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I watched SARATOGA again last night for the first time in years and still found it very depressing. It is so sad to watch Harlow, clearly weak and listless, playing each scene when you know how sick she is. And every time I saw her double Mary Dees’ back turned to the camera, all I could think was, “She was dead at this point.”
They wanted to recast the role and reshoot after Harlow died but fans overwhelmingly wanted her to stay in so they shot remaining scenes with doubles and rewrote other scenes to exclude her and brother does it show. What makes it stand out all the more is the fact that they clearly shot the movie mostly in chronological order because it is around the two-thirds point that she disappears and we start seeing scenes where characters tell us she’s resting in the other room or we see Mary Dees’ back.
I’ve tried several times now, but there’s simply no way for me to watch this movie and enjoy it. I always know from the opening shots that Harlow is at her last days and it just casts a pall over the whole movie.