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JEAN HARLOW

"China Seas"
Click to enlarge
 

Original Vintage Dec. 1931
"Proposed Treatment"
Script from MGM Vaults

China Seas (1935)

Directed by:
  Tay Garnett

Writing credits
Jules Furthman
James Kevin McGuinness

Genre: Action / Adventure (more)

Plot Summary:
Dynamic Alan Gaskell captains a ship bound from Hong Kong to Singapore. Gaskell tries to turn over a new leaf from his hard-drinking lifestyle after becoming attached to a refined high class English lady, Sybil Barclay. His former girlfriend Dolly is extremely jealous of the budding relationship and tries hard to get the Captain back. He is apparently unimpressed with her loud, obnoxious, and uncivilized manners, even though she is extremely beautiful. After a temporary take over of the ship by gold-seeking Asian pirates, Captain Gaskell must deal with the fact that Dolly and her drinking pal, Jamesey MacArdle, are implicated in the crime.

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clark Gable .... Captain Alan Gaskell
Jean Harlow .... Dolly Portland (China Doll)
Wallace Beery .... Jamesy MacArdle
Lewis Stone .... Davids
Rosalind Russell .... Sybil Barclay
Dudley Digges .... Dawson
C. Aubrey Smith .... Sir Guy
Robert Benchley .... Charlie McCaleb
William Henry (I) .... Rockwell
Liev De Maigret .... Mrs. Olga Vollberg
Lilian Bond .... Mrs. Timmons
Edward Brophy .... Wilbur Timmons
Soo Yong .... Yu-Lan
Carol Ann Beery .... Carol Ann
Akim Tamiroff .... Romanoff

Runtime: Netherlands:90 / USA:89
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Sound Mix: Western Electric Sound System
Certification: Finland:K-16
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British Hong Kong, mid 1930's. A freighter makes ready to lift anchor on its way to Singapore, carrying with it £250,000 in hidden gold. The passengers & crew are a colorful mix of often violent hatreds & animosities. Travelling into typhoon-swept, pirate-haunted waters, danger & death awaits all those who enter the CHINA SEAS.

While admittedly the plot is a little far-fetched, this was one of the great all-star features which MGM did so well during its heyday. The sets are lavish (especially the bustling docks) and except for the occasional use of a model, the ship scenes look realistic.

The cast is made-up of some of the Studio's best. Clark Gable as the captain - given to drink & homesick for England, he must choose between the two women he loves. Jean Harlow, the brassy blonde with too much past, passionate in defense of her man. Wallace Beery, gambler & exporter, bluff, hearty & treacherous. Rosalind Russell, the English society girl, cool & beautiful.

Rounding out the excellent supporting cast are Lewis Stone, as an old ship's officer accused of cowardice; Robert Benchley as a perpetually inebriated American novelist; Edward Brophy & Lillian Bond as American tourists who attract the notice of lustful Russian swindler Akim Tamiroff; and wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith, as the founder of the shipping line.

Film mavens will spot uncredited performances by Willie Fung as a cabin boy; Donald Meek as a chess player; Emily Fitzroy as a gossipy passenger; and especially Hattie McDaniel, hilarious as Harlow's maid.

On a side note, one of the writers for this film was Paul Bern, an important MGM producer & Harlow's husband. His forthcoming murder by his deranged common-law spouse, made to look like a suicide by MGM security to protect Harlow's career, would provide one of Hollywood's most famous scandals.

