Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Golden Age Of Glamor

I recently bought a new television set, and along with it I got the digital box so I could get more channels. I love watching old, classic movies. To me, they are a real art form. And I love the classic movie stars. They were a completely different breed than the movies stars of today. They had a magical quality about them -- a patina -- that movie stars seems to have lost. I don't know, call me a prude, but I don't want to watch a movie, and then the next day see the star of the movie exposing her pregnant belly with her belly-button sticking out. Yes, pregnancy is beautiful, but cover up the belly-button, please. It just detracts a bit from the mystique. When I watch the classic movies, and see the elegant actresses who played in them, I sometimes wish the actresses of today could try to emulate them -- just a bit.

Most of the women from the so-called golden era of movies were real people in their private lives. Greer Garson was married three times, once to a man who played her son in "Mrs. Miniver". Deborah Kerr was known for her raucous sense of humor and her bawdy jokes, and all of her leading men fell in love with her for that reason. She had romantic affairs with Stewart Granger, Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum, who called her a "great broad", and he regarded that as the highest form of compliment. So do I. You can see the chemistry between them in "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison". That was my mother's favorite movie, and she always used to say, "Those two are in love with each other -- you can see it."

Ingrid Bergman was known for her classic beauty and her amazing talent, but in 1950 she became notorious for her affair with Italian director, Roberto Rossellini. This resulted in a huge scandal in the United States. Democratic Senator Edwin C. Johnson from Colorado referred to her as "a horrible example of womanhood and a powerful influence for evil". She was declared persona non grata and was forced in exile to Italy, where she eventually married Rossellini. In 1957 she returned to the United States and won an Oscar for her role in "Anastasia".

Grace Kelly was, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful actresses who ever lived. Her beauty was astonishing, and she was equally as talented. One can only imagine what her career would have been like, had she not married Prince Rainier and retired to Monaco as Princess Grace. I think she often wondered that as well, and I could sometimes detect a far away look in her eye -- "what if...". But she, too, was known for having affairs with her leading men, including Cary Grant (he got around, didn't he...?), William Holden and Ray Milland, who referred to her as having a "great ass".

Great ass? Great broad? Yes, these actresses had active private lives -- just as many of the actors and actresses have now. But, they had all that and more. They had style, elegance, enormous talent, and a star quality that actresses of today sadly lack. I love settling down with my new TV and watching some of these old classic movies.

"Here's looking at you, kid..."

27 comments:

Kym said...

That is why I always say that I was born into the wrong era...I love old classic movies as well and the music with it! Thanks for sharing!

greenpanda said...

I agree. If I could meet anyone from the past, Marilyn Manson would be on the list. :)

ZiLliOnBiG said...

i too share your love for classic old movies, but Indian movies though.
I agree with you on Grace Kelly, i still have a crush on her, though if alive she would be of my grandmothers age.nice writeup, chers.

DUTA said...

I recently came upon a blog called 'Retroactive Critiques". It's about musings on worthy films and actors of the past.

Under the title, the blogger says:" because current is obsolete and modern is yesterday or tomorrow".

jackc50 said...

it was a different era, a different time. with camera phones, myspace, facebook, twitter and what not nothing remains a secret for very long. we have this insatiable thirst for information, scandals and embarrassing photos......nothing is sacred. the worse, the better....so to speak. stars were stars in the old days and the illusion was strong. take care and enjoy, jack

SweetPeaSurry said...

What I loved about this era of actresses is that they never went anywhere without being dressed to the nines. It was a lovely era!

SweetPeaSurry said...

greenpanda? Do you mean Marilyn Monroe? As Marilyn Manson is from the present. :)

Mean Mama said...

When I was a kid, living in the Blue Ridge Mts. of Virginia I only got 2 tv channels, and one of them had old movies running all the time. I got to grow up watching the Golden Age pictures. When I started back at college I chose film history as one of my humanities, and it was my favorite class. Grace Kelly was absolutely my favorite. She had such poise. In one of my papers I discussed how technology has made it so actors are not required to act as much because so much can be covered or enhanced with computers. I also think that actors and actresses now do not have to put as much attention into their looks because of the computer glamor. Acting was arduous work in the Golden Age. The takes were much longer and there was a lot more improv. Carey Grant was known for his ability in that respect and so was Humphrey Bogart.

cat said...

