Monday, June 8, 2015

Hollywood wedding rings borrowed fumbled proxy

Hollywood Wedding Rings at the altar
Borrowed, Fumbled, Misunderstood
Proxy engagements, weddings

Prince Rainier takes ring for bride, Grace Kelly
When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier the press and public misinterpreted some things that were done by tradition and/or protocol. 

It's common to read that the Prince fumbled with the ring as he placed it on her finger in 1956. Princess Grace would later explain what had happened.
"Everyone thought the Prince had trouble putting the ring on Grace's finger, but actually it was prearranged that she would help him -- to show her willingness to marry."

In 1929 when Lydell Peck slipped an engagement ring on the finger of actress Janet Gaynor she reportedly told him that she
Handmade Rhinestone Crystal
Flower Bridal Wedding Headband Tiara
wasn't a natural redhead. "You have the right to know..."

Orson Welles forgot to take wedding ring out of the box in 1943 when he was at the altar with bride Rita Hayworth. 

"After fumbling with it he was so nervous he couldn't get it on the proper Hayworth finger causing Judge Orlando H. Rhodes of Santa Monica superior court to suggest, 'hold her finger with your other hand.'" Actor Joseph Cotten was Welles' best man.

Engaged, Married by Proxy

Captain Blood poster
Errol Flynn Olivia De Havilland
During World War II there were multiple stories about couples, one of whom was in the military being engaged and married by proxy. They were unable to be together for the ceremony. Someone would stand in for the bride and groom.

Errol Flynn gave his bride-to-be, Patrice Wymore, a sapphire ring, the color of her eyes. "He did it by proxy since he was in bed with a cold. 

"The ring was a six carat sapphire of deep blue crusted with baguette diamonds. No one would say how much it cost. A representative of the jewelers gave Miss Wymore the ring in her hotel suite."  

Merle Oberon and film cameraman Lucien Ballard were married by proxy in 1945. She and Ballard were unable to leave work. Civil registrar in Mexico performed ceremony. Attorney JT Portillo took the role as bridegroom and

4 Tier Heart Multilayer Baking
Cake Tins Cake Pans 6" 8" 10" 12"
Alejandro Munox served as proxy bride.

Friend Cole Porter called it "the chicest thing I ever heard of."

Miss Oberon said, "We didn't want to be chic. We just wanted everything to be quiet and simple." There were also plans for a later wedding in the United States.

Borrowed Rings

In 1936 John Barrymore married Elaine Barrie. The groom lost her ring and had to borrow one from one of their witnesses.  

Madge Evans and Sidney Kingsley had to borrow a ring for their wedding in 1939. Their wedding was held shortly after Evans left the stage where she was appearing in a play in Ogunquit, Maine. The couple remained married for the rest of the bride's life, through 1981.

Lyle Talbot borrowed a ring for his wedding to dancer Tommye Adams (Abigail Adams) in 1942.

Misfits cast 1961 art print
Clark Gable Marylin Monroe w/Arthur Miller

The judge who married Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller in 1956 said that "Miller mumbled something to the effect that the ring would be replaced later, indicating apparently that he had borrowed it for the occasion."

Antique Bronze 8-light
Double Round Crystal Chandelier
Joan Crawford was married to Alfred Steele, head of Pepsi-Cola, in Las Vegas it was with a loaned wedding ring. She said they'd expected to be married ten days later. 

"We had ordered our wedding rings but at dinner we suddenly decided it would be a good idea to get married right away."

In 1970 When actress Patty Duke married William Tell, they  borrowed a plain gold band from a neighbor of the bridegroom's parents. 

Apparently the neighbor removed the ring and told the actress, "Here you can keep it." 
Joan Crawford classic
movie magazine cover Watch
by Jakestuff

Related Pages of Interest:

Hollywood Stars and their Lost Wedding Rings

The Misfits, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe; Final Films

To Catch a Prince: Grace Kelly Wedding Collectible Barbie Doll

The Pittsburgh Press December 1936
The Daytona Beach Morning Journal June 1956
The Deseret News September 1950 
The Milwaukee Sentinel January 1942, May 1955  
The Spokesman-Review June 1970
The St. Petersburg Times October 1950
The Evening Independent July 1939, June 1945 
Modern Screen 1956

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lost rings at weddings Hollywood stories

Old Hollywood Stars,
Lost Wedding Rings:
Dawgone I forgot the ring!

