Musical Monday: The Merry Widow (1952)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
The Merry Widow (1952) – Musical #237

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Curtis Bernhardt

Starring:
Lana Turner, Fernando Lamas, Una Merkel, Richard Haydn, Thomas Gomez, John Abbott, King Donovan, Robert Coote, Lisa Ferraday, Sujata Rubener, Joi Lansing (uncredited), Gwen Verdon (uncredited)

Plot:
Crystal Radek (Turner) is a rich widow of a man from the kingdom of Marshovia, who left $80 million to his widow. Now living in America, she is invited to Marshovia under false pretenses. The kingdom is in financial distress and has invited her there with hopes that playboy Count Danilo (Lamas) will woo and marry Crystal for her money so the country won’t be annexed to Austria. However, Crystal switches place with her secretary Kitty (Merkel) to see if people will love her for herself.

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Watching 1939: These Glamour Girls

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film:  These Glamour Girls (1939)

Release date:  August 18, 1939

Cast:  Lew Ayres, Lana Turner, Tom Brown, Richard Carlson, Ann Rutherford, Jane Bryan, Marsha Hunt, Anita Louise, Mary Beth Hughes, Owen Davis Jr., Sumner Getchell, Ernest Truex, Peter Lind Hayes, Tom Collins, Gladys Blake (uncredited), Nella Walker (uncredited), Robert Walker (uncredited), Henry Kolker (uncredited)

Studio:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:  S. Sylvan Simon

Plot:
During a night in New York City, drunk, rich college boy Philip S. Griswold (Ayres) and his friends head to a taxi dance hall (where people pay 10 cents a dance to dance with girls who work at the hall). Philip dances with Jane Thomas (Turner) and asks her to the Kingsford College House Parties, an exclusive party where New York debutantes are invited by the college “glamour boys.” When Jane arrives at Kingsford, she isn’t welcomed with open arms.

The female Kingsford House Parties attendees include:
Ann (Hughes): Invited to the House Parties by Greg Smith. Her mother doesn’t think it’s proper that he may not be in the social registry.

Daphne (Louise): Uppity debutante who receives three invites to Kingsford and calls up all the other debutantes to humble brag. Throughout the course of the weekend, she is snobbish to everyone but especially Jane.

Carol (Bryan): Carol is sweet, understanding and comes from a wealthy family whose father has recently lost his money and without servants. To keep up appearances, she pretends to be servants when she answers the phone. Carol was invited by Philip (Ayres) and they are childhood sweethearts, but she is really in love with Joe (Carlson).

Mary Rose (Rutherford): High strung debutante who says she’s a social outcast when she isn’t invited to Kingsford like all the other debutantes. Her mother has to call her usual date Homer (Brown) to invite her.

Betty (Hunt): Betty is older than the other girls at the old age of 23. They called her the prom queen of 1936. She is over the top to get attention.

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Musical Monday: Two Girls on Broadway (1940)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Two Girls on Broadway (1940) – Musical #586

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Alfred E. Green

Starring:
Lana Turner, Joan Blondell, George Murphey, Kent Taylor, Wallace Ford, Richard Lane, Otto Yamaoka, Lloyd Corrigan

Plot:
When Eddie Kerns (Murphey) sells his song and is offered a job to perform it in a show, he calls his girlfriend Molly Mahoney (Blondell) and tells her to join him in New York. Molly Mahoney and her sister Pat (Turner) have been running a dance school in Nebraska, and both go to New York, also hoping to hit it big. The only problem is when they audition for the show Eddie is in, producer Buddy Bartell (Lane) only wants to hire Pat to perform with Eddie.

Trivia:
-Remake of The Broadway Melody (1929)
-Joan Blondell’s first film with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
-Released in Great Britain under the name “Choose Your Partner.”
-The song “Maybe It’s the Moon” by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest was written for the film but not performed.
-Costumes by Dolly Tree
-Produced by Jack Cummings

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Musical Monday: Ziegfeld Girl (1941)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

ziegfeld2This week’s musical:
Ziegfeld Girl” (1941) Musical #126

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Robert Z. Leonard, Busby Berkeley

Starring:
Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, James Stewart, Jackie Cooper, Charles Winninger, Tony Martin, Ian Hunter, Eve Arden, Philip Dorn, Al Shean, Edward Everett Horton, Dan Daily, Fay Holden, Felix Bressart, Rose Hobart, Leslie Brooks (uncredited), Georgia Carroll (uncredited), Joyce Compton (uncredited), Patricia Dane (uncredited), Myrna Dell (uncredited), Jean Wallace (uncredited)

Plot:
Three girls are selected to be in the latest Broadway production of Florenz Ziegfeld:
• Sheila (Turner), a Brooklyn native who is discovered while working on an elevator in a department store
• Susie (Garland), a performer in an act on vaudeville with her father. The only problem is Mr. Ziegfeld only wants Susie and not her dad (Winninger)
• Sandra (Lamarr), who is discovered while she is with her violinist husband (Dorn), who is auditioning for the orchestra.
The film follows the girls as they rise to fame and the trials they face on their way up: alcohol, wooing men who try to take them away from husbands and boyfriends and getting accustomed to more money. They all learn that fame has a great price.

