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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Art Deco Style

These scans of an art deco bedroom and living room, may give an idea of the color and texture we don't see when watching our favorite pre-code movies filmed in black and white.

Edwin Bower Hesser

Anna May Wong, Betty Bronson, Joan Crawford and Carole Lombard by Edwin Bower Hesser. Much thanks to MichaelE for the images.

Hollywood Nudes and Cheesecake #2

Bessie Love by Edwin Bower Hesser, Carole Lombard, Norma Shearer, Joan Blondell, 2 of Jean Harlow and, yes folks, that is Atilla the Nun AKA Loretta Young. See also post #1

Fashion and Style: Headwear

Kay Francis, Edwina Booth by Hurrell, Myrna Loy, Norma Shearer, and Marlene Dietrich by Hurrell.

Fashion and Style: Men's Formal Wear

Marlene Dietrich and Dorothy Mackaill show off the latest in men's formal wear.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Classic Pre-code #4: The Devil's Cabaret 1931

The Devil's Cabaret 1931, stars Charles Middleton, the beautiful Mary Carlisle (who is still with us, and celebrated her 94th birthday last month), and Eddie Buzzell, an underrated comedy director who helmed the obscure gem, Cross Country Cruise 1934. The Devil's Cabaret is an early 2-strip technicolor short produced with footage salvaged from the abandoned 1930 musical, The March of Time, and new footage shot at MGM. The result is an eye-popping, surreal, vaudeville comedy/musical short that has to be seen to be disbelieved.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hoot Gibson's Sister Kidnapped: Los Angeles Evening Herald Sept. 19th 1931

Courtesy of G D Hamann

Deco Fashion Advertising

From a late 1928 Paris Fashion issue of Vogue. Pardon the poor scans. Revillion Freres by Paul Valentin, Peacock Shoes by Milo Winter, and Furs by Gunther unsigned.

Chester Morris

Chester Morris @ IMDB.
Poor Chester gets no respect @ Wikpedia, his entry features a photo of Richard Barthelmess.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Pre-code Bookshelf #5: Sin In Soft Focus

SIN IN SOFT FOCUS PRE-CODE HOLLYWOOD by Mark A.Viera Prudes and the faint-of-heart shield your eyes! The stunning Sin in Soft Focus contains some of the most breathtaking black-and-white stills ever taken, all from the debaucherous decade before the Hollywood production code was established. With chapters devoted to "The Warners Grit," "The MGM Gloss," and "The Paramount Glow," and to horror films, gangster movies, and the sexy scandal of Mae West, Mark A. Vieira illustrates the story of classic Hollywood's most delightfully lascivious period--brought to a stop when Joseph Breen began enforcing the puritanical production code of 1934.
The text of this book is fascinating even for those familiar with the films of the era, but the mesmerizing photographs are what will keep readers glued to the pages. Oversized and abundant stills capture stars like Clara Bow, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, William Powell, Mae West, Joan Blondell, James Cagney, and Greta Garbo in striking clarity, dashing poses, and of course, shockingly revealing outfits. Voyeurs seeking more on this naughty era will also want to read Thomas Doherty's Pre-Code Hollywood --Raphael Shargel

From Library Journal
Emboldened by a 1930 Production Code that required only voluntary compliance, film studios lured Depression-hardened audiences with bullet-riddled gangster sagas; hot jungle tales; horror films; sexy, sophisticated dramas; and lurid depictions of drug abuse, fallen women, and "white slavery." Eventually, challenged by state film boards and decency groups, Hollywood finally agreed to a 1934 Code (with enforcement powers) that endured until finally crumbling in the late 1960s. Vieira (Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits) is good at showing how the 1934 Code was part of a general return to order; though Mae West was too flamboyant to change her image, Claudette Colbert and Myrna Loy quickly went from playing on-screen vixens to playing housewives and mothers. In the end, precode films weren't better or worse than the films that came later, just different. This timely, informative look at a little-known period in American film history covers much the same ground as Thomas Doherty's Pre-Code Hollywood (LJ 7/99)Awhose main attractions are the many creamy film stills, which may surprise readers with their frank treatment of sex, nudity, and violence. This fascinating look at an important though brief period in Hollywood history is highly recommended.AStephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc

Monday, March 20, 2006

Nickolas Muray

Greta Garbo, Claudete Colbert and Clara Bow by Nickolas Muray.
Thanks very much to MichaelE for the images.

Most Wanted #3: Fox Movietone Follies of 1930 with Marjorie White

Still photo featuring the delightful and energetic Marjorie White, (2nd from left) in a scene from Fox Movietone Follies of 1930. White made only 14 feature films before her promising career was cut short by her tragic death at the age of 26, from injuries sustained in a auto accident. She excelled as an actress/singer/dancer in musical comedy second lead and supporting roles (Sunnyside Up, Happy Days, Just Imagine, Diplomaniacs), in which she was usually the most watchable performer on the screen. Fox Movietone Follies of 1930 may be the only film that featured White in a starring/co-starring role (I could be wrong, I haven't seen it, or all of her screen roles). A restored print does exists at U.C.L.A., but unfortunately, will most likely never see a Video/DVD release.

Frank Richardson and Marjorie White. Can anyone can help identify the two actresses/twins on the right?