“Any girl can look glamorous.”
Now this is a story I felt robbed of not knowing prior and feel so inspired after seeing. Hedy Lamarr was regarded by many as the most beautiful woman in the world; in possession of the kind of beauty that caused mouths to drop and hearts to break. From the 1930s until the 1950s she was a Hollywood film star. As time passed she became forgotten about, except when treated as a figure of scorn or easy comedy. Hollywood doesn’t like reminding that it ages just as much as it doesn’t like beauty that ‘fades’.
What it also didn’t seem to like was the fact that its stars, particularly the female ones, could be more than just a pretty face. What it, and seemingly the rest of the world, refused to accept was that the woman who inspired Snow White and Catwoman could also be more.
Beauty and brains is typically viewed as a concept that is either/or – one can only be in possession of one trait at the expensive of not having the other. Hedy Lamarr had both, but the world refused to believe it or acknowledge it. This was a woman who quite literally escaped an unbearable marriage and an unbearable Nazi-affiliated husband, leaving behind everything and everyone she knew to be free. A meeting with Louis B. Mayer, on the hunt for European actresses whose religious beliefs had led to them fearing for their lives, brought her to America (after some extraordinary, on her part, negotiations). Unable to speak English, her beauty spoke on her behalf. That stayed the case, long after she quickly taught herself English.
Then there’s the fact she spent her free time inventing, finding the social side of Hollywood life just as boring and unsatisfying as it was back in Austria. Everyone seemed determined to use her as arm candy, unable to acknowledge the depths she had. One of her inventions, a radio guidance system, led to the technology we used for WIFI, bluetooth and mobile phones. She invented it as a means to help the war effort and save lives – the American government ignored this in favour as using her a a figurehead to sell money.
There’s even more to her story – you’ll just have to go and see it, Not only is it the kind of story that needs to be seen to be believed it’s one that needs to be seen, full stop. The story of Hedy Lamarr, the full and unedited edition, deserves to be seen. She deserves a fate beyond that of a front cover. She lived a life that deserves to be known and celebrated. She didn’t get that during her life time; she more than deserves it with her legacy.