Trivia:
-Florenz Ziegfeld was a famous Broadway producer who died in 1932. He was known for his lavish sets and elaborate costumes that “glorified the American girl.” Ziegfeld is a God-like figure in this film: he is discussed but never seen.

-“Ziegfeld Girl” is one of three films MGM dedicated to Florenz Ziegfeld. This film is a follow up to “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936), a biopic of Ziegfeld starring William Powell as the impresario. “Ziegfeld Girl” is a sequel which shows the life of the Ziegfeld Girls. The third film was “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946), which just showed multiple Ziegfeld-like acts.

-Hedy Lamarr requested to be in this film as a change of pace from her other dramatic roles, according to historian John Fricke.

-Two of the actors in the film were in original Florenz Ziegfeld produced films: Charles Winneger, who was in the original stage production of Show Boat, and Al Shean, who was part of the act Gallagher and Shean. Winninger and Shean recreate one of the Gallagher and Shean numbers in the film.

ziegfeld5

Hedy Lamarr, Judy Garland and Lana Turner in costume for the “Minnie from Trinidad” number

-The production of this film was originally announced in 1938 and was to star Eleanor Powell, Joan Crawford, Margaret Sullivan and Virginia Bruce (who was in The Great Ziegfeld). It was several years before the script was developed and the film was recast with newer talent, according to film historian John Fricke.

-James Stewart’s last film before joining the military to fight in World War II. His next film was “It’s a Wonderful Life” in 1946.

-The finale of “Ziegfeld Girl” edits in multiple numbers from “The Great Ziegfeld.” Judy Garland’s character is dressed in a costume which recreates the “Pretty Girl” number from the 1936 film, on top of the large tower.

-Busby Berkely choreographed the numbers in the film.

-The original finale was going to be “We Must Have Music” with Judy Garland, but it was deleted.

-Judy Garland felt a little inferior to her co-stars. A frequent story she shared was: When Lana Turner came onset, the technicians would whistle. When Hedy would pass through, they would sigh. When Judy came on set they would tell her hello, according to “Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr” by Stephen Michael Shearer.

-“Ziegfeld Girl” was the game changer in Lana Turner’s career, and it led to more serious, dramatic and adult roles. The role was even expanded for Turner during filming.

-Lana Turner was originally supposed to die at the end of the film, according to TCM film historian Robert Osborne. Her death had negative reactions from preview audiences and is now cut to be left ambiguous.

-Model and later wife of Kay Kyser, Georgia Carroll, said in 2008 that Hedy Lamarr was shy and private during the filming. Hedy Lamarr and Judy Garland were friends and Lamarr and Lana Turner were cordial, according to “Beautiful: The life of Hedy Lamarr” by Stephen Michael Shearer.

Publicity still of the costumes from the "You've Stepped Out of a Dream" number

Publicity still of the costumes from the “You’ve Stepped Out of a Dream” number

Highlights:
-Elaborate costumes by Adrian
-Eve Arden’s sassy character

Notable Songs:
-“You Stepped Out of a Dream” performed by Tony Martin
-“Minnie from Trinidad” performed by Judy Garland
-“You Never Looked So Beautiful” performed by the chorus, borrowed by the 1936 film
-“I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” performed by Judy Garland
-“Laugh? I Thought I’d Split My Sides” performed by Judy Garland and Charles Winninger
-“Caribbean Love Song” performed by Tony Martin
-“Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean” performed by Charles Winninger and Al Shean

My review:
In the grand scheme of film history, “Ziegfeld Girl” (1941) may not be very important. It is notable because it gave Lana Turner’s career the boost it needed, landing her in more sophisticated and adult roles. But when it comes to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musicals, this one isn’t even listed in the top 10.

But I love it. “Ziegfeld Girl” may be overly long (with a run time of 2 hours and 12 minutes) and the plot may be rather fluffy, but I think it’s a great example of the lavish luxury that was a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film.

Publicity still of Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr and Judy Garland

Publicity still of Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr and Judy Garland

With the Adrian gowns and themes of fame and newly found wealth, “Ziegfeld Girl” oozes glamour, sophistication and the jewel-encrusted style many people dream about. For some reason, for me, this film holds the definition of MGM glamour more than other well-known MGM films like “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), “The Women” (1939) or “Grand Hotel” (1932).

I think one major reason for this is the “You Stepped Out of a Dream” number where Tony Martin sings as women in elaborate (yet eccentric) costumes walk up and down stairs like goddesses.

After it’s release, Hedda Hopper said that the film is so beautiful that it “makes you ill that it’s not in color.” I can’t say I agree though. While Technicolor would have made “Ziegfeld Girl” even more glorious, I somehow think that black-and-white suits it and glitters more than color would. Color would have almost been too distracting.

The cast of this film is also bursting at the seams. Not only are the leading ladies three of MGM’s most well-known and top stars, the character actors seemingly just keep coming out of the woodwork through the film.

The only thing I don’t love about this film is the finale. Pasting together “Great Ziegfeld” (1936) feels off, though you could look at it as tying it back to the original film and making “Ziegfeld Girl” a true sequel. But that’s a bit of a stretch. It really comes off as lazy, and costume and dance styles had changed so much in five years that it doesn’t fit. However, the originally planned “We Must Have Music” finale is also weak (it’s included on the DVD special features). They would have been better off ending with “Minnie from Trinidad.”

I do also enjoy that two original Ziegfeld players- Charles Winninger and Al Shean- are included in the film.

I first saw “Ziegfeld Girl” in 2004 or 2005 and I fell in love with it and I still really love this movie. I loved it so much that “ziegfeldgirl1941” was part of my e-mail address at the time. I even tried to convince my mom to play “You Stepped Out of a Dream” when I walked downstairs to my prom date (she refused so this didn’t happen).

If the glamour of this film was a soap or a perfume, I would buy it and wear it. But since it’s not, I did the next best thing. I created Hedy Lamarr’s “Stepped out of a Dream” costume designed by Adrian for this Halloween. I bought the sleeveless white dress but made the rest of the costume- sewing on sleeves, cutting out and gluing silver stars and sequins, using 12 glue sticks to attach the wire with stars on a board on my back (Adrian also used a board on Hedy’s back.) If this 20-hour project doesn’t describe my love for “Ziegfeld Girl,” I’m not sure what does.

My version of Hedy Lamarr's "Dream" costume

My version of Hedy Lamarr’s “Dream” costume

If you love MGM glamour and musicals, I would give this one a watch. I’ll give you fair warning that it’s a bit dramatic in parts, like when Lana Turner’s luck starts to change, but it’s such a fabulous look at MGM in it’s prime.

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Actress beauty tip #29: 1930s eyebrows

This is the twenty-ninth installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested…except for this one.

Jean Harlow with her signature, exaggerated eyebrows.

Jean Harlow with her signature, exaggerated eyebrows.

Eyebrows are the frame work of the face.

Overtime that framework has been defined differently.

The 1940s were more natural and of medium thickness.

In the 1960s were heavy, emphasized with an eyebrow pencil.

But the most dramatic eyebrow look was in the 1930s. Brows were thin with exaggerated height.  Several actresses shaved their eyebrows and drew on their eyebrows. Petroleum jelly or oils were used to give a shiny look on the brow, according to Return to Style.

Jean Harlow’s high arched, drawn on eyebrows became part of her signature style. Greta Garbo plucked her eyebrows thin to follow the arch of her eye socket. Marlene Dietrich shaved off all of the hair and penciled on her brow higher than her natural hairline, according to the Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History.

Some actresses shaved their eyebrow for role and they never grew back:

Lucille Ball dressed as a blond slave in "Roman Scandals" (1933)

Lucille Ball dressed as a blond slave in “Roman Scandals” (1933)

-In her first film appearance “Roman Scandals” (1933), Lucille Ball was asked to shave off her eyebrows. She was playing a slave girl with a long blond wig. Her brows never grew back and she had to pencil them on the rest of her life, according to the Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History.

Lana Turner in "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (1938)

Lana Turner in “The Adventures of Marco Polo” (1938)

-Lana Turner was asked to shave her eyebrows for “The Adventures of Marco Polo” (1938) and had slanted brows were drawn on to give an “Asian look.” Her eyebrows never grew back. She later had false, stick on eyebrows made that she wore for the rest of her life. Her daughter Cheryl Crane said she only saw her mother without her false eyebrows twice, according to the book LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies.

Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth I in "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (1939)

Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth I in “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” (1939)

-For her role as Queen Elizabeth I in “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” (1939), Bette Davis shaved two inches off her hairline at the forehead and her eyebrows off. She said they never grew back properly and had to use an eyebrow pencil, according to IMDB.

To review: Though I have testedmany of all of my beauty tips but I have not shaved off my eyebrows and drawn them back on for this one. However, I think several of us have had that panicked moment of over plucking and fearing they won’t grow back properly. It’s amazing how many actresses had to deal with eyebrow issues for the remainder of their lives due to shaving them off for roles.

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You Stepped Out of a Dream: Fashions of Lana Turner

Nightclubs would play “You Stepped Out of a Dream” as she entered.

Men adored her, including actor William Powell, and showered her with gifts.

Though Lana rarely wore low cut dresses, this fuchsia gown was a favorite.

Though Lana rarely wore low cut dresses, this fuchsia gown was a favorite.

Lana Turner’s glamor, beauty and style made her one of the top film stars from the 1940s through the early 1960s.

Her fashionable presence and perfection of her appearance has left a lasting impression on classic Hollywood fans.

Before Comet has looked at Turner’s beauty regimens such as moisturizing with Nivea or exfoliating with Boraxo soap once a week.

Today we are looking at how Miss Turner dressed.

“She had a presence, style and beauty,” said her daughter Cheryl Crane in her book LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies. “But she was approachable, rather than  film goddesses like Greta Garbo.” (56)

Her clothes and jewelry were her star persona that she used as a shield and felt vulnerable without them, Crane said.

“Her appearance, whether for screen, at home or in public, was always ‘camera ready,’” Crane wrote. “Make up on, hair done-no matter the time or place.” (82)

“I would rather lose a good earring than be caught without make up,” Turner said.

Turner togs:

Crane describes her mother’s lifestyle and interests in the book in detail-including her clothing.

Turner’s closet in her 1950s home was the length of half of their home complete with a platform for fittings, climate controlled closets for furs, jewelry vaults and revolving closets.

When it came to evening dresses, Turner liked form fitting gowns but rarely wore low cut dresses. She preferred wearing all white or all black for a dramatic look that complimented her skin tone and hair. (95) She also liked clean, bright colors such as yellow.