Jean Harlow -- "Harlean Carpenter"
Click to enlarge
Born Harlean Carpenter, assumed Mother's name.
Mother signs most autographs. Born March 3rd, 1911 - Died in Hollywood in 1937 at 26 years.
8" x 10" Vintage Photo #3  "Mama Jean" Signed

Jean Harlow -- "Harlean Carpenter"
Click to enlarge
Born Harlean Carpenter, assumed Mother's name.
Mother signs most autographs. Born March 3rd, 1911 - Died in Hollywood in 1937 at 26 years.
8" x 10" Vintage Photo #2  "Mama Jean" Signed

Jean Harlow -- "Harlean Carpenter"
Click to enlarge
Born Harlean Carpenter, assumed Mother's name.
Mother signs most autographs. Born March 3rd, 1911 - Died in Hollywood in 1937 at 26 years.
8" x 10" Vintage Photo #1 "Mama Jean" Signed

Jean Harlow -- "Harlean Carpenter"
Click to enlarge
Born Harlean Carpenter, assumed Mother's name.
Mother signs most autographs. Born March 3rd, 1911 - Died in Hollywood in 1937 at 26 years.
8" x 10" Vintage Photo #4  "Mama Jean" Signed

Vintage "Mama Jean" Letter
Click to enlarge
Please read glowing content in this letter

Vintage Typed Letter
Click to enlsrge
 "Mama Jean" Signed

Vintage Typed Letter

 "Mama Jean" Signed
on Engraved Stationary

See Howard Hughes;
 Jean Harlow's discoverer and first film producer

Spencer Tracy & Jean Harlow "Big Parade"

Original Vintage Lobbycard

Original Vintage 40's Photo
Click to enlarge
 
MGM Info on reverse. Clarence Bull Image.
Vintage Original 11" x 14" Photo (Not a copy!!)

Check written by Clark Gable
Vintage 1950 Check
SOLD

Clark Gable & Jean Harlow
"Big Parade" Lobbycard
Original Vintage Lobbycard

Reissue Poster 1960(s?)
21 Inch x 41 Inch

Cary Grant & Joan Fontaine A.A.'41
Click to enlarge
8" x 10" Signed By Both

Hitchcock's 4th American production.
David O. Selznick discovered Hitchcock and
brought him to US.
Grant has signed "To Ziggy",
my nickname in 1940s.
A.A. nominated 1941 - Best Picture

Gone with the Wind (1939)


Directed by
Victor Fleming

Writing credits
Margaret Mitchell (I) (novel)
Sidney Howard

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Genre: Drama / Romance

Tagline: The most magnificent picture ever!

Plot Outline: Epic story of a woman that can cope with everything in the US Civil War except losing the love of the man she wants to another.

User Comments: A Classic in the History of Movie-making.

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clark Gable .... Rhett Butler
Vivien Leigh .... Scarlett O'Hara
Leslie Howard .... Ashley Wilkes
Olivia de Havilland .... Melanie Hamilton Wilkes
Hattie McDaniel .... Mammy
Thomas Mitchell (I) .... Gerald O'Hara
Barbara O'Neil .... Ellen O'Hara
Evelyn Keyes .... Suellen O'Hara
Ann Rutherford .... Carreen O'Hara
Fred Crane .... Stuart Tarleton
George Reeves .... Brent Tarleton
Oscar Polk .... Pork
Butterfly McQueen .... Prissy
Victor Jory (I) .... Jonas Wilkerson
Everett Brown .... Big Sam, the foreman

Runtime: Argentina:230 / New Zealand:222 / Sweden:225 / Sweden:234 (Re-release) (1985) / UK:220 / USA:222
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color (Technicolor)
Sound Mix: 70 mm 6-Track (60's remix) / DTS (re-release) (1998) / Dolby Digital (re-release) (1998) / Matrix Surround (1989 remix by Chace) / Mono / Perspecta Stereo (50's remix) / SDDS (re-release) (1998)
Certification: Argentina:Atp / Australia:PG / Belgium:KT / Finland:K-16 / Germany:12 / Netherlands:AL / New Zealand:PG / Sweden:11 (re-release) / Sweden:15 / UK:PG / USA:G

