Release dateOctober 13, 1933 (1933-10-13) Based onBombshell
by Caroline Francke and Mack Crane WriterJohn Lee Mahin (screenplay), Jules Furthman (screenplay), Caroline Francke (from the play by), Mack Crane (from the play by) ScreenplayJohn Lee Mahin, Jules Furthman, Norman Krasna, Caroline Francke, Mack Crane CastJean Harlow (Lola Burns), Lee Tracy (E.J."Space"Hanlon), Frank Morgan (Pops Burns), Franchot Tone (Gifford Middleton), Pat O'Brien (Jim Brogan), Una Merkel (Mac) Similar moviesEntourage, Sunset Boulevard, Youth, Rocky, Playing It Cool, 27 Dresses
Bombshell preview clip
Bombshell is a 1933 American pre-Code romantic comedy-drama film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan, C. Aubrey Smith, Mary Forbes and Franchot Tone. The film is based on the unproduced play of the same name by Caroline Francke and Mack Crane, and was adapted for the screen by John Lee Mahin and Jules Furthman.
Movie star Lola Burns (Jean Harlow) is angry with her studio publicist E.J. "Space" Hanlon (Lee Tracy), who feeds the press with endless stories about her greatness. Lola's family and staff are another cause of distress for her, as everybody is always trying to take money from the actress. All Burns really wants is to live a normal life and prove to the public that she's not a sexy vamp but a proper lady. She tries to adopt a baby, but Hanlon, who secretly loves her, thwarts all her plans.
Burns decides she can't stand any more of such a life, and flees. Far from the movie fluff, she meets wealthy and romantic Gifford Middleton, who hates the movies and therefore has never heard about Lola Burns and her bad press. They soon fall in love and Gifford proposes marriage. Burns is to meet her fiancé's parents, but everything collapses when Hanlon together with Burns' family finds her, and tells the Middletons the truth. Burns feels hurt by the rude way Gifford and his parents dump her, and accepts Hanlon's suggestion to return to Hollywood with no regrets. Little does she know that the three Middletons were all actors hired by Hanlon himself.
Jean Harlow as Lola Burns
Lee Tracy as E.J. "Space" Hanlon
Frank Morgan as Pops Burns
Franchot Tone as Gifford Middleton
Pat O'Brien as Jim Brogan
Una Merkel as Mac
Ted Healy as Junior Burns
Ivan Lebedeff as Hugo, Marquis Di Pisa Di Pisa
Isabel Jewell as Lily, Junior's Girl Friend (as Isobel Jewell)
Louise Beavers as Loretta
Leonard Carey as Winters
Mary Forbes as Mrs. Middleton
C. Aubrey Smith as Mr. Wendell Middleton
Bombshell is a pre-code screwball comedy. The story satirizes the stardom years of Clara Bow: "Lola Burns" – Clara Bow, "E.J. Hanlon" – B.P. Schulberg, "Pops Burns" – Robert Bow, "Mac" – Daisy DeVoe, "Gifford Middleton" – Rex Bell. Victor Fleming was Bow's fiancee in 1926.
The success of the film led to Jean Harlow being widely known as a "Blonde Bombshell".
Early in the film Lola Burns is told she has to shoot re-takes of “Red Dust” — the title of an actual Harlow/Gable vehicle from the year before.