Glamour Gab Of Hollywood
Now that Montgomery Clift is back for “Raintree County,” at M-G-M, plus four other pictures after that as fast as they can be made, I figure it’s time to reveal that this artistic rebel wouldn’t have been eating for the last year or so if it hadn’t been for Frank Sinatra’s generosity.
For many months, Monty was offered practically every young man’s role that came along. But he thought they were unworthy and turned them all down. Right or wrong, artistic integrity that takes you to the point of starvation has to be saluted.
Nevertheless, Monty may be sorry in the long run. For, as a fine young actor, he is no longer in a class by himself. All of a sudden, Hollywood has found itself with a fascinating crop of young leading men. all of them discovered through TV. Take the word of one who has been around for as long as I have: This group is unlike any Hollywood has ever had before. They’re more intelligent, more poised, more sincere. So, heed my prophecy.
I’ve seen some footage on “Tea and Sympathy,” and young John Kerr will be a big star after this and “Gaby.” I also saw two reels of “The Friendly Persuasion,” and I think handsome Tony Perkins will be a sensation in it. John and Tony, by the way, are the closest of friends. Both are New Yorkers, and both grew up in show business. John is the son of the comedienne. June Walker, while Tony is the son of Osgood Perkins, a light-comedy master. Both boys are charming, witty and shy, and both are devoted to live TV as a means of learning their profession. Neither of them is money-mad, but they’re aware of it just the same.
Besides John and Tony, there is Paul Newman, who is absolutely great in “Somebody Up There Likes Me” as well as Bill Travers, the English boy who plays in “Bhowani Junction” and stands out like the Union Jack on a frosty morning.
All in all, female moviegoers can expect a pleasant summer and fall.
In the fun season of midsummer. Hollywood girls blossom out with the craziest fads. Take Mamie Van Doren, for instance, who’s been busy getting that curvy figure of hers back from maternity. Mamie told me that she is so glad to be able to look down and see her feet again that she’s glamorized them. How? With sequins on her toe nails—so help me—and cute they are, too, scattered on with a lavish hand while the nail polish is still wet.
Lex Barker is making Lana Turner more and more domestic and happy. Can you imagine the original madcap Lana coming up with the bright idea of wearing gloves with cuffs that match the dress she’s wearing? Lana buys shorty white cotton gloves with cuffs, then snips enough material from the underside of the hem of her dress to cover the cuffs. Cute!
Less domestic, more romantic Piper Laurie has a doll of an idea, too. When the tanning season started, she cut Gene Nelson’s initials out of adhesive, stuck them just above her wrist. So now, on her pretty brown right arm, there is this white monogram, constantly reminding her of the man she loves. Piper is deeply changed with this love, the most serious in her always romantic young life. Gene, too, seems to be quieter and more sincere than he’s ever been before. Wedding bells for them wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
When Cyd Charisse flew to Winchester, Virginia, for one day to be queen of the apple blossom festival there, she wore her hair pin-curled in the new bobbypins that are covered with artificial flowers. This made her head look as though covered with a little flowered turban. Just before landing, of course, she combed her hair out into its usual perfect grooming. But isn’t this a neat traveling trick? Most big-city shops carry these new, flowered bobbypins, but in case you can’t find them in your town, you can easily make yourself some.
Recently, I saw Barbara Stanwyck, who seldom wears anything off-screen except sweaters and skirts, no matter how formal the date, wearing the utter end in evening sweaters. It was white cashmere, with a tuxedo collar, straight to her waist, of patina fox, which just matched her salt-and-pepper hair.
Angel-faced Ann Blyth, attending the same little church in the Valley where she worshipped as a teenager, wore a Paris outfit that you sewing-wise girls could copy. Ann has a matching sweater and skirt set: the sweater is cashmere, the skirt pun silk, both of the most heavenly blue. Dotted all over the sweater are bunches of artificial forget-me-nots. All over the skirt are tiny blue velvet bows. Couldn’t be more feminine, just like Annie.
