51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
I'm giving this set a qualified five stars because the movies are wonderful as of course is their star, the legendary Jean Harlow. This is a wonderful introduction to one of the movies' greatest stars and pioneering sex symbols, as well as one of the best comediennes of alltime. The bad news is ALL FOUR of these movies are already available on DVD when there's well over a dozen other Harlow movies sitting in the MGM vaults that badly need to be released!! Jean had major roles in about 23 films before her tragic death at age 26 in 1937 yet only these, RED HEADED WOMAN (in a pre-code set), Universal's HELL'S ANGELS, WB's THE PUBLIC ENEMY, and Columbia's PLATINUM BLONDE have been commercially released on DVD to date!! That's a major disgrace, she's perhaps the biggest movie star of all who has been so poorly represented on dvd.
And what a slap in the face to Harlow fans who have kept this star's flame alive for over 70 years - March 2011 will be the 100th anniversary of Jean Harlow's birth. Some birthday present!!! Shame on you Warner Bros. (who now has the rights to the vintage MGMs) when it comes to Jean Harlow you are almost as bad as the notorious Universal handling of the vintage Paramount catalog!
If you have never seen Jean Harlow in action and want to know what all the fuss is about, by all means grab this collection. DINNER AT EIGHT is perhaps Jean's most legendary film and her comic barbs are as delicious as the bon bons she munches on. Equally delightful is the comedy LIBELED LADY which was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award in 1936. CHINA SEAS is a roaring comedy/adventure on the high seas with Jean's greatest leading man Clark Gable; WIFE VS. SECRETARY offers Harlow, Gable, and Myrna Loy too in a pleasant little lowkey "women's picture" drama whose title tells all. This movie is particularly admired by many Harlow buffs for her successful casting against type as the gentle, quiet secretary who fights her feelings for boss Gable.
Much as Harlowheads resent WB's lame offering for a "first" Harlow DVD set I suggest buying it, especially if you don't have any of these wonderful movies. Maybe if it sells through the roof it will knock some sense into their heads and Jean Harlow will then get the deluxe boxed set a star of her legendary status truly deserves.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
Jean deserves so much better ! I am glad something is happening for Jean and dvds,even though these movies have all ready been out.WHERE IS BOMBSHELL,RED DUST,RIFF RAFF,RECKLESS.This young lady WAS the BEST....Come on !
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
While all of these movies are great on their own and rank among some of my favorite movies, I already have them on dvd so getting this from a friend who knows I am a huge Harlow fan didn't have quite the impact expected. For someone who doesn't have the films/dvds included in this set, it is a great deal and is a Jean Harlow primer for the uniformed. For the die-hard Harlow fan (and there are many out there) this falls a bit short.
My issue with this set is given that it is so long overdue, it would have been nice if it had been a truly comprehensive set with special features and films that are not currently available on dvd. It should be quintessential Harlow with films such as Suzy, Girl From Missouri, Platinum Blonde, Red Dust, Riffraff and my absolute personal favorite Red Headed Woman(already on dvd in the Forbidden Hollywood set).
Harlow was the original Hollywood blonde and had such an innate gift for comedy that this set while good, certainly isn't as good as it might have been. My major concern is that while she has now been given her own 'collection' will her fans have to wait years to see more titles released? I certainly hope not. Considering Harlow had a relatively short career, it is nothing less than amazing that she left such a substantial film legacy.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The four films included in this set are excellent, and showcase Jean Harlow's stellar comedic timing and beauty, but in the context of her career, releasing four films previously released on DVD (and China Seas and Wife vs. Secretary have been included in Clark Gable's box set!) is a blatant rip-off considering 2011 is Jean's centennial year.
Where are the DVD releases for Suzy, Reckless, RiffRaff, Bombshell, Iron Man, Three Wise Girls, The Beast of the City, The Girl from Missouri, Hold Your Man, Red Dust, Goldie, Personal Property, and most importantly, Saratoga, Jean's last film? The perfect box set would include Jean's entire filmography, plus the four or so documentaries made about her life and the two 1960s biopics (despite basing their information on Irving Shulman's false "biography").
