A glamorous film star rebels against the studio, her pushy press agent and a family of hangers-on.


Victor Fleming (uncredited)


John Lee Mahin (screenplay), Jules Furthman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »





Complete credited cast:
Jean Harlow ... Lola Burns
Lee Tracy ... E.J. 'Space' Hanlon
Frank Morgan ... Pops Burns
Franchot Tone ... Gifford Middleton
Pat O'Brien ... Jim Brogan
Una Merkel ... Mac
Ted Healy ... Junior Burns
Ivan Lebedeff ... Marquis Hugo di Binelli di Pisa
Isabel Jewell ... A Girl Friend (as Isobel Jewell)
Louise Beavers ... Loretta
Leonard Carey ... Winters
Mary Forbes ... Mrs. Middleton
C. Aubrey Smith ... Mr. Middleton
June Brewster ... Alice Cole
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Kennedy ... Minor Role (scenes deleted)


Lola Burns is at the top of the pile in Hollywood. But life ain't easy, what with her father and brother always hanging around for handouts, and devious studio publicity honcho Space Hanlon cooking up endless lurid newspaper stories. Makes a girl want to give up pictures. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


EXPLODING WITH LAUGHS! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Texan Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - May 2, 1934 - all caps) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Space tells Lola to break her date using the excuse of "Klieg eyes". Klieg eyes is caused by the intense carbon arc lights used in filmmaking. The actors' eyes suffer from mild sunburn due to prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet rays emitted by the lights. Doctors call it "ultraviolet photokeratitis" and it is identical to snow blindness. See more »


A piece of debris can be seen at the top of the camera lens in several of the shots of Lola riding a horse in the desert. The debris appears and disappears from shot to shot. See more »


Lola Burns: Good morning, Summers. How's your brother?
Winters: Brother, Miss Burns?
Lola Burns: Sure, the one in San Quentin. Are they gonna let him out?
Winters: But I only have a married sister, Miss Burns?
Lola Burns: Oh, that's right. I was thinking of the guy that was here last week.
Winters: Oh, yes. His name was Summers, I believe. I'm Winters.
Lola Burns: Hmmm. He was Summers and you're Winters. Are butlers always in season?
See more »


Referenced in Sex at 24 Frames Per Second (2003) See more »


I'm Dancin' on a Rainbow
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
See more »

User Reviews

A Roisterous Showcase
20 March 2008 | by falconcitypaulSee all my reviews

I would call "The Bombshell" (UK: "The Blonde Bombshell") Jean Harlow's funniest comedy. She exhibits enormous acting range, from emotional anguish to maternal care to melting passion, all in the service of farce. The movie's frenetic dialogue and propulsive urgency also make athletic use of Lee Tracy, the fastest talking lead actor on the screen.

In "Platinum Blonde" (1931) Harlow somewhat stiffly embodies genteel sex in service of a comedy. By 1933's "Dinner At Eight" she stands her own paired with two mighty talents. She spars lustily with Wallace Beery, a Falstaffian scene-seizer. Her lines as straight woman to Marie Dressler could not be more exquisitely rendered.

To an extent Lola Burns in "The Bombshell" spoofs Harlow's own career and image. Her character even does a retake of the rain barrel scene from "Red Dust" (1932), a picture which had Harlow sunnily portraying a good-time girl along the Malay rivers. More broadly, she helps satirize an entire merciless industry which could cruelly grind up creative personnel's egos, private lives, and sanity.

Yet, we don't have the corrosive movie-biz self-criticism of "What Price Hollywood?" (1932) or its "A Star Is Born" descendants. For all the muck it rakes up about the studio system, this remains a fun picture, a supremely good time, and a roisterous showcase for a talented star who died far too soon.

Marilyn Monroe had wanted to play Harlow in a biopic. Both luminous women left impressive, abbreviated legacies.

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Release Date:

13 October 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bombshell See more »


Box Office


$344,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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