Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film (Screen Classics)
Hedy Lamarr's life was punctuated by salacious rumors and public scandal, but it was her stunning looks and classic Hollywood glamour that continuously captivated audiences. Born Hedwig Kiesler, she escaped an unhappy marriage with arms dealer Fritz Mandl in Austria to try her luck in Hollywood, where her striking appearance made her a screen legend. Her notorious nude role in the erotic Czech film Ecstasy (1933), as well as her work with Cecil B. DeMille (Samson and Delilah, 1949), Walter Wanger (Algiers, 1938), and studio executive Louis B. Mayer catapulted her alluring and provocative reputation as a high-profile sex symbol.
In Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film, Ruth Barton explores the many facets of the screen legend, including her life as an inventor. Working with avant-garde composer and film scorer George Antheil, Lamarr helped to develop and patent spread spectrum technology, which is still used in mobile phone communication. However, despite her screen persona and scientific success, Lamarr's personal life caused quite a scandal. A string of failed marriages, a lawsuit against her publisher regarding her sensational autobiography, and shoplifting charges made her infamous beyond her celebrity.
Drawing on extensive research into both the recorded truths of Lamarr's life and the rumors that made her notorious, Barton recognizes Lamarr's contributions to both film and technology while revealing the controversial and conflicted woman underneath. Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film illuminates the life of a classic Hollywood icon.
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many people that Hedy would later encounter there, notably Charles Boyer. Back in Germany, Remarque was persona non grata for the same reasons he was feted in Hollywood; the premiere of All Quiet in Berlin had prompted a display of Nazi flag waving, with Goebbels marching out of the cinema to chants of “Judenfilm! Judenfilm!” Nazi supporters set off stink bombs in the auditorium along with releasing hundreds of white mice. Bizarrely, the Nazis then invited Remarque to become Minister of Culture
Angeles, where he made his first film recording, a short orchestral piece for Paramount Pictures. He was next invited by Louis B. Mayer to play for him, with a view to signing a contract with MGM. His manager, Isadore Noble, however, was unsure how the studios would handle a musical prodigy and how this would affect his image. Bumping into Max Reinhardt in Los Angeles, Noble consulted with the director as to how to proceed; Reinhardt advised against signing and Noble agreed that, for the time
present form, you will understand that it is not acceptable from the standpoint of the Production Code by reason of the definite suggestion that your two leading female characters are both kept women […] The dialogue should be changed, so as to get away from the suggestion that Ines is Pepe's mistress.”3 To tone down the film, Wanger hired James M. Cain to rewrite the opening twenty minutes. Next, Wanger's regular collaborator John Howard Lawson intensified the relationship between Pepe Le Moko
tame me, Samson?” she thrills, clinging to his back as they ride out in his chariot to face down the lion. When Samson chooses her sister Semadar over her, Delilah is swift to seek vengeance. Hers is, as Miriam (Olive Deering) charges, a “treacherous beauty.” In a film with few pretensions to realism, Hedy's limited acting range was of little consequence; any dramatic effect called for she achieved by widening her eyes or shrugging her shoulders and pouting. Occasionally, she trailed a languid