Buster Keaton and Natalie Talmadge
Whether it's the best man's pretending to have forgotten the ring or the groom who's really left the ring behind, the show must go on. Though traditionally part of the best man duties to keep and hand over the ring, the groom has to remember to bring the ring to begin with! 

What celebrities from the Golden Age of Hollywood dealt with a lost wedding ring at their own weddings??

"The ring proved to be undiscoverable. Gone, vanished, vamoosed you comprehend? We called a recess and all of us - even the parson knelt in prayerful repose to search the floor. Presently the ring was found in my vest pocket so the debate proceeded." Buster Keaton recollecting his wedding to bride Natalie Talmadge. 
-- Screenland

A celebrity is no different from anyone else. Harry Ritz dropped the ring during the service. Everyone including the minister got down on hands and knees, poking around under furniture to find the missing circlet. It was more elusive than a collar button, grumbled to bridegroom. 

Harry Ritz performed with his brothers Jimmy and Al. Harry appeared in Mel Brooks' film, Silent Movie. When Caesars Palace hotel opened in Las Vegas August 5, 1966 the acts featured were Andy Williams in the main showroom and The Ritz Brothers in Nero's Nook.

In 1939 Madge Evans lost her engagement ring traveling to her stock appearance at Ogunquit, Maine. It was returned before her wedding to playwright Sidney Kingsley. 

In 1935 Sally Blane was married in the home of her sister, Loretta Young. Alan Campbell the best man who temporarily lost the ring. Unfortunately Young was upstairs lying ill and she could not attend the proceedings.

When Errol Flynn married Lili Damita he couldn't find the ring. Then the minister noticed it was on nervous groom, Flynn's right thumb. 

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz 1955
At the wedding of Arthur Hornblow and Myrna Loy, the ring was also thought to be lost.  They took their vows in Ensenada, Old Mexico. Hornblow began to search for it but it turned out that the best man hadn't really trusted him to carry it.

In 1955, the John Ericson-Milly Coury wedding. Best man Dick Clayton lost the ring hours before down a drain pipe while he was shaving and it was retrieved 30 minutes before the ceremony. Tab Hunter and Lori Nelson who attended the wedding helped transport guests to the reception when one of the wedding party's limousines broke down en route to the church.

Vivien Leigh did a screen test with Laurence Olivier for the role of the second Mrs. de Winter in the 1940 Hitchcock film, Rebecca. Joan Fontaine played the role, for which she won an Academy Award.

Vivien Leigh was married to Laurence Olivier for twenty years. During this time, she lost two wedding rings. One was once said to have been lost in a robbery. When Olivier gave her the third ring, the second of the replacement rings, he had it inscribed: "This is the last one you'll get I hope."

"I'd lost the first when I was sitting in a cinema in the west end watching Les Enfants du Paradis. I put my hand up to rub my eye and the ring slipped off."
-- Vivien Leigh, The Milwaukee Journal 1960

As a side note, when the couple was first married in 1940, reports are that their friend Benita Hume, wife of Ronald Colman, bought the ring for them. Most likely it means that she went to pick it up and brought it to the wedding site. The wedding was to be secret.

"I'll never forget the event - when we got to the part where Bob Burns was to put the ring on his bride's finger, he dug into all his pockets, looked red and frantic then gulped, 'Dawgone I forgot the ring!' And he had forgotten it. As soon as I pronounced the pair man and wife Burns kissed her and exclaimed: 'Now honey you won't have to laugh at my jokes!'" Quoted by the reverend who performed the ceremony. 
-- Modern Screen 1942

In 1957 Desi Arnaz and his wife, Lucille Ball were vacationing in Honolulu.
Tile Item Finder for Anything
Before swimming in the ocean, Arnaz put his wedding ring onto a chain around his neck. 

His wife had given him the gold chain. When he came out of the water the chain and the ring were gone. Also missing was a medallion that had hung from the chain.

Did Clark Gable lose his wedding ring on the golf course of the Arizona Biltmore? This would probably have been in the 1950s when stories of his visiting the hotel were in the news. Is the story apocryphal, urban legend? Gable was Rhett Butler, another star member of the Gone with the Wind cast along with Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara.

"'I lose so many wedding rings that every time I see her it's a new one,' John Travolta says in January 1999 Harper's Bazaar.

