When it comes to the history of comedy, women can sometimes be overlooked. This year BFI will be celebrating Lombard as the original queen of screwball comedy and highest-paid actress in 1930s Hollywood in a season called Carole Lombard: The Brightest Star.
Alan Dwan first spotted Carole Lombard as a 12-year-old and cast her as a kid sister in silent film A Perfect Crime (1921). He later told Peter Bogdanovich that she was “a cute-looking little tomboy… out there knocking hell out of the other kids, playing better baseball than they were.” Lombard continued to act, but became equally known for her zany parties, for looking angelic but having the dirty mouth of a truck driver, and for being a good-time girl who everyone adored, especially film crews. Her early roles exhibited her talents for drama, likeability and romantic chemistry, but it took directors and writers who knew her personally (Preston Sturges, and her second cousin Howard Hawks) to put her uninhibited zest for life into her most memorable roles. The BFI will be screening some of Lombard’s best films this month.
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