EW Staff
November 07, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Platinum Blonde

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
90 minutes
performer
Jean Harlow, Robert Williams, Reginald Owen, Loretta Young
director
Frank Capra
distributor
Columbia Tri-Star Home Video
genre
Comedy, Romance

We gave it a B+

Unrated, 89 mins., black and white, 1931 (Columbia TriStar) This early Frank Capra romantic comedy established Jean Harlow as a star — decades later it’s still easy to see why. As a society lady trying to smooth out the rough edges of Robert Williams’ hard-boiled newsman, she tosses off an erotic spunk that makes Britney seem sluggish by comparison. But the revelation here is Williams, a stage actor who’d made only three films before being cast by Capra. With his expressive regular-guy mug (think Bill Murray) crossed with a dazzling physical and verbal dexterity (think Cary Grant), he makes every frame he’s in crackle. (Tragically, he died of peritonitis four days after Blonde’s opening.) And as Williams’ office mate who secretly pines for him, Loretta Young is surprisingly natural, and their scenes together have a lovely delicacy.

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