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Smoking in the Movies - It's Good For You!


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It was in the mid-1940s that medical studies first started to find a connection between smoking and cancer. In 1954 a study was released stating, "those who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day were 25 times more likely to get lung cancer than nonsmokers, and, in addition, that smokers were twice as likely to have a heart attack as nonsmokers." However, the Nazis had already been vehemently non-smoking in the '30s, and the expression "coffin nail" in reference to a cigarette had been around long before that.


Nevertheless, we who watch the movies, going right back to the silents, know the truth, that smoking is not only alright for you but, most important, socially acceptable. Many of the greatest stars of films were well known smokers both on and off screen, and some of those images of them smoking are, well, iconic.




Bogart in Casablanca




The incarnation of post-war eroticism, and what would Rita Hayworth as Gilda be without that cigarette?




Then there was that four handkerchief weepie Now Voyager, its most famous moment when Paul Henreid lit two cigarettes, handing one of them to the ever-puffing Bette Davis




And what would film noir melodramas be like without smoke getting in their eyes?


Have no doubt that during the 1940s the movies told audiences loud and clear that smoking was "in."




Definitely "in."


In 2008 a study was released stating that tobacco manufacturers paid for print and radio advertisements of Hollywood stars and their films in exchange for their endorsements of their products. Researchers at the University of California studied the period from 1927 to 1951. The big studios, they found, were eagerly instrumental in striking deals with the tobacco giants, with close to 200 stars appearing in advertisements, exhalting the smoothness of such cigarettes as Chesterfield, Camel, Lucky Strike and Old Gold.


Here's a very small sample of some of the many, many film star endorsements, sending a message to their fan base that it was great to light up:












That's right. As you can see from the last advertisement, even Stan and Ollie were promoting cigarettes. Other stars doing it included Rock Hudson, William Holden, Marlene Dietrich, Dana Andrews, Maureen O'Hara, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, Leslie Howard and, well, the list goes on and on.


There may even be a three star-in-one endorsement, such as the following:




And here's a full cast endorsement from The Paradine Case (a lot of coughing on this set, I suppose):




The result of this, of course, researchers believe (and who will dispute them?) was that there was a rise in young smokers as a result of years of relentless subtle and not-so-subtle campaigning from the tobacco manfacturers, in combination with the Hollywood studios whose own products were getting promoted in the process, as well.


Yes, to look at the movies, smoking is definitely good for your popularity, and, more important, love life!

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I think of it more as "Smoking in the Movies -- It's SEXY of You !"


I can't recall ever seeing cigarettes promoted as a health food ... only as an aphrodisiac.


If only they weren't such a health hazard ... smoking in classic films provides intimate visuals.




*Bacall lights Bogie up*









*Carole Lombard publicity photo*

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> {quote:title=ValeskaSuratt wrote:}{quote}

> I can't recall ever seeing cigarettes promoted as a health food ... only as an aphrodisiac.


It was often prescribed by doctors as a remedy for a variety of breathing complaints when tobacco was introduced to Europe.


As late as the mid-1970s some doctors were recommending it for cases of sinus inflammations which did not respond to medication.


It is still prescribed because it relieves IBS symptoms in some patients.


It is widely accepted that a large percentage of smokers may be unknowingly self-medicating. Nicotine is an anti-depressant. A sociological study showed the rate of suicides in France declined significantly in each class as smoking was adopted stratum by stratum.


It has been postulated and there is evidence that certain genes have an effect on both brain chemistry and susceptibility to cancer. Their effect is believed to repress production of chemicals which elevate general mood. They are believed also to repress production of chemicals which serve as a defense against cell mutation. Those people who have those genes turned on are more likely to develop cancer and they are more likely to smoke because of nicotine's anti-depressant effect. It is sad to say that this aspect of tobacco use is not fully explored as researchers have had their funding cut when their studies venture into this area.

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I was genuinely surprised at the sheer number of celebrity endorsements of cigarettes I was able to find.