At least throw us a bone by releasing a Harlow/Gable box set!
Grab this if you would like to see all four films for one low price, but for we Jean Harlow fans, the repackaging of four previous DVD releases is disappointing and insulting.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2011
The fact that this Harlow collection was manufactured by TCM guarantees quality of the product. TCM has spearheaded the early film restoration project that has salvaged many of the great movies from the wages of time & neglect. Since other reviewers discuss the individual films (I give each one a 5 star rating), I just want to take this opportunity to set the record straight on a remark I made in another review of a Harlow movie.
In that review I said something to the effect that maybe Harlow couldn't act her way out of a paper bag, but who cares? She was just too adorable & lovely. Since then I've seen other Harlow movies & discovered something: When she wasn't playing a vamp and just an "ordinary" woman...she was damned good! Very natural, very competent. Up to this point I had only seen her in "shady lady" type roles.
Please don't misunderstand, I loved her in the vampy roles too, and part of the fun was that she did seem to go way over the top & overact. Now I realize that she WAS an "ordinary" woman (who happened to be stunningly attractive) and the vamp roles were wildly out of character--hence the tendency to overact. She was playing a part that was nothing like her true self. The overacting was funny & I think it allowed people--like yours truly--to identify even more with her.
In this regard she was very much like Marilyn Monroe (who was probably inspired by the Harlow Plantimun Bombshell legacy.) Both actresses were real photogenic Aphrodites, but their little foibles allowed people to see them as being just like "real" people. Women loved them as much as men--and this was a real secret to their success. If they had been as perfect as they looked, they would have inspired envy in other women, not adulation. It allowed the fantasy that female fans could really be like them too. Jean Harlow had the added attraction of being completely down to earth. She enjoyed hanging out with the stage crew & treated everybody with honest sincerity. Yes, I am a fan!
If you enjoy 30's movies, you can't go wrong with this collection.
PS. Another example of this "identification principle" was Roseanne Barr-Arnold-Whatever. When she was...plump...and before all the cosmetic surgery, she was a hoot. But when she slimmed down & started to look generic...not so funny anymore.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2011
Received dvd in a reasonable amount of time (4 days from placed order). DVD is in excellent condition. I was thrilled when I discovered a bonus feature on the back of the dvd that gave a biography of Jean Harlow's life =) This was a very reasonably priced dvd considering you get 4 of her movies and the biography of her life story all in one. It's like getting 5 movies instead! A ++!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2011
How can you go wrong with Harlow and when the weakest movie is "Libeled Lady" you have one of the best collections around.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
I viewed Dinner at Eight several years ago and enjoyed it immensely. It's been awhile, but I finally sat down and searched for it and found it. Dinner at Eight was worthwhile viewing again, as are the other three films in this set. If you're a fan or old black and white films, or Jean Harlow in particular, you'll enjoy this set. All are amusing and great entertainment fun. Overall, a worthwhile purchase. I have no regrets. I highly recommend it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2011
I LOVE ALL FOUR OF THESE MOVIES! I will even love putting the DVD in once for two movies. So many super stars in each one, but WIFE vs SECRETARY with Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Jimmy Stewart, and Jean Harlow in her best dramatic role of a career cut too short.
on January 30, 2014
Jean Harlow was by far one of the most-popular actresses during the 1930s. As a contract star for MGM, Miss Harlow's films more often than not made more money than those of her fellow MGM actresses, including such luminaries as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Luise Rainer, and Norma Shearer. Jean Harlow was truly the first Blonde Bombshell of the silver screen. Some say it was Mae West, but it's not true. Jean was on the movie scene big time in 1930 with Hell's Angels, but Mae didn't make her movie debut until 1932's Night After Night.