All white and black ensembles were looked dramatic with her coloring

All white and black ensembles were looked dramatic with her coloring

Lana also liked clean, bright colors such as yellow. Here she is in 1942. (182)

Lana also liked clean, bright colors such as yellow. Here she is in 1942. (182)

For professional performances Lana never wore clothing off the rack so that she wouldn’t be copied by department stores. Her casual clothing was tailored as well.

Her favorite designers were Jean Louis and Nolan Miller, later in life.

“More than often she would look at the latest issue of Harper’s Bizarre or Vogue and then put her dressmaker to work on a vision of the styles she liked,” Crane wrote. “Mother’s perfectionism caused trouble during fittings. It was not unheard of for a dressmaker to walk out because she was so detail oriented.” (96)

Lana locks:

When Lana started in Hollywood, her hair was a reddish brown. It was eventually died blond, which it stayed for most of her career. In other films like “Green Dolphin Street” (1947) and “Betrayed” (1954) her hair was brown.

Various Lana Turner hairstyles in the 1940s and 1950s

Various Lana Turner hairstyles in the 1940s and 1950s

Turner’s hairdresser, Helen Young, experimented with up-dos and wove jewels and flowers into her hair, Crane wrote (88).

“It (her hair) was long one moment, short the next,” Crane wrote. “Mother was constantly changing her hair. It was very easy to style.”

Along with jewels, Lana often adorned her head with hats- from flowered pieces to feathers, veils and Spanish influenced mantillas.

“Mom had a face that allowed her to wear any hat,” Crane wrote. (100)

hats

Lana Turner in various hat styles in the 1930s and 1940s.

Finishing touches:

“No dress, however startling, can stand alone,” Lana said.

She coordinated jewelry with outfits and preferred colored jewels to diamonds. (104)

“Even when wearing sweats she had jewelry,” Crane wrote.

Her shoes were by Ferragamo that were designed to match gowns. (96)

When Lana liked a style of shoes, she bought it in ever color. At one point she had 698 shoes. (99)

Fashion copycats and admirers:

On the nightclub scene in a white evening gown in the 1940s.

On the nightclub scene in a white evening gown in the 1940s.

It wasn’t just men who admired Lana.

Though Ginger Rogers wrote in her autobiography that Eva Peron copied her style in the 1930s, Cheryl Crane wrote that Peron was fascinated with Lana.

“Eva Peron copied fashions and a number of unique hairstyles for which mother was known for,” Crane said. (177)

The fascination made it awkward for Turner when she visited Argentina in 1946.

“Customs seized all of her jewelry and held her up for hours,” she wrote. “She learned that every piece was photographed to be copied later.”

Another notable person fascinated with Lana was artist Salvador Dali-but he was only obsessed with the corners of her eyes, which he wanted to paint. (177)

A legend

Though Lana Turner is one of the most beautiful women in the classic age of Hollywood, she didn’t think so.

“It’s interesting that mother never thought of herself as beautiful,” Crane wrote. “To her, the great beauties were brunettes.”

Regardless of Turner’s personal opinion of herself, her fashion and beauty made her a one of Hollywood’s ethereal and beautiful stars.

Source:

“Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies” by Cheryl Crane

This is part of Fashion in Film blogathon by Hollywood Revue Blog.

Fashion in Film blogathon hosted by our friends at Hollywood Revue Blog

Fashion in Film blogathon hosted by our friends at Hollywood Revue Blog

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Loves of Lana

For Valentine’s Day, I want to pay tribute to an actress who liked to love and be loved. Her daughter Cheryl Crane said Lana would describe love as “heels-over-chin, pinwheels-on-fire in love.” She was once quoted as saying, “I think men are exciting, and the gal who denies that men are exciting is either a lady with no corpuscles or a statue.”

Lana Turner was classy about her past relationships when they got married. Crane says, “There were past beaux, like Tony (Martin), who she later came to adore as part of a couple. George Montgomery and Dinah Shore, Robert and Rosemary Stack, James and Gloria Stewart, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and Tony and Cyd (Charisse) were some of Mother’s favorite married couples. They were friends she thought were perfectly matched. Once a former boyfriend became part of what she saw as a great couple, she downplayed her pas with him.”

Cheryl Crane provides a long list of men that Lana had in her life in her book “LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies,” but explains that several of them were just dates, friends and not all of them went past kisses  goodnight.

Wayne Morris: Morris was a good looking, stocky Warner Brothers player who ended up being a highly decorated World War II flyer. Lana said Wayne Morris was her first big crush when she was under contract to Mervyn LeRoy.

Lana and Ronald Regan in 1937

Ronald Reagan: Reagan was Lana’s first studio arranged romance at Warner Brothers. The two started at the studio around the same time. Crane says the most the two did together was go horseback riding. When Reagan became president, she had a hard time thinking of “that young guy from Warners” as the president.

Don Barry: Barry played one of the interns in “Calling Doctor Kildare” (1939) with Lana, who plays a bad girl in the movie. He wasn’t Lana’s type because he wasn’t much taller than she was, but Crane said they had a good time together.

