Retro Glamour, Circa Hollywood

Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty, premiere of Bonnie and Clyde,1968.



Elizabeth Taylor, Life magazine, 1948.


Sophia Loren, Rome, 1955.


Rita Hayworth, Hollywood, 1943.


Lauren Bacall, Life magazine, 1944.


Barbara Streisand, Look Magazine, 1960


Gloria Swanson, Halsman’s studio, NYC, 1950.


Shirley MacLaine, Irma la Douce, 1962.


Gene Tierney, Hollywood, 1945.


Marilyn Monroe, Life magazine, 1952.


Grace Kelly, Academy Awards, 1955.


Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly Last Summer, 1959


Catherine Deneuve, filming La Chamade, 1968.


Audrey Hepburn, filming Sabrina, 1954.


Marlene Dietrich, Deutsches Theater, 1960.


I love the movies, but like great art or literature that is often ignored, reviled, slandered, or forgotten until long after its creators have left the earth, the idea of honoring the best in film will strike anyone who has ever worked in the industry as deeply inauthentic and pathologically insincere; a kind of political Superpac sanctioned by a steady stream of the richest fatcats and most unsavory egomaniacs in filmdom’s history.

Nevertheless, Hollywood’s annual night of self absorption is a wondrous spectacle to behold. I wouldn’t miss it. While the show is always too long, too trite and, woefully, unimaginative, it is not the event we are celebrating. It is the magic that Hollywood inspires, creates and honors. Nowhere else can one experience or relive the thrill of sitting in a darkened theater or a dimly-lit room and feel the tiniest thrill in watching, yet again, Gene Kelly standing atop a street lamp, arms outstretched, crooning to the heavens in Singin’ in the Rain. (I feel sure many of you will question my cinematic tastes in sputtering all over this number from sixty years ago, but seeing a guy swooning and dancing in a downpour caught up in all that wonky ardor takes my breath away.)


Gene Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain


Singin’ in the Rain endures to this day as a kind of cinematic inscription on the collective soul of the medium. Interestingly, it wasn’t even nominated in the Best Picture category in 1953. The forgettable Greatest Show on Earth was voted Best Picture that year. Yet, when the American Film Institute issued its first “100 Years…100 Movies” list in 1997, “Singin’ in the Rain” was the highest ranking film that never received a Best Picture nomination.

So, in honor of the Academy Awards with its red-carpet fashion fails, botched acceptance speeches, host misfires, and blitheringly indistinguished picks, we’ll all be there for what promises to be a night of enchantment, embarrassment and just the palest emerald of envy.


Images: Magnum Photos, via Slate




~ by eaesthete on 02/26/12.

7 Responses to “Retro Glamour, Circa Hollywood”

  1. They had faces, then…

  2. Beautiful montage … as usual.

  3. wonky ardor indeed

  4. You cannot beat the 1940’s for Glamorous…..the hair styles and the gowns! Of course I admire tremendously Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina style also. I was happy to see one of the Actresses wear a 1950’s Chanel at the Academy Awards Sunday Night. Love the reminder of elegance you have provided us.

  5. I am thrilled that you are writing/posting again. You were dearly missed…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s