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GLAMOUR : The Grand Illusion

January 04, 1987

'Whether by nature or by art, you never make a gesture without imparting beauty to it.'

--Herbert Marshall to Gene Tierney in 'The Razor's Edge'

In the 1930s and '40s, a new crew of Hollywood photographers raised to new heights the art of turning celebrities into iridescent, sultry, stylized images. Laszlo Willinger, Ernest Bachrach, George Hurrell and Eugene Robert Richee used lighting, costumes and emotion as a movie director might. Willinger shot up to four stars every week. "Even if a star wasn't working, the publicity machine kept going," Willinger says. "There were 400 newspapers across the country, each with two pages of shots a day." Today, he comments, "stars all look the same--like unfinished pancakes."

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