Lana and Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney: Lana and Mickey Rooney met in 1938 and starred together in “Love Finds Andy Hardy” (1938). Like several other pretty young starlets, the Andy Hardy series helped launch Lana’s career. In 1991, Mickey Rooney published an autobiography that said he and Lana had a love affair resulting in pregnancy and an abortion. Crane said Lana was furious and denied it. Lana called her attorney and wanted to fight Rooney’s statements, which Crane said wasn’t like her mother at all. Whenever something untrue was printed about Lana she said to ignore it because fighting brought more attention to yourself. In the end, it is a story of he said, she said.

Robert Stack:  Robert Stack and Lana dated on and off during the 1930s and 1940s, mostly in between Lana’s more serious relationships. Stack fought in the Navy during World War II and while on leave, visited Lana on the set of “Keep Your Powder Dry.”

Lana and Greg Bautzer

Greg Bautzer: Bautzer was Lana Turner’s first love. She was 17 and he was an attorney and ladies’ man. Bautzer proposed to Lana, but he was also dating Joan Crawford at the time. Crawford confronted Lana saying she and Bautzer were getting married and that Lana should get lost. However, Bautzer didn’t marry either woman. Lana stayed friends with Bautzer on a professional basis but never was romantically involved with him again. She later said, “I learned how to be hurt from Greg.”

Lana and Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw (Husband #1):  Lana and Artie Shaw met on the set of “Dancing Co-Ed” and the couple did not hit it off. She fond him to be arrogant and too serious and he thought she was a brainless star.     Regardless, he asked her on dates and she turned him down. Shaw happened to call one evening after Greg Bautzer stood her up, so she said yes. Shaw wooed her by driving down to Santa Monica and talking about his life philosophies. That same night, on Feb. 13, 1940, the two flew to Las Vegas and got married. According to Crane, Lana soon realized she married a stranger-she wasn’t even aware that he had been married twice before, but she tried to make the marriage work.    However, Shaw tried to change Lana.
“He was only interested in trying to change me completely,” she said.
The couple fought constantly and were only married for four months and 11 days-from Feb. 1940 to Sept. 1940. He wouldn’t part with a piano Lana’s mother had given them, so she took his clarinet.
During the divorce proceedings, Lana found out she was pregnant, but Shaw said he didn’t believe it was his baby. She decided to get an abortion and Shaw didn’t stop her.

Lana and Victor Mature

Victor Mature: Lana and Victor Mature dated in 1941 before Mature started a serious relationship with Rita Hayworth. They later starred together in the horrible World War II movie, “Betrayed” (1954).

Lana and Tony Martin

Tony Martin:  Before marrying Cyd Charisse in 1948 and after divorcing Alice Faye in 1940, Tony Martin dated Lana after meeting her in “Ziegfeld Girl” (1941). The couple was engaged to be married for a short time and Lana had several piece of jewelry that were engraved from Martin, Crane said.

Gene Krupa: Lana was a music lover, something that drew her to Artie Shaw.  Crane said she enjoyed late night jam sessions and dated several popular musicians of the 1940s.  Some of these include drummer Buddy Rich, clarinetist Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey- who once gave her a trombone engraved “Lana, Happy New Year, The Boys in the Band.”  She dated Gene Krupa, while he was in the middle of of a divorce. But the main thing that scared her away was his marijuana use, Crane said.

George Montgomery: Lana and George Montgomery dated before he married Dinah Shore in 1943. Montgomery was also engaged to Hedy Lamarr before going over seas to fight in World War II. Lamarr married John Loder while Montgomery was away.

Publicity still of Lana and Robert Taylor in “Johnny Eager” (1941)

Robert Taylor: Lana and Robert Taylor starred together in “Johnny Eager” (1941) and Crane said their chemistry was electric: “these two beautiful people got carried away during the filming.”  This was one of the few times Lana ever got involved with a co-star, Crane said.
However, Taylor was married to Barbara Stanwyck at this time so Lana tried to resist, but they “fell into a heavy flirtation.” Stanwyck heard about it and headed down to the set to tell Lana hands off. Taylor told Lana he was going to leave Stanwyck for her and Lana backed off completely after that, Crane said.

Lana and Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra: Lana dated Frank Sinatra while he was married to Nancy and before and after his marriage to Ava Gardner. However, the two never were involved while Sinatra was married to Ava Garnder-her best friend and his love of his life.

Lana, Stephen Crane and baby Cheryl

Stephen Crane (Husband #2):  Stephen Crane met Lana at the Mocambo night club. He was a struggling actor and said he was a tobacco heir. The two married on July 17, 1942, after knowing each other for a short time.
In 1942, Lana discovered she was pregnant with Cheryl and that their marriage was invalid-he married Lana before his divorce with his first wife was finalized, Crane said.  She got an annulment and didn’t want to take him back, but the couple remarried in July 1943-mainly because Lana didn’t want her child to be illegitimate.
Crane went to fight in the war, but was discharged for foot and back injuries that didn’t let him go overseas. On a trip home to Crane’s hometown in Indiana, Lana found out he was a phony and about a year later she divorced him in Aug. 1944.
He was able to get a few acting jobs, but made his mark in the restaurant business. The couple stayed friends for Cheryl’s sake. Crane said she thinks her father always loved Lana and found several scrap books he had kept of her after he died in 1985.

Lana and John Hodiak

John Hodiak: John Hodiak  unfortunately got mixed up in Lana and Crane’s divorce, Crane said. Lana made up a story about dating another man to get Stephen Crane to divorce her, and the name she blurted out was John Hodiak-her  “Marriage was a Private Affair” (1944) co-star. Crane said Lana never spoke of Hodiak except that she felt bad that she had used him to end her marriage.

