[(S o S)] Presents: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
In our sixth installment of Science on Screen, Alice Pawley, Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education and an affiliate faculty member in the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies Program and the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University, will host a post-show discussion on the representation of women in STEM fields.
When Nazi U-Boats torpedo a ship carrying 83 school children during World War II, Hollywood movie star, Hedy Lamarr, decides to exact revenge. At night, after shooting her scenes on set, she works on a secret radio system that will allow the Allies to torpedo Nazi U-Boats with deadly accuracy. Her sketches remain ideas until a chance encounter with an eccentric composer enables her to transform them into useful technology. The secret communication system she creates is groundbreaking and eventually changes the course of history. It would make a terrific fictional film, but this story happens to be true. Hedy Lamarr, the screen siren who was called “the most beautiful woman in the world” and starred alongside Hollywood giants like Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable, invented a wireless form of communication called “frequency hopping” that revolutionized mobile communications all over the world, a feat that would directly lead to the creation of secure communications for wireless phones, Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi technology itself. (2017, Alexandra Dean, US, 90min, NR, CC available, DCP)
“Alexandra relates Hedy Lamarr’s ventures, those onscreen and off, with savvy and narrative snap, fluidly marshaling a mix of original interviews and archival material.” – Manohla Dargis, NYTimes
“‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’ rights a grievous wrong in the life, career, reputation and memory of a superstar. It fascinates both as film history and as a sobering reminder of how little credit a woman like Lamarr received, even at the peak of her popularity.” — Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
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