Article by Heather Perry
Though you may not have heard of her, actress Hedy Lamarr was the Paris Hilton of her day — a true international sex symbol.
But Hedy had much higher hopes than Hilton, covertly helping take down the Germans in World War II, and now her truth-is-stranger-than-fiction life story is making its way to the big screen.
“The script is called ‘Face Value,’” Amy Redford — the director of Sundance fave “Sunshine Cleaning” told us. “It concerns the life of Lamarr, who was a 1940s film actress, and her collaboration with an avant-garde composer named George Antheil. They came together during wartime and created an invention that pretty much changed the nature of arms as we know it.”
The pair created a Morse code-like system that deterred radio-guided torpedoes. It was not until 1997, however, that Hedy was fully recognized for her groundbreaking work on “frequency hopping,” which even paved the way to some of today’s wireless technology.
“Her first husband was a munitions officer who was selling arms to the Nazis,” said Redford, director of the recent Sundance hit “The Guitar” and daughter of Robert Redford. “He used to take her down to these dinners with the Nazis, and she would listen to what they were talking about and take notes. She would go upstairs at night and draft all of these ideas! When she escaped from that marriage, she literally drugged the maid, and went out the window.”
Like Paris, Lamarr earned notoriety for showing some skin, but instead of night-vision home movies it was in films like “Ekstase,” which included shots of her frolicking naked in the woods and close-ups of her feigned “O” face. Who would’ve thought that underneath the sexy low-cut blouse of an actress would beat the heart of a brilliant scientist?
“She was ahead of her time in many ways; intellectually, and also as a woman,” Redford proudly declared, adding that she hopes to cast the role soon.