6 October 2003 | sadie_thompson
"The Strange Review" (2003)
Oh, but that Hedy Lamarr is unearthly beautiful. No wonder people just stared at her constantly.
At this part of her career (the mid-forties) Hedy Lamarr seemingly became tired of her "stand still and look stupid" technique (supposedly her own words there). I believe this is the film where she decided to start acting, and for unknown reasons no one liked her. She does surprisingly well, but as other reviewers have said, people have a difficult time concentrating on what she's doing. She doesn't appear to be too affected and irritating, but I don't think she was going to get an Oscar.
At the beginning of the film, young Jenny Hager (Kay from "Mildred Pierce") says that when she is older, she will have whatever she wants because she's going to be beautiful. In a transition shot she dissolves into Hedy Lamarr. Reaction--"Yep, she'll get whatever she wants. Definitely." The long dark hair, arranged perfectly but not too "done," the high arching eyebrows, those lips...one could go on forever. Unfortunately, her beauty doesn't seem to be more than skin deep. She is a complete jerk. She takes from her rich husband and gives to the poor church, but no reason is given for that. She takes care of her prostitute friend, but apparently only because she thinks prostitution is "cool." She is the type that believes in being honest, which means she likes talking about men and women and what they do. This makes her ahead of her time, I suppose. That doesn't offend me or anything, but she's kinda stereotypical in a way (a corset burner?). When the young Jenny made her remark about getting what she wanted, it's frightening that at that age she knew she could use sex for personal gain. That's what the older Jenny does. She uses men, she steals them, she bewitches them, the list just gets longer.
Biggest gripes--the totally unreal character of Jenny's sort-of friend, whose name escapes me, and the power of money. The friend is quite bland, so it's hard to remember anything distinct. She is the ultimate sacrificing woman, yet she's not very nice. It gets ridiculous. Early in the film, she is described as not liking Jenny, then all of a sudden, money changes everything. That's another irritating thing. Jenny marries a rich man, and the world's her oyster. She doesn't change as a person, but everyone's idea of her alters. The women in church talk out of both sides of their mouth--"I'm sorry I didn't call on you when you were married, but now we'll be best friends"; things to that effect. Also aggravating is the way older films punish the bad characters. Jenny gets punished no less than twice, and both are irreversible. To use a title from the silent version of "The Ten Commandments"--"If you break the Ten Commandments, they will break you." Jenny didn't deserve to be broken.