10) BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY
The tragedy of having beauty and brains is how the world dismisses the later while obsessing over the former. This was certainly true for Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, as we see in Alexandra Dean’s documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. She’s so known for her acting career that they overlook her invention, which paved to way for modern online streaming technology.
Hedy starts out as an intelligent little girl with a knack for gadgetry and a dream of being an actress. As we see her move on through the years, her mind constantly cooks up new ideas that could help humanity. But her intelligence was undervalued in favour of her beauty. From this shallow mindset, people tried to put her in a box. Her first Nazi-sympathetic husband tried to force her into the role of housewife, so she fled the country. Puritanical producer Louis B. Mayer typecast her into the role of the mindless starlet while forcing her to play sultry characters deserving punishment.
But nothing could stop her inner genius, which came in handy during WW2. Drawing from her first husband’s arms deals with the Nazis, Hedy teamed with composer George Antheil to invent a telecommunications method that could allow Navy submarines to radio-control torpedoes without it being detected or jammed by Nazi U-Boats. She even gave it to the navy for free. Of course, the Navy underestimates the invention’s potential and threw it into a pile. Their invention would pave the way for Wi-Fi, and they never got their due.
But the shallow expectations of the public eye finally get to her, leading her to get lots of plastic surgery in a futile attempt to preserve her beauty. In time, she becomes reclusive, even from her family.
Through her life, we find a tragic look at a defiant, brilliant woman destroyed by society’s shallow attitude towards women.