This TCM Greatest Classic Legends collection does its best to showcase Jean Harlow with what little budget it seems it had. Like the others sets that have been released showcasing such stars as Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Ronald Reagan, Doris Day, Katharine Hepburn, etc. this set is very simple. There are two DVDs with two movies on each disc. Unlike the other TCM releases, each movie does not have its own DVD.
Personally, I think TCM did a good job picking out which four movies of Harlow to include. With such stars of Harlow's status, it is sometimes hard to choose which films get put in a collection and which ones don't. My break down of the films follows hereafter.
The earliest film included in this collection is Dinner at Eight (1933), a dramatization (with comedic elements) of upper class life in the 1930s. It was one of the first "all-star" films Hollywood produced, the first being Grand Hotel (1932) also distributed my MGM. Jean is not the central star in Dinner at Eight, but she certainly makes it worth watching. As Kitty Packard, Harlow characterizes an ungrateful wife to Dan Packard, played by Wallace Beery, who's cheating on him with Dr. Wayne Talbot, played by Edmund Lowe. The film features several other well-known stars of the era, such as Marie Dressler, John and Lionel Barrymore, Billie Burke, Lee Tracy, and Jean Hersholt. Had these great performers not been in this film, it would have been far less appealing. This is certainly a must-see of Harlow's, even though she's not the headliner.
Next we have China Seas (1935), which was Harlow's fourth pairing with Clark Gable. This film fits the genre of comedy-drama, with almost equal aspects of both. Harlow plays China Doll, a woman seeking the affection of Clark Gable's character, who's the captain of an ocean liner they're all on, but he's actually in love with Rosalind Russell's character. Wallace Beery ads to the drama by trying to win Harlow from Gable, but in the end, looses her when his dirty dealings surface. This could not be said as being the "best" Harlow-Gable pairing (that award goes to Red Dust and Saratoga), but its definitely worth a viewing or two.
Wife vs. Secretary (1936) is next in line, another Harlow-Gable starring vehicle with Myrna Loy and a young James Stewart along for the ride. This time Harlow is Gable's secretary, Whitey Wilson, while Gable as Van Stanhope is happily married to Myrna Loy as his lovely wife Linda. May Robson co-stars as Mimi, Van's mother, who tries to convince Linda Van is having an affair with Whitey. The film's humor comes from the growing jealousy of Myrna Loy, fearing her husband, Gable, is indeed having an affair with Whitey. It's not true, however. The relationship between Whitey and Van is strictly business. This is another, very humorous Harlow-Gable pairing that is enjoyable time and time again. Cheers to Myrna Loy as well, who made the film even better.
Lastly, we have Libeled Lady (1936), Jean's second-to-last fully completed film. This is an overjoying screwball comedy. In this setup, Jean is fakes a marriage to William Powell, though she's truly in love with Spencer Tracy. Powell is indeed in love with Myrna Loy. There's lots of twists and turns in this comedic gem and it keeps you smiling and entertained all the way through. It's undoubtedly one of Jean's better films and proved to be one of her most successful. Libeled Lady was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but lost to The Great Ziegfeld.
In all, this TCM collection of four Jean Harlow flicks are entertaining. It's hard to compare one to the other, but its likable that Wife vs. Secretary and Libeled Lady could compete for best comedy. It's equally hard to rate these films on a scale of 1 to 10, but I'd try if asked. Libeled Lady is probably the best of the batch.
My List (scale 1─10)
1) Libeled Lady: 9.8
2) Dinner at Eight: 9.4
3) China Seas: 9.2
4) Wife vs. Secretary: 9.1
Yes, I gave all four of these films a rating over 9. They each deserve it. They're that entertaining, compelling, classic. All of the above. The Jean Harlow 100th Anniversary Collection is perhaps better, because it contains seven films, all equally interesting and classical. This is a cheaper, yet impressive and appreciative. This a good set. Not a great one. It's one to have to let you know who and what Jean Harlow was and how there is nothing else like her... EVER! Buy it for yourself and find out on your own.