Debra Johnson

Did people of their time really consider these women beautiful?

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On a Bette Davis binge now and recently watched Angela Lansbury in "A Life At Stake".  I don't want to be mean but I absolutely can't see how anyone could ever have thought either of these women attractive w/their strange looks and ugly eyes!

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There was a point in which Bette's eyes showed a lot of "bag" under them to be considered still attractive.  It were those images that made me wonder if that KIM CARNES song was supposed to be an insult or not.  But in both Bette and Angela's earliest film appearances, they WERE both quite stunning(IMHO).

Sepiatone

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Is there a difference between being beautiful or just pretty?   Like I consider Mary Pickford pretty and Gloria Swanson beautiful or Norma Shearer pretty and Greta Garbo beautiful, etc.

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On 12/8/2018 at 11:39 AM, Debra Johnson said:

On a Bette Davis binge now and recently watched Angela Lansbury in "A Life At Stake".  I don't want to be mean but I absolutely can't see how anyone could ever have thought either of these women attractive w/their strange looks and ugly eyes!

Seems like you might be practicing a form of body shaming..?

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Bette Davis was beautiful.  Angela Lansbury is beautiful.  Not everyone has to be a blue eyed, buxom blonde to be considered attractive.

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On 12/8/2018 at 12:39 PM, Debra Johnson said:

On a Bette Davis binge now and recently watched Angela Lansbury in "A Life At Stake".  I don't want to be mean but I absolutely can't see how anyone could ever have thought either of these women attractive w/their strange looks and ugly eyes!

 Katharine Hepburn was a great actress and she was very beautiful.

As far as traditional Hollywood Beauty goes, they would have said back in the day that Bette Davis was plain and was made to be attractive by Orry-Kelly and that Angela Lansbury was cute and perky.

 

Looking back on Bette today, she was quite beautiful in my opinion.

 

They also had another belief back in the day, if a woman was a great actress, it didn't matter what she look liked.

 

Jack Warner wanted Bette to play a beautiful woman in this one movie called Mr. Skeffington. She told him she didn't know if she could pull it off because she wasn't a great Beauty, according to Hollywood standards. But of course he convinced her that a great actress can convince an audience of anything. So she went ahead and made the movie.  You can watch it and be the judge of it if it was a success or not.

But as Rod Serling's Twilight Zone so well proved to us in one episode-- beauty is in the eye of the beholder. LOL

 

PS:  I watched both these actresses in films on The Late Show before I was 12 years old. And it never occurred to me that either one was not attractive.

All you had to do was mention Bette Davis's name and people would just Rave about her professional qualities and abilities.

 When I was a child, I had seen her in All About Eve before I went to see Whatever happened to Baby Jane in the movie theater. I knew she could look attractive if she wanted to.-- I had sense enough to know that at 12.  LOL

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36 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

 Not everyone has to be a blue eyed, buxom blonde to be considered attractive.

But it doesn't hurt.

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

Bette Davis was beautiful.  Angela Lansbury is beautiful.  Not everyone has to be a blue eyed, buxom blonde to be considered attractive.

Nope, that's true alright, speedy.

Nope, sometimes they can be ravishing and sultry as all hell brunettes like Ava Gardner and Hedy Lamarr, and then be considered by some(like myself) even MORE attractive than those "blue eyed buxom blondes" you just mentioned.

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22 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Nope, that's true alright, speedy.

Nope, sometimes they can be ravishing and sultry as all hell brunettes like Ava Gardner and Hedy Lamarr, and then be considered by some(like myself) even MORE attractive than those "blue eyed buxom blondes" you just mentioned.

Even Gene Tierney who was often cast in roles because of her beauty, had an overbite.  There are actresses who are not conventionally attractive, like Bette Davis, or Barbara Stanwyck that I think are very pretty.  I've even thought Agnes Moorehead was pretty on occasion.  Part of what makes them attractive to me is the personality they bring to the screen.  Just like now, so many of the blonde starlets are so interchangeable.  They don't bring anything to the screen except being pretty.

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2 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

Even Gene Tierney who was often cast in roles because of her beauty, had an overbite.  There are actresses who are not conventionally attractive, like Bette Davis, or Barbara Stanwyck that I think are very pretty.  I've even thought Agnes Moorehead was pretty on occasion.  Part of what makes them attractive to me is the personality they bring to the screen.  Just like now, so many of the blonde starlets are so interchangeable.  They don't bring anything to the screen except being pretty.

A lot of the starlets in the 30s, 40s and 50s were interchangeable too. That's why they weren't all box office stars.

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They always said BETTY HUTTON was not a beauty, which is why she played rowdy and comic. "Beauty" is not always the route to stardom.

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Kay Francis wasn't a conventional beauty but I think she was beautiful. She had an intelligent face and eyes,  that's what comes across on the screen, at least for me. There's more to a conventionally beautiful face to make an actress beautiful. Bette and Angela were beautiful, So far I haven't seen one post that would agree with the OP's opinion.

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2 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

But it doesn't hurt.

Well said! :lol:

(This is where a picture of Brigitte Bardot or Sheryl Lee would go if I was on my computer)

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4 hours ago, Im4movies2 said:

Is there a difference between being beautiful or just pretty?   Like I consider Mary Pickford pretty and Gloria Swanson beautiful or Norma Shearer pretty and Greta Garbo beautiful, etc.

I've always considered "pretty" as more for children and young women and "beautiful" for women with actual sex appeal. 

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I assume the actual question in the top post is rhetorical since we have no way to know what 'people of their time' felt with regards to the looks of these two fine actresses.

I find both women attractive,  especially in the early stages of their career (see the pictures above),  but as some have noted,  being presented as "attractive" wasn't important to these actors;  acting was!

I.e. they took on roles that were not glamours (and with Lansbury,  she often played women characters that were older than she was).

Either way,  their looks didn't appear to impact their careers.   Actors where their looks are the main draw are the ones that have their careers impacted as time marches on.

 

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Angela Lansbury was quite a fox --- don't miss her in GASLIGHT (1944),

Bette Davis was indeed PLAIN---she always said she owed her career to her makeup man (who was also one of her lovers---either Perc Westmore or Gordon Bau).

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On 12/8/2018 at 1:39 PM, Debra Johnson said:

On a Bette Davis binge now and recently watched Angela Lansbury in "A Life At Stake".  I don't want to be mean but I absolutely can't see how anyone could ever have thought either of these women attractive w/their strange looks and ugly eyes!

Whaaat? I think you must have a pretty  narrow definition of "beauty". Not everyone has Barbie Doll boring perfect faces, that's what makes great actresses like Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury interesting looking. And beautiful, just not in a "one size fits all" kind of way.

There are many different ways of being beautiful. And certainly, in their prime, both Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury were beautiful, in their own unique ways.

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9 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

There was a point in which Bette's eyes showed a lot of "bag" under them to be considered still attractive.  It were those images that made me wonder if that KIM CARNES song was supposed to be an insult or not.  But in both Bette and Angela's earliest film appearances, they WERE both quite stunning(IMHO).

Sepiatone

If you listen to the lyrics of that song I think you'll find that it's definitely meant to be complimentary to Miss Davis. The girl the singer's singing about is supposed to be irresistibly attractive. Come on Sepia, haven't you ever really listened to the song?

ps: There's at least one other song that mentions Bette Davis, although it does not allude to her appearance in any way. It's Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row". I've always liked this line: 

"...she puts her  hands in her back pockets / Bette Davis style"

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