Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pamela Tiffin ~ One, Two, Three (1961)

I associate Billy Wilder with intelligent comedies that may or may not invovle cross-dressing. He had an amazing way of exploring serious issues with humor and after watching the Cold War comedy One, Two, Three (1961), Wilder is becoming one of my favorite directors of all-time.

While I am writing about this film for my Pamela Tiffin series, I would be remiss to not point out that this is James Cagney's film through and through. He was a pint-sized fireball of... fire and he steals the show! His energy is off the charts and the theme music, Sabre Dance by Khachaturyan (click to play), matches his vitality. This film is also filled with a diverse selection of lively characters all with charming idiosyncracies that keep us holding our stomachs as we burst out laughing.

Cagney plays MacNamara is the head of Berlin's Coca-Cola factory who has his sights on a big position in London. His employees are all Gestapo-trained Germans who click their heels and stand up at attention much to MacNamara's very American dismay. His wife Phylis is a wise-cracking dame fed up with life in Berlin and MacNamara is also courting hot bilingual secretary Ingeborg (and is using her as bait to woo potential Russian business). MacNamara's boss in Atlanta, Georgia sends his daughter to stay with the MacNamaras in Berlin. This is when things get hilariously complicated and MacNamara finds himself in a jam when the daughter marries a Russian communist.

Pamela Tiffin's character Scarlett Hazeltine is really superb. Tiffin is in prime form as the ditzy hot-blooded Southern belle who rebels against her parents by falling in love with any boy in sight. After being engaged 3 times, her parents send her off to Europe which in her case is like putting fox in a chicken coop. Scarlett has a charming Southern accent, says "marvy" whenever she can and thinks it's cute that she secretly married a Russian communist. I love how Scarlett gets so excited that her man is an anti-American propaganda spouting subversive. Wonderful!

Scarlett: Tell him about the wedding rings...
Otto: Forged from the steel of a brave cannon that fought in Stalingrad.

I leave you now with the film's homage to Cagney's most iconic image. See if you can guess what I'm referring to.

MacNamara: How would you like a little fruit for dessert?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pamela Tiffin ~ Harper (1966)

This is the first in a short series about '60s actress Pamela Tiffin, with whom I have a developing fascination.

Harper (1966) is cool. Cool is the best word I can use to describe it. This adjective can be applied to the story, Paul Newman, Pamela Tiffin, the set decor, the designs, the clothes, the cars and the locales. Lew Harper (Paul Newman) is a cool private detective who has been having some bad luck lately. His wife Susan (Janet Leigh) wants nothing to do with him and business as a detective has been kind of slow. His lawyer-friend Albert Graves (Arthur Hill) gets him a juicy job searching for Richard Sampson, the missing husband of an invalid millionairess (Lauren Bacall). Harper sets out to look for the drunk millionaire along with playboy pilot Alan (Robert Wagner) and Sampson's hot daughter Miranda (Pamela Tiffin). Harper encounters a medly of strange characters along the way, including Julie Harris as an addict and Shelley Winters as an out of work entertainer, and finds out the sordid details of Sampson's life and the people in it.

Pamela Tiffin's role as Miranda is vastly different from the ditzy brunette roles of the other films I've seen of hers. Miranda Sampson is a bitter and jaded rich girl. She's had a difficult relationship with her father who had an obsession with money, women and booze. Her daddy issues prevent her from having healthy relationships with men. Lawyer Albert Graves is in love with her but she keeps him at arms length only until she needs him. Cool detective Lew Harper is new and exciting and she keeps chasing him even though he rejects her advances everytime. Then there is playboy Alan. Their relationship is purely physical, a way for both of them to pass the time in their otherwise boring lives.

Like most jaded rich characters, Miranda enjoys pushing boundaries and testing people. There is a numbness that comes with privilege and Miranda is desperate for something, anything that will awaken her senses. Driving fast cars and toying with people are among her hobbies. Her step-mother is a constant target of a barrage of insults which are fired right back at her. Miranda needles Harper about his impending divorce and he delivers the great line You've got a way of starting conversations that end conversations.

Pamela Tiffin also tests the limit of gravity by dancing to some cheesy '60s music on a diving board. Now I leave you with some pictures from the film of this breathtakingly beautiful actress. Enjoy...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Killers (1946) @ the Brattle

I finally got an opportunity to take my mother to The Brattle Theatre yesterday. They had a 1 pm screening of the classic film noir The Killers (1946) and not only did it work for both of our schedules, neither of us had seen this gem and getting to watch it on the big screen was a treat.