Biography for
Jean Harlow

Nickname
"The Baby"
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Height
5' 2"
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Mini biography
Harlean Carpentier, who was later to become Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, Jean ran away from home and married a young business man named Charles McGrew who was 23. The couple pulled up stakes and moved to Los Angeles, California not long after they were wedded and it was there Jean found work as an extra in films. In 1928, Jean had a bit part in the film MORAN OF THE MARINES. From that point on she would try to find casting calls whenever she could. In 1929, Jean had bit parts in no less than eleven movies. She played everything from a passing woman on the street to a winged ballerina. The marriage she had with McGrew turned out to be a disaster, so she divorced him. The union lasted barely two years. The divorce enabled Jean to put more of her efforts into finding roles in the film world. While Jean was having trouble finding roles in feature movies, she had more luck in film shorts. She had a fairly prominent role in Hal Roach's film short, DOUBLE WHOOPEE in 1928, with the famed Laurel and Hardy comedy team. Jean's big break came in 1930, when Howard Hughes was involved in a remake of his World War I epic, HELL'S ANGELS. It was the appearance of Jean that helped the movie to become a big smash. Not long after the film's debut, Hughes sold her contract to MGM, for $60, 000, where her career took off to unprecedented heights. In 1931, Jean's appearance in PLATINUM BLONDE solidified her role as America's new sex symbol. 1932 saw Jean paired with Clark Gable for the filming of RED DUST. It would be the second of six films with the dashing Mr. Gable the first being THE SECRET SIX in 1931. During the filming which took 44 days to complete at a cost of $408, 000, word came that Jean's new husband, Paul Bern, had committed suicide. The death of Bern threatened production. Louis B. Mayer had even contacted Tallulah Bankhead to replace Jean if she were unable to continue. However, it proved to be unnecessary. The film was released late in 1932 and immediately became a hit. She was becoming a superstar. In DINNER AT EIGHT (1933) Jean was at her comedic best as the wife of a business tycoon (Wallace Beery) trying to take over another man's failing business played by Lionel Barrymore. Later that year Jean portrayed Lola Burns in Victor Fleming's hit BOMBSHELL. It was a Hollywood parody loosely based on Jean's real life experience, right down to her greedy stepfather. Later in '33 Jean married Hal Rossen in a union that would only last eight months. In 1935, Jean was again teamed with Clark Gable for the production of CHINA SEAS. The other two were WIFE VS SECRETARY (1936) and SARATOGA (1937). It was her films with Gable that created her lasting legacy in the film world. Unfortunately, during the filming of SARATOGA, Jean was hospitalized for uremic poisoning. On June 7, 1937, Jean died from the disease. She was only 26. The film had to be finished by long angle shots using a double. Gable said he felt like he was in the arms of a ghost during the final touches of the film. Because of the death of Jean, the film was a hit. Record numbers of fans poured into America's movie theater's to see the film. Other sex symbols/blonde bombshells have followed, but it is Jean Harlow who all are measured up to and that includes, yes, even Marilyn Monroe.
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The dentist's daughter eloped at age 16 with a young businessman and wound up in Los Angeles where she found work as an extra and bit player (e.g., "Moran of the Marines" and "Liberty", 1928) and somewhat more prominently in Laurel and Hardy shorts ("Double Whoopie", "Liberty", "Bacon Grabbers", 1929). Her first big break came in 1930 when Howard Hughes remade his 1927 "Hell's Angels" in a sound version, replacing the heavy accented Swede Greta Nissen with the girl who, with her divorce in 1929, had adopted her mother's maiden name, Jean Harlow. Hughes loaned her out for a number of movies which, like Capra's "Platinum Blonde" (1931), featured her platinum hair and obvious sexuality (she claimed she never wore underwear). In 1932 Hughes sold her to MGM, her "Red-Headed Woman" for them led the Hays Office to prohibit unpunished adultery, and she married Irving Thalberg's right hand man, Paul Bern. The marriage ended after a few weeks: just after his former common law wife met Harlow Bern shot himself, and a few days later the other woman took her life. She had another brief marriage with cameraman Harold Rosson followed by an affair with William Powell. She made three films with Spencer Tracy and six with Clark Gable receiving much improved critical acclaim for her acting, allure and comedic talent. During the filming of "Saratoga" in 1937 she was hospitalized for uremic poisoning, dying June 7 of cerebral edema, aged 26.
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Spouse

Harold Rosson (1933 - 1935) (divorced)
Paul Bern (1932 - 1932) (suicide)
'Charles Fremont McGrew' (1927 - 1929) (divorced)
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Trivia

Was the godmother of Millicent Siegel, daughter of the notorious mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel.