Lana and Turhan Bey

Turhan Bey: Turhan Bey and Lana dated shortly after she separated from Stephen Crane. However, Bey’s mother didn’t approve of Lana so the romance ended, Crane said.   Bey never married.  Crane ran into Bey at a party 50 years after the romance ended and he asked about Lana calling her the love of his life. He wanted to take her out to dinner, but Lana was too ill to accept the invitation but was touched by his remarks.

Lana and Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes: Howard Hughes dated Lana Turner briefly, and Crane believes he would have had a better chance with her if he had dressed neater. Lana’s mother got to know him as he would wait for Lana to get ready and mother would him Hughes’s pants that were always too long. He helped Lana out after their relationship ended once. In 1949, she suffered a miscarriage and wanted her mother with her. Lana’s mother called Hughes and he chartered a flight for her and even rode along to make sure she got there okay.

Lana and Peter Lawford

Peter Lawford: Crane thinks Peter Lawford was more attracted to Lana than she was with him. They dated in the mid-1940s and were also dating other people at the same time.

Lana and Robert Hutton

Robert Hutton: Robert Hutton and Lana stared dating while she was making “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”  The gossip columnists closely watched the couple, but he was not Lana’s main focus. She went on a trip to South America and when she returned in 1946 he was married to model Cleatus Caldwell.

Lana and Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power: Lana said Tyrone Power was the love of her life. She had been an acquaintance of his, but he was married to Annabelle. In 1946, he and Annabelle separated. He invited Lana over for a cocktail and kissed her goodnight, which Crane said made Lana weak in the knees. Lana and Tyrone were separated due to filming, but she flew to Mexico to see him for New Year’s. Tyrone’s divorce was granted and Lana was hoping the they could get married.  She also was thrilled to find out she was pregnant but Tyrone didn’t share her sentiments.
Tyrone went on a 12 week airplane trip he had been planning and Lana threw him an extravagant party. While he was gone, she let him know that she decided to get an aboration.
When he returned they did not resume their relationship. He heard she had been seen with Frank Sinatra and he admitted to her that he had fallen in love with actress Linda Christian. Crane said their split always hurt Lana.

Lana and Bob Topping

Bob Topping (Husband #3): Bob Topping quickly popped into the picture after Tyrone Power was out. Topping was a millionaire who wooed Lana with expensive gifts. The couple got married in April 1948, and it was Lana’s first big wedding and went on a five month honeymoon. Lana enjoyed the lavish rich lifestyle, Crane said.  In 1949, Lana got pregnant but the child was stillborn.
Topping had faults such as drinking and gambling. He was on an allowance and Lana ended up paying several of the bills and the couple would fight about money. Lana’s mother told her, “You can’t afford to keep a millionaire.” They divorced in 1952.

Lana and Fernando Lamas

Fernando Lamas:  Fernando Lamas and Lana made “Merry Widow” together in 1951. It was a stormy romance, and they fought a good bit. Lamas was jealous, particularly if Lana danced with someone else. The fight that ended it was at a Marion Davies party in 1952. Lamas and Lana were at a table with Arlene Dahl and husband Lex Barker, and Esther Williams and her husband Ben Gage, Crane said. Barker wanted to dance with Lana and she said yes. Lamas was fuming and an arguement that night ended their romance. Ironically, Lamas later married both Arlene Dahl and Esther Williams and Lana married Lex Barker.

Lana and Lex Barker

Lex Barker (Husband #4):  Lex Barker and Lana started dating in the spring of 1952, after Lex and Arlene Dahl divorced. The two traveled across Europe together. Barker and Lana married in Sept. 1953, in Italy. Lana wanted another child and became pregnant again but again lost the child for a third time, Crane said.
Barker and Lana traveled a good bit, which Cheryl Crane said she liked.  Barker would sexually abuse Cheryl, and she finally confided in her grandmother. When Lana’s mother told her what Barker had been doing, Lana ordered him out of her house. Barker said, “Whatever your daughter told you, it’s a lie,” but Lana hadn’t mentioned Cheryl.
Their marriage ended in 1957 and he died in 1973. At the time Lana said, “It wasn’t soon enough.”

Lana and Johnny Stompanato

Johnny Stompanato: ‘John Steele’ began sending flowers to her in 1957. When she found out his real name and that he was trouble, she was in too deep with the relationship. He was a body guard to mobster Mickey Cohen and known for draining wealthy women’s money, Crane said. The more Lana learned about him, the more dangerous the relationship got, but she thought she could handle it. Stompanato traveled with her while she filmed movies and her make-up artist once had to cover bruises on her face. Crane said Lana was frightened.
Cheryl was home for Easter vacation when Lana told her about Sompanato’s attacks, and Lana said she was going to get rid of him. Cherly heard them arguing and in a panic grabbed a knife off the counter, planning to scare him off. Cheryl stood outside and listened, Lana opened the door and Stompanato was about to hit Lana. Cheryl stepped forward and he ran into her knife.
“There is no gentle way to put it: at the age of 14, I stabbed and killed John Stompanato, my mother’s boyfriend, during an episode of physical abuse,” Cheryl Crane said. “Mother and I both attempted to set the record straight in our respective autobiographies.”
Lana and Cheryl were taken to the police department and gave their statements. Cheryl was booked on suspicion of murder and taken to juvenile hall. The coroner’s inquest was broadcast live. Stompanato’s murder was ruled justifiable homicide and Cheryl was released to the custody of her grandmother.
Crane said the events that occurred over Good Friday weekend in 1958 were forever mentioned when Lana or Cheryl were mentioned in the news, regardless of the topic.
“I took a life and that is something that remains with me always,” Crane said. “By it is a nightmare that my family and I lived through together and survived.”