For every 1 classic film I watch, my mother watches 3. She's just the consumate consumer of old movies and she gave up Mexican telenovelas permanently to catch flicks on Turner Classic Movies. We both approach classic films in different ways. My mother watches, enjoys, discards and moves on to the next film. I, however, pore over minute details, do research and try to stretch out the film experience as much as I can. I think we both get different things out of classic films but bond over our mutual love for them.

So on Saturday I took my mom to Harvard Square, where we had a quick lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and picked up coffee and macaroons at a new coffee joint. We headed over to the theater to pick up our tickets.

I directed my mom up to my favorite seats in the theater (balcony, last row, far right corner) and we did some pre-show bonding as she snacked on some popcorn.

When the lights dimmed, we were in for a treat. The Killers (1946) is an engrossing and suspenseful film noir. Burt Lancaster plays Swede, a former boxer and con artist who is killed by two hit men. Insurance investigator James Riordan (Edmond O'Brien) traces the complex trail of clues to piece together the events that led up to Swede's murder. Swede had been caught up with femme fatale Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner) and various other con artists in a heist that went terribly wrong, in the way that heists do in film noirs. I highly recommend this film to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Mom's reaction to the movie in her own words: It was good. Very suspenseful. It was interesting that they start with the murder and worked backwards.

After the film, we headed back to my car which required a subway trip outbound (parking in Harvard Square is a nightmare!). Funny enough, I saw my favorite T guy at the station. I introduced him to my mom and he was gracious enough to let us through for free! Come to find out, he's a big film fan and watches old movies on AMC and TCM! Us classic film fans are everywhere I guess.


If you live in the Boston area, make sure you check out The Brattle Theater if you haven't already done so. Here are some upcoming showings that film noir enthusiasts will want to see.

The Killers (1946) - 4 showings today Sunday April 18th
Criss Cross (1949) - 2 showings Tuesday April 21st
Phantom Lady (1944) - 2 showings Tuesday April 21st
The File on Thelma Jordan (1950) - 3 showings Thursday April 23rd

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Norma Shearer ~ The Athlete

Carrie over at Classic Montgomery just gave me an idea for a post! While most people envision Norma Shearer as a delicate glamour queen, they don't realize that she was somewhat of an athlete. She worked very hard to keep her figure slim and during her time at MGM, she had a personal trainer and was on a strict diet and exercise regimen. Norma got up at the crack of dawn to go out for long jogs and swims. For the film Marie Antoinette (1938), she trained with Agnes de Mille to learn the choreography for the dance sequences. She also played tennis, rode horses and did gymnastics. Later in life when she met and married her second husband, ski instructor Martin Arrouge, she took up skiing.

Here are a couple of pictures of Queen Norma Shearer in action. Enjoy!

Norma was no stranger to a nice bathing suit!

Norma trains with Agnes de Mille

Norma having some fun on the slopes

Norma leaps for the tennis ball.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hot Chick ~ Pamela Tiffin

Female version of the Hot Toddy series...

Name: Pamela Tiffin

Stats: b. 10-13-1942. 24 films including romances and comedies in the early 60s and European exploitation films from the late 60s to the early 70s. She left the business in the mid-70s to raise her family.

Hotness Factors: Gorgeous slender brunette (sometimes blonde) with a face that could dazzle. Her sweet lilting voice is melodic and a bit intoxicating. She's the ditzy girl that drives men wild with desire and confusion. Even the most devoted womanizer turns to absolute mush in her hands.

Dudes She Digged: Married magazine editor Clay Felker in 1962 and divorced in 1969. She was rumored to have dated Pleasure Seekers co-star Gardner McKay. Then she married philosopher Edmondo Danon, with whom she had two kids and they are still married.

For Optimal Hotness Watch:

State Fair (1962) ~ Innocent farm girl makes suave State Fair announcer (Bobby Darin) change his womanizing ways.

The Pleasure Seekers (1964) ~ While in Spain, this all-American good girl makes suave Spaniard (Tony Franciosa) change his womanizing ways.

Come Fly With Me (1963) ~ A ditzy flight attendant makes suave Pilot (Hugh O'Brian) change his womanizing ways.

