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Ascotrudgeracer

The Left Side of Claudette Colbert's Face

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Ben (the former caterer) talked about it last night, Osborne has mentioned it...it's the stuff of Hollywood legend.

"Shoot me only from my left side" the star demanded (was this in her contract?).

 

But I'm wondering if any other actor/actress ever received this kind of preferential treatment? Know of anyone else?

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This was an interesting fact about Ms. Colbert. I think most actresses of that time were particular about how they were shot. I remember Robert Osborne saying that Rosalind Russell always made sure that her head tilted up in each scene to give the illusion of having a chin.

 

Edited by: MovieGal53 on Aug 13, 2011 4:20 PM

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I'm wondering if any other actor/actress ever received this kind of preferential treatment? Know of anyone else?

 

 

Jean Arthur; she was adamant that the right side of her face never be photographed. Those rare instances when some part of that side were captured on film confirm that her concern as to her appearance was genuine.

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Since Claudette is my favorite top female star, I have previously written about this.

 

She surprisingly lets her other side get photographed in THREE CAME HOME. There is a scene where she is caught in a monsoon and is supposed to fall in the mud and turn to see if someone is following her. We see her whole face in that shot, and she actually photographs very beautifully from both sides. But apparently, she had a hang up about it.

 

In THE SECRET HEART yesterday, a film I have seen before, I noticed how carefully she camouflages her 'bad side.' There was a moment where they are on the patio, and she is playing cards. She very cleverly brings the cards up to her face and obscures the side she doesn't want the camera to photograph. It seems very natural and subtle, but she is very deliberate about it. Fascinating.

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I am watching OUTPOST IN MALAYA which I recorded yesterday. Director Ken Annakin has a shot of her going to a window and calling out to Jack Hawkins. We see the right side of her face in this shot. Again, she photographs just as beautifully from the right as she does from the left. I wonder why she thought she didn't...

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While I enjoy many films Claudette is in I just always found her 'look' somewhat strange. I really don't know how to describe how I feel about her. Does she just look too mature?

 

She just has no sex appeal to me but I'm NOT saying she isn't attractive. Maybe it was her hair style? Not really the 30s bob of say a Joan Blondell or a 40s look like Rita or Veronica Lake?????

 

Really I'm NOT trying to knock her and this feeling I have doesn't impact my viewing of her many fine films.

 

 

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YOU may not be saying that she's not attractive, but I am......."Too mature" is a good observation. She had a "grandmotherly" look even when she was young.

 

Edited by: finance on Aug 14, 2011 2:45 PM

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>I am watching OUTPOST IN MALAYA which I recorded yesterday. Director Ken Annakin has a shot of her going to a window and calling out to Jack Hawkins. We see the right side of her face in this shot. Again, she photographs just as beautifully from the right as she does from the left. I wonder why she thought she didn't...

 

I wonder if this was just a peculiarity of some actors that had no real basis in fact?

 

I wonder if they just "thought" one side of their face looked better, when in reality it did not?

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In response to TOPBILLED, the reason Ms. Colbert was adament about being filmed from the left side was becasue she thought that her nose was crooked.

 

 

 

 

 

There have been a few full face shots in certain films and her nose never appeared to be as she thought but it might have been the lighting.

 

 

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I don't see how a leading actress can go through an entire film, appearing in almost every scene, without being photographed full-faced. If all shots of her were from the left side, that would appear ludicrous.

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Thanks. Now I will be paying close attention to her nose in shots. She probably had a bad cinematographer in an early film and it "scarred" her.

 

Even the publicity photo for TOMORROW IS FOREVER, which I posted yesterday, shows her favored side.

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Fred,

 

I don't think she had a major flaw. It must have been her own insecurity about it.

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Wasn't it Bette Davis who requested the same camera man for most of her films because she thought he did an excellent job in highlighing her best features while filming a scene?

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Carole Lombard had a scar on her face from an automobile accident that was hidden by camera angles and lighting.

 

 

 

 

 

Loretta Young is another actress who preferred the left side of her face,

 

 

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In an intro to THE SMILING LIEUTENANT, Robert Osborne mentioned that both Claudette and Miriam Hopkins preferred being photographed from the left side, which created problems for Ernst Lubitsch and the photographer.

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We've been speaking about female stars who were particular in the way they were filmed but what about male stars?

 

There had to have been a few who chose one side of their face over the other.

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The left side of Larry Fine's face was as tough as rawhide. You didn't hear him gripin' to Jules White about which angle they shot him from, did ya'?!

 

 

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To me the reason she seems unattractive or older is because of the hunched over way she stands.  She walks and moves in a way that might have been sexy then but just seems motherly now.  

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On 8/14/2011 at 3:14 PM, MovieGal53 said:

 

In response to TOPBILLED, the reason Ms. Colbert was adament about being filmed from the left side was becasue she thought that her nose was crooked.

 

 

 

 

 

There have been a few full face shots in certain films and her nose never appeared to be as she thought but it might have been the lighting.

 

 

Yes, she had stated there was a bump on her nose on that side.  You rarely saw that side of her face, but you do get occasional glimpses of it. I doubt audiences could tell, but apparently it bugged her. Everyone has a better profile on one side of their face, and many actresses wanted their better profile facing the camera. But she became known for that over the years.......

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