Marilyn Monroe, never noted for her grooming, off-screen, has turned out worse than ever since she returned from her year’s stay in New York. Her studio is horrified but helpless when, day after day, she arrives and leaves the lot, her hair hanging lank and uncombed, her face guiltless of make-up, her outfit usually a tight black skirt, a tighter black sweater. On the whole, the press adores Marilyn, and I am no exception. I think she is the most exciting female on the screen, bar none. I know she has a superior educated mind, which she slyly tries to hide, and her personal honesty and integrity are the finest. But this sloppiness of hers is too much. Dear Marilyn, the natural glamour you possess is a rare gift that you shouldn’t carelessly cast aside. Have a heart for those of us for whom you can make life so very colorful.
If I were the king of Hollywood, I’d crack down on the ungroomed boys as much as the ungroomed girls. The only fellow in the young crowd I know who is always perfectly groomed is Jeff Richards. He’s loud sometimes, sure, in the checked-coat division, but not too often. He always has his hair slicked back, a big grin on that broad, healthy face of his, and the p welcoming hand is always outstretched.
It’s been paying off for Jeff, too. The role he was given in “The Opposite Sex” was originally nothing much more than a big-hunk-of-man type. However, with the new crop of artistic and thin lads in town, Jeff loomed up so positively masculine to the preview audience, he’s now got five pictures lined up.
“B.T.” Gable is what his wife Vicki calls Jeff—meaning “Better Than.”
When Burt Lancaster appeared at the Academy Awards without his wife Norma, the Hollywood rumor factory, as usual, misunderstood. Then, matters became more confused when Norma turned up at the Awards party afterward and danced every dance with her tall, handsome husband.
Norma and Burt weren’t a bit confused, because it is their rule never to mix business and pleasure. The Academy Awards, to them, was business. Dancing is fun. Burt’s theory is: A couple that shares work is sharing a calculated risk, but the couple that shares fun is setting up a fund of mutual happiness.
Mrs. Charles Brackett, wife of the producer, wanting to jazz up a buffet table, got a live white rabbit. Then, in an antique shop, she found a tall, beautiful Victorian birdcage. Putting the rabbit in the cage, she surrounded him with lettuce and flowers. Then the buffet food was put on the table around him. It was tremendously effective, and the rabbit, nibbling away, had a ball—nibbling its own lettuce and roses, naturally.
At a recent party, Mrs. Walter Lang, wife of the director of the sensational “King and I,” provided great fun by simply having scads of musical instruments scattered around her playroom. Said instruments ranged from bongo drums to mouth organs, and the idea was to see which guests could compose the best orchestra, You haven’t lived till you’ve seen Clifton Webb trying to do an Andre Kostelanetz while sawing away on a dollar-store violin.
Doris Day has borrowed an idea from music-man Jimmy Van Heusen, which you can borrow from both of them, if you like—and if you like friends. It’s a friendship walk. Very fascinating if you are building a new home. Nothing wrong with it either if your house is old.
Doris came across this friendship walk at Jimmy Van Heusen’s place in Palm Springs, and as a conversation piece, it’s the end. Jimmy had the cement for the path around his place made in various colors—pink, green, tulip yellow and the like. (This is a cinch. You, or your builder, just mix in any color you want with your cement.) Then you invite your most particular friends to come calling—in Jimmy’s case. Doris and another singer named Frank Sinatra. When they arrive, you have them put their footprints and handprints in the wet cement, then autograph them with a good, stout stick which you have provided. Or, if the cement has already set, you mix up a small new batch, smear some across, and there you are, sweet flattery for your friends, sweet memories for you. And the walk can grow and grow. Dodo is now putting such a path around her North Hollywood house.
However, if you do this, I hope you don’t have any such moment as happerned years ago, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, where this cement-auto-graphing, hand-and-foot-setting started. The most glamorous girl of that year was doing this bit. She wore a very, very low-cut gown and, just as she bent over with her hands and feet firmly planted the gown let her down. The numerous gentlemen present were so startled they didn’t know what was the polite thing to do until a quick-witted Grauman’s usher snatched a hanging off the theatre walls and wrapped it around the blushing blond.
Hollywood is steadily getting more elegant. The sort of dime-store glitter it has always had is being replaced by a more jewel-like quality, and nothing proves it better than this year’s parties.
