The Power of Glamour

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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jdb1

Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by jdb1 »

It is interesting to see how glamorous clothing makes some actresses glamorous, and some are simply naturally glamorous and it doesn't matter what they wear or what they're doing onscreen.

As much as I like Joan Crawford, I don't think she was naturally glamorous; I think she had to work hard at her glamor, but I certainly don't dislike the results. Katharine Hepburn could work wonders in the glamor department as well, but she could be just the opposite, too, and we still want to watch her. Being glamorous was not Hepburn's raison d’être, as I think it was for Crawford.

To my mind the most naturally glamorous of all the classic stars is Claudette Colbert. She certainly was not the most beautiful of the stars pictured above, but she had a natural style and projected the kind of self-confidence that gives a woman an aura, no matter who she is. I find her unfailingly magical.

I continue to be mystified by the appeal of Norma Shearer. To me she always looks like the overdressed middle-aged woman standing next to you at the buffet table at a bar mitzvah (and remember, friends, there's nothing un-PC about that remark; I've been to lots of bar mitvahs, including my brother's).
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Norma Shearer to me has the air of someone who knows she isn't the bestlooker around but can convince the audience that she is, well apart from Judith :wink: .
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Birdy
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by Birdy »

To me, Joan C. is so unbeleivably harsh. She only had softness and natural beauty in her very earliest films and everything after that scares the beejeebers out of me.

Do you know who I think has aged wonderfully? Angela Lansbury. She was lovely as a young woman and I consider her even lovelier now, lines and all. She said she didn't really get going the way she wanted to in her career until she was in her 40s and had been playing 40 year olds for a long time! (She sure wowed 'em with 'Oh, You Kid' in The Harvey Girls, though!). Now she's appearing on Broadway in Blithe Spirit and does a little dance and is loving it.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I know what you mean about Joan Crawford, she was lovely when young.

Catherine Deneuve still looks lovely, as does Sophia Loren, although a little dated. Julie Christie looks fabulous too.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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MichiganJ
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by MichiganJ »

As I recall, Barbara Stanwyck looked pretty great when she starred in the TV series "The Big Valley" in the 60's. I think she would have been in her late 50's/early 60's.

I agree with Birdy about Joan Crawford. It's hard to think that the Crawford in Our Dancing Daughters/Maidens is the same person in The Women (or Trog). She seems much colder as she ages; I think the photos posted show that.

CCf has it right, I think, about Shearer. It's her confidence that is so alluring, and it comes out in her photos. She's hard to resist in some of the pre-codes and especially the silent Student Prince in Old Heidelberg.

I also think Garbo looks amazing in that photo of her at 45. She must; she's Garbo!
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Garbomaniac
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by Garbomaniac »

Well, of course, you are right, Garbo is Garbo. One point I often forget when looking at glamour photos or photos like the one of Garbo at 45, is that they are just photos. Often the gals, and guys, photographed are far more vibrant in person than in a photograph. Some of the candids of Garbo, one in particular on the boat to Sweden (her long hair blowing in the wind) was one of the most beautiful shots I have ever seen of her. It is almost as if the glamour machine, in some funny way, diminished her beauty. I wish at times they would have let her hair just fluff and brush.

Anyway, I am nuts about Norma. I know she seems a little dumpy at times, but she is so wonderful on screen she dispells my negativity, and by the end of the film, I am in awe of her, again. She had to work hard on her image. You all probably remember how she sought out Hurrell to get those sexy picture for Irving so he would let her do The Divorcee. But, she was regal in Marie Antoinette carrying all the weight of those dresses with the poise and polish of a queen. And, I have read because her ankles were thick she had Adrian design one or more long evening gowns for each film. They became a staple in Shearer films so much that Adrian called them Norma's nightgowns. But, what I really liked was her over-the-top performances. That's why I go to the movies!

Dietrich was another one. Her over-the-top performances were only enhanced by her outrageous wardrobe! Of all the gals in those pictures, Dietrich's is the most flamboyant (surrounded by an oval frame)!

I also agree that Golbert was a glamour gal par excellence! True she was no beauty, but few wore clothes as well as she. She proved that in Midnight. But, Lombard was also a favorite of mine. Her wardrobe, photography (minimizing her scar), and poses were all magnificent in photographs. They seemed to me to be quite different from her screen appearances. She didn't seem as glamourous in film as she did in photography.
jdb1

Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by jdb1 »

Well, it seems that I can't agree with you all about Shearer. I have no problem with a female star of unconventional looks being glamorous. After all, my fave Colbert was pretty odd-looking in the absolute, wasn't she?

