Red-headed Woman (1932): 3/5

Jean Harlow stars as the home-wreckin’ red-head Lil in this pre-code film. She’s the definition of a gold digger, hopping from man to man and even hopping to different continents.

Jean Harlow and Chester Morris as “Lil” (aka Red) and Bill Legendre (via

The beginning of this film is a bit dis-jointed, in a very laughable way. Some of the early scenes seem randomly cut together, as though some of the footage was lost, though to my knowledge none of it was.

Possibly because of the rocky, dis-jointed start, the film doesn’t pick up and become really hilarious until the last quarter.

Harlow gives a great performance. She’s a bit over-the-top, but it works because it shows just how gullible and easily manipulated her rich-man “victims” are. Similarly, the men give great performances which work to the same effect.

The real star of this film is, in my opinion, the title song, which is a riot. When sung in the nightclub scene, listen closely to the lyrics, which you’re sure to get a kick out of.

All in all, this is a decent pre-code with very effective performances. It’s far from perfect, but it is an interesting watch, particularly as a part of the Forbidden Hollywood set by TCM.