Take a character like Bob Mitchum. In the short interval after he had returned from European and Cuban picture locations and was about to head for England for another, he and his tall, beautiful wife, Dorothy, gave a dinner-dance in the Crown Room at Romanoff’s. Bob used to make a big thing of being a diamond-in-the-really-rough. He’d do anything to shock you.
He was almost a shock the night of his dinner-dance, so handsome was he in his very correct dinner jacket, and so truly charming. And those words also apply to the party—handsome, correct and charming There was a lovely trick used on the tables: very thin, very tall lighted candles standing among very low, very colorful flowers. Freddie Karger and his combo supplied the music, which was fine, too, since everybody knows Freddie, particularly since his marriage and divorce from Jane Wyman.
The best couple to watch on the dance floor were June Allyson and Jack Lemmon flawlessly going through steps that would have felled Arthur Murray. Joanne Dru, there alone because John Ireland was detained with his tennis club in Phoenix, looked like a fan waltzing—I mean a real fanning fan. The bodice of her low-cut gown was black, the skirt a mass of deep white ruffles. When she did the mambo with Dean Martin, she held the full skirt high in her right hand, so that the ruffles cascaded sweetly down.
Ursula and Bob Taylor were a brilliant study in black-and-white also, Ursula, with her dark hair, in all white chiffon. Her gown was high-necked, but subtle as she is—for, while it ended in a little pearl collar tight around her lovely throat, the chiffon from the waistline in the back and from the very deep decolletage in the front, was of the sheerest. Bob was very funny, telling about the changes made in his life since the arrival of his son, Terry. Seems that every night at exactly six p.m., Bob has always had one highball. Then it turned out that Terry likes to eat at six exactly, too. So the Taylor men have finally come to terms: Terry sits on one end of the couch before the fireplace with his milk, while Pa sits on the other end with his Scotch.
Crazily enough, at the Mitchum party, it was two men who stole the fashion spotlight—and two more different men you couldn’t find: Rory Calhoun and Paul Douglas. Rory drew all eyes, wearing an evening shirt with cross-wise tucks about an inch deep, set off by gray pearl studs. Paul drew gasps by using the gold lorgnette wife Jan had given him. It was wafer-thin and could fold up to vest-pocket size—but a lorgnette, just like Grandma’s, it indubitably was, and it went Grandma’s one better by having a bright red tassle at the end of it.
There were about a hundred people at the Mitchum party and next day, at Producer Charles Brackett’s soiree, it seemed as though they had all arrived there, plus some wonderful others, such as Deborah Kerr, Clifton Webb, the Van Heflins. But all eyes were held by Arlene Dahl, who has cut her hair very short, and is more beautiful than ever.
At dinner, Fernando Lamas sat next to me and I noticed that he, too, looked more handsome. I asked him why. He said, “It’s all because Arlene and I have had six months together in Europe, where there were no pressures on us. That gave us time to share happiness together, to become acquainted during the weeks on end when, after our work, we saw no one except one another. This let us fall more deeply in love than ever.”
For his independent picture, Audie Murphy decided he’d like to get Natalie Wood. Crazily enough, the film is based on the book, The Wood’s Colt. Nat was as delighted with the script as Audie was delighted with his interview with her.
“I’ll get in touch with Warners about loaning you,” Audie said.
“Oh, no, don’t do that,” said brainy Natalie. “Let me tell them I want to be in your picture. You see, if you approach them they’ll put my price up. But if I go to them, you’ll get me at a bargain.” By this method, did Mr. Murphy become one of the vast band of Wood admirers.
In “The Opposite Sex,” musical-comedy star, Dolores Gray, decided to prove she could be dramatic and get by without singing. Whereupon, in the very same film, my own favorite cutie-pie, June Allyson, decided that she’d cut back to singing, as she had done in her very first picture. In fact, she’s even going to sing the very same tune. You see, Junie knows she is dramatic, top box-office. But she also knows that a perfectly straight role, such as the one she has in “The Opposite Sex” will be very much animated by this dash of musical comedy.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 1956