Hollywood loves then it’s celebrity gossip. One of the greatest scandal’s that ever took place, actually ended with the fairy tale ending. The year was 1943, and Tinsel Town was a completely different place than it is today. Hollywood may have been different but its scandals were the same as the ones we have today. The scandal involved a well-established star falling in love with his co-star, who happened to be 25 years his junior. The Bogart/Bacall affair was a scandal that had everything that a Hollywood screenwriter would love but unlike most celebrity marriages, the marriage between Bogart and Bacall actually ended happily until Bogart’s death in 1957. Continue reading Here’s Looking At You: Bogart and Bacall, A True Hollywood Romance
This year Hollywood legend Dame Olivia de Havilland turns 104 – a tribute
Olivia de Havilland first appeared on movie screens 85 years ago.
If you’ve watched her in David O. Selznick’s “Gone with the Wind” (1939) you can’t be faulted if that’s how you remember her – as Melanie. If you haven’t watched her as Melanie, perhaps you should be faulted, after all. She was vital to GWTW’s success.
Remember Mammy pouring out her grief to Melanie as she walks up that staircase in the mournful Rhett-Scarlett household?
Seconds of grumbling. That’s all it took. Unlike the rest of us, Melanie didn’t find it just mildly annoying. She found it unbearable. She saw the world through a clean, clear lens. She wouldn’t let her own dark thoughts – she did have those – or the dark words and actions of others, cloud that lens beyond a point. Continue reading de Havilland: Olivia for all time, Melanie forever
The first Mexican actress to work in Hollywood during the silent era was Dolores Del Rio. Born on August 3, 1904, in Durango, Durango, Mexico, Dolores was born into an elite family raised surrounded by expensive gifts, grand haciendas, where she was treated like a princess. At a very young age, she would be nicknamed “Lolita” by close family and friends. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Dolores Del Rio
Many women have been called “The It Girl” throughout the past century, but it’s Clara Bow that the term was created for. The actress who helped define what it meant to be a flapper in the 1920s played a shop-girl who wins the heart of her employer in the 1927 box office hit “It” and soon was being called “The It Girl.” Bow had “It” in spades: that sex appeal and vivacious charm that defined the modern woman. And yet, for all her success, Bow had a challenging life and struggled with mental health problems. She once said: “All the time the flapper is laughing and dancing, there’s a feeling of tragedy underneath. She’s unhappy and disillusioned and that’s what people sense.” Continue reading Women’s History Month: Clara Bow
Earlier this year, “Miss Americana” (2020) was released on Netflix. The documentary delves into Taylor Swift’s status as “America’s sweetheart” and the pressures it puts on her. What it also shows is how this perception of her sometimes masks what a brilliant businesswoman she is and how she’s built her own empire from the ground up. But Swift isn’t the first curly-haired blonde to be called “America’s sweetheart” and whose impressive business acumen is often overlooked.
Mary Pickford might be best known as the original ingénue and the “girl with the curls,” but she was also a founder of the United Artists film studio and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was one of the most powerful figures in the early days of Hollywood and achieved so much in her eighty-seven years. Not only beautiful and talented, she learned to negotiate pay raises for herself to reflect her wild popularity and became a producer of both her own and other films. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Mary Pickford
Gloria Swanson literally created the concept of a “movie star.” She lived as large and dramatically as the heroines she portrayed. In her career, she saw the birth of film, the introduction of sound and the invention of television. She fearlessly embraced them all, and inspired women around the world with her style and ambition.
Gloria grew up as an Army brat traveling the country with her parents but fell into acting as a teenager when she tried out for work as an extra. She moved to California after her parents divorced and found herself working for Mack Sennett along with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand. Gloria didn’t care for comedy and moved on to work for Cecil B. DeMille at Paramount Pictures. This was the beginning of her transformation into a fashionable trendsetter that captured the imagination of silent film audiences. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Gloria Swanson
What is the first image that comes to your mind upon hearing the term “sex symbol”? Could it perhaps be the famous image of Marilyn Monroe and her billowing white skirt? Could it perhaps be a provocative album cover of Madonna–or even a sensual smirk and devilish eyes on the face of Elizabeth Taylor? What if I told you that sex symbols existed even before some of your grandparents were born; would you have any trouble buying that?
Well, get this, in 1885 an infant, with the name Theodosia Burr Goodman was born. An infant who would grow to be so hauntingly beautiful that a simple glance at a vintage photograph of her could stare at and bury itself into the deepest recesses of your very soul. This woman is none other than Theda Bara: one of America’s most prolific silent film actresses–one of cinema’s first sex symbols. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Theda Bara
Coffee and croissant in hand at sunrise, pearls, a beehive up-do topped-off with a sparkling tiara, over-sized sunglasses—the reflection of a woman in the glass of a jewelry store. A young girl sprawled out on a tree branch over-looking a party she’s not privy to, an off-duty princess taking a rogue scooter disruptively through a town. All of these simple moments are from films that star the iconic Audrey Hepburn. The percentage and likelihood that you have seen her image next to a cheesy inspirational quote or her face on a poster of a college age woman’s dorm room wall is absolutely certain, whether you have seen any film she is in or not. Maybe the quote was an actual quote she coined, maybe not. It is undebatable that Hepburn’s image, stardom, and influence has far outlived her life. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Audrey Hepburn- Still the Classiest
Time can permit legends to eclipse the reality of someone’s life, particularly in Hollywood. Some are unjustly lionized and some greatly disparaged but in the history of film few have been as mischaracterized as Marion Davies. She was a success on stage and screen but her long term relationship with a wealthy, married man and her portrayal in a film loosely based on his life is all that is remembered now.
Born into a wealthy Brooklyn family, Marion started out as a model and then a chorus girl on Broadway. She was then featured in the “Ziegfeld Follies’ which was a hugely popular musical revue that launched many careers at the beginning of the nineteenth century. As she rose in fame as a stage comedienne, the new medium of the “flickers,” or silent film, beckoned. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Marion Davies
In this day and age female screenwriters still face barriers within the film industry. In fact, a study conducted in 2017 found that women represented just 11 per cent of the writers on the United States’ top 250 films. They fared a little better in the world of Television, where they made up 33 per cent of television writers during the States’ 2016-17 season. One has to wonder what the great screenwriter Frances Marion would have to say about these figures.
There’s a high chance that you haven’t heard of Marion, but her screenwriting attributes have had a long-lasting impact on cinema and helped shaped the language of storytelling on the big screen. She wrote the stories and scenarios for over three hundred films in a career that spans from early days of cinema and into the sound era. Her work earned her two Academy Awards for screenwriting. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Frances Marion