Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's HEDY!

Hedy Lamarr was a pretty remarkable beauty - and let it be understood that the "beauty" part is not what I mean.  Her smile is one of the most outstanding Hollywood ever saw, and her features were certainly worthy of all the legends attached to her - and the true stories.  But what is most interesting about Hedy is that her looks, her stardom, and her glamour were sidelines for this genius.

Hedy Lamarr was a mathematical prodigy.  She was a dangerous woman in the sense not pigeonholing her as a femme fatale, but literally, brilliantly, dangerous.  To Hitler.  Hedy helped to formulate frequency-hopping patents which could have aided the Allies in WWII, in protecting torpedoes from the enemy.  The United States never adopted the patent until the 1960s.  Even so, the technology has gone on to form part of the basis of modern communications systems across the world, and as recently as 1998 (Lamarr did not die until 2000), she was awarded compensation from Wi-LAN for her contributions, though the patent had long since expired.

All this, and she could wear her hair parted down the center.  You wonder what she might have accomplished if, during the war, they hadn't decided she was more valuable being pretty and selling war bonds.

It's a shame, I have to note, that in Googling images of Hedy, finding one of her wide, absolutely luminous smile is very difficult.  Shots of her default to smoky glamour - which I can hardly deny she rendered beautifully well - but her smile had no less sex appeal than her pout.  Perhaps more, for those of us who can appreciate what there was of her a camera simply never captured.  (For a beautiful image with some rights reserved, take a trip here to see her laughing.)  Here is an image from "Algiers" (if you ever wanted to know about Pepe and The Casbah, take a look at this flick on Netflix streaming) which has immensely more alluring power in the film:

And here is one I think is good bloody great photography:

1 comment:

Rob Walters said...

Although I agree with you in regard to Hedy's beauty in writing my book on her and her co-patentee, George Anteil, I found nothing to suggest that she was a athematical prodigee, or any prodigee in fact except in the acting department.

I do like the photos that you found.

Details of my book are available at