Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hail, Caesar!

Last night I went to see Hail, Caesar! the new Coen Brothers' film. It's story revolves around Old Hollywood in the early 1950's. We follow Eddie Mannix, head of fictional Capitol Pictures Studios, through his day of putting out fires and stopping any and all embarrassment for the studio. In reality, Eddie Mannix was MGM's "Fixer" who worked closely with heads Louis B. Mayer and publicist Howard Strickling to make sure every scandal involving the studio~ and those working within~ was kept as hushed up as possible at any cost.

George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton star, as well as many other familiar faces! While Eddie Mannix was a real person, the rest of the cast were fictional characters based on real stars. For those who are familiar with classic films you'll easily recognize the people or persons combined that were portrayed. Wonderful, entertaining and definitely quirky performances by all! My only disappointment was that it was short. I would have loved to have seen more!

This film is one of very few modern films such as Trumbo, The Artist and Hollywoodland to deal with the Golden Age film industry. It was charming and period correct in all aspects; costumes, hair and makeup, cars, language and film equipment. Of course the studio lots and soundstages look exactly the same today, including the well worn mattresses that adorn the walls used for soundproofing. I am absolutely fascinated with the old movie studios and their operations. We're peeking behind the curtain to see what drives the fantasy glamour machine! This film shows the viewer exactly how tight of control management had over their stars, crew and publicity. No matter how creative the industry is, it is still a business, bottom line. I hope you get a chance to see it and would love to know what you think! xo

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Sid Grauman "helps" John Barrymore with his Great Profile immortalization at the Chinese Theatre ceremony. Sept. 5, 1940

Friday, January 22, 2016

Capturing Joan

Joan Crawford in colored pencil by artist Chrissy Notaro

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Ideal Face

At a 1934 Southern California Cosmetologists meeting in Hollywood, actress Sylvia Sidney's face was chosen as a standard of beauty because of it's "perfect oval shape" states Paramount Makeup Department Head Wally Westmore. "The elliptical symmetry of Miss Sidney's features made our choice an easy one". 

Westmore, along with other makeup and hair artists of the day realized the importance of using almost mathematical type techniques to improve upon an actress' look. Max Factor even invented the Micrometer, a head device that measures all the features to establish any correctable flaws such as a crooked nose or an uneven brow. Below, Factor demonstrates the device to Ern and Perc Westmore.
*click on image for better view!*

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Gypsy on Tour

Gypsy Rose Lee toured with The Royal American Show Carnival for 6 months in 1949, and was paid $10,000 a week! This photo set was taken in Memphis, Tennessee in May of that year. Photos taken by LIFE staffer George Skadding.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Hollywood Museum & The Max Factor Museum

The Hollywood Museum at the historical Max Factor Building in the heart of Hollywood, California is a favorite of mine! I've been dozens of times and always discover something new. It is housed in the famed Max Factor building on Highland Ave. at Hollywood Blvd. Makeup Artist Max Factor relocated his labs and shop from downtown Los Angeles and purchased the building in 1928. Today, it is a double museum. The ground floor is the Max Factor Museum, and the remaining floors are the Hollywood museum with memorabilia and rotating exhibits. The first two photos you will see what the building looks like today and in the late 1930's. Please make sure to click the photos for a better view as there are some placards that are worth checking out!

While the ground floor is reserved for the Max Factor museum now, at the time when Factor operated it, the entire building was used as his factory where they manufactured cosmetics and wigs as well as house his world famous salon to the stars. There is an elevator in the back that trucks could drive into and be transported to all floors for ease of shipment. The elevator is now where (one of) Cary Grant's Rolls-Royce is displayed.

The most popular exhibit is of course, the four salon rooms that catered to women with Blonde hair (Marilyn, Lana...), Brunette hair (Hedy, Liz...), Red hair (Lucy, Rita...) and the oft forgotten Brownette hair (Judy, Greta...). This was Factor's signature genius to make sure makeup and hair color were complimentary and customized for each starlet. Look what happened to Lucy and Marilyn when they found their signature styles?! Sadly, I accidently deleted a number of photos from each room, but you can find more photos online~ you'll see the rooms have changed throughout the years. There are a ton of fantastic sites, blogs and books about Max Factor. I own Max Factor's Hollywood Glamour, Movies, Make-Up. For more history on these museums, check out the links provided! xo