"'I know he's not fooling around or anything,' Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston said. 'It's just that he goes to the spa and losees them. He gets in the car and loses them. The loses them on the set or at dinners. Sometimes we find them again. He has a box of them by the bed.'"

Okay he's not old Hollywood, but he's a favorite of mine so here he is. :) It was 1981. Bill Murray got married to Margaret Kelly. The best man was his older brother, Brian Doyle-Murray. "He did the classic fumbling-for-the-ring routine, looking around him in an exaggeratedly comic way and miming confusion. Everyone thought Brian was a riot at the wedding."
-- 1981 Rolling Stone Magazine

Bill Murray 2014
Carol Channing had her wedding ring stolen from her hotel suite while she was doing Lorelei in Detroit. Also taken was a costly cigarette case in which she had 12 custom made eyelashes. She said she hoped the burglar looks good in the eyelashes.

There are other rings of sentimental value. The stories of their losses are recounted.

Irene Rich had a ring, a sapphire encircled by diamonds and set in platinum. It
1929 Irene Rich with her
Packard All Weather Town Car
was given to her by her mother.  

"At a beach party last summer near Santa Barbara she lost it in the sand.  She felt so badly about its loss that the entire party spent several hours searching for it without result. 

"Several weeks later she and the same group of friends were picnicking at the spot where the ring had been lost. One of the girls was scooping up sand when suddenly she felt a lump between her fingers. It proved to be the ring. Irene was overjoyed." 
-- Picture Play Magazine 1932

Related articles of interest:

Actors wedding rings cover hide or show in movies: On Screen Cover-Ups: Stars covering wedding rings in films

Grinch steals holiday decorations Pranksters take lawn ornaments

Mini Waterproof GPS Tracker SOS Function,
Vehicle, Children, Seniors and Pets

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lighted wedding gowns and dresses

They Lit Up the Room
The new Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Horton
Vicar of Dibley (Fanpop)

We might want to incorporate that princess sparkle into our parties and weddings. Is the epitome of sparkle the flickering of lights?

These clothes are unique in their design and their construction. They are often as playful and clever as those who wear them. 

Headpieces, bridal belts and bouquet jewelry added to your bouquet may consist of cut glass, rhinestones or actual actual Swarovski crystal, pearls, etc. How about a fiber optic touch? 

There are so many light features that can accessorize a wedding or any party. After receiving a wedding invitation not long ago we got a phone call. They were calling each guest because they wanted to warn people since they were planning to use so many lighting effects at the reception!

Alice Tinker and Hugo Horton married on the classic British Comedy, The Vicar of Dibley. Not only did Alice have among her attendants some children dressed as Teletubbies, but she had features on her dress and veil that lit up.

Included are a classic daytime drama Calliope & Eugene Days of Our Lives 1985 and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Dresses.

Carrie Underwood's 2013 Grammy Dress

The Bride wore flickering lights

Women's Light Up Blue Fairy Costume
TLC's Incredible Weddings

When do you think such elaborate outfits are most requested? Weddings and holidays. If you have a winter wonderland, Christmas wedding, these some of the most sparkly weddings and may be a great chance for a light feature on a wedding dress. 

A Christmas or winter party. Then there are the fancy dress occasions and Halloween parties. If you're in a contest lights could make you a winner. Play dates, for both the dress up chest and performance. Pretend play and dramatic play are essential for all kids to play and explore possibilities.

Gypsy Wedding Dresses, everyone has her own budget and taste...

For all ages, boys or girls, find Light Up Dresses, Costumes & Accessories
Wide variety, just one example above is the Disney Frozen Elsa Musical Light up dress.  Fun accessories, too.

Creating costumes LED lights blacklight paint

Creating Light Up, Illuminated Costumes

The LED Stickman Costume is one of the most popular and enduring of the light up costumes. We see it for the whole family. You can adapt it by adding features to the look. There are different methods for making the costume. It may be easier to buy one already made. For a party, a con or another event you'll get the attention you want.

Start with the clothes that you're going to alter. A dark sweat suit? Will you create something from scratch? Whether you're painting it with black light paint or adding LED lights, the foundation is important for your comfort but also to make the look work safely and correctly.

Look for LED strip light the LED strip and power source (some configurations use the AA 12V power pack) online or find the materials locally.

