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Pre-Code Fridays


Janet0312
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Oh, the actors, oh the costumes, oh the lovely silver tinge to the film - what a wonderful lineup today, reminiscent of the old TCM when it did things right.

 

Did anyone see the 'B' crime flicks from the other day? Interesting but crushingly boring bunch of films - proving that even the glory of black and white classically classic films can go bust.

 

No matter, any classically classic black and white film on TCM is better than any other film on any other channel and better than most color films on TCM.

 

Happy, happy, joy, joy today. :wub:

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Imagine films like For the Defense and Union Depot all day, every day, 365 days a year. If only.

 

If only there were a separate TCM Classic channel, one where black and white classically classic films could be enjoyed by those not in the most category who enjoy those films, and leave the rest of the drek/dreck to those who enjoy them

 

If only.

 

Union Depot, very riveting, very interesting, surprise ending. For the Defense, also interesting, a little slow in spots, also a surprise ending, given it was a pre-code. Movies the way movies used to be.

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Imagine films like For the Defense and Union Depot all day, every day, 365 days a year. If only.

 

If only there were a separate TCM Classic channel, one where black and white classically classic films could be enjoyed by those not in the most category who enjoy those films, and leave the rest of the drek/dreck to those who enjoy them

 

If only.

 

Union Depot, very riveting, very interesting, surprise ending. For the Defense, also interesting, a little slow in spots, also a surprise ending, given it was a pre-code. Movies the way movies used to be.

Poor pre-code Fridays, all alone and feeling blue. Watched by none of the most, only by me. La di da, and so it goes.

 

Sadly, I don't like Jean Harlow. Don't know why, but there's something about her. She may have gotten better as she aged, and she may have gotten better parts - although hoo chi mama, Red Headed Woman was hot stuff, nice ending too, no wimping out like they would have if it were made after the wan-ker Hays took over.

 

But she irks and I don't know why. She's no Ann Harding, Marion Marsh, Evelyn Brent, or Cathy O'Donnell. She paled next to Una Merkel and May Robson, and didn't even have the something that the very young Joan Blondell had.

 

Oh well, her flame will never go out, and that's all that counts.

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Poor pre-code Fridays, all alone and feeling blue. Watched by none of the most, only by me. La di da, and so it goes.

 

Sadly, I don't like Jean Harlow. Don't know why, but there's something about her. She may have gotten better as she aged, and she may have gotten better parts - although hoo chi mama, Red Headed Woman was hot stuff, nice ending too, no wimping out like they would have if it were made after the wan-ker Hays took over.

 

But she irks and I don't know why. She's no Ann Harding, Marion Marsh, Evelyn Brent, or Cathy O'Donnell. She paled next to Una Merkel and May Robson, and didn't even have the something that the very young Joan Blondell had.

 

Oh well, her flame will never go out, and that's all that counts.

 

In these early Harlow movies like Bombshell and Red Headed Woman I feel she really have trouble with any dramatic scene.   e.g. when she is crying over something.    Acting school 101 (and without a passing grade!). 

 

In comic scenes and in banter Harlow is good and pulls it off.     But when compared to actresses like Ann Harding there is no comparison.     I also find Joan Blondell to more sexy, funny as well as that 'something' than Harlow.    But yea,  Harlow was in some very good movies and a few great ones and that is all that counts.

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Poor pre-code Fridays, all alone and feeling blue. Watched by none of the most, only by me. La di da, and so it goes.

 

Sadly, I don't like Jean Harlow. Don't know why, but there's something about her. She may have gotten better as she aged, and she may have gotten better parts - although hoo chi mama, Red Headed Woman was hot stuff, nice ending too, no wimping out like they would have if it were made after the wan-ker Hays took over.

 

But she irks and I don't know why. She's no Ann Harding, Marion Marsh, Evelyn Brent, or Cathy O'Donnell. She paled next to Una Merkel and May Robson, and didn't even have the something that the very young Joan Blondell had.

 

Oh well, her flame will never go out, and that's all that counts.

