miliosr

Classic Hollywood/Hollywood's Golden Age

274 posts in this topic

I think Crawford always remembered who she was. The quotes from her on Clark Gable that you linked to earlier, for example, aren't the words of a woman intent on erasing her origins. Transcending them, yes, but pretending they never were, no.

I don't know. I think the Hurrell photos tell the tale. When she was with Doug Jr., you can still see a softness to her. But starting in 1932 (as I've said before), you really start to see Crawford putting the screws to herself. Any hint of softness or yielding drops by the wayside and she (and we) are left with this impenetrable . . . thing. A fascinating thing but impenetrable nonetheless. No surprise that the Fairbanks-Crawford marriage started to head south around this time. Yes, Doug and Joan cheating on each other contributed to its demise. But I think another contributing factor was that Doug fell in love with Billie . . . not Joan.

Oh well. I suppose it's all water under the bridge at this point.

Fairbanks was a spiffy dresser.

I'll say. That one lot with the striped nautical shirt, yellow slacks and blue blazer looks like it could have come out of the most recent Brooks Brothers or J. Crew catalogues.

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A fine opera cape at 412: for the upcoming season.

That cape is a killer. I really think it should be mandatory for men to wear capes to the opera!

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We'll just have to agree to disagree on that - I just don't see any dramatic Road Not Taken point in Crawford's career, and from what I've read of the breakup the simple answer is that both parties were young for marriage and went in different directions as they matured. As you say, it was a long time ago.....

I see Fairbanks had autographed editions of Douglas Southall Freeman's biographies of Washington and Lee. It also looks as if the family is holding on to most material relating to his distinguished military career, which is nice.

That one lot with the striped nautical shirt, yellow slacks and blue blazer looks like it could have come out of the most recent Brooks Brothers or J. Crew catalogues.

Very classic look. Never goes out of style. And he was also unafraid of color when it was called for.

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We'll just have to agree to disagree on that - I just don't see any dramatic Road Not Taken point in Crawford's career, and from what I've read of the breakup the simple answer is that both parties were young for marriage and went in different directions as they matured. As you say, it was a long time ago.....

Oh, it's fine. It's all unknowable at this point. All our discussion proves is that Crawford remains endlessly fascinating in a way that say, Norma Shearer, hasn't.

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A fine opera cape at 412: for the upcoming season.

That cape is a killer. I really think it should be mandatory for men to wear capes to the opera!

Albrecht

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A fine opera cape at 412: for the upcoming season.

That cape is a killer. I really think it should be mandatory for men to wear capes to the opera!

Albrecht

And Romeo.

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That glorious Douglas Fairbanks Jr. cape sold for $1,280

The Versace beaded evening jacket might be something to replace it as an object of curiosity.

Highlights

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Wow - I haven't seen the print edition yet today. On the front page? Good for Old Hollywood. Chalk one up for the King, as it were.

Ah, a reminder of the good old days with old fashioned family values, when unmarried women had their babies in shameful secret and then brought them back and pretended they were adopted, nieces, little sisters, etc.

Judy's resemblance to her father was indeed striking and it wasn't only the ears. Gable never acknowledged her. Poor Judy.

Loretta was also famous, or notorious, for keeping a Swear Jar on the set. Anyone who said a naughty word had to drop a nickel or quarter in it. There are a number of stories involving Personality X telling Young variations on, "Here's X amount, Loretta. F--- you."

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That reminds me if a story I heard attributed to boxing champion James Johnson. Johnson was caught speeding, and the judge fined him $100. He wrote a check for $200, and when asked why, replied "That's for the way back."

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Bringing a post from Quiggin over to this thread:

Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:56 PM

I thought this interview with Connie Wald was interesting in that it ties in with many of the Hollywood discussions we've had here, and with the Oscars. It gives a low-keyed portrait of Hollywood & it jives with Joan Didion's essays on Hollywood - and perhaps part of the souce of her background materials, since she was one of the Walds' group of friends.

Quote

Joan Crawford came an awful lot. She and my husband had worked together a lot and he really admired her. She worked hard at being a movie star. She was this attractive woman with tremendous drives. It was sad when she adopted those children. It just never worked out.......

.......When my husband produced the Oscars in 1957, he got Rock Hudson to sing ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ to Mae West. We had Mae to dinner and we knew she liked young men around her. Our kids were at college then, so we told our sons to invite all their friends. The house was full of these handsome young men, and that pleased Mae.

... It’s really a very thankless show to do, congratulating people and opening envelopes.

A Hollywood Insider and a Map of the Stars:

http://www.nytimes.c...-her-table.html

I don't know about the "thankless" part, but that's a good article, Quiggin, thank you. Wald's comments about Hollywood's factory town habits are worth noting, and it's very true that stars traditionally tend to be on the shorter side.

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On the commentary track to the Best of Everything DVD, author Rona Jaffe notes that Joan Crawford, contrary to expectation, was quite petite -- she was barely over 5 feet tall. What makes this even more interesting is that, on the rare occasions when Crawford and Norma Shearer consented to be photographed together, Shearer was actually smaller than Crawford!

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And Irving Thalberg was hardly taller than his wife.....

Both ladies also had another frequently-observed characteristic of the movie star, a largish head.

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On the commentary track to the Best of Everything DVD, author Rona Jaffe notes that Joan Crawford, contrary to expectation, was quite petite -- she was barely over 5 feet tall. What makes this even more interesting is that, on the rare occasions when Crawford and Norma Shearer consented to be photographed together, Shearer was actually smaller than Crawford!

Was Ann Blyth (~ 5' 1") taller than Joan Crawford? She seems to be so much shorter than Ms Crawford in Mildred Pierce.