I couldn't agree more.

Country Girl said...

I hear you and agree. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison was just on the other night and I watched the whole thing. It reminded me of my mother, who used to say the same thing! Those two are in love and you can see it!

Breath-e said...

Though the jury's not in yet, I'd like to nominate Sandra Bullock as one of the greats for our time here in the present. She's beutiful, talented and is holding her own among the plethora of today's media. She's got my vote.

~Brittainy said...

I love the glamour of the past! I don't get to watch much of anything. But I do enjoy a classic every now and again

Rachael said...

I adore reading your posts... and this one may be my favorite yet. Ahh Princess Grace! She is my favorite as well... there are no actresses in Hollywood today that hold a candle to these classic women. Thanks for writing!

the walking man said...

We may though have a different interpretation of the actors and actresses of the B&W era today if their every movement was followed by the Paparazzi.

It took a scandal of the Fatty Arbuckle type to raise their private lives to public view. The difference is that privacy was actually respected 60, 70, 80 years ago.

Carla said...

Amen! I especially love the movies from the 40s.

Leah Fry said...

One of the big differences these days is the media. In the golden (halcyon) days, the studios made deals with the media. They had staged events and "dates" between actors to mold the images of their stars — Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland, Frankie & Annette, for example. There existed a civility, and an understanding that each would/could not exist without the other. Today, there are no boundaries. Anyone is fair game at any time.

I used to buy into it all, ravenously scooping up People magazine the second it hit the checkout stand. I can't remember which scandal was the last straw — it may have been Britney — but I realized I was part of the feeding frenzy. I don't buy it anymore, and I surf past E! on cable. I no longer revel in the vicious salacity.

The next few weeks will be miserable for family, friends and fans of David Carradine.

Shaista said...

Did you see Greer Garson in the Hollywood production of 'Pride and Prejudice'? They did take enormous liberties with the book, but up until recently I loved it so much, loved her especially. Now that we have Colin Firth as Darcy however, I'm afraid Laurence Olivier seems far too pompous and precious. What do you think?
Ingrid Bergman is my father's all-time favourite movie actress, and no affaire du couer could detract him from his opinion that she is singularly graceful and oh, just wonderful!
I know exactly what you mean about the exposure of today's actresses and the utter demolition of The Illusion of magic.
But at least we still have the movies to prove that once women cared about the finer image of themselves...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ah those were the days.

Rosie the Riveter become glam queen like the stars
IT girls after Myrna Loy.
Rock Hudson after little boy.
Not seeing day.
Nasty Condy and his Glamour and Vogue
Today become rogue
The lights of Conde Nast are going out
But wasn't it all a shout?

Lorna said...

Yes, they were all beautiful, but as much as I respect the movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, I do admire the ones of today.

I watch “An Evening At The Actors' Studio” on the Bravo channel and recommend it to all who are interested in the craft of acting, directing, and writing for film.

~ Lorna

Marcella said...

Jo, just catching up on a few of your latest blogs. I agree as far as the "Star" set are concerned. Whilst they had private lives they were not exposed in so much detail as of today. Not sure we can blame the "Stars" or the media for that. Though I'm sure some of them love every minute of the exposure.
I must also comment on the exposed pregnant belly you mentioned in one of the previous blogs. Apart from my disgust of the bare belly button/midrift I have often wondered about the effect of the baby of those mums-to-be who cover themselves well from the pelvis down and from under the breast up, with warm cloths, but expose the protective womb to the elements.

nomore said...

Great posts...i love the Glamour of the past and even the latest...LOL....

jewelry said...

very classic, they all pretty, especially marlyn monroe

Basyarah said...

greate post and classic

Kimberly said...

Vivian Leigh...just a "gawjus" lady...from the golden era.

Kimberly said...

Hi Jo...I have an award for you over at mi casa...

Paula Slade said...

My sentiments exactly Jo! Today's crop of "stars" just don't have "it!"

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