Tron Legacy
How to make a Tron Costume, EL Wire
Also use the wire to make the 'stick figure' costumes; design your own

Make an accessory such as Fairy wings using EL Wire / Electroluminescent Wire

With reflective fabric

A ready-made
Tron Legacy costume

Reflective Fabric and fabric tape Apart from being a feature for costuming such as the one above, the tape has long been sold as a safety feature. 

Added to clothing and accessories, such as book bags, shoes and jackets. Add it to dog and cat collars & leashes.  

The tape helps you be seen by traffic regardless if it's dawn, dusk or nighttime. It may also be helpful to help your family, including pets being seen by oncoming traffic in a storm.

Be safe when walking to school, walking the dog, riding your bike or motorcycle, trick or treating.

You can create the look in a black light environment by wearing all black and adding black light paint. Will the paint work on your morph suit / second skin suit? I don't see why not, but it should work fine on a sweatshirt or T-shirt. I'm hearing that you have to use blacklight reactive fabric paint.  

4oz Deluxe Neon Blacklight Reactive Fabric Paint Combo Set
Glow in the dark or fluorescent paints don't show up under the black light. It all depends on where you're going to be, will you re-use or pass along the clothes?

Companies like UVGlow and Tulip make an assortment of paints that get good reviews, including a Blacklight Reactive Fabric Paint Combo Set. 

If you're looking for face or body paint or paint to use on walls and other art projects make sure that's listed on the label and/or in the product description.

As with everything, check on delivery dates and see if the paints come with any accessories.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Actors wedding rings cover hide or show in movies

On Screen Cover-Ups: Stars covering wedding rings in films

Harry Houdini & Nita Naldi
The Man From Beyond 1921
What if married movie stars don't want to remove their wedding rings and they're playing a character who's single? What does an actor do? Are you superstitious? A romantic at heart? Do you ever remove your wedding ring? 

Nita Naldi and Don Ameche refused to remove their wedding rings. It didn't matter if they was in films and playing unmarried characters. 

Also in the 1930s Mary Pickford, Irene Dunne, Joan Blondell, Gary Cooper refused to remove theirs. They covered the wedding and engagement rings in different ways. Some with make up over adhesive tape, grease paint, flesh coloured sticking plaster, something like this. When you watch their movies you might still be able to spot them. 

Spotting things like these can be little Easter eggs for film buffs. It goes beyond the question of, "Why is this single man or woman wearing a wedding ring?"  It's part of the audience's willing suspension of disbelief. Audience members are alerted, know something of an inside story and you don't let it interfere with your enjoyment of the movie.

In the 1920s and 1930s hand models used in movie close-ups. Was that really
Joan Blondell Dick Powell 8x10"
the hand of Gloria Swanson or Pauline Frederick? Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn?

Betty Compson and Dorothea Wieck kept them with them but hidden. Dorothea Wieck hid her wedding ring in her shoe. Betty Compson on a gold chain pinned inside of dress. This was not a wedding ring, but a ring given to her by producer George Loane Tucker, credited as her discoverer.

Ruby Keeler had a special ring made that would cover her wedding ring. Ina Claire removed her wedding ring for the first time when making Ninotchka. She later learned that she could have just covered it.

Diamond didn't start becoming the gemstone of choice for engagement rings until the late 1940s when diamond company De Beers launched the slogan, A Diamond is Forever. To this day, couples may choose different types of engagement rings and special jewelry.

Anita Louise covered her ring finger with tape and doped it with flesh colored make up so it didn't show. When Penny Singleton objected to taking off the huge ceylon sapphire given to her by Robert Sparks and an entire sequence had to be rewritten.

The wedding rings of actors such as Fred MacMurray can be seen in movies. Check it out in Double Indemnity. Do you ever catch Robert Taylor's wedding ring? How about Cary Grant's in films such as Mr. Lucky? Grant wore a necklace that had personal significance. It appears in many of his films. Other actors' personal jewelry also is worn but not as noticeable maybe as wedding rings. More on that in an upcoming post.

For Constance Bennett they provided an entire false finger made of rubber to sit atop her real finger!  

Musician Harry James, Betty Grable's husband, had a specially made prop ring which neatly covered his gold band.

Does Alan Ladd have his ring covered with tape and make up in a scene shown in the trailer for This Gun for Hire?