I can't find anything to grasp in the glamour department with Shearer. Elaborate wardrobe just isn't enough. To me she is stagey, overly "feminine," and phony. Head-tossing, sobbing and/or fluttering don't say "glamour" to me. Sorry, Norma fans -- she does nothing at all for me. Can't help it. Don't like her. If she hadn't been Mrs. Whatsit --- Hmmm . . . . I wonder.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I think we all have someone who we just don't like or can't take to who everyone else seems to like. We won't hold it against you :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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moira finnie
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by moira finnie »

I shared Judith's opinion of Norma Shearer until I saw her in Lubitsch's silent The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927). She won me over with her performance, and having seen a few other silent films of hers, I'd have to say, that like Garbo, I prefer her films from that late silent era to any that she made in the sound period. I think that she lost her spontaneity and warmth when presented with the mike, and she tried too hard in every movie, (in part, I suspect, to live up to her hubby Irving's idealization of her onscreen too).

Give me more of the silent Norma! She had an indefinable quality best described as "charm" brought out by the Lubitsch touch.
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jdb1

Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by jdb1 »

Thanks for the guidance, Moira, 'cause I can't now think of any Shearer silent I've ever seen. Maybe, as you say, spontaneity is the poblem, like Sophia Loren in her early American movies in English, as opposed to her Italian-language movies of the same period.

The overly precise, stuffy way that Shearer talked is one of the things I can't stand about her, and maybe she was self-conscious (or was made to feel self-conscious) about her voice or diction when sound first came in. That misplaced grande dame way of talking is what makes me think of her as someone's rich cousin at the bar mitzvah -- that "I'm really much to refayned to be in this company" kind of talking. It's not appropriate to every single character she played, and was overplayed when she was trying to actually be refayned.
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Garbomaniac
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by Garbomaniac »

Oh, Judith, it is great to hear the opposing side, because ironically everything you dislike is exactly what I like, love about her. I love her high-falutin' ways. I love her haughtiness and her overly dramatic mannerisms. And, I love it when she gets indignant: "And, I am a princess of the House of Hapsburg! I'm an archduchess of Austria, and the daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa!" Wow! I love that speech the way only Norma could deliver it!

You know who I really dislike? Almost no one anymore. I have come to appreciate and truly admire all of them for their contribution, and I am trying my hardest to see as many movies from each of them as I can. I recently re-discovered Constance Bennett when she had her day a few months ago. I saw What Price Hollywood, and Our Betters. I went nuts over her. How could I have missed her all this time? Oh, well, I probably disliked her in my youth for some dumb reason.

Actually, there is one actress I don't really care for at all who is not listed on this thread, and that is Loretta Young. I don't really dislike her; I just don't find her appealing at all and would never go out of my way to see one of her films. But, I shouldn't be talking about her on this thread, and again, she is probably ok. I just haven't gotten around to her, yet.

I have renewed my interest in Hepburn, and I even saw Sylvia Scarlett and liked it. I have discovered Kay Francis. I never really saw much of her, but I am now seeking her out and enjoy her acting and sense of style. Also, I really can't get enough of Del Rio! I finally saw Madame DuBarry. It was an odd cast, but she was excellent, very entertaining, and VERY glamorous!
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MichiganJ
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by MichiganJ »

Garbomaniac,

I was with you on Loretta Young, but then I saw her in the silent Laugh, Clown, Laugh with Lon Chaney (she was all of 14--and gives a remarkably mature performance), and then recently watched the pre-code Midnight Mary, where the 20/21-year old is simply amazing (director Wellman does a great introduction of her, focusing on her beautiful eyes as she peers over a newspaper).

Like you, I'm starting to warm up to actresses I thought I didn't much like, including Crawford (although, for me, she's still tough going).
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS
jdb1

Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by jdb1 »

I have an antipathy toward Loretta Young myself. I don't really have a problem with her acting, it's her looks I don't like. She has the most enormous face -- I find it hard to look at her. Just another one of those things.

As I get older, James, I am of the opinion that the negative feelings I have for some onscreen personalities stem from personal experience -- they remind me of people in real life toward whom I've had negative reactions. Sometimes it's nothing overt that I can put my finger on -- they just give me the willies up there on the screen, and I don't want to look at them. I'm sure my dislike of Norma Shearer comes from a bad experience with someone in my past who looked/sounded like her. There were many women like her in my life as I was growing up.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Again I really like Loretta Young but only when she was young. The couple of films I saw in the '40's I didn't care for her at all.

I can't take to Kay Francis. I've enjoyed some of her films but I just don't get her or what is meant to be so attractive about her.

Carole Lombard is my favorite one of all.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Garbomaniac
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Re: The Power of Glamour

Post by Garbomaniac »

Yes, MJ, Crawford is still sometimes hard to take, but not so in her early films for me anymore. And, the problem with Loretta is like Judith said, her face is so big, her eyes are so big, and her nose is so flat.
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