The Reel Review


Hedy Lamarr was one of the most beautiful actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Era. What many don’t know is that she made an incredible technological contribution to the Information Age – a patent with fellow inventor George Antheil for radio frequency hopping that has become the basis for encrypted WiFi, cell phone, Bluetooth and military technology. This 2017 documentary examines Lamarr’s very interesting life.

Archival photo of Hedy Lamarr in Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

The documentary itself is pretty mundane and straightforward stuff, which is a shame, given how truly fascinating the late Lamarr is as a subject. The film features reams of archival photographs and interviews with Lamarr herself, peppered with comments from her surviving adult children and colleagues. The documentary details Lamarr’s escape from Austria from a loveless marriage on the eve of Nazi Germany’s invasion, her conquest of Hollywood, her six marriages, a crippling drug addiction and reclusive life in later years before her death in 2000.

Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr from 1949’s Samson and Delilah, in Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Writer/director Alexandra Dean paints a pretty accurate snapshot of Lamarr, as a brilliant woman who was too beautiful for her own good. Lamarr also had other inventions – a tablet that could turn water into a carbonated beverage, and innovative plastic surgery techniques commonly used today. Lamarr really was so much more than an exceptionally pretty face.


• Actresses Diane Kruger and Gal Gadot both have been reportedly working on projects to bring Hedy Lamarr’s story to the big screen.

• 1949’s Samson and Delilah was the highest grossing film of 1949, with a haul of $25.6 million.

• In 1997, Lamarr became the first woman to receive the BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, considered the Oscars of inventing. Lamarr died in January 2000, at her home in Casselberry, Florida, just north of Orlando.


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