Alan Ladd wouldn't remove his wedding ring. He had a big cameo ring to cover his wedding ring. Do you see it in This Gun for Hire, The Great Gatsby, The Iron Mistress?  

Joan Crawford is said to have asked for each costume for Reunion in France to have a pair of gloves. The film co-starred John Wayne. She doesn't wear gloveswith every costume and her ring may be seen in at least a couple of scenes.

Joan Crawford one glove on, one glove off photograph
Joan Crawford The Best Of Everything 1961

Lauren Bacall vowed she would not remove the ring given to her by husband Humphrey Bogart. Watch for it in Confidential Agent

During Bogart and Bacall's wedding ceremony, when she slipped the ring on Bogart's finger she patted his hand and said "See that you keep it there all the time." Do you see his ring in movies? Was it switched to his right hand?

Cornel Wilde wore tape over his ring in Operation Secret. Steve McQueen openly wore his wedding ring in some movies, even if he was playing a teen such as in The Blob. Carol Burnett was said to wear a flesh colored bandage over her ring. Another article of the same time period notes that she takes it off from time to time when acting.

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint, The Sandpiper Trailer

Elizabeth Taylor's wedding ring was covered by flesh colored tape in some films. She wore her ring in The Sandpiper where she plays an unwed mother. Her husband Mike Todd died in a plane crash in March 1958. Taylor never took off the engagement ring and a bracelet that he gave her. On her right hand she wore Todd's own wedding ring which had been saved from the site of the crash.

Ernest Borgnine wore rings regularly. He may have had a prop ring that covered his wedding ring for films. We know for a fact when he married Ethel Merman it was a double ring ceremony. Would it be easier for men to remove their wedding rings since the tradition of men's wearing wedding rings was not that old? 

In the early 1960s, Peter Fonda removed his wedding ring for his role in the play Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole. He wore the ring for curtain calls.

Specially designed jewelry; morphs into something else:
Arlene Dahl's engagement ring was designed so the setting of diamonds would
Ring Sizing/Streching Kit
3 Pc
detach from the platinum loop that forms the ring. Arlene wears the diamond setting as a pendant before the cameras and no one would guess its sentimental background.

Ann Blyth's emerald cut diamond engagement ring has actually two loops for the finger one size for her third finger and one for her little finger. When she is before the camera, the lovely ring on her little finger is actually her engagement ring.

Related Pages of Interest:

Hands in Film Fashion Surrealist Influences

Lucy Meets The Burtons, Here's Lucy features The Taylor-Burton diamond, Elizabeth Taylor’s 69.42 carat pear-shaped diamond ring

Lon Chaney Johnny Depp Knives Hands and Love Knives, Hands and Unrequited Love Alonzo and Nanon, Edward and Kim. Edward Scissorhands, The Unknown

William Powell and Jean Harlow and that 152-Carat Sapphire Ring

Sources include 1930-1978:
The Milwaukee Sentinel
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Toledo Blade
The Sydney Morning Herald
Photoplay Magazine

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Boris Karloff Lon Chaney Humanizing Characters

Humanizing villainous characters

"'Men don't go about being bad just for the sake of being bad. Unless they are
Lon Chaney, Priscilla Dean
The Wicked Darling
mentally deranged. There must be a reason for their badness, some human failing. Otherwise they merely are fictional characters having neither father and mother in life - neither cause nor effect.'"

William Powell's "prime grievance against motion pictures is the use of false characters. 'No amount of study will help a part if it is in the film merely because a menace is needed. No attempt at reality will succeed with the usual silly villain, like those in so many cheap stories.'"
-- Talking Screen 1930
William Powell
Actor William Powell was often cast initially as the villain in silent films. He may have been the dapper villain, but a bad guy nonetheless. His voice was understandably just right for the talking pictures and he also made a fine candidate for the playing characters other than the villain, a detective, a leading man. Very early screen villains had little motivation, little back-story.

Lon Chaney Sr. "is showing us people who are in the muck of life. Their habitations, their habiliments, their associates, their philosophies. ... How they induce an inverted regard for life and its manifold beauties. His ideal is to demonstrate that all people no matter how far they may have sunk in the mire have great and ennobling qualities and are reaching for the light. Sacrifice has been the moving spirit of his recent pictures. ... 

