Saturday, December 04, 2010

Beauty From The Past: Real Women, Real Stars


I hope you had a delicious Thanksgiving!

A dear friend sent me a link to this. It is possibly one of the EARLIEST uses of color film extant. Shot in 1922, this is a test of Kodachrome film by Kodak.

It lets you see the natural beauty of the women, how they wore their clothes and hair, how they moved their bodies. If some of it seems self-conscious, that is natural, since they being told what to do and how to move by a person behind the camera. The blonde at the end is the 1920s star Mae Murray who had an extremely popular look among women: the bobbed hair and "bee-stung" lips (lips painted into small cupids bows).

Here is some information supplied by a faithful reader:

"In these newly preserved tests, made in 1922 at the Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey, actress Mae Murray appears almost translucent, her flesh a pale white that is reminiscent of perfectly sculpted marble, enhanced with touches of color to her lips, eyes, and hair. She is joined by actress Hope Hampton modeling costumes from The Light in the Dark (1922), which contained the first commercial use of Two-Color Kodachrome in a feature film. Ziegfeld Follies actress Mary Eaton and an unidentified woman and child also appear."

The clothes are what the stylish young lady wore in 1922. Vintage lovers, take note! Watch and enjoy!

Along the same lines is this promotional film, also starring young actresses of the time.

And finally, from 1913 we have the reigning beauty of the 1890s, LILLIAN RUSSELL! She was past her prime, but ten years before she had been the reigning beauty of the day. Her voluptuous proportions were the ideal of the 1890s, later revived by Mae West.

Another benefit of watching old films is that you can see what earlier definitions of "beautiful bodies" were. For instance, look at Clark Gable shirtless, or the chorus girls in any Busby Berkeley musical. Speaking of the latter, a male escort and I were viewing "Golddiggers of 1933." When the camera zoomed in for a close-up of the legendary Ginger Rogers, he exclaimed, "she has brown teeth!" No, she had natural teeth. Something that has not existed in Hollywood for many years.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog


Robert said...

Good post, Elisa.

Jenny Allen said...

These old clips are wonderful! The clothes are quite lovely. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images....