Lana and Fred May

Fred May (Husband #5): Crane said Lana was fonder of Fred May than any of her other of her other husbands. May reminded Lana of Tyrone Power, but she wasn’t ready to get married yet. They lived together for a year and then married in November 1960 when Cheryl left reform school. May fell in love with Lana the person, not the star and made her feel like she was loved for herself.  There wasn’t a tangible reason why the couple split up in 1962, Crane said, but they remained friends until his death in 1964.

Lana and Robert Eaton

Robert Eaton (Husband #6): Robert Eaton was part of a new set of friends that Lana hung around with in the mid-1960s. He was 10 years younger than she was, but Lana and Eaton married in Virginia in 1965.  Crane believed Eaton was an opportunist using her mother, but Lana didn’t want to listen. Lana went abroad to shoot a film, and when she returned she found Eaton with another woman. They divorced in 1969.

Lana in Ronald Dante

Ronald Dante (Husband #7): Lana went to popular 1960s night stops and met Ronald Dante at the “Candy Store.” Crane said, “Dante had long hair, rode a motorcycle and worked as a nightclub hypnotist.” The couple got married in May 1969. Crane said she thinks Lana married Dante because he made her feel young. However, he stole from her and they divorced in 1972. “Husband six and seven are best left unmentioned,” Lana said.

Which is your favorite Lana romance or Lana husband? I think mine might be Fred May and Tyrone Power. Let us know!

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Actress beauty tip #9: Red, red lips

This is the ninth installment of my monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have tested.  This month I’m actually on time!

Rita Hayworth wore Max Factor Rose Red. Lana Turner wore Elizabeth Arden’s Victory Red.

Rita Hayworth in Max Factor lipstick ad

The 1940s and 1950s was a time of minimal eye make-up and concentration on the lips.  Popular lip colors during the 1940s were pink red, bright red, cherry red or deep red, according to a 20s-to-40s make-up guide.

Rita Hayworth in particular was known for her red lipstick, along with her long red finger nails. The lipstick was a style constant from the 1930s to the 1960s for Hayworth. She was also involved in a 1949 Max Factor lipstick advertising campaign. Hayworth’s lips were even voted the best in the world by the Artist’s League of America.

Bright red lipstick looks beautiful on many other actresses including Betty Grable, Linda Darnell and Gene Tierney.

However, I think the bright reds are a hard look to pull off today. I’m not sure why people of the 1940s and 1950s look naturally better with bright red lipstick than people today. Maybe it’s their complexion. Maybe its because we emphasize eyes more with liner, mascara and shadow now.

But red lipstick is so enticing. It makes you feel powerful, feminine and glamorous. I bought two Maybelline lipstick shades on a whim: Are You Red-dy and Peachy Scene.

Though I’ve worn red lipstick out, I look horrible. I don’t really know anyone who looks good with red lipstick. It either doesn’t go with their skin tone or they put on gobs of lipstick without bothering to blot it.

To review: Red lipstick may look great on Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth in the 1940s, but its hard to recreate this pin-up look while looking fabulous at the same time. I personally look better in peach and pink shades. Approach bright shades of red lipstick with caution.

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Island of misfit Christmas movies

 

Stanyck, Bondi, MacMurray, Patterson and Holloway in “Remember the Night”: My favorite Christmas movie

Tis the season for Christmas posts. For these last five days before Christmas, I’m going to try to post several posts. Probably not every day, but at least throughout the week.

This post deals with two things my family and I love combined together: Christmas and movies.

For at least the past 22 years, it’s a Christmas family tradition for us to watch “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964), “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) and “A Garfield Christmas” (1987) on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Of course we also watch classic holiday films such as “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947), “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), “White Christmas” (1954), “Christmas in Connecticut” (1945) and “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946); just to name a few.

But instead of doing a worn out review of all of these wonderful classic films, I want to highlight some holiday films that are sometimes forgotten by the general public:

 

Rogers and Niven celebrating the New Year in “Bachelor Mother”

Bachelor Mother (1939):

I always forget this is a Christmas movie and I bet you do too. Polly Parish (Ginger Rogers) is working as a sales girl in a department store during the Christmas holidays. One day she finds a baby on the steps outside an orphange and picks it up before it rolls down the stairs. No one believes that it isn’t her’s and she is forced to take it home.  The store owner, J.B. Merlin (Charles Cobern) and his son David (David Niven) make sure that Polly doesn’t get rid of her baby, all during the Christmas season. To review: I love movies with babies and this is a very funny movie. My favorite part is when Rogers and Niven go out to celebrate the New Year.