"Sadly" I LOVE Harlow now and forever.  Harlow had the "IT".  The glorious "IT".  Her movies had "IT".  Love Blondell a lot too but Harlow was a one and only especially since she tragically died so young.  Harlow, Dean, and Valentino by dying young are forever and a day young and all had the "IT",  even more so since they never aged.  Eternally young in all their movies and legend.  Harlow...........................a glorious sexy charismatic legend to me.  

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In these early Harlow movies like Bombshell and Red Headed Woman I feel she really have trouble with any dramatic scene.   e.g. when she is crying over something.    Acting school 101 (and without a passing grade!). 

 

In comic scenes and in banter Harlow is good and pulls it off.     But when compared to actresses like Ann Harding there is no comparison.     I also find Joan Blondell to more sexy, funny as well as that 'something' than Harlow.    But yea,  Harlow was in some very good movies and a few great ones and that is all that counts.

Thanks, james. I agree to all. Did you see Union Depot? It was well done and new to me, so I really enjoyed it. Guy Kibbee, who usually annoys the bejeezus out of me, was totally enjoyable. Alan Hale, a sonorous railway announcer for the entire film, lots of trains, and a super young Joan and Fairbanks - what more could anyone want? And, I'm betting it was just another film to all of them.

 

roverrocks, my father used to refer to Pola Negri and Vilma Banky as having 'it'. I guess one has to be male to appreciate the 'it' in Harlow.

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Poor pre-code Fridays, all alone and feeling blue. Watched by none of the most, only by me. La di da, and so it goes.

 

Sadly, I don't like Jean Harlow. Don't know why, but there's something about her. She may have gotten better as she aged, and she may have gotten better parts - although hoo chi mama, Red Headed Woman was hot stuff, nice ending too, no wimping out like they would have if it were made after the wan-ker Hays took over.

 

But she irks and I don't know why. She's no Ann Harding, Marion Marsh, Evelyn Brent, or Cathy O'Donnell. She paled next to Una Merkel and May Robson, and didn't even have the something that the very young Joan Blondell had.

 

Oh well, her flame will never go out, and that's all that counts.

I have been trying to catch the Pre-Codes when I can.  However, most of the ones I want to watch are on while I'm at work, so I have to DVR and watch later.  As much as I'd love to watch my DVR'd movies on the same day that I record them, it doesn't always happen.  I have movies from May that I haven't watched yet.  I'm trying though.  Some of the films, while I want to watch them, I have to be in the mood to watch them or have enough time.  I have The Best Days of Our Lives on my DVR from like June or whenever it was on last, and since it's three hours long (at least there are 3 hours worth of time recorded on the DVR for it), I have to have a large block of time set aside.  Suffice it to say, I'm usually a little behind the times on this board, unless I just happened to catch the film in real time, had seen it before, or actually watched my recording recently.

 

Last week, I recorded Night Nurse and Baby Face which I haven't watched yet.  I did watch Footlight Parade, and my opinion of Busby Berkeley's musicals remain the same-- I just can't stand his musical numbers.  However, I did enjoy James Cagney in that film.  However, the film wasn't good enough for me to ever want to own or watch again.

 

Today I recorded Double Harness, Red-Headed Woman and Red Dust.  I'm trying to give Jean Harlow a chance.  I did like her performance in Bombshell and Libeled Lady.  I understand that Red-Headed Woman really put her on the map, so I'm looking forward to that one.  I haven't watched any of these films yet. 

 

I'm watching.  I'm just a little behind.

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I'm a huge fan of Jean Harlow  and have been since I was a child. I realize that the posters on this board are only expressing their opinion but I find some of the comments about Harlow very unfair.

 

One poster mentioned her having trouble with her dramatic scenes in her early movies. Well for pity sake she was only 20-21 at the time and still learning her trade. Remember that this poor girl died at 26.

Marilyn Monroe still hadn't made her mark at 26. Jean didn't even have much of a chance at drama because the public wanted her in comedy. If you want to see some dramatic Harlow watch her in Suzy or Wife Versus Secretary. She's wonderful. Even in these two movies she's the ripe old age of 25.

 

Another poster claims she's no Ann Harding or Evelyn Brent. Of course not! She's Harlow! She was unique; the original platinum blonde with a heart of gold. She wasn't attempting to imitate Ann or Evelyn.

How many people today know Ann Harding or Evelyn Brent? When you mention the name Harlow or Garbo you don't even have to mention their first names. They're icons.

As far as Jean paling in comparison to Una Merkel and May Robson I strongly disagree. Why would someone even compare Jean (in her early 20's) to May Robson (in her mid seventies)? In Dinner At Eight (when she was 22) she outshone Marie Dressler, the Barrymore brothers and Wallace Beery.

If anyone disagrees with this then go back to the original reviews of the movie from 1933. The public loved and adored her.

 

 I know that many posters will tell me that it's her early death which made her an icon (which I also disagree with). But it also robbed her of the chance to expand her horizons and acting ability. At the time of her death she was already assigned to several movies to further enhance her comic and dramatic

abilities.

 

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I have been trying to catch the Pre-Codes when I can.  However, most of the ones I want to watch are on while I'm at work, so I have to DVR and watch later.  As much as I'd love to watch my DVR'd movies on the same day that I record them, it doesn't always happen.  I have movies from May that I haven't watched yet.  I'm trying though.  Some of the films, while I want to watch them, I have to be in the mood to watch them or have enough time.  I have The Best Days of Our Lives on my DVR from like June or whenever it was on last, and since it's three hours long (at least there are 3 hours worth of time recorded on the DVR for it), I have to have a large block of time set aside.  Suffice it to say, I'm usually a little behind the times on this board, unless I just happened to catch the film in real time, had seen it before, or actually watched my recording recently.

 

Last week, I recorded Night Nurse and Baby Face which I haven't watched yet.  I did watch Footlight Parade, and my opinion of Busby Berkeley's musicals remain the same-- I just can't stand his musical numbers.  However, I did enjoy James Cagney in that film.  However, the film wasn't good enough for me to ever want to own or watch again.

 

Today I recorded Double Harness, Red-Headed Woman and Red Dust.  I'm trying to give Jean Harlow a chance.  I did like her performance in Bombshell and Libeled Lady.  I understand that Red-Headed Woman really put her on the map, so I'm looking forward to that one.  I haven't watched any of these films yet. 

 

I'm watching.  I'm just a little behind.

Understood and sorry, folks. I refuse to get a DVR, couldn't set up my DVD recorder, and as needs must, watch my glorious wonderful pre-codes live.

 

I had never seen For the Defense or Union Depot before, and they were a treat.

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I'm a huge fan of Jean Harlow  and have been since I was a child. I realize that the posters on this board are only expressing their opinion but I find some of the comments about Harlow very unfair.

 

One poster mentioned her having trouble with her dramatic scenes in her early movies. Well for pity sake she was only 20-21 at the time and still learning her trade. Remember that this poor girl died at 26.

Marilyn Monroe still hadn't made her mark at 26. Jean didn't even have much of a chance at drama because the public wanted her in comedy. If you want to see some dramatic Harlow watch her in Suzy or Wife Versus Secretary. She's wonderful. Even in these two movies she's the ripe old age of 25.

 

Another poster claims she's no Ann Harding or Evelyn Brent. Of course not! She's Harlow! She was unique; the original platinum blonde with a heart of gold. She wasn't attempting to imitate Ann or Evelyn.

How many people today know Ann Harding or Evelyn Brent? When you mention the name Harlow or Garbo you don't even have to mention their first names. They're icons.

As far as Jean paling in comparison to Una Merkel and May Robson I strongly disagree. Why would someone even compare Jean (in her early 20's) to May Robson (in her mid seventies)? In Dinner At Eight (when she was 22) she outshone Marie Dressler, the Barrymore brothers and Wallace Beery.

If anyone disagrees with this then go back to the original reviews of the movie from 1933. The public loved and adored her.

 

 I know that many posters will tell me that it's her early death which made her an icon (which I also disagree with). But it also robbed her of the chance to expand her horizons and acting ability. At the time of her death she was already assigned to several movies to further enhance her comic and dramatic

abilities.

I know, midnight. I acknowledged she might have been great had she lived. But Joan Blondell and Barbara Stanwyck were outstanding when very young. I know Ann Harding and Evelyn Brent, thanks to TCM.

 

Yes, Harlow is well know, but why? Not because of her outstanding acting talent, but because she was unique (she was) and she had 'it' (not for me, but males, I imagine). That's fine, but at the same time, it would have been nice were Ann and Evelyn and Marian more well known. Yes, imo only.

 

As to Garbo, pfffffft, he was a star and an icon, but he was a one note actor, i.............m..............o. Well known doesn't mean talented, look at Tom Cruise.

 

Why? Because Una and May leapt off the screen - and how well known are they to anyone today? No, I don't think she outshone Marie Dressler in Dinner at Eight, Marie's scenes were Lionel were gut wrenching. Harlow was unique in the film, but it was Marie's comeback to Harlow, glorious Harlow with no bra, that was priceless.

 

No, I don't have to go back to anything since I disagree with this, I realize the public loved and adored her, but the public loved and adored Robin Williams too. The public's barometer of an actor means nothing to me.

 

Again, yes I wish she had lived, I wish more attention were paid to her health rather than to her bankability by the movie moguls and her own selfish mother. I sincerely believe she could have been a very good actor, she had moments when she wasn't being asked to be flat out shrill or sexual where she too leapt off the screen.

 

MOO, YMMV.

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I'm a huge fan of Jean Harlow  and have been since I was a child. I realize that the posters on this board are only expressing their opinion but I find some of the comments about Harlow very unfair.

 

One poster mentioned her having trouble with her dramatic scenes in her early movies. Well for pity sake she was only 20-21 at the time and still learning her trade. Remember that this poor girl died at 26.

Marilyn Monroe still hadn't made her mark at 26. Jean didn't even have much of a chance at drama because the public wanted her in comedy. If you want to see some dramatic Harlow watch her in Suzy or Wife Versus Secretary. She's wonderful. Even in these two movies she's the ripe old age of 25.

 

Another poster claims she's no Ann Harding or Evelyn Brent. Of course not! She's Harlow! She was unique; the original platinum blonde with a heart of gold. She wasn't attempting to imitate Ann or Evelyn.

How many people today know Ann Harding or Evelyn Brent? When you mention the name Harlow or Garbo you don't even have to mention their first names. They're icons.

As far as Jean paling in comparison to Una Merkel and May Robson I strongly disagree. Why would someone even compare Jean (in her early 20's) to May Robson (in her mid seventies)? In Dinner At Eight (when she was 22) she outshone Marie Dressler, the Barrymore brothers and Wallace Beery.

If anyone disagrees with this then go back to the original reviews of the movie from 1933. The public loved and adored her.

 

 I know that many posters will tell me that it's her early death which made her an icon (which I also disagree with). But it also robbed her of the chance to expand her horizons and acting ability. At the time of her death she was already assigned to several movies to further enhance her comic and dramatic

abilities.

I'm with you, midnight08.  She was special.  For me the appeal of an actress or actor is an attitude, or mannerisms, or a look--they don't have to be a major thespian (insert grand pronunciation!) as to strike my fancy.  It's hard to imagine any other actress in Dinner at Eight where she stole the show from seasoned pros (aside from the wondrous Billie Burke.)  Not that I don't admire the leading lights, of course, but there's more to it than technique.  Also, Harlow had one of the best comedic voices in the business.  Not to mention those glorious bias-cut satin gowns worn sans underpinnings.  :o     

 

May she always be remembered.

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i imagined you being a male.

 

and you referred to garbo has a 'he'?      :lol:

 

she doesn't impress me at all, and imo, she can at times look rather masculine; but after several drinks i'd put the drop on her.

 

Yes, Harlow is well know, but why? Not because of her outstanding acting talent, but because she was unique (she was) and she had 'it' (not for me, but males, I imagine). That's fine, but at the same time, it would have been nice were Ann and Evelyn and Marian more well known. Yes, imo only.

 

As to Garbo, pfffffft, he was a star and an icon, but he was a one note actor, i.............m..............o. Well known doesn't mean talented, look at Tom Cruise.

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In reply to no one in particular:

 

Anyone who doesn't love and appreciate Jean Harlow doesn't love and appreciate life itself.  No ifs, ands, or buts. 

 

Okay, she made a few clinkers when Pope Breen tried to put a ball and chain on the scripts, but the heart of her repertory---Red Headed Woman, Red Dust, Bombshell, Dinner at Eight, and Libeled Lady---has never been matched in its let-it-all-hang-out splendor by any actress before or since.  She wasn't Stanwyck and she wasn't Davis, but she was so full of life in so many ways that any sentient being from a man to a caterpillar is instinctively drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

 

I realize that not all human beings or caterpillars are sentient, but be that as it may.

 

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  God bless the day that Jean Harlow was born. :)

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In reply to no one in particular:

 

Anyone who doesn't love and appreciate Jean Harlow doesn't love and appreciate life itself.  No ifs, ands, or buts. 

 

Okay, she made a few clinkers when Pope Breen tried to put a ball and chain on the scripts, but the heart of her repertory---Red Headed Woman, Red Dust, Bombshell, Dinner at Eight, and Libeled Lady---has never been matched in its let-it-all-hang-out splendor by any actress before or since.  She wasn't Stanwyck and she wasn't Davis, but she was so full of life in so many ways that any sentient being from a man to a caterpillar is instinctively drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

 

I realize that not all human beings or caterpillars are sentient, but be that as it may.

 

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  God bless the day that Jean Harlow was born. :)

I realized that for some reason I did not have a copy of BOMBSHELL-- so yesterday I sat down to record it and I ended up watching the whole thing again. A few things struck me about this picture and Harlow's work in it. First, I think it's a slight form of cinema verite and a precursor to reality television. There is one scene where she mentions scenes for RED DUST, which Harlow the actress appeared in. So the character she is playing in BOMBSHELL is a "fictionalized" version of herself as an MGM star. It takes a brilliant lady to be able to spoof herself, to play herself without lapsing into too much self-parody-- and she keeps it fairly straight for the most part, with her tongue-in-cheek way of poking fun at the business she's in. At some point you have to ask, what is real Harlow-- and since she's so smart, I am sure she asked herself that when she studied the script for BOMBSHELL.

 

The other thing here is that not only does Harlow have to be in on the joke, but the entire cast has to be as well. The three actors that Lee Tracy's character hires to pull a fast one at the end of the film can be said to be playing a riff on their real-life selves. At one point, the phrase 'character actor' is used and C. Aubrey Smith was definitely that, and Franchot Tone would be regarded as more of a character actor later than he was as a leading man. Even Frank Morgan, who plays Harlow's father, is a character actor and he is certainly in on the gag of actors as 'family.' Indeed, they are all blurring the line between who they are, what they do for a living, and how to combine that effectively in order to make a new motion picture that is coherent and entertaining. 

 

Also, some of the scenes are so cleverly orchestrated where voices rise and fall and the competing crescendos make a cacophonous blend of satire and tragedy that you have to ask how much was scripted and how much was improvised. Only the minds of true geniuses can assemble such haywire fun and pull it off without a hitch. This is a top-flight group effort at classic movie making and Harlow is its ring leader par excellence.

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I know, midnight. I acknowledged she might have been great had she lived. But Joan Blondell and Barbara Stanwyck were outstanding when very young. I know Ann Harding and Evelyn Brent, thanks to TCM.

 

Yes, Harlow is well know, but why? Not because of her outstanding acting talent, but because she was unique (she was) and she had 'it' (not for me, but males, I imagine). That's fine, but at the same time, it would have been nice were Ann and Evelyn and Marian more well known. Yes, imo only.

 

As to Garbo, pfffffft, he was a star and an icon, but he was a one note actor, i.............m..............o. Well known doesn't mean talented, look at Tom Cruise.

 

Why? Because Una and May leapt off the screen - and how well known are they to anyone today? No, I don't think she outshone Marie Dressler in Dinner at Eight, Marie's scenes were Lionel were gut wrenching. Harlow was unique in the film, but it was Marie's comeback to Harlow, glorious Harlow with no bra, that was priceless.

 

No, I don't have to go back to anything since I disagree with this, I realize the public loved and adored her, but the public loved and adored Robin Williams too. The public's barometer of an actor means nothing to me.

 

Again, yes I wish she had lived, I wish more attention were paid to her health rather than to her bankability by the movie moguls and her own selfish mother. I sincerely believe she could have been a very good actor, she had moments when she wasn't being asked to be flat out shrill or sexual where she too leapt off the screen.

 

MOO, YMMV.

 

Well said.

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i imagined you being a male.

 

and you referred to garbo has a 'he'?      :lol:

 

she doesn't impress me at all, and imo, she can at times look rather masculine; but after several drinks i'd put the drop on her.

Sorry. Gable was the example in the OP - mea maxima culpa, I meant Gable, whom I deem a star and nothing more.

 

Me, a male? Nope.

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In reply to no one in particular:

 

Anyone who doesn't love and appreciate Jean Harlow doesn't love and appreciate life itself.  No ifs, ands, or buts. 

 

Okay, she made a few clinkers when Pope Breen tried to put a ball and chain on the scripts, but the heart of her repertory---Red Headed Woman, Red Dust, Bombshell, Dinner at Eight, and Libeled Lady---has never been matched in its let-it-all-hang-out splendor by any actress before or since.  She wasn't Stanwyck and she wasn't Davis, but she was so full of life in so many ways that any sentient being from a man to a caterpillar is instinctively drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

 

I realize that not all human beings or caterpillars are sentient, but be that as it may.

 

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  God bless the day that Jean Harlow was born. :)

That's my opinion

 

Yup.

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Gable in "Red Dust" is walking sex- no wonder those women could not resist his charms

 

Yea,  my wife isn't head over heals for Gable (more of a Grant, Power, Flynn gal),  but she made the same comment about Gable in Red Dust.

 

Some men just look great in suits.    Gable looks best when sweating.

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Harlow in everything is "walking sex" just like Marilyn M. was but Harlow had a lot more sexy world-weary kick-butt personality.  I can not resist either in the slightest nor would I want to.  Pant! Pant! Pant!  Harlow was and is a true Goddess to me.  Pant!  Pant!

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"Primosprimos" stated that Joan Blondell and Barbara Stanwyck were outstanding when very young. Well what do you mean by very young? Blondell was 24 when she made her first movie in 1930 and Stanwyck was 23 when she made "Ladies Of Leisure" which put her on the map. They were both older than Harlow who made a smash in Red Headed Woman and Red Dust at the age of 21.

Both Blondell and Stanwyck didn't make their marks as what some may be considered "outstanding" till they were 25-26 which was already the tail end of Jean's life and career.

 

In the American Film Institute's list of 25 greatest screen actresses of all time Barbara is #11 and Jean is #22. Barbara's career goes from 1929 to the 1980's which encompasses over 50 years. Jean had seven short years. Barbara was unique in the 1930's in that she was one of the first actresses to not have an exclusive contract with one studio. She could take whatever meaty roles were offered to her from any studio. Jean was under exclusive contract with MGM from the time she was 21 till she died. Jean wasn't a fighter and took whatever roles were given to her at MGM. Some of her roles were hand me downs from Joan Crawford who refused. Jean didn't refuse. She took the roles and did the best of her ability.

I'm not knocking Barbara. In fact I like her too as she could handle any role. But it's unfair to compare her to Jean. Personally I've never been a favorite of Joan Blondell. She was ok but her smart aleck, street wise,  gum chewing antics got to be a little tired by the end of the 1930's. I know this wasn't her fault as Warner Brothers kept putting her in these roles which is probably why she left them in 1939.

She also had a long career strarting in 1930 and going right up until the time she died in 1979.

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