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Thursday, September 08, 2011

This is what 1965 looked like if you really were absolutely fabulous

Publishing event of the week has been the arrival on You Tube of a selection of the home movies of actor and best friend of the stars Roddy McDowall. Here you see the jeunesse dorée disporting themselves on the decks of Malibu homes in the year 1965. Rock Hudson, Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood, Julie Andrews, Edward Fox, Robert Wagner and many more whose names don't immediately spring to mind, all knocking back small brown drinks and smoking as if the health implications were completely unknown.

You really must watch some of these films. They're curiously compelling. Three things struck me while looking at them:

 1. Nobody ever holds a home movie shot quite as long as they ought to. We frantically pan in search of movement when stillness is what the eye most craves. 2. Even Hollywood stars, for whom the admiring close-up is the stuff of their daily work, feel the need to send themselves up when put in front of a movie camera. 3. Right now some smart advertising exec is negotiating for the rights to get this footage, set it to some suitably hedonistic contemporary music and use it to sell fragrances in the run-up to Christmas.