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. The film biographies were both called Harlow—one starring Carroll Baker as Jean Harlow for the big budget color production for Paramount, the other Carol Lynley for the quickie black-and-white production shot in Electronovision. They endeavored to tell the story of legendary Thirties blonde bombshell Jean Harlow’s passionate love life and her meteoric rise from bit player to superstar before her death at the young age of twenty-six. 

Dueling Harlows: Race to the Silver Screen reveals the backstory about the making of these two movies that quickly turned into one of the nastiest, dirtiest feuds that Hollywood ever witnessed. It recounts the struggle it took to get these rival movie biographies into theaters considering the almost daily war-of-words between the movies’ showman producers, Joseph E. Levine and Bill Sargent, 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 cult and camp appeal today. This well-researched book includes both vintage interviews and new interviews from actors and crew, including Carol Lynley, Michael Dante, Aron Kincaid, and TCM film historian Robert Osborne.





Comments: 7

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  • John Black

    Welcome back! I look forward to the book, although the Carol Lynley version is pretty unknown. At least the Carroll Baker version is out on Olive DVD, letterboxed.

    Sony’s new MOD of GIDGET GOES HAWAIIAN is indeed widescreen (approx. 1:78-1) and anamorphic, so that partly makes up for the disappointing Sony DVD tryptich of the three Gidget films. Now, we need a MOD of the original 1959 GIDGET in CinemaScope.

    Meanwhile, the new documentary ACCIDENTAL ICON–THE REAL GIDGET is expected on Sept. 27th. Interviews with James Darren and Sally Field are included, according to the IMDB.

    • Thanks John. Good to be back. Not need to start rolling again. That’s good news about Gidget Goes Hawaiian. Wonder why they skipped the original? Would like to see the Gidget TV-movies again too and looking forward to doc.

  • Jim

    I am so looking forward to Dueling Harlows. A few years back when AMC was running Hollywood Backstage (invaluable interviews and rare promotional footage c.1960s which I wish would turn up again) there was an interview with both Lynley and Rogers which appeared to be at the premiere of Sargent’s Harlow.
    Anyway, please keep updating as to the availability of this sensational book. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the interest Jim. I would have loved to seen that promo piece. I interviewed Carol for the book and she said she never saw the movie back then and jetted right off to London to make Bunny Lake Is Missing. Makes me wonder what premiere it was. Book on track to be released by end of month. My first time self-publishing has been an eye opener.

  • Jim

    Come to think of it, it may have been on the set because Lynley was in costume. I remember her saying she’d never seen a Harlow film and when Rogers was asked if she’d read the Shulman “biography” she said, “I have not. And I shan’t.” Anyway, best of luck!

  • Lyle E. Fisher

    Just started Dueling and enjoying it greatly.

    On page 16 you say Shulman said “she collapsed on the set of Saratoga Trunk.” No, it was Saratoga. I think Cooper and Berman were the stars of Saratoga Trunk????

    • Glad you are enjoying the book. Yes, you are correct. Mistake was mine.

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