Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein
A rather bleak comedy-drama from Frank Capra, Platinum Blonde basically starts where Capra's later and much more buoyant It Happened One Night (1934) ends: the marriage between a brash newspaperman and a society dame. But where the latter comedy was enhanced by the director's patented optimism, Platinum Blonde, produced at the height of the Great Depression, expresses no faith in a common ground between the classes. Star reporter Stew Smith (Robert Williams) falls in love with the sister (Jean Harlow) of his latest victim (Donald Dillaway). They marry despite the misgivings of Ann Schuyler's blue-nosed mother (Louise Closser Hale) and Stew's cynical colleagues ("Ann Schuyler's in the blue book. You're not even in the phone book!"). Unable to stand life in a gilded cage for long, Stew upsets the Schuyler mansion by inviting his friends to a wild and woolly party. Returning home unexpected in the middle of the drunken revelry, Ann lays down the law and Stew bolts -- right into the arms of girl reporter Gallagher (Loretta Young), whom he has loved all along without realizing it. Jean Harlow is surprisingly realistic as the callous society girl but Robert Williams' wisecracking reporter comes across as rather grating. An up-and-coming comic lead, Williams died after an operation for appendicitis on November 3, 1931, less than a month after Platinum Blonde had premiered to mostly positive reviews. Ironically, Loretta Young, who received top billing, had demanded to star in this film when it was still known as "Gallagher," the name of her character. Harlow, needless to stay, stole the limelight completely and Capra changed the title much to Young's chagrin.
finances, alcoholism, high-society, journalism, mansion, marriage, playwright, reporter, socialite