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Vanity in Hollywood


speedracer5
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In the Ann Sheridan thread, one of Sheridan's peers, Alexis Smith was brought up.  It was mentioned that Smith's height (5'9) was a disadvantage in Hollywood.  Due to vanity and maintaining an image for their male stars, many studios were reluctant to cast tall actresses to co-star with their male stars of more modest height.  She was cast more frequently with taller actors like Errol Flynn, William Holden and Cary Grant.  However, when paired with actors like Humphrey Bogart, who was about 5'8ish, she was either forced to wear flats, Bogart would wear lifts and/or in scenes where they are sitting, Bogart's seat has an extra cushion underneath to make him appear taller.

 

In Easter Parade, Fred Astaire (whom I'm guessing was about 5'7-5'8) and the very petite Judy Garland go to see Ann Miller's performance.  5'7 Miller, when dancing and singing solo is wearing heels.  At the conclusion of her song, she goes behind the curtain for a second and then comes out and invites Astaire on stage.  It is very obvious that she is now wearing flats. 

 

Not movie related, but in I Love Lucy, many tactics are used to make Desi Arnaz look much taller than Lucille Ball.  I'm going to speculate that Arnaz was no more than an inch or two taller than Ball.  However, in the show, Arnaz often wears stacked Cuban heels, while Ball, more often than not, is wearing flats.  If Ball wore heels, they were no more than an inch or two and if Ball were going to wear heels, it is certain that Arnaz will be in his stacked heels, otherwise, Ball would tower over him.  In the first two seasons (when the Ricardos own that ugly paisley printed loveseat), in scenes where Arnaz and Ball are sitting next to each other, it is very obvious that Arnaz is sitting on a cushion covered in the same material as the couch. 

 

What other movies do you know of where lengths were taken to preserve an actor's vanity?

 

(Whether it was height related, the actor only liked one side of their face, actor needed heavy makeup to cover disfigurement, etc.)

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In the Ann Sheridan thread, one of Sheridan's peers, Alexis Smith was brought up.  It was mentioned that Smith's height (5'9) was a disadvantage in Hollywood.  Due to vanity and maintaining an image for their male stars, many studios were reluctant to cast tall actresses to co-star with their male stars of more modest height.  She was cast more frequently with taller actors like Errol Flynn, William Holden and Cary Grant.  However, when paired with actors like Humphrey Bogart, who was about 5'8ish, she was either forced to wear flats, Bogart would wear lifts and/or in scenes where they are sitting, Bogart's seat has an extra cushion underneath to make him appear taller.

 

In Easter Parade, Fred Astaire (whom I'm guessing was about 5'7-5'8) and the very petite Judy Garland go to see Ann Miller's performance.  5'7 Miller, when dancing and singing solo is wearing heels.  At the conclusion of her song, she goes behind the curtain for a second and then comes out and invites Astaire on stage.  It is very obvious that she is now wearing flats. 

 

Not movie related, but in I Love Lucy, many tactics are used to make Desi Arnaz look much taller than Lucille Ball.  I'm going to speculate that Arnaz was no more than an inch or two taller than Ball.  However, in the show, Arnaz often wears stacked Cuban heels, while Ball, more often than not, is wearing flats.  If Ball wore heels, they were no more than an inch or two and if Ball were going to wear heels, it is certain that Arnaz will be in his stacked heels, otherwise, Ball would tower over him.  In the first two seasons (when the Ricardos own that ugly paisley printed loveseat), in scenes where Arnaz and Ball are sitting next to each other, it is very obvious that Arnaz is sitting on a cushion covered in the same material as the couch. 

 

What other movies do you know of where lengths were taken to preserve an actor's vanity?

 

(Whether it was height related, the actor only liked one side of their face, actor needed heavy makeup to cover disfigurement, etc.)

 

Wait now, Speedy! An "ACTOR'S vanity"???

 

Look young lady! As long as the vast majority of women in the world continue to highly prize a man's height and use it as some sort of measure as to their "attractiveness", can we REALLY blame those shorter dudes out there(actors or NOT) for feeling this way about being less than 6 feet tall???

 

(...and unfortunately in some cases of course, gettin' those Napoleon Complexes of theirs...yeah, they're the worst, aren't they!) ;)

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Just about any of Alan Ladd's films. I've read that trenches were dug for some of Mr. Ladd's female co-stars to stand in so they would appear shorter. Then there were raised ramps provided for Mr. Ladd to walk onto as he stood next to his co-stars - to make him appear taller. Shane is one film.. you can see it in the camera angles and positioning of actors in some scenes - how Mr. Ladd's height was masked or otherwise visually manipulated through perspective.

 

He didn't have this problem with Veronica Lake - he was 5'6" and she 4'11"

 

Just now as I was looking at some Alan Ladd info, I noticed for the first time.. he was in Citizen Cane (1941). I never noticed. Now I'll have to watch it just for that - an uncredited role at the end (a reporter smoking a pipe).

