In the 20th century, the blonde fervor increased. Anita Loos published her 1925 novel 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' (later turned into the classic '50s film), and after the brown tendrils of cinema's great silent actresses, the '30s dropped a tantalizing bomb. Blondie Jean Harlow starred as sexpot Lola Burns in 'Bombshell,' becoming the first 'blonde bombshell' and ushering in a wave of tow-headed cinematic seductresses from Jayne Mansfield to Marilyn Monroe. For years, the double-B's reigned, though a new millennium and a Judi Dench film attempted to end the reign with 'The Last of the Blonde Bombshells.'
But instead of the end it was just cinematic limbo, as the new and improved blonde bombshells gained power, throwing aside the essential seduction for a characterization much closer to the phrase's warring roots.