Northampton Press

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Movie Review: ‘Hedy’ hopper

Sunday, May 20, 2018 by The Press in Focus

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” is a fascinating documentary film that, if it wasn’t based on a true story, would sound like fiction.

Lamarr, who was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914 and died in 2000, was an Austrian-born United States film actress.

While the dark-haired Lamarr wasn’t a Bombshell in the Hollywood movie style of platinum blondes such as Marilyn Monroe, Lamarr was regarded as one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the silver screen.

Her story unfolds with her controversial film, “Ecstacy” (1933, Czechoslovakia); marriage to an Austrian ammunitions manufacturer, and being discovered in Paris by MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer.

Lamarr’s best-known films were “Algiers” (1938), “Boom Town” (1940), “I Take This Woman” (1940), “Comrade X” (1940), “Come Live With Me” (1941), “H.M. Pulham, Esq.” (1941), and “Samson and Delilah” (1949).

Hollywood movies are only half of the Hedy Lamarr story. She is credited as an inventor, who, at the start of World War II, with composer George Antheil, developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, using so-called frequency-hopping technology, to thwart detection by enemy Nazi warships.

The concept is said to have become the basis for cell phone, Bluetooth, WiFi and communication satellite technology. Lamarr was inducted posthumously in 2014 into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“Bombshell” is directed by Alexandra Dean (producer, “The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale,” 2014), in her feature documenary directorial debut. Dean, who wrote the screenplay for “Bombshell,” uses a wealth of photographs, archival footage, clips from Lamarr’s movies, and interviews with her children, those who knew her, wrote about her, or interviewed her, and an audio tape interview with her.

The documentary film is a portrayal not only of Lamarr, but the world during her lifetime, in war and peace, overseas and in the United States and Hollywood.

“Bombshell” doesn’t seem to pull too many punches about Lamarr, who was married six times, and was the mother of two sons and a daughter. Lamarr was a complicated person, who gave as good as she got, on screen and in her personal life.

“Bombshell” lets us know Lamarr, but it’s really only a glimpse into an extraordinary life about a beautiful, independent, and brilliant woman.

She was a star who looked at the stars and asked the big questions.

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” answers many, but not all of the questions about Hedy Lamarr. That makes her all the more fascinating.

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” MPAA rated G; Genre: Documentary, Biography, History; Run time: 1 hr., 28 min.; Distributed by Zeitgeist Films.

Credit Readers Anonymous: Those interviewed in “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” include Peter Bogdanovich, Mel Brooks, Diane Kruger and Robert Osborne.

Box Office, May 18: “Deadpool 2,” starring Ryan Reynolds, opened at No. 1 with $125 million, dropping “Avengers: Infinity War” down one spot from it’s three-week perch at No. 1, with $28.6 million, $595 million, four weeks, and keeping the Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Candace Bergen comedy, “Book Club,” opening at No. 3 with $12.5 million.

4. “Life Of The Party” dropped two places, $7.7 million, $31 million, two weeks. 5. “Breaking In” dropped two places, $6.4 million, $28.7 million, two weeks. 6. “Show Dogs,” $6 million, opening. 7. “Overboard” dropped three places, $4.7 million, $36.9 million, three weeks. 8. “A Quiet Place” dropped three places, $4 million, $176.2 million, seven weeks. 9. “Rampage” dropped two places, $1.5 million, $92.4 million, six weeks. 10. “RBG,” $1.2 millon, $3.8 million, three weeks.

43. Director Dan Roebuck’s Lehigh Valley-filmed “Getting Grace” rose 34 places from a readjusted No. 77, with $2,222, on three screens, $214,707, eight weeks.

Unreel, May 25:

“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” PG-13: Ron Howard directs Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover in the Science-Fiction Action film which tells the back story of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich). Han Solo meets his copilot Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian years before the Rebellion.

“How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” R: John Cameron Mitchell directs Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, and Stephen Campbell Moore in the comedy. An alien on the grand tour of the galaxy splits from the tour group and visits a London suburb.

Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes