PDF Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film (Screen Classics)

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It was Mayer who changed both her style and her name. During the next 20 years she headlined in a series of successful films, culminating in her pairing alongside muscle-bound hunk Victor Mature in Cecil B.

Meet the ‘most beautiful woman in the world,’ who BTW helped invent Wi-Fi

She married six times, and with increasing frequency 'I suppose you realise from tomorrow on you'll be known as Mrs Lamarr,' joked Errol Flynn to one of her many husbands. So far, so predictable. But the outbreak of war in Europe had revealed an entirely different side to this difficult, diffident woman. Having once been married to an Austrian munitions magnate, she devoted her energies to developing a secret weapons communications system for the U.

Barton recalls surely one of the greatest dinner-party conversation stoppers - 'What are you doing at the moment Hedy? Barton has some sympathy for the plight of this uprooted emigre in the goldfish bowl of Forties Los Angeles. As so often, the rarefied atmosphere of Tinseltown proved a poor schooling for life once the music stopped. With her looks fading and her mantle having been snatched by Marilyn Monroe, Hedy briefly flirted with the new medium of television, in particular quiz shows, but she was ill-suited to its proletarian format by which stars were supposed to behave as if they were one of us, rather than a breed apart.

Top 10 Hedy Lamarr Movie Performances

In , by now residing in a mansion with broken windows and a swimming pool filled only with muddy rainwater, she was arrested for shoplifting. The jury's decision to acquit her was mirrored by one fan who turned on reporters at the pretrial press conference.

Bee Wilson reviews ‘Hedy Lamarr’ by Ruth Barton · LRB 28 July

Nonetheless, her final years were a doleful cocktail of botched plastic surgery and increasing isolation in a small apartment in Florida where she spent her time watching daytime television. Barton's attempt to illuminate this most mercurial of movie stars is a fascinating read - intriguing, tender, wise, and impeccably researched throughout. However, at their first meeting, he made it clear that she would be keeping her clothes on in future when being filmed. In Hollywood, Hedy covered up; her costumes were mostly chaste, high-necked affairs with lots of costume jewellery designed in part to draw attention away from the fact that she was flat-chested by movie-star standards.

The main exception was when she played Delilah in Cecil B. Even with her clothes buttoned up, however, Hedy Lamarr carried the frisson of having once been prepared to strip naked on film. Even though few in America had seen Ecstasy , it continued to shape her reputation. Many of the titles of her films played on the notion that she was exotic, foreign and excitingly untrustworthy: Lady of the Tropics ; The Strange Woman ; Dishonoured Lady ; A Lady without Passport Ecstasy and Me: My Life As a Woman was her sensational and curiously titled autobiography of her life as a woman: as opposed to her life as a horse?

It is a litany of sexual revelations that Lamarr almost instantly regretted, suing her publishers.

Hedy Lamarr : the most beautiful woman in film

In January , months before her memoir was published, she was caught shoplifting in a department store. At a subsequent press conference, she seemed a confused, pitiable figure.

Her first husband was the Austrian arms dealer Fritz Mandl, who was also a fascist; next, as her stardom dawned, a Hollywood screenwriter; then an actor, John Loder, father of her two children; next, a nightclub owner; a Texas oilman; and finally her own divorce lawyer. She spent her last three decades alone.

It certainly threatened the lives of her children. Her daughter said that when she was packed off to boarding school, she missed her mother so much that she would save up her allowance to buy Hedy Lamarr paper dolls, complete with lots of different little outfits.

The book starts with a break-in at the Hollywood Wax Museum in If Lamarr has been neglected, it is partly because watching one of her films is nothing like watching a Joan Crawford or Bette Davis or Marilyn Monroe film. In those there is a sense of heightened energy whenever the star is on screen, whereas Hedy Lamarr seems to suck out all the energy with her cold, mannered, intense performances.

There was a fad for turbans and jewels, for middle-parted brunette hair and for being photographed with slightly open lips. Once you know this, you realise that Snow White is uncannily like Lamarr, from the rosebud mouth to the strange, faintly European, little girl voice.

The critics agreed with one voice that she could not. But, they gasped, she was beautiful. With its North African setting and ambivalent male lead, Algiers was one of the main inspirations for Casablanca. Louis B. But this is to assume that Casablanca would have had anything like its enduring charm if it had starred Lamarr instead of Ingrid Bergman.

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Get on the plane — or not. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid. Other directors and actors after Machaty with his safety pin tried various tricks, sometimes cruel, to produce a reaction. The director of The Strange Woman rapped her on the ankles and the knuckles with a baton. The small screen can be more exposing than the big, however.


She often seems hardly able to believe what she is doing, settling for standing still as the action revolves around her. Her real talents lay in an entirely different direction. It was obvious to anyone who looked beyond the rosebud lips that Hedy was extremely bright. While shooting Ecstasy , she was required to act in three different languages for three different versions: German, Czech and French. She knew French already and learned Czech in a few weeks, becoming so fluent that she translated for the director on set.

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She never got much praise from her parents for such facility. Behind the exotic dame schtick was someone whose mind was often on other things. She already knew a lot about remote-controlled torpedoes and other secret weapons from her marriage to the Austrian arms dealer.