Beyond Christmas (original title: Beyond Tomorrow) (1940): Last year, I had my mother tape this movie and we randomly watched it in the middle of the summer. This is one of my favorite Christmas movies. The movie stars Harry Carry, C. Aubrey Smith and Charles Winninger as three old bachelors who live together. Every Christmas they drink their Tom and Jerry’s and do nothing more.  But this year, the men decided to invite strangers off the street for Christmas dinner. The strangers (Jean Parker and Richard Carlson) eventually fall in love. The three old men die shortly after Christmas in a plane accident, but their ghosts help bring the couple together and work through rough times.  To review: It’s a really heartwarming, cute film. The whole thing might not take place during Christmas, but it reflects the spirit of Christmas.

 It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947): I only just saw this movie last Christmas and think it is really charming. McKeever the hobo (Victor Moore) lives in wealthy folks mansions when he knows they are away in another home. He invites recently evicted Jim Bullock (Don DeFore) and Bullock’s homeless army buddies to stay in millionaire Jim O’Connors (Charles Ruggles) mansion for the Christmas season. O’Connor and his daughter and ex-wife (Gail Storm and Ann Harding) come back to their mansion after family problems and live amongst the homeless folks, never telling them their real identity. To review: Its a really cute movie and also rather funny. Charles Ruggles and Ann Harding are perfect in it, and Victor Moore always plays the best absent-minded characters.

Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938): Mickey Rooney usually drives me bananas, but I really enjoy the Andy Hardy movies and this is my favorite.  Christmas doesn’t come without crisis for the Hardy family.  Mom Hardy has to go take care of sick grandma and Andy is swamped with girls:
– Polly Benedict (Ann Rutherford) is going away for the holidays leaving Andy without a date for the Christmas dance
– Andy Hardy agrees to take Beezy’s girl, Cynthia Potter, (Lana Turner) to a dance to discourage other dates
-Betsy Jenkins (Judy Garland) comes back to Carvel a grown up woman.
All the women causes a lot of confusion and crazy Mickey Rooney moments.  The Hardy’s are worried mom won’t be able to come home for Christmas, but in the end it all works out. Andy gets his date to the dance, Betsy sings and mom makes it home on Christmas Eve. To Review: It’s a really cute movie, and a chance to see Judy Garland treated like a young woman rather than a child. It’s also fun to see three of Andy’s love interests all in one movie.

Remember the Night (1940): A couple of years ago, Turner Classic Movies premiered this Preston Sturges film. With the release of the DVD last year, it’s gaining popularity, but still isn’t up to par with other Christmas classics. Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck) steals an expensive diamond bracelet and is on trial only a few days before Christmas. Prosecuting lawyer John Sargent (Fred MacMurray) postpones the trial until after Christmas, since it is hard to get a jury to convict someone as guilty before Christmas. John hates to see Lee spend Christmas in jail so offers to for her to stay with his mother (Beulah Bondi), aunt (Elizabeth Patterson) and farm hand (Sterling Holloway) in Indiana.  To review: This is my favorite Christmas movie. The two old women together bickering is adorable, Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck have fantastic chemistry and Sterling Holloway offers a lot of comic relief.

Hattie McDaniel putting the presents under the tree that General Hilton sent to her in “Since You Went Away”

Since You Went Away(1944): 

This is a World War II movie that takes place on the American home front. The film follows a year with the Hilton family: Ann (Claudette Colbert), Jane (Jennifer Jones) and Brig (Shirley Temple) as they struggle with their father away at war, rationing and taking in boarders. The whole movie isn’t a Christmas movie, only at the very end. The family has a Christmas party with friends and a few soldiers. They play games and try to forget that their father isn’t there to join in the fun and some loved ones were killed in the war. But in the end, they get the best Christmas present they could ever ask for. To review: This is sort of like “Meet Me in St. Louis”: The whole thing isn’t a Christmas movie, but can be considered a Christmas movie. It’s one of my all time favorite films. I think that it really shows the true Christmas spirit and what is imporant at Christmas: family.

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Actress Beauty Tips #4: Nivea moisturizing

This is the fourth installment of our monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about AND tested.

Lana Turner in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946)

Lana Turner was one of the most beautiful women in films, and she also had flawless skin. For being rich and glamorous, Lana had surprisingly modest beauty regiments.

Along with using inexpensive Boraxo powdered soap as an exfoliant, Lana used Nivea Creme lotion to moisturize. According to her daughter Cheryl Crane’s book “LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies,” Lana used the creme right after she got out of the shower to keep her skin soft, flawless and smooth. Marilyn Monroe also used Nivea Creme.

In some posts I give a “how to” portion but there is really no rhyme or reason on how to use Nivea. From what Crane says in the book, Lana would apply the creme all over her body right after getting out of the shower.

I started using Nivea in December after reading Lana used it and think that it is better than any other moisturizer or lotion that I have ever used. I have an issue with very dry ankles, elbows and knees and no other lotion has made them as smooth as Nivea does.

I will say, Nivea Creme is rather thick and sticky. It takes a little longer than a regular lotion to rub in and also takes longer to wash off of your hands. However, it will last all day once you put it on. I even feel like it helps reduce leg shaving.

I use the traditional Nivea Creme along with a Nivea chapstick and Nivea Soft, which is the same as Nivea Creme, just lighter and less thick and sticky.

To review: Ask anyone I know, I call Nivea the miracle lotion. I am a huge fan. I figured if Lana used it, it had to be good and I was right.

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