The actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Kiesler (1914) in Austria, possessed a beauty that defied belief. Her life story is equally hard to believe.
In 1933 she starred in the Czech erotic film ECSTASY, which became a controversial worldwide sensation. Later she married a wealthy munitions manufacturer and when he began to cozy up to the Nazis and Fascists, she (who was born into a Jewish family), fled to France. There she was "discovered" by Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer and brought to Hollywood, where she became a major movie star.
At the same time, she was working away as an inventor, developing various aerodynamic airplane wing innovations and other designs. But it was her plan for a frequency-hopping radio spectrum transmitter that has given her a place in technological history forever though, as it provided the basis for modern cellular telephony. Seriously.
It's a wild story, and the new film BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY, directed by Alexandra Dean, tells the whole tale through interviews and archival footage. It's fascinating. But don't just believe us, believe the critics.
And come see it with us at the AFS Cinema where it opens on Friday, December 22.
Here are a few excerpts from the reviews:
"What makes "Bombshell" intriguing is not just Lamarr's gift for invention, it's also what a fiery individualist she was, someone who had no regrets about her eventful life ("You learn from everything"), not even its racy, tabloid elements." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Recognition (and compensation) proved elusive in Lamarr's lifetime, but in this marvelous documentary, a brilliant woman - "I'm a very simple, complicated person" - finally gets her due." - Chuck Wilson, Village Voice
"Ms. Dean relates Lamarr's ventures, those onscreen and off, with savvy and narrative snap, fluidly marshaling a mix of original interviews and archival material that includes film clips, home movies and other footage." - Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"A thoroughly engaging, eye-opening showbiz doc." - John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter