Director Alexandra Dean on ‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’ The actress Hedy Lamarr made her Hollywood debut in the 1938 drama ‘Algiers’--playing the love interest of a French jewel thief played by Charles Boyer. At the time, Lamarr had recently fled her home country of Austria, and barely spoke English. She had made herself a star, and snagged a lucrative contract from Louis B. Mayer by booking herself on the same boat to America. That’s just one moment in the tumultuous life explored in the documentary ‘ Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story ’ directed by Alexandra Dean. In addition to her work on screen, Lamarr was also an inventor, spurred to action by WWII. When Lamarr learned that Allied torpedoes were missing their marks because the Germans were jamming the radio signals that guided them, she came up with a kind of secret communication called frequency hopping. In 1942, Lamarr was awarded a patent for a device that would send out the unjammable signals. She and her inventing partner George Antheil offered their ideas to the Navy, but were dismissed. Lamarr was only beginning to get some measure of recognition for her inventions before she died in 2000. When Dean set out to make her film about the actress, at first could she find almost nothing about Lamarr’s life told in the star’s own words. That changed when she learned about some audio tapes from 1990, and in ‘Bombshell,’ we hear a 76-year-old Lamarr reflect on her life, clearly thrilled to be talking about her interest in science. ‘Bombshell’ is Dean’s directorial debut. Before forming her own production company, she worked for PBS news programs, as well as Bloomberg, where she produced a TV series about inventors. Learning about today’s young inventors flocking to Silicon Valley, where women inventors were being passed over for funding in favor of male inventors, first got her thinking about overlooked female inventors from the past. ‘Bombshell’ will air on the PBS series ‘American Masters’ on May 18th. Hedy Lamarr in "Ziegfeld Girl," 1941. Credit: Everett Collection 'Bombshell' director Alexandra Dean, courtesy of WNET
Previewing James Comey's blockbuster testimony Former FBI director James Comey testifies Thursday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but his opening statement has been released. In it, he says he felt pressured by Donald Trump to declare loyalty to him and publicly clear him of any wrongdoing in the Russia investigation.
Hua Hsu: A Floating Chinaman Author Hua Hsu stops by to discuss his book A Floating Chinaman, recounting the life of 1930's actor/writer H.T. Tsiang and his struggles entering the American literary world.
Gov. Jerry Brown: California and China will fight climate change together President Donald Trump reportedly wants the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, and he’s expected to announce a decision soon. California Governor Jerry Brown heads to China to strengthen climate and clean energy ties.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."