Since premiering at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is continuing to make its rounds at public screenings nationwide ahead of its television and streaming premiere as part of the American Masters series on PBS station this upcoming May.
I guess since we are all enjoying the fruits of the subject’s “tinkering” – whether it be the GPS in our vehicles, or the Bluetooth and WiFi that allows me to type this post and immediately save all my edits to a server in a far away location, it is about damn time we give the full credit where it is due.
In a story Hollywood could not make up itself – partly because the story came straight from Tinseltown itself, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story chronicles the life and times of the Austrian émigré. Although her journey to Hollywood – which started off on controversial footing due to her involvement in the 1932 Czech film Ecstasy (Ekstase), is interesting enough, what makes her story A story is the recalling of how her invention on behalf of the WWII effort would lead to a “folly” that would haunt her for the rest of her life.
Now, as many of the folks who come here know, I am a fan of classic films; with that I have also been a fan of Ms. Lamarr and fascinated by her story as it stood in the realm of Hollywood folklore.
Granted, this is not the first time that her story has been packaged for public consumption – there have been multiple takes on her story, notably in 2011 with writer Richard Rhodes’ biography Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. While this is an intriguing read, with Bombshell, audiences are presented with a well researched, comprehensive and well-integrated story of her entire career and life.
And unlike those other works, Bombshell has a primary source – in 2016, documentarian Alexandra Dean and producer Adam Haggiag discovered previously unknown audio recordings in Hedy’s own voice (actress Diane Kruger lent her voice as Lamarr’s proxy in the film). In addition to this first person account, Dean was able to interview a cadre of people from Lamarr’s personal and professional life to paint a picture of a woman who for many was a walking contradiction – an unquestionable beauty who also had the brains to match and surpass people’s expectations.
Honestly, by the time you reach the end of Bombshell, you are left with many emotions – a feeling of pity that she did not live to see her contribution to the WORLD recognized, but this sentiment is mixed with the joy and sense of vindication which comes from the belated plaudits she has received in the past several years.
So in other words, set your DVR for a reminder on May 18th at 9PM when your local PBS stations will be airing the documentary followed the next day to its availability on streaming services.