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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Do they still make shocking beauties like Louise Brooks?

I've been watching some old Louise Brooks films. Hollywood has always been full of gorgeous young women but I don't see many today who have the destabilising beauty of Brooks and a few others (Marlene Dietrich, Myrna Loy, Vivien Leigh) during Hollywood's Golden Age. When you see Brooks on screen its not a figure of speech to say you have to catch your breath, much as you do near the beginning of Rear Window when Grace Kelly's face looms over James Stewart. In fact it's more than beauty. With images like this you can see what Marlowe was getting at when he talked about "the face that launch'd a thousand ships/And burnt the topless towers of Ilium". Scarlett Johansson's very lovely, of course, but, well, she couldn't start a war.

8 comments:

  1. She is beautiful, but it was a different age. Went to Passport Photos, near Selfridge's, and the chap Philip who runs it (taking over the family business) showed me ALL of the celebrity passport photos on the wall. Guess what? Luise Rainier was one of the most striking of all.

    The dialogue from Sunset Blvd said it best: "We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!"

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  2. Funnily enough, we have been watching old Louise Brooks films too. According to 'er indoors, it's the sense almost of ordinariness that does it: she is clearly beautiful, but it isn't a manufactured beauty of the type favoured today. And the fierce intelligence in that look.

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  3. Having just written about her Nastassja Kinski comes to mind, her face in this scene always stops me in my tracks

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ra-IO9UMyo&feature=related

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  4. Have a look here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-et-luise-rainer-20100501,0,5341885.story

    And it would help if I could spell Rainer properly!

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  5. A lot of women would think Brooks, intelligent and beautiful, is not the kind of woman a man could live with. Maybe date but she'd scare 'em off...

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  6. Debby Harry was the last one who could really do 'effortlessly sexy'

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  7. Not Hollywood but Bollywood - of today's stars, Aishwarya Rai is the one who takes my breath away - its those eyes..
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0706787/

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  8. Two words: Salma and Hayek

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