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Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film

Tuesday, 26 November 2019, 1 – 2pm

Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film

A talk by Professor Ruth Barton, School of Creative Arts,  as part of the Women’s Stories series, a collaboration between NearFM Community Radio and the Trinity Long Room Hub.

Register here

When Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) made her Hollywood debut in the 1938 exotic adventure, Algiers, Time magazine reflected the popular response to her on-screen presence, branding the young Viennese emigre a ’smoldering, velvet-voiced, wanton-mouthed femme fatale’. Since her death and even somewhat before that, Hedy Lamarr’s reputation has grown. To quite a large extent, this has been because of her increasing fame as an inventor. During the war she, with American avant-garde composer George Antheil, invented a long-range torpedo missile device that was patented, but never used. Instead, she was encouraged to put her beauty rather than her brains to the service of the American war effort, raising many millions of dollars in war bonds. Her career, meanwhile, fell prey to new postwar expectations of women’s roles and to her own reluctance to do anything other than, in her own words, ‘stand still and look stupid’ on screen.

This talk will consider Lamarr’s dilemma and the tensions between beauty and intelligence, which have not gone away. It may have become easier for women in science since Lamarr’s invention was rejected, but prejudice around what constitutes appropriate careers for women lingers on to the detriment of scientific exploration.



This talk will be broadcast on Tuesday December 3rd, at 3.30pm on Near FM. You can listen to Near FM online www.nearfm.ie/livestream or on 90.3FM.

Ruth Barton is Associate Professor in Film Studies, in Trinity’s School of Creative Arts. She is the author of several books on Irish cinema and has co-edited a volume of essays on Irish Cinema and Television as well as being the author of many articles on Irish and British cinema. Her interests include Irish cinema, stardom and diaspora studies. She is editor of a collection of essays on Irish-American film and television and on the Irish in Britain. She has also written a critical biography of the film star, Hedy Lamarr, and of the Irish silent director, Rex Ingram. She appears regularly on radio as a film historian and film critic.

About Women’s Stories

In this new radio series Women’s Stories, the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute in collaboration with Near FM Community Radio will illuminate a diverse range of stories on women’s place in society.

Women’s place in society, both historically and in the 21st century has seen so much change, for good and bad. Through this new series of talks, we will explore topics as diverse as the story of Giulia Farnese, an Italian born mistress to Pope Alexander VI, to widows in early 17th century Ireland and right through to present day stories from the frontline of Irish women in music technology. These topics will be brought to life by guest speakers, actors, writers and researchers from Trinity’s Arts and Humanities. The talks, which will take place in the Trinity Long Room Hub in Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020, are free to attend and will be recorded for broadcast on Near FM.

The Women’s Stories radio series is produced by Trinity Long Room Hub and Near FM with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland through the television licence fee.

You can listen to Near FM online www.nearfm.ie/livestream or on 90.3FM.

Click here to find out more about this series.

Accessibility: Yes
Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Research Theme: Creative Arts Practice
Event Type: Lectures and Seminars, Public
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free (but registration is essential)
Contact Name: Trinity Long Room Hub
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