More on Pamela Tiffin to come...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

TCM's 15th Anniversary ~ Favorite Promos

I've been having fun playing around on Turner Classic Movies' 15th Anniversary celebratory website. You can flip through the timeline and see the promos they have used over the years. I thought it would be fun to list my favorite promos TCM has aired and I would love to hear which ones are your favorites too. My top favorite is the Sunny Side of Life promo which single-handedly introduced me to Edward Hopper's paintings and Chet Baker's music. Click on the picture of that promo for a special treat. Enjoy!

Sunny Side of Life
(I cried when they retired this!)

One Reel Wonders
(the original version)

Darkness After Dawn

Open All Night

Silent Sunday Nights

Private Screenings
(The ending credits)

This Week in Hollywood History

Happy 15th TCM!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ball of Fire (1942) ~ A Recipe for Success


3 Gangsters
1 Hard Nosed Dana Andrews
1 Sexy Barbara Stanwyck
7 Loveable Professors
1 Uptight Maid
1 Tall, Goofy yet Charming Gary Cooper
A few extra bit players with good parts

Script Elements:
A generous helping of Comedy
1 pinch of Drama
A dash of Sex
A sprinkling of 1940's slang
Spoonfuls of good dialogue
Several parts Romance
1 homage to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Silly character names (optional)


Preheat your DVD player.

With a Billy Wilder, a Charles Brackett and a Thomas Monroe, write your script for Howard Hawks' direction. Add generous doses of Comedy. This will provide you with the majority of the plot. Mix by hand while adding pinches of Drama to create interesting tension. When thoroughly combined add the Sex, enough to spice things up but not too much to get us in trouble with the Legion of Decency. Mix in dialogue and generous sprinklings of slang to keep the initial cultural element of proper speech versus 1940's colloquialisms interesting. Spoonfuls of good dialogue are essential to round out the script. Add Romance to please the women in your audience and 1 homage to a classic fairy tale just to make this film unique. For a final touch, add some silly character names just for fun.

Set aside script elements and work on the actors. Start with your character actors. Mix separately those characters who epitomize education, namely the 7 professors. Then add in one uptight maid to prevent those professors from getting too excited. Add Gary Cooper as Prof. Potts to introduce some youthfulness to the mix. Make sure you give him top billing! Now for the characters with street smarts. First you'll need various bit players with charisma. If you have an excellent Garbage-man in the form of Allen Jenkins throw him in! Add your gangsters for some excitement and violence. Now you'll need your leading lady. She needs to ooze sexiness and wit but also be genuine. You can't go wrong with an enchanting Barbara Stanwyck as Sugarpuss O'Shea. You'll notice that when you throw Stanwyck in, chemistry will happen between her and Cooper. You can't make it too easy on the mixture, so right before you are done, throw in Dana Andrews as Joe Lilac to get in the way of their romance. This will keep things flavorful and satisfying.

Turn mixture into a DVD and insert into player. Bake for 1 hour and 51 minutes and enjoy!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Norma Shearer Week was a success!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their support and encouragement with Norma Shearer week. I'm really happy with the results and the feedback. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank a few folks in particular.

Jennifer Z. ~ For being the ultimate Norma Shearer fan!

Jonas @ All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing! ~ For supporting this and all my other crazy ideas.

Kate Gabrielle @ Silents and Talkies ~ For her superb Norma Shearer painting and allowing me to do a guest post for Norma Shearer week on her site.

Carrie @ Classic Montgomery - For helping me with info on Robert Montgomery and his relationship with Norma Shearer. She also posted an ad for A Free Soul on her site.

Laura @ Laura's Miscellaneous Musings - She plugged Norma Shearer Week in her review of Lowell Sherman's Bachelor Apartment (1931).

Thank you goes out to these folks for their encouragement on Twitter and elsewhere:

Wendymoon @ Movie Viewing Girl
Casey @ Noir Girl
Operator 99 @ Allure
Tommy @ Pluck You Too
Cliff @ Vintage Meld -> who Tweeted every post!
Nicole @ Classic Hollywood Nerd
Mercurie @ A Shroud of Thoughts

... and everyone who commented!

