Jewish artist: Hedy Lamarr the beautiful and the head or Lady Bluetooh

Hedy Lamarr: the beautiful and the head

“Lady Bluetooth. Hedy Lamarr”, Jewish Museum in Vienna, from 27 November 2019 to 10 May 2020.

Born in Vienna in 1914 and whose real name is Hedwig Kiesler, Hedy Lamarr is the daughter of a bank manager and a concert pianist. Gifted, she learns several languages and engineering. However, she neglected her studies. Very beautiful, she is quickly spotted by directors of the time, and is pinned under the label of “the most beautiful girl in the cinema”.

She became a star in her country and then in Berlin, the European capital of cinema. By playing in the Czech film “Ecstasy”, she embodies the female orgasm for the first time on the screen.

Pope Pius XI condemns her, the world of cinema talks about her. But she finds herself trapped in this life of pomp and ceremony. Of Jewish faith, she finds herself several times at the table with Adolphe Hitler and Benito Mussolini and quickly understands what is going on.

She fears for her life, steals her own jewellery to get out of the clutches of a jealous husband, disguises herself as a maid and runs away.

She moved to London and landed a contract with MGM. She becomes the most desirable pin-up girl of World War II. But the Austrian actress was more than just a body. She meets pianist George Antheil at a society party… He will become her scientific partner and he will later call her “an intellectual giant compared to other Hollywood actresses”.

They both know about weapons. And during the Second World War when the US Army sent radio-controlled torpedoes to destroy German submarines, the missiles were often spotted. Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil invented a system of coding of the transmissions which makes it possible to mislead the enemy. This technique of radio guidance is the ancestor of the technology of Wifi, geolocation, mobile telephony or Bluetooth.

This part of the actress’s life has remained well obscured.
The exhibition allows us to put the whole of the artist’s life into perspective. Today this existence would be less tragic but just as brilliant because such a woman could have emancipated herself from her status as an icon and actress subjected to the stereotypes in which she was locked up.

Despite her desire to return to Austria she never succeeded. But the exhibition marks a kind of eternal return by highlighting the different aspects of her life abroad, as in the Viennese episode which is here, and inevitably the lion’s share. or the suave and skilful lioness.

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