Platinum Blonde (1931) and Golden Arrow (1936)

Jean Harlow and Robert Williams

By a pure fluke, I watched The Golden Arrow (1936), starring Bette Davis and Platinum Blonde (1931), starring Jean Harlow, on successive days (a couple of weeks ago now, so my memories are already starting to fade). I was startled by how similar the plots of these two 1930s movies are – although, unsurprisingly, the pre-code is by far the more daring of the two.


In  both, the leading man is a journalist who is thrown together with a beautiful heiress in the line of work and marries her very quickly – and, in both,  the relationship then turns sour when the man finds his new wife and her family trying to groom him and using him for publicity purposes.

I’m noticing that the leading man in 1930s movies often seems to be a journalist – I suppose because it seemed like quite a glamorous, hard-boiled profession and also gave him opportunities to mingle in all kinds of different social worlds. (Both these movies also suggest how during hard times like the Great Depression one form of uneasy escapism was to watch the lives of glamorous people  – I’ve read  of how some of the Warner stars felt awkward when they were sent on publicity tours on a ‘golden train’  through impoverished areas.

Spoilers behind cut

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