Dated the notorious mobster Abner "Longy" Zwillman who secured a two-picture deal for Harlow with Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures by loaning Cohn $500,000 in cash. He also purchased her a jeweled charm bracelet and a red Cadillac.

Height is often listed as 5'2"-5'3 1/2"

Refused the blond female lead in King Kong (1933), as well as the female lead in the Todd Browning cult-classic Freaks (1932)

Was photographed nude at age 17 by Hollywood photographer Edward Bower Hesser in Griffith Park in 1928.

In the 1933 Hollywood satire "Bombshell" (1933) Harlow is known as "the if girl" a loosely based spoof on 1920's sex symbol and "It girl" Clara Bow

Went on a salary strike from MGM in 1934, in which time, she devised the novel "Today is Tonight." The book would not be released until 1965.

Her final film Saratoga (1937) became the highest grossing film of 1937 and set all-time house records, due almost entirely to Harlow's untimely death.

Was the idol of Marilyn Monroe, who backed out of a bio-pic on Harlow's life. After reading the script, Monroe reportedly told her agent: "I hope they don't do that to me after I'm gone."

The premiere of her first feature film "Hell's Angels" on May 27, 1930 drew an estimated crowd of 50,000 people at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. The film also has an expensive eight-minute two-color technicolor sequence-the only color footage of Jean Harlow that exists.

Was ranked #22 on the American Film Institutes One-hundred years one-hundred legends list in June 1999.

Jean Harlow will be portrayed by Dawn Winarski in "In Hell With Harlow", a new musical play by best selling author Paul L. Williams.

She was the very first film actress to grace the cover of LIFE magazine in May 1937.

Born at 5:40pm-CST

Jean Harlow's funeral wasn't your average funeral. Louis B. Mayer head of MGM, took charge and made a Hollywood Event. He had Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy sing his favorite song, "Oh, Sweet Mystery of Life'" in the church chapel, followed by a huge banquet with an orchestra.

Jean was at a dinner party and kept on addressing Margot Asquith (wife of prime minister Herbert Asquith) as MargoT (pronouncing the 'T'). Margot finally had enough and said to her "No Jean, the T is silent, as in Harlow".

Had two famous superstitions: She always wore a "lucky" ankle chain on her left leg (visible in some films if you look closely), and had a "lucky" mirror in her dressing room. She wouldn't leave the room without first looking at it.

Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Benediction, at the end of the corridor, on the left side, second to the last private room marked "Harlow."

Favorite brand of cigarette - Fatima.

Had an abortion after actor William Powell refused to marry her.
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Personal quotes

"I'd have liked to have gone to bed with Jean Harlow. She was a beautiful broad. The fellow who married her was impotent and he killed himself. I would have done the same thing." -Groucho Marx

"Harlow was rather like a boy; she had no vanity whatsoever. Things which she did that seemed outrageous, she did because she had no feeling of any kind herself, so she didn't think they affected other people. Also, she had this extraordinary beauty which she'd been born with and had for her whole life, so she wasn't conscious of it. But utterly no vanity. None at all." -Screenwriter Anita Loos

"Harlow was not frightened of the camera; she reacted to it, and in some strange way, I was the third party-THEY were the conspirators." -George Hurrell (MGM chief photographer)

"In the first sitting I fell in love with Jean Harlow. She had the most beautiful and seductive body I ever photographed." -Charles Sinclair Bull (portrait photographer)

"Harlow, played comedy as naturally as a hen lays an egg." -Legendary Film Director George Cukor

"When it came to kissing - Harlow was the best." - James Stewart

"She was the bravest girl I ever met." - Clark Gable

"A square shooter if there ever was one." - Spencer Tracy

"Looking ill much of the time and striving gallantly to inject into her performance characteristic vigor and vibrancy, the result, in face of subsequent events, is grievous." - Marguerite Tazelaar of the New York Herald Tribune on on Jean's final performance in Saratoga (1937)

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Actress. (b. Mar. 3, 1911, Kansas City, Mo., as Harlean Carpenter; d. June 7, 1937.) She was a star for less than a decade. She headlined fewer than 20 films. Yet she had an impact that transcends statistics. With her brilliant platinum blond hair, ravishing figure, easy sensuality, and ready sense of humor, Jean Harlow was the most dynamic sex symbol of her era and one of the 1930s' brightest stars.

She started in films as an extra, and gained particular notice in a 1929 Laurel and Hardy silent short, Double Whoopee That same year she had a small role in The Saturday Night Kid which starred the woman she more or less supplanted as the screen's most uninhibited sex star, Clara Bow. Her big break came in 1930, when Howard Hughes cast her as the leading lady in the epic WW1 aviation drama Hell's Angels Although her acting skills were dubious at best, she looked smashing (and was even photographed in two-color Technicolor for one extended sequence), and her offhanded question to Ben Lyon, "Would you be shocked if I changed into something more comfortable?" was quoted-and misquoted-for years to come. Hughes sent her on per sonal appearance tours and loaned her out to other studios. In 1931 alone she appeared in The Secret Six, The Iron Man, The Public Enemy (opposite James Cagney), Goldie and Platinum Blonde (playing the title characters in the last two); 1932 began with Beast of the City andThree Wise Girls

Still, there seemed little more to Harlow than her looks. It was MGM producer Paul Bern who took an interest in her, and encouraged his studio to build her up and give her other opportunities. She made the most of Red-Headed Woman (1932), giving one of the sexiest performances ever put on film, but leavening it with humorHarlow's heretofore unseen trump card. The promise she showed in that film came to fruition in Red Dust (1932) in which she played a tramp with a heart, opposite Clark Gable. Overnight, it seemed, Harlow was not only a bona fide star, but a hit with the critics as well, who had dismissed her just one year earlier.

MGM now developed films to fit her personality, like Hold Your Man (1933), and gave her an irresistible opportunity to poke fun at herself (and even her leeching family) in Bombshell (1933), a Hollywood satire about a put-upon movie star. Then in the all-star Dinner at Eight (1933) she held her own with such legendary scenestealers as Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler. The imposition of Hollywood's Production Code forced MGM to tone down Harlow's brassy image (although 1934's The Girl From Missouri just squeaked by). The result was a string of more genteel movies including the illadvised musical Reckless (1935, in which both Harlow's singing and dancing were doubled), China Seas, Riffraff (both 1935), Wife vs. Secretary, Suzy (both 1936), and Personal Property (1937). The standout among her later films was Libeled Lady (1936) in which she battled perennial fiancé Spencer Tracy; it was a delicious comic performance.

During the filming of Saratoga (1937) she fell ill, and was dead ten days later. The world was shocked that someone so young, beautiful, and seemingly healthy could die so suddenly. Various causes were cited, but it wasn't until 1993 that biographer David Stenn revealed, from long-suppressed doctor's records and other evidence, that Harlow had been suffering from kidney disease since her teens. With no known cure at the time, she was doomed. Public demand caused MGM to complete Saratoga with stand-in Mary Dees substituting for Harlow in several shots.

Hers was a shocking, tragic end, though it seemed in character with other personal problems that had dogged her life: a suffocating mother and parasitic stepfather; the mysterious death of her second husband, Paul Bern; another short-lived marriage to cinematographer Harold Rosson; and a long engagement to MGM star William Powell that never quite culminated in marriage. Rumors and mistruths about all of that fueled two screen biographies in 1965, both called Harlow one starred Carroll Baker, the other Carol Lynley. Neither one managed to capture the magic that made Jean Harlow a star.

These Items are FOR SALE to knowledgeable Collectors. Please ask all questions of provenance before purchase. Items are only exchangeable if autographs are not authentic.

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