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    Scene Here: Howard Hughes on the prowl, World War I revisited

    Jean Harlow in “Bombshell,” which will screen Dec. 17 at the Brattle Theatre.
    Courtesy of the Brattle Theatre
    Jean Harlow in “Bombshell,” which will screen Dec. 17 at the Brattle Theatre.

    Through her books and popular movie-themed podcast, “You Must Remember This,” Karina Longworth has earned a following for her smart, frequently feminist takes on forgotten or neglected aspects of Hollywood history.

    Longworth celebrates the publication of her new book, “Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood” with a visit to the Brattle Theatre Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. She will introduce the pre-Code comedy “Bombshell” (1933), which will be screened in 35mm, and sign copies of her book after the screening. Directed by Victor Fleming, “Bombshell” stars Jean Harlow as a movie star desperate to escape the tawdry image that her publicist (Lee Tracy) created as a way to keep her in the gossip columns.

    Longworth, a former film editor of LA Weekly and critic for The Village Voice, is the author of four previous books, including “Hollywood Frame by Frame” and “Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor.” She launched “You Must Remember This” in 2014, and it’s now one of the top podcasts on iTunes.


    Her book grew out of one of her podcasts, about the actresses romanced by Hughes, the millionaire mogul, producer, and prolific womanizer. Hughes famously dated many screen stars, including Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. He’s credited with promoting the “bombshell” images of Harlow and Jane Russell.

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    Longworth’s extensively researched book is timely, as it examines the legacy of the abuse of power by men in the movie industry through the stories of actresses, famous and unknown, whose careers were helped or harmed by the powerful, increasingly paranoid Hughes, a major player in Hollywood from the late ’20s through the ’50s.

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    War and remembrance

    Peter Jackson’s much-anticipated documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old,” which uses state-of-the-art technology to restore and colorize original World War I footage from Britain’s Imperial War Museum, will screen in a special presentation Dec. 17 and Dec. 27 at AMC Boston Common, Regal Fenway, and AMC South Bay Center. Jackson’s film premiered in Britain on the 100th anniversary of the war’s end, on Nov. 11, and is now being released in select US theaters.

    Jackson, the Oscar-winning director of the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies, recorded a special introduction to his two-hour film, describing its importance for audiences who have never experienced World War I footage as anything but grainy black-and-white, silent images. The screening will be immediately followed by special content that gives viewers detailed information about this groundbreaking feat of research, technology, and storytelling.


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    Loren King can be reached at