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Just about any of Alan Ladd's films. I've read that trenches were dug for some of Mr. Ladd's female co-stars to stand in so they would appear shorter. Then there were raised ramps provided for Mr. Ladd to walk onto as he stood next to his co-stars - to make him appear taller. Shane is one film.. you can see it in the camera angles and positioning of actors in some scenes - how Mr. Ladd's height was masked or otherwise visually manipulated through perspective.

 

He didn't have this problem with Veronica Lake - he was 5'6" and she 4'11"

 

Just now as I was looking at some Alan Ladd info, I noticed for the first time.. he was in Citizen Cane (1941). I never noticed. Now I'll have to watch it just for that - an uncredited role at the end (a reporter smoking a pipe).

I read that in a film Ladd made with 5'8 Sophia Loren, she had to walk in the trench so he'd appear taller.

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hamradio's photo reminded me that Vivien Leigh was very self-conscious of her hands, thinking they were overly large.  She apparently tried to find ways of making them appear smaller in movies, so naturally that's what I look for when watching her.

 

Didn't Natalie Wood always wear a bracelet to hide a scar of some sort?

 

One can only imagine what actresses (and actors, presumably) would have made of high definition!

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Sean Connery wore hairpieces for James Bond roles. William Shatner wore girdles

for some of his Star Trek work.

 

I haven't heard much on contact lenses. Many in the general population wear custom designed or colored lenses.. I wonder how many actors are using them.

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I doubt that it's in short supply.

 

But, we're talking like aging male actors wearing SILK SCARVES around their necks to hide the "wattle", right?

 

Boob jobs, nose jobs and LIPOSUCTION?

 

I found it refreshing that VICTOR MATURE, playing an aging actor(which he WAS) in Peter Sellars' "After The Fox" had that scene where, after shooting a scene where he ran through the streets, and was perspiring, and the rivulet of BLACK HAIR DYE was rolling down his forehead!  His WILLINGNESS to do that seemed to ME to be unprecedented!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Brian Donlevy wore lifts, a hair piece and a girdle

 

Another good example is the feud that George Raft and Bogie had.    Raft complained that Bogie wore lifts.  Bogie did and Raft didn't like that  (but Raft was know to complain about a lot of things).   In Invisible Stripes the two are in a prison shower scene (keep it clean folks!), and when they exit Bogie is a little bit taller than Raft.   Raft complained that Bogie wore lifts in a scene were he was suppose to only be wearing a towel. 

 

(taken from memory so I might be off on a thing of two).

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I read that in a film Ladd made with 5'8 Sophia Loren, she had to walk in the trench so he'd appear taller.

That was BOY ON A DOLPHIN, filmed in Greece, and the trench was dug in the sand of the beach where they were filming. At other times, she had to stand in holes.

 

Ava Gardner had an accident while in Spain filming THE NAKED MAJA. While in a corral with bulls (or something along those lines), she fell off a horse and cut a gash on her face. She had plastic surgery, but despite.reassurances from all, she felt the scar.was visible in her subsequent films, and felt that it ruined her great beauty. Her heavy drinking and partying around this time probably did more to her looks than this scar.

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hamradio's photo reminded me that Vivien Leigh was very self-conscious of her hands, thinking they were overly large.  She apparently tried to find ways of making them appear smaller in movies, so naturally that's what I look for when watching her.

 

Didn't Natalie Wood always wear a bracelet to hide a scar of some sort?

 

One can only imagine what actresses (and actors, presumably) would have made of high definition!

 

Yes, she had broken one of her wrists while filming as a child and always wore a bracelet on that arm to hide it.........

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In "Casablanca," Humphrey Bogart also wore lifts to act alongside Ingrid Bergman.  Bogart would also sit on pillows when seated next to Bergman or Bergman was forced to slouch. 

 

Bing Crosby who was bald (or going bald?) hated wearing a toupee and so would look for roles that allowed him to wear hats.

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Okay while researching Bing and his love of hats (to make sure what I remembered hearing was true) I found a picture of my beloved Gene Kelly with a receding hairline! I never knew he wore a toupee.  That is amazing to me, only because his toupee never moved when he was doing all the strenuous dancing.

maturecasual.JPG

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Sepia said about Victor Mature: the rivulet of BLACK HAIR DYE was rolling down his forehead!  His WILLINGNESS to do that seemed to ME to be unprecedented!

 

I felt exactly the same way when seeing POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE for the first time a few months ago....

 

The scene of Shirley MacLaine as an aging celebrity in the hospital with ZERO make up (well, possibly only powder to keep her face from shining too much under the lights) and her hair tightly pulled back. She quickly "made up" including fake eyelashes & a wig for the waiting press in the scene.

 

I found that extremely brave of MacLaine, showing us what she truly looks like. (I love her!)

 

It was a perfect example of how "fake" a celebrities appearance is, the entire point of the story, imho.

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