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Good question, Kerry1968. Crawford was short but I'm not sure if she was Princess Margaret short and I would doubt it. Nor is it likely that the studio resorted to Alan Ladd measures like putting her on a box. She tended to wear heels and carry herself well. I would wager that she was just that much taller than Blyth.

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@Dirac: I suspect you're right, and that Crawford was actually around 5' 3".

Speaking of short actresses, there's a well-known photo of Mary Pickford and Anna Pavlova, with the latter en pointe in her Fairy Doll costume. The link to the Getty images is here: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/anna-pavlova-and-mary-pickford-on-the-set-of-the-thief-of-news-photo/2643499

The photo makes Pavlova look enormously larger than Pickford. Is this just an optical illusion? Because I always believed that Pavlova was a very tiny ballerina.

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Speaking of short actresses, there's a well-known photo of Mary Pickford and Anna Pavlova, with the latter en pointe in her Fairy Doll costume. The link to the Getty images is here: http://www.gettyimag...s-photo/2643499

The photo makes Pavlova look enormously larger than Pickford. Is this just an optical illusion? Because I always believed that Pavlova was a very tiny ballerina.

Well, I don't think it's entirely an optical illusion. Mary Pickford was very short, but she was also very shrewd with regards to her image. I would guess that this picture was very carefully composed to preserve that image which allowed her to play children into her thirities. It doesn't look like Pickford is quite standing straight up, and the schoolgirl pinafore likely makes her look even shorter. If you look carefully at the picture, it also looks like it's shot slightly downward from the right side which would also work towards making Pickford look small in comparison to Pavlova.

If you watch the show White Collar on the USA network, there's a significant height disparity between the actors playing the leads. Even thought Matt Bomer is just about six feet tall, Tim DeKay towers over him at 6'5. But you would never know from casually watching the show because there is virtually never a shot of the two of them in a straight on shot. If both are standing in a scene, it's always upward angled shots.which minimizes the 5 inch difference. It's very similar here.

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True, sidwich. (Nice to hear from you, BTW.) I think you're right. Also note that Pickford is not only small but has the large head in proportion to a small body, which adds to the childlike effect. In her movies she still looked older than the other kids, but nobody seemed to mind at the time.

Thank you for that picture, Kerry1968.

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I agree about the angle of the photo -- it really does put them in two different planes. (it reminds me of bad 3D photography, actually, where the background is almost artificially far away) But if you look at Pavlova from heel to head, and compare her to Pickford, they're more of a height. (not to mention the fact that Pavlova is standing up straight and Pickford seems to be leaning forward...) Tricky, tricky stuff!

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Hollywood is tricky indeed. When I lived there I would sometimes see stars at grocery stores and newsstands but not realize it until friends would tell me afterwards. They're smaller and plainer, often oddly proportioned and interestingly shabbier in real life than in the movies, and as Connie Wald mentions,

Garbo was so lovely looking, much smaller than you would think, but perfectly molded. The stars were often like that, so small and with unexpected qualities.

The "unexpected qualities" are what we happily get on screen ...

Also what was interesting about the Wald interview was how little time off from long days at the studios actors had for parties or for mischief, only Saturday nights (like dancers, whose Saturday nights are Sunday). And the sort of the flatness of Hollywood life Wald suggests shares something of the tone Joan Didion conveys in "Slouching" and other books. Even the discrete same-sex affairs on weekday afternoons have a sort of smoggy, Jacaranda tree-shaded mutedness to them.

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Hollywood is tricky indeed. When I lived there I would sometimes see stars at grocery stores and newsstands but not realize it until friends would tell me afterwards. They're smaller and plainer, often oddly proportioned and interestingly shabbier in real life than in the movies

I had this exact experience w/ Tom Cruise in 1990. I saw him up close and the experience was . . . a disappointment. In real life, he was shorter and plainer than I had expected -- he was lacking in "magic". But get him on the big screen and the camera picks up that "magic".

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Hollywood is tricky indeed. When I lived there I would sometimes see stars at grocery stores and newsstands but not realize it until friends would tell me afterwards. They're smaller and plainer, often oddly proportioned and interestingly shabbier in real life than in the movies

I had this exact experience w/ Tom Cruise in 1990. I saw him up close and the experience was . . . a disappointment. In real life, he was shorter and plainer than I had expected -- he was lacking in "magic". But get him on the big screen and the camera picks up that "magic".

I think so much of it has to do with the way actors carry themselves.

When I was in high school, standing at the bus stop by the Museum of Natural History with a visiting friend, she nudged me and said, "Look, Tony Randall!". He looked very dapper in a suit and tie, and his carriage and movement were distinctive.

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Hollywood is tricky indeed. When I lived there I would sometimes see stars at grocery stores and newsstands but not realize it until friends would tell me afterwards. They're smaller and plainer, often oddly proportioned and interestingly shabbier in real life than in the movies

I had this exact experience w/ Tom Cruise in 1990. I saw him up close and the experience was . . . a disappointment. In real life, he was shorter and plainer than I had expected -- he was lacking in "magic". But get him on the big screen and the camera picks up that "magic".

Hollywood magic works both ways, though. A number of working actors go to my local gym (not fancy, but close to many studios), and it's funny to compare how people come across onscreen vs. in sweaty real life. As noted, many actors are smaller than they look onscreen, but as tall as James Cromwell comes across onscreen, he is positively a giant in person. Paul Adelstein appears rather portly on television, but is very fit and handsome in real life. (I won't comment on who looks like they could be living on the streets...)

As a total aside, Ryan Gosling is as magnetic and charming as you would expect. And a positive gentleman at the barre in ballet class! flowers.gif

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