Lon Chaney Jr. talks about his father, Lon Chaney Sr., born to deaf parents

"Chaney's characters have never been built on bizarre make-ups alone. He has prompted them from within. he has tried to picture their mental struggles rather than their outward hideousness. He has endeavored to show us that the basest of humans has a soul and great qualities that are aroused in exigencies. His message has been that love is all-potent; conquering all man-made limitations." 
-- Hollywood Vagabond 1927

The Performance and Audience Reaction

Boris Karloff, more than monsters

Boris Karloff "is amazed to discover from his fan mail that many of his admirers especially the very young are consumed with pity for the grisly characters he portrays. In The Old Dark House, for instance he relates --

Boris Karloff and Colin Clive
Karloff Images
"'I played a most unwholesome creature who pursued the lovely lady hither and thither with the most sinister intentions. I was finally dispatched by an exceedingly upright young man who was made to appear much smaller than my awful self. 

"'A twelve-year-old correspondent commenting upon this episode expressed great pity for the poor monster and deep indignation over his untimely death. The big bully! he said referring to the virtuous and physically slight gentleman who had slain me.'

"This feeling among Karloff's public may arise from the fact that Boris actually feels pity for these poor monsters. He is convinced that the most fiendish of the really criminally insane folk have moments when they are bewildered and terrified at the deeds which they are uncontrollably impelled to commit. 

"They do not want to perpetrate these crimes, he believes, and he is sure that the very worst of them have moments when they say, 'Can this be I?" Therefore Karloff's monsters have a quality of helplessness and puzzlement over their own astonishing tendencies which lends them a certain pathos."

In the Mind of the Actor

Sometimes the performers themselves may be affected by the roles they play. Each actor is different as is his or her method. 

Being horrible is a business, a matter of mechanics, Boris Karloff had said. He didn't even enjoy reading horror stories except as potential screen material.

Because of Dracula I make a living... 1951 interview

On the other hand, when asked about playing a character who is horrible, Bela Lugosi had this to say: 

"'Your nerves are bound to be affected by any role which you play constantly over a period of years. If it were only the repetition it would do something to you. 

"But when you are playing with all the earnestness and sincerity you can muster a horrendous monster when that portrayal is constantly on your mind it must eventually have some effect upon your nerves and your mentality. It never becomes quite mechanical. Toward the end of my session of portraying Dracula I became downright neurotic about the character."
-- Picture Play magazine 1935

Related Pages of Interest:

Lon Chaney Johnny Depp Knives Hands and Love: Knives, Hands and Unrequited Love, Alonzo and Nanon, Edward and Kim

Happy Thanksgiving from Boris Karloff Some of his memories and favorite folk songs and sea shanties, This Is Your Life

50 Greatest Screen Villains of All Time: includes Lugosi's Dracula

William Powell and Carole Lombard 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fans frightened meeting Character Actors in Person

Fans React to Meeting Actors who play Frightening Characters on Screen
Q: Who are these 1920s-30s baddies?

"If for instance you play a bad woman on the screen most of your public take
Boxer/Actor Jack Dempsey
married to actress
Estelle Taylor
it for granted that you're a worse woman off of it. ... 'Vampires, they are terrible,' wailed their portrayer. 

"Terrible on the screen and terrible in real life and if you play them on the screen people think you are one of them.

"No one stops to realize that theatrical life and real life are two opposite poles." Who is the Actress who made this statement in 1923?

In 1938, Edward G. Robinson said, "I'm getting tired of having little children faint when they see my face."

Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone
Robin Hood Original Photo
Actor A "went on to explain the social
repercussion of screen villainies. If he steps onto a department store elevator women cower against the rear wall of what he calls the lift and hide their affrighted children under their skirts. 

"He believes firmly that the only reason women are wearing longer skirts is because the abbreviated skirts did not permit them to hide their affrighted progeny. When he walks along the boulevards policemen trail him in radio cars. 

"Old men turn pale and cover their beards when they see him fearful that he will tweak their lush growths and perhaps sink a knife between their aged shoulder-blades." 1938

Would you like to meet a monster? Greet a gangster,
say Hi to a henchman?
Captain America serial 1940s
Dick Purcell, Lionel Atwill

Atwill played villainous
Dr Maldor / The Scarab
DVDs, posters

"'I have learned certain tricks of being dreadful. I have found them very useful in my private life." Actor B became before my eyes a frightful creature and just as I was preparing to leap through the French window he laughed I gasped and relaxed. 

