance lacking as well. Too often it feels like she is just reciting lines and forcing emotions. You can actually see Jean Harlow acting. While there is a hint of Jean Harlow’s signature look and sex appeal, for the most part in this film 20 year old Harlow has not fully come into her looks yet. Modern audiences will be baffled at why she is found to be so much superior to the third part of the triangle, Loretta Young, who plays a newspaper girl named Gallagher who is just one of the guys. From the first close up of her face it is clear she isn’t however. She is adorable from the first frame to the closing scene and quite frankly the saving grace to this movie. Even this early in her career Loretta Young is clearly an accomplished actress with the ability to draw attention to herself in each and every scene she is in, while maintaining a certain innocence and low key appeal that is perfect for her role in this film.
Perhaps in 1931 this film had some impact, but it has lost a lot and is unlike some near masterpieces from the 1930s. It is unlikely to entertain most modern audiences.