Hedy Lamarr documentary to open Breckenridge Film Festival | SummitDaily.com

Hedy Lamarr documentary to open Breckenridge Film Festival

Hedy Lamarr circa 1938. A famous actress from the 1930s to '50s, Lamarr was well-known for her face, but little known for her high intellect, a fact which a new documentary seeks to remedy.
©Diltz/RDA / Everett Collection | ©Diltz/RDA/Everett Collection

if you go

What: “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” opening night feature for Breckenridge Film Festival

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Prices vary

More information: BreckFilmFest.org

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the latest documentary on actress Hedy Lamarr is her voice. Not only in clips from her films, but her actual voice, preserved on cassette tape, answering questions from a magazine interview in the ’90s. That audio is put to good use as the narration for much of the film. This decision allows the audience to experience Lamarr’s feisty personality firsthand, delivered in a classic Transatlantic accent. The connection established is undeniable, unavoidable and mesmerizing.

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” will be shown tonight as the Opening Night feature for the Breckenridge Film Festival.


Those who recognize Hedy Lamarr’s name know her from her days as a Hollywood starlet in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Appearing on the silver screen in a number of films, from “Algiers” to “Samson and Delilah,” she was often described as “the most beautiful woman in the world.”

However, this documentary seeks to disrupt that image of Lamarr as simply a pretty face, and to add depth to an intriguing and misunderstood woman who, by all accounts, was far ahead of her time.

Born in Austria, Lamarr came to the United States in the late 1930s and went straight to Hollywood, where she quickly attained fame. What most people don’t know about Lamarr, which this documentary aims to bring to light, is that she also possessed a sharp, scientifically curious mind.

Through interviews with historians, film experts and family members, the documentary reveals the woman behind the Hollywood glamor. While gazing at stills and clips from her films, the audience follows the story of a headstrong, independent woman who spent her precious few non-working hours not partying or resting but tinkering and inventing. These inventions didn’t just sit unseen in a notebook either, but have had a major impact on the world as we know it.

In “Bombshell,” the filmmakers have managed to weave Lamarr’s well-known public and little-known personal lives into a compelling timeline. It also doesn’t hurt that Lamarr’s famed beauty and magnetism still translate through the screen after all these years. The revelation at the close of the film, of the affect of her scientific discoveries on our lives and technology today, is satisfyingly brought home with fact and emotion in equal measure.


Every year the festival chooses one of its best films to kick off the event, and according to Breck Film Fest executive director Janice Kurbjun, “Bombshell” was the obvious choice.

“I was really, really impressed by it,” she said. “It reaches two different levels; folks of a slightly older generation remember her as a personality, she was an icon in Hollywood, and so they’re hopefully going to be attracted by the name and the personality to come see a film about her, particularly one that is narrated by her own voice, which is a really cool aspect of the film. And I think that on a different level, it’s an enlightening story for (the younger) generation. … It’s just a fascinating story.”

Currently, the film is only being shown on the festival circuit. It will only play once at the Breck Film Festival, so Kurbjun recommends people buy their tickets to make sure they catch it.

“Anyone who might be thinking of coming to see the film, if they’re on the fence they should definitely buy a ticket,” she said, “because they’ll be disappointed when they … start talking to their friends who did go.”

The film will be shown tonight at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge, starting at 7 p.m. Individual tickets are available for purchase, as well as passes to the overall film festival. Visit BreckFilmFest.org for more information.

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