Dec 31, 2015

Hollywood Amuses Me*

Laura’s portrait as the investigator’s main obsession. (Laura, 1944)

On the 3rd of October 2015, around 8PM I wrote this:

Research working title: At Home in the Movies: Artificiality of Home in (Classic) Hollywood.

In all honesty I didn't know whether Classic Hollywood or Classical Hollywood was the correct term. In even more honesty; I still don't know which is correct. And whilst we're making confessions, I'd also like to mention that I'm no expert by any means on the subject, I'd just like to become one, eventually.

On this blog the main focus will be how the home is depicted in Hollywood during the golden years, either in films (The Wizard of Oz (1939), Laura (1944), Auntie Mame (1958), and many others) or in the lives of the stars.

How does the set design reflect the part the home or the house plays in the film and what techniques or tricks do they use to make the set look like it does? How do they make something so artificial look like a lived in home? Why should a character have a specific wallpaper in their house? Or how do they decide which flowers would suit the character?

Of course these homes were constructed for the film, but so were the off-screen personalities of these stars. As part of the Star System the film companies controlled the way the domestic lives of the stars were depicted to the public. The lives of the stars were literally as constructed as their onscreen characters and the sets the characters lived in. Can I also learn from —and use— the techniques the studios used to construct these stars?

This research is part of an artistic project about artificially creating domestic traces, but I won't go in details about that. Not yet, at least.

Please don't shy away from comments, for they can be highly educational to me and thus will be appreciated very much.

The next post will be about the presence of Rebecca through her monograms in Rebecca (1940) directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. It will be published Thursday January 7.

* The title of this post is part of a quote by Grace Kelly that goes:

Hollywood amuses me. Holier-than-thou for the public and unholier-than-the-devil in reality.


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