Norma Shearer week got some links:

Fox News & Chicago Sun-Times ~ Posted my From Montreal to Hollywood: Norma Shearer's Story.
Large Association of Movie Blogs (L.A.M.B.) ~ My fellow LAMBs (baa) helped me plug Norma Shearer week.
Deliberate Pixel ~ The editor thought Norma Shearer week was going to be on TCM. Oops!
Turner Classic Movies ~ With Norma Shearer week I have a lot more Norma content on this blog, so I submitted my label link Queen Norma Shearer as a fan site for her TCM page and got accepted!

I leave you now with an anecdote from Gavin Lambert's Norma Shearer biography. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 23, 1936. The annual Mayfair Club Ball... It took place in the Garden Room at the Victor Hugo restaurant, a supreme example of Beverly Hills posh, designed like a Roman atrium with a rounded glass roof, fake Appian Way statuary, genuine flowering vines, and an oval carpet of grass-green wool. The official hostess, Carole Lombard, had asked all the ladies to come dressed in white. Fairly late, two couples arrived together, Norma and Irving and Merle (Oberon) and David Niven. Merle looked decorous in protocol white, but Norma was a study in strapless and backless scarlet.

Lombard managed a polite greeting, then turned away and made the rounds of other guests, expressing her opinion of Mrs. Thalberg in her usual pungent, four-letter-word style. "Sheer ego" was Eleanor Boardman's verdict, but John Houseman had a different slant. He knew Norma only slightly at the time but later noticed "her occasional compulsion to assert herself publicly by refusing to conform." This seems close to the mark, for a photograph of the event shows Norma looking openly pleased with herself, as if enjoying the effect of not giving her expected, perfect social performance.

That's so Norma!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Lady of Chance (1928)

In her last silent film, Norma Shearer stars as Dolly Morgan, a telephone operator who tricks wealthy men out of their money by using her devious feminine wiles. Dolly once known as "Angel Face" used to work worked with fellow con-artists Brad (Lowell Sherman) and Gwen (Gwen Lee) on the same racket, but escaped by them by changing her look and going independent. Brad and Gwen find her and try to hoodwink her out of a scam of $10k but she hoodwinks them right out of the same money! Not happy with being one-upped, Brad and Gwen follow Dolly on her biggest scam yet, a newly made millionaire, Steve Crandall (Johnny Mack Brown) who is falling head over heels in love with Dolly. They marry and when he takes her home Dolly realizes that Steve is only a millionaire at heart. Dolly is at first thrown off by this but finds herself falling in love with Steve. She wants to protect him from Brad and Gwen but also doesn't want him to know about her sordid past. Things become wonderfully complex as Dolly tries to make things right.

In 1928, various other studios were already full-speed ahead making part-talkies and all-talking pictures while MGM was still dragging their feet. They had been so successful with their silent pictures that they didn't want to throw out a good thing. The change to talkies was inevitable, as even poor-quality talkies were proving to be box-office gold as the novelty of the form drew crowds to the theaters. A Lady of Chance (1928) started off as a silent film and then talking scenes were spliced in making it a part-talkie. Norma Shearer didn't partake in the talking scenes so Norma fans only got to hear her voice in MGM's first talking picture The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929). I have only ever seen the version TCM has shown of A Lady of Chance which is all silent.

I consider this film a silent-talkie hybrid. It works very well as a silent. All of the characters have their own dualities, they are not what they seem to be. They are all putting up fronts whether deviously or on subconsciously. This relegates a lot of expression in their faces which we read in order to understand what's going on. The form of the story and how it flows is very much like talkies from the early '30s and less like the silents from the early to mid '20s. It seems less theatrical and staged and more fluid.

Dolly: I had no idea a big business man could be so tender.
Steve: It's easy to be tender with you.

This is by far my favorite Norma Shearer film. Norma is at the height of her natural beauty and because this is a silent film, she still uses plenty of her vibrant facial expressions and characteristic hand movements which suit the movie and her character. Hunky former college football star Johnny Mack Brown complements her very well and I think they made a very good-looking onscreen couple. Also, this film is just fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. It's a romantic comedy with a good amout of dramatic tension. The only thing I don't like is that there are a couple racist moments, but I concede it's 1928 and in comparison to some other silents this one is pretty tame.

