VCUarts and Engineering Bring ‘Bombshell’ to Grace St Theater

Poster with quotes of various positive reviews of the film Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, accompanied by an image of Lamarr superimposed over patent designs.

VCU School of the Arts and VCU School of Engineering are partnering to host a screening of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story at the Grace St Theater on February 20, 2018. The 2017 documentary covers the life of film actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr (1914–2000), who became a star of the silver screen while working to develop crucial communications technology during World War II.

Bombshell premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, and will be broadcast on PBS American Masters this year. Directed by Alexandra Dean and produced by actress Susan Sarandon, the film has garnered numerous awards and critical recognition since its release, holding a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was included on the New York Times’s list of the best movies of 2017.

Preceding the screening will be a short introduction by School of Engineering Dean Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D. The event is presented by Dean Boyan and School of the Arts Dean Shawn Brixey.

Born Hedwig Kiesler in Vienna, Hedy Lamarr emigrated to the United States in 1938, fleeing an abusive husband who had ties to Europe’s rising fascist governments. Under the promotion of MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer, Lamarr became a sensation of Golden Age Hollywood. Throughout the 1940s she would often be typecast as a glamorous and exotic femme fatale, appearing opposite leading male stars such as Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. She remained a recluse in her private life, taking up an interest in invention and “tinkering” that brought her into contact with Howard Hughes and composer George Antheil. Together, she and Antheil worked to develop a radio signal for Allied torpedoes that could not be jammed. Though the 1942 patent would go unused by the US Navy for 20 years, Lamarr and Antheil’s invention became the basis for GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. They were both posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.


February 7, 2018