Here are a few others:




This is the closest that I could come to an endorsement by Bogart. It's officially by Mrs. Humphrey Bogart but his image is used as part of the promotion, as well. Interestingly, though, it's for cigarillos. Does anyone recall ever seeing Bogie smoke one?




Yes, Mr. Gershwin was doing it too




Carole Lombard is the image of elegance here. She's also recommending Lucky Strike from the viewpoint of making it easier for her singing voice. If anyone heard Miss Lombard's singing voice it could be viewed as a knock on the cigarette. I guess it was a harder sell for the actress to claim that the cigarettes made her funnier.




This is Jean Harlow, and I'm showing the ad because I think it's just such as appealing image. Looks more like a painting than a photograph.




Marlene Dietrich would hardly be as chic or sophisticated without that Lucky Strike on the end of a cigarette holder




Again, an image of sexy sophistication, this time courtesy Gilda (Rita Hayworth)



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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}They used to say that smoking was good for your T-zone, whatever that is.

Google turned this definition up:



From iVillage beauty: "The T-zone is the part of your face consisting of the forehead, nose and the area around your mouth, including the chin. It is so named because it's shaped like the letter 'T'."


Oil tends to build up in the t-zone, so it's particularly important to exfoliate.
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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}Somehow ALL ABOUT EVE seems to have more smoking than just about any film I can think of. What are some others?

Top of my head I can't think of any specific ones, but I just know I've seen a lot of films like that...multiple people smoking endlessly and sometimes non-stop.


Then there's The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) in the 60's Batman tv series. Burgess said in an interview years ago (which I have on VHS) that he had quit smoking when they wanted him for the show. When producer William Dozier told Burgess they wanted him to always have that cigarette holder for his character, Burgess said he told Dozier "If I start smoking again...I'll sue you!" :D




A good joke in the movie *Batman Returns* is when someone tells The Penguin (Danny DeVito) "Reclaim your birthright!" and sticks a cigarette holder between Penguin's lips...and he spits it out. :D

However...publicity photos (such as the one below) and the poster images depict Penguin with the cigarette holder.



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One of my long time favorites is the Winston commercial that has Fred and Barney from *The Flintstones* ditching yard work to hide behind the garage to have a smoke. But as the show was originally promoted as an animated feature targeted towards ADULTS, it really wasn't out of line for the times.



As a smoker(no lectures, please), seeing all that tobacco use in old films doesn't get too much attention from me. It does appear to me that many of the actors who DO light up don't seem to really inhale, and many extinguish the smokes after a few short puffs anyway. Like how you notice nobody seems to finish a cup of coffee, or eat an entire meal. Yeah, there really wasn't any stigma attached to the partaking in those days, so it wasn't considered a big deal. Maybe there was some new guy on the set that was cool and smoked, and the cast tried it to fit in...






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That's a great commercial with Fred and Barney lighting up...and you're right: the show was actually geared towards adults (it was television's first prime-time animated series). Wilma even lights up in that spot.






You're also correct how, in many old movies depicting smoking, no one ever seems to really inhale...they just keep puffing out clouds of smoke. Same thing applies to those 30's movies depicting marijuana smoking (particularly *Reefer Madness* ), where NO ONE ever inhales and holds it...they waste all that pot by puffing out huge clouds of smoke.





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As a variation on finance's question, I wonder how many actors picked up smoking because of the fact that they had to do it on a movie set.


Hollywood sure had its fair share of nicotine addicts among the acting fraternity, some of whom paid the ultimate price because of that habit.













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The Maltese Falcon has a story related to smoking. Jack Warner was reviewing the takes and complained there was too much smoking going on in the movie and wanted some scenes redone with less smoking. Peter Lorre made a joke to Bogie and Huston something to the effect of how his character was under stress, was 'gay' (he used another term) criminal, had been beaten etc.... of course I'm smoking all the time!'.


No scenes were redone because of smoking.



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