Johnny Mack Brown & Norma Shearer on set (at the beach) with Director Robert Z. Leonard

A Lady of Chance is not available on DVD but my fingers are crossed that the Warner Bros. Archive will make it available for a made-to-order DVD-R very soon (they own all pre-1986 MGM films). If not, Turner Classic Movies shows this film once in a blue moon, usually at some ungodly hour or on their regular Silent Sunday nights feature.

I hope you enjoyed Norma Shearer week!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Many Loves of Queen Norma

Now for Norma Shearer's leading men offscreen...

Victor Fleming ~ The director and Norma Shearer had a very passionate love affair which fizzled rather quickly. He was Shearer's first great affair and it's uncertain if she was in love with him. If she was, she kept it secret. Fleming quickly moved on to Clara Bow who was also seeing Gary Cooper. (If you've read the new Fleming bio and there is any Shearer info in there let me know!)

Monta Bell ~ The director and Norma Shearer dated for a few years and were seen out in public regularly but their romance was very lukewarm. Shearer respected Bell and enjoyed his company but her feelings for him weren't as strong as his were for her. There is a great picture of them both on the set of Upstage (1926) wearing each other's clothes. I wish could find it! (Monta Bell picture from Divas: The Site)

Irving Thalberg ~ Thalberg and Shearer married in 1927. They shared mutual love, respect and admiration for one another. The Thalberg-Shearer union was a mixture of love and business. They were both shared similar work ethics and were very goal-oriented. Thalberg helped her get roles but she also had to fight him for other ones she wanted. Thalberg had a weak heart and she doted on him. She put forth great effort to be the model wife and even had a son and daughter at Thalberg's request, even though she had no natural desire to be a mother. Norma wasn't a saint but she deeply cared for Thalberg. Thalberg died of pneumonia in 1936 at the age of 37 leaving Norma a widow.

Jimmy Stewart ~ In the TCM film guide, Leading Couples, it reads Actress Norma Shearer was so impressed by James Stewart's romantic performance in The Shopworn Angel (1938) that she set her sights on him. The affair reportedly lasted six weeks. Oh Norma! That's just the sort of thing she'd do and I don't blame her, Stewart was a hunk! She paraded him proudly around Tinseltown but Stewart really wasn't into it and was still pining for Margaret Sullavan (who I like refer to as a Stinky McStinkface). So that was the end of that. They did make a very good-looking couple though, didn't they? (Picture from Google/LIFE Archive).

Mickey Rooney ~ Yes they had an affair. It was a fling and it didn't last very long. He was 19, she was 39 and Louis B. Mayer put an end to it quickly thereafter. According to one report, Rooney was a sex fiend and according to Rooney, Shearer pursued him relentlessly. Whatever you do, please do not read Rooney's account of this affair in his autobiography. Unfortunately, I did and now am scarred for life.

George Raft ~ Norma met George Raft at one of Charles Boyer's dinner parties. They were instantly smitten with each other and immediately delved into a hot and heavy affair. Norma had class and George aspired to class, so they were a match. However, George was still married to actress Grayce Mulrooney, who refused to give him a divorce without a hefty sum of money in return so he settled for a separation. After a brief but torrid romance, Norma ended it because she knew they could never make a life together. I'm sure George Raft's shady mob connections had something to do with it too. (Picture from Lady of the Night)

Martin "Marti" Arrougé~ French, first-generation American, Arrougé was a ski instructor when he met Norma Shearer. He had that Mediterannean look that Norma liked and he was almost a stronger more athletic version of Thalberg. They married in 1942 and she left her acting career behind to be his wife. She still wanted to be a Queen and couldn't let go of being Mrs. Thalberg, and Arrougé seem perfectly okay with that. She wanted to be adored and he wanted to adore her. They traveled, partied, vacationed, skiied and spent many happy years together. Arrougé was devoted to her to the bitter end. Norma really lucked out with him! (Picture from Google/Life Archive)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Norma's Leading Men

Norma Shearer loved men and many lucky actors got to grace the screen with the sultry Queen. Here is a list of my favorite of Shearer's leading men and the films they starred in.

Conrad Nagel ~ 6 films
The Snob (1924)
Married Flirts (1924)
Excuse Me (1925)
Pretty Ladies (1925)
The Waning Sex (1926)
The Divorcee (1930)

Both Shearer and Nagel were very influential in the early history of MGM.

