Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1956 | A New Marilyn

I've always loved the photos taken of Marilyn Monroe during her session with famed photographer Cecil Beaton. This was a turning point in Marilyn's real-life and career and he captures her beauty effortlessly. I especially love the photos taken by Beaton's assistant of him photographing Marilyn.

There came a time in Marilyn Monroe's career when she grew tired of being a pin-up queen. She grew tired of being viewed as a body with a voice and getting little respect as an actor or a person. She refused to take roles that were more of the same, which resulted in her being suspended from 20th Century Fox. Marilyn was ready to become a serious actress, so she headed to New York where she joined The Actor's Studio and created Marilyn Monroe Productions with friend/photographer Milton Greene. Next on the agenda? Be photographed as a lady with class who demanded respect. Who better to take those photos than high society photographer Cecil Beaton?

On February 22, 1956, Monroe arrived at Beaton's suite at Ambassador Hotel in New York City. She arrived with two gowns and left her sexpot attitude behind in order to develop another side of Marilyn Monroe. A more mature, sophisticated side that wanted to be taken seriously. As usual, Marilyn did her own make-up (a fact many find hard to believe). Cecil had redecorated the suite in a 'Japanese Nouveau' style and brought a few props for Marilyn to use while being photographed. The results were beautiful and unlike any other images of Marilyn anyone had seen before. 

Cecil Beaton would later describe his subject... "The initial shyness over, excitement has now gotten the better of her. She romps, she squeals with delight, she leaps onto the sofa. She puts a flower stem in her mouth, puffing on a daisy as though it were a cigarette. It is an artless, impromptu, high-spirited, infectiously gay performance. It may end in tears."

As you can see, the photographs are nothing less than amazing!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reel Life | Who, What, Where, When, Why #2

So here I am again with my second part of the Who What Where When Why series. A few weeks ago I wrote about 'why' I love Classic Hollywood, this time I am going to explain how it started with 'what where and when.' While it is true my passion didn't develop until my late teen years, my interest was peaked at an early age.

As a young'n I would spend my days at my grandma's house while my parents were working. I would wake up  from naps to find the television screen had lost all of it's color and my grandma would laugh at me when I would ask what was wrong with it. She would explain that before there were colored televisions and cordless phones that people actually had to go out to the theaters to see movies. I was amazed and had to learn more about this medium from an 'ancient' time. We would sit there on that old orange sofa, I would be eating my silver dollar sized pancakes, and we would watch all of these different films. Some were full of music I would listen to and some made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe. Without knowing it, my grandma was imprinting my brain with these wonderful films and stars. And then came the day she introduced me to I Love Lucy. I was officially hooked. My favorite episode was the one where Lucy mimics Carmen Miranda. I still bust out laughing if I watch that scene. Ma Ma Ma Yo Quero!

Then came the time when my parents divorced and I wound up living with my other grandma in northern Indiana. I spent a lot of my time there alone exploring the little town and the surrounding wooded area. My grandma had a room I wasn't allowed to go in, but I would often sneak in there to see what the big deal was. It was a pretty large room with wall to wall glass cases full of porcelain dolls. You could find every type of doll in that room, but the ones that caught my eye were in a case toward the back left of the room. There was a glamorous blonde in a pink dress, a funny looking red head with a mixing bowl wearing a black and white polka dot dress (I recognized her right away), and a handsome guy wearing a red-leather jacket with blue jeans. They were so different from the other dolls on display. They were cool, they were glamorous, they had so much personality. I would often pretend to be hanging out with them when I was out on my many adventures. I think it goes without saying that my imagination had no boundaries. I would later find out what the beautiful blonde was Marilyn Monroe, the funny lady was Lucille Ball, and the rebel was James Dean.

Years later that Marilyn Monroe doll was given to me and sat in my room for many years. The house where I lived in Indiana had caught fire and the doll was one of the only things to survive, without an arm, but she survived. It is funny how that doll made it's way into my life because if it hadn't been for it, I probably wouldn't have grown so fond of Old Hollywood.

Of course with age, those television sittings with my grandma and the imaginary friends would become a thing of the past and I would spend most of my time being a young teenager. It wasn't until a few days before my 7th grade Social Studies project was due that I was thrust back into the magical world of the Golden Age of Hollywood. I was sitting in my room racking my brain for an idea for my project when my eyes came across that Marilyn Monroe doll. A light bulb went off. If she was important enough to have a doll made of her, she must be interesting enough to do a project on. And there I went... printing pictures, learning about this fabulous woman, and sinking deeper into a love of the days when stars were so glam. That project would go on to win 3rd place, thank you very much. Ha.

After that project was over with, I made it my mission to see all of Marilyn's films. It was from this mission I was introduced to so many of my favorite Old Hollywood stars. Stars like Jane Russell, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, and Barbara Stanwyck. It was like a domino effect. I would watch one movie and it would lead to me loving another star and then another and then another! Before I knew it I had a long list of wonderful stars to learn about. From these discoveries I was introduced to three of my all-time favorite: Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, and Joan Crawford.

I will be forever grateful to both of my grandmas for helping me see into the past and discovering this wonderful time in cinema history.

And so there you have it... What Where When.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Flashback Post | Rita Hayworth... Blonde Bombshell?

Some of you may remember my July 23rd, 2011 post highlighting Rita Hayworth's transformation into a blonde bombshell for her role in The Lady From Shanghai. If you do remember or if you don't, please check it out once again... it still amazes me how good she could look with any color hair.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Old Hollywood Headlines #4

So here we are in 2012... where has the time gone? I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! My holiday season was filled with new adventures, meeting new people, and overall good times. Since Thanksgiving my personal life has changed beyond anything I imagined it would be. I have discovered so many things I didn't know I would enjoy so much and I have met many wonderful people that have shown me how life can really be. Along with that, I have to a degree put my blog on the back burner, and for that, I am sorry. I can see from the stats on blogger that you guys are still stopping by and that itself is enough motivation to keep it going! So without further adieu... how about some Old Hollywood Headlines?

Blame Mame

001. If you haven't already, please join Blame Mame over on Facebook!


001. Ever wanted to see some of Alfred Hitchcock's famous films be the theme of a Vanity Fair shoot? Well look no further than Elisa's Classic Films to see the shoot that was featured in the March 2008 issue. I am sure most of you have seen these, but they were new to me... I always love to see how 'new' Hollywood tries so hard to capture the essence of old Hollywood.
Part 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 08 09 10

002. Over on Another Old Movie Blog, the 1952 Jane Russell film Las Vegas Story gets reviews. I am little jealous because I need to see this film as part of my Jane Russell Filmography Project, but have been unable to find it anywhere to view. If you have any hints as to where I can find it, please let me know!

003. Comet Over Hollywood has announded a blogathon that will take place in March. The blogathon is titled Gone Too Soon and will feature posts about actors who died before the age of 50. I will have a hard time chosing between writing about Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, or Jayne Mansfield. -rubs chin- Guess we'll see what happens in March!

004. Carole Lombard was known for having a potty mouth... The Scarlett Olive shared a video highlighting her infamous mouth in outtakes/bloopers from My Man Godfrey.
Reel Life

One day while exploring the New Orleans Riverwalk, I came across a store called Retro Road Trip. From the front door I could see merchandise with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Wizard of Oz and so much more... there was no way I could NOT go in! It was a really fun gift shop with tshirts and gadgets featuring some of your favorite retro characters and celebs. I suprisingly left with nothing in hand, I had to be good. Especially after my last two trips to Barnes and Noble. Haha!

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!