Cinema Retro columnist Tom Lisanti's new book Dueling Harlows: Race to the Silver Screen has just been released. Here is the press release:
Dueling Harlows: Race to the Silver Screen is the fascinating backstory of the competition to get two rival film biographies both titled Harlow into theaters first that quickly turned into one of the nastiest, dirtiest feuds that Hollywood ever witnessed
In 1965, in a rare occurrence not seen before or since, two motion
pictures with the same title about the same subject opened within weeks
of each other.
Carol Lynley was Jean Harlow in Bill Sargent’s Harlow a quickie B&W independent production filmed in Electronovision. Carroll Baker was Jean Harlow in Joseph E. Levine’s Harlow
a big budget color extravaganza from Paramount Pictures. Both
endeavored to tell the story of the legendary thirties blonde
bombshell’s passionate love life and her meteoric rise from bit player
to super star before her death at the young age of twenty-six.
Dueling Harlows recounts the struggle it took to get these
rival movie biographies into theaters first considering the almost daily
war-of-words between the movies’ showman producers, which almost
escalated into fisticuffs at the 1965 Academy Awards ceremony; the
casting problems each faced; the poor screenplays, which hampered the
productions; the hurried pace to complete filming causing on-set
frustration; and the law suits that followed in the aftermath. Both
movies were failures at the time but have camp appeal today.
Dueling Harlows (with 18 photos) contains new interviews
from people who worked on the movies including actors Carol Lynley,
Michael Dante, and Aron Kincaid; assistant directors Richard C. Bennett
and Tim Zinnemann; casting director Marvin Paige; plus film historian
Robert Osborne and producer David Permut. Also included are vintage
comments from Joseph Levine, Bill Sargent, Carroll Baker, Ginger Rogers,
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Michael Connors, and many more.
Tom Lisanti an award-winning author of seven books about Sixties Hollywood. Visit his web site www.sixtiessinema.com.