Robert Montgomery - 5 films
Their Own Desire (1929)
The Divorcee (1930)
Strangers May Kiss (1931)
Private Lives (1931)
Riptide (1934)

According to Carrie over at Classic Montgomery, Robert was one of Norma's favorite leading men. He often made her laugh on set!

John Gilbert ~ 5 films
The Snob (1924)
The Wolf Man (1924)
Married Flirts (1924)
He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
The Hollywood Revue (1929)

Shearer and Gilbert were romantically linked in the press at one time, but they were really just close friends. (Picture from Divas: The Site)

Clark Gable ~ 3 films
A Free Soul (1931)
A Strange Interlude (1932)
Idiot's Delight (1939)

Shearer hated Gable's fake veneers and she equated kissing him with kissing a horse. Gable was amazed how Shearer could turn on and off her sexuality, especially since he was always on.

Robert Taylor ~ 3 films
A Strange Interlude (1932)
Escape (1940)
Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

Both Shearer and Taylor were unhappy with their roles in Her Cardboard Lover. Oh well!

Frederic March ~ 3 films
Smilin' Through (1932)
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)
Romeo and Juliet (1936)

Shearer was once considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind and March was a contender for the role of Ashley. We all know how that turned out.

Leslie Howard ~ 3 films
A Free Soul (1931)
Smilin' Through (1932)
Romeo and Juliet (1936)

Norma thought Leslie was simply charming. And why wouldn't she?

Johnny Mack Brown ~ 2 films
After Midnight (1927)
A Lady of Chance (1928)

Brown was at one time a college football star. Hunka hunka!

Chester Morris ~ 1 film
The Divorcee (1930)

Both Morris and Shearer had very striking profiles! Don't you think?

Ramon Novarro ~ 1 film
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1928)

Shearer and Novarro were close friends and Novarro introduced her to photographer George Hurrell (see previous post).

Tyrone Power ~ 1 film

Marie Antoinette (1938)

Norma had no beau to take to the film premiere of Marie Antoinette. The Queen requested Tyrone Power escort her so she could have a hot guy on her arm.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sexy Norma and the George Hurrell photo shoot of October 1929

Norma Shearer was a big box-office draw for MGM throughout the silent era. She proved her worth to the studio when she became The First Lady of Talkies with MGM's inaugural talkie was The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929) . However, Norma had always been frustrated with the roles she had been given. She played numerous good girl parts during the silent era which made her famous but kept her type-cast. She wanted meatier more satisfying roles and even critics thought that she could rise above poor parts. However, with the advent of talking pictures her roles weren't getting any better.

After her frustration with Their Own Desire (1929), a film I absolutely adore yet was a major flop at the time, Shearer had her eye out for a very juicy part to play. MGM had been working on adapting the successful novel Ex-Wife by Ursula Parrot into the film The Divorcée. Norma Shearer's husband, MGM producer Irving Thalberg, didn't think she could be convincing as sexy, glamorous and modern and denied her the part.

Norma Shearer confided in her good friend and fellow actor Ramon Novarro, who had starred with Shearer in The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1928), about her situation. Novarro told Shearer of a photo shoot he had done with a then unknown photographer by the name of George Hurrell. Novarro had been very satisfied with the results and recommended Hurrell to Shearer.

Shearer immediately hired Hurrell for a photo shoot, one that she kept secret from her husband Thalberg. Hurrell and Shearer worked together on revamping her image. Shearer explained to Hurrell her major flaws including the slight cast in her eye and her thick arms and legs. Hurrell, along with a small entourage, gave Shearer a makeover. They cut and styled her hair, did her make-up and dressed her in luxurious silver lamé and silk. Hurrell worked with her on various different poses that would showcase her blue eyes, hide her large forehead and chin, and make her arms and legs look long and lean.

The results were astounding and Norma Shearer was very happy. She presented the pictures to Irving Thalberg who was happily surprised to see how his wife had transformed into such a glamorous sexpot. She had thoroughly convinced him of her potential and the role of Jerry in The Divorcée (1930) was hers! Norma Shearer was very grateful to George Hurrell and using her influence at MGM, she helped him get contracted as an official MGM photographer.

I love this story because it demonstrates how Norma Shearer fought for what she wanted and even being married to the boss didn't guarantee her a free pass to any role. It also shows how Shearer overcame her flaws and never allowed herself to be in a situation she wasn't happy with. Go Norma!

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