"'It is a useful face to make at people who want me to buy expensive and useless advertising space in small periodicals,' he observed. 

"I thought that it might well be! ...  A banker friend brought his eleven-year-old son to call recently. He tried to engage the boy in conversation without success. The lad merely peered at him from a corner. Actor B, knowing that the youngster had a passion for tennis finally asked him to come and inspect his excellent courts.'

"The boy declined politely but with an emphatic firmness. At last the truth came out. The kid was not sure that Actor B would not turn into something vicious before his eyes. After the actor had gained the lad's trust and friendship, he opined that the boy was really disappointed to find him just a regular human being." 1935

William Castle introduces The Tingler

Actor C:
"Mothers have been known to hide children at his approach; young husbands to look belligerent when his blue eyes rest upon their blushing brides." 1930

William Powell scares
Thelma Todd in Nevada 1927
"Recently when he was making a personal appearance at a theater an urchin recognized Actor D as he entered the stage door one afternoon and when he emerged there were swarms of youngsters waiting for him. 

Bela Lugosi Dracula
"'Make bogyman faces for us!' they begged. Actor D explained to them that the management of the theater did not allow him to go about frightening people on the streets for nothing. 

"But since the enthusiasts obviously could not pay to see him in costume and make-up, he donated a few dreadful grimaces to their intense delight." 1935

Actor E is a little different and may be easier to guess for those who know actors of the era.

"'I never make personal appearances. I am never more uncomfortable than on the rare occasions when I am in public and someone pokes someone else and says, audibly, There goes Actor E! 

"'It is not policy - but my inclination is to shout back, 'Yes, and none of your
Lon Chaney in makeup 1917
***** business!' 

"'I am very much afraid of my own vanity. We all have some of it. We have to have. It is necessary. It is not necessary to have that vanity catered to and enlarged. It isn't success that kills us that spoils us. It isn't the having of a great deal of money. It is the parasitism that goes with success and money. 

"'It is the effect upon us of the yes-men and women. The effect of the men and women who fawn upon us and tell us we are greater than we really are or ever could be. I have seen more than one screen celebrity tumble from real ability to a sickening complacency and from there to failure and oblivion for no other reason but an inflated ego.'" 1930

Which actors do you think may have made these statements? Some actors wore such elaborate make-up and costumes they could walk down the street unnoticed. The years they were said follow each quote. 

** Who are the speakers above: the Actress and Actors A-E?

Doreen Lang as
'Mother who is
hysterical with fear'
The Birds
Related Pages of Interest:

1930s Fan Girls chase Clark Gable

Vamps Vampires Villains and Flappers

The William Castle Story - Scream for Relief

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Best Movie Villains Top 50 All Time

AFI 50 Greatest Film Villains
How would your list compare?

Characteristics of a Villain:
Al Pacino Signed Godfather
w/ Marlon Brando

Do you think of Michael Corleone
#11 as a villain?
  • Wickedness of mind
  • Selfishness of character
  • Will to power sometimes masked by beauty and nobility
  • May rage unmasked
  • Can be horribly evil
  • May be grandiosely funny
  • Most are ultimately tragic
The American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Heroes and Villains List, their top 50 movie heroes and 50 top movie villains movie list. Above is the definition of a villain used in creating their list. 

The list, as all of their lists is "meant to spark a national discussion of America's film history among movie lovers across the nation." Here I'll talk a little about the list of Villains and villains in general.

Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs #1
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, Psycho #2
Other Criteria considered by jurors while making their selections:

Feature-Length Fiction Film
narrative format, typically more than 60 minutes in length 

American Film:
English language with significant creative and/or financial production elements from the United States

Cultural Impact:
Characters who have a made a mark on American society in
matters of style and substance.

Characters who elicit strong reactions across time, enriching America's film heritage while continuing to inspire contemporary artists and audiences.

In The Godfather, Vito Corleone,
played by both Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando, sported a black fedora hat. The young Vito Corleone 'graduated' from a cloth cap to the fedora once he gained money and power.

Men's Wool Felt Snap Brim Fedora (left)
This same company offers a grey Homburg hat
similar to the one worn by Michael Corleone.

Edward G. Robinson wore a Homburg in Little Caesar back in 1933.

The Corleone style, that of Bonnie and Clyde and others made an impact on society.

The voting jury is described on other famous AFI lists as "Leaders from the creative community, including film artists, critics and historians." 

There were 400 nominated screen characters, 200 villains and 200 heroes from which the 50 of each on the final lists were chosen. 

Vague Spoiler, What happens in the end:
At least 20 or 25 of the villains on this list are dead or otherwise destroyed by the end of their respective movies. They may be shot, crushed, burned, stabbed, dismantled or fall apart. They may freeze to death, be blown up or melt when a bucket of water is thrown upon them. Maybe they fall into a vat of molasses. The audience wants to see villains get what's coming to them.

Add to that an assortment who are arrested or jailed, replaced or left all alone. Some of the villains get sequels. Some, such as Darth Vader and Michael Corleone are on the list specifically noted in sequels.

1 Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs 1991 Anthony Hopkins
2 Norman Bates, Psycho 1960 Anthony Perkins
3 Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back 1980 David Prowse/James Earl Jones
4 The Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz 1939 Margaret Hamilton
5 Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1975 Louise Fletcher
6 Mr. Potter, It's a Wonderful Life 1947 Lionel Barrymore
7 Alexandra Alex Forrest, Fatal Attraction 1987 Glenn Close
8 Phyllis Dietrichson, Double Indemnity 1944 Barbara Stanwyck
9 Regan MacNeil, The Exorcist 1973 Linda Blair
10 The Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937/38 Lucille La Verne (voice)

Who are the Villains:
Parents, children, preachers, doctors and nurses
An actual animal and a Vampire who turns into a bat
An alien, martians
Machines, etc programmed, created by humans
Megalomaniacs, psychopaths, sociopaths

Those who went after power, love, money and fame
One possessed by the devil

At least one villain who is never shown on screen
Those who would claim to be just following orders
Those who are just plain evil

Finally, the list includes all of us. The #20 villain is Man from the 1949 animated film Bambi.

More for discussion
The Shark from Jaws #18; Nature v. Intent
HAL 9000 from 2000: A Space Odyssey #13; programmed by humans originally

Numbers 11-20 have some of what I've found to be the most controversial or conversational villains on the list. Michael Corleone, 2001: A Space Odyssey computer character HAL 9000, The Shark from Jaws and Man from Bambi.

11 Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II 1974 Al Pacino
12 Alex De Large, A Clockwork Orange 1971 Malcolm McDowell
13 HAL 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 Douglas Rain (voice)
14 The Alien, Alien 1979 Bolaji Badejo
15 Amon Goeth, Schindler's List 1993 Ralph Fiennes
16 Noah Cross, Chinatown 1974 John Huston
17 Annie Wilkes, Misery 1990 Kathy Bates
18 The Shark, Jaws 1975   
19 Captain Bligh, Mutiny On The Bounty 1935/1962
Charles Laughton/Trevor Howard
20 Man Bambi 1942    

When Bambi came out in 1942, the film was praised for its content and its look. Here's how one review mentioned its villain.

"More, there's a full-dyed villain: Man. Strictly speaking, man doesn't appear on screen. He's characterized by a short, ugly, realistic device; the sound of his guns."
-- Modern Screen Magazine October 1942

The list was published in 2003. That year a three-hour TV special AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains was hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who earned both a hero and villain honor for his portrayal of the same character, The Terminator.

* 14 of the 50 are female/villainesses. One more is the female half of a villainous team. Of the Top Ten Villains on the list, six of them are female villainesses.

Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde #32
and Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest #41
* Biographical Characters:
Four, five if you count them individually

Amon Goeth  1993 Schindler's List #15
Captain Bligh 1935/1962 Mutiny on the Bounty  #19
Clyde Barrow & Bonnie Parker 1967  Bonnie and Clyde  #32
Joan Crawford 1981 Mommie Dearest #41

All are fictionalized to some extent. This doesn't count others based on real people, real stories. 

Leonard Maltin On Edward G. Robinson In Little Caesar #38, American Film Institute

* Actors appearing on the list more than once:
Actress Faye Dunaway plays both Bonnie Parker and Joan Crawford. She is one of the handful of actors who appears on villain list twice. Others are Robert De Niro, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Glenn Close and Robert Mitchum.

While Lansbury's character in The Manchurian Candidate is often referred to as Mrs. Iselin, her first name is Eleanor. The first name of one villainess, Mrs. Danvers from the film Rebecca, is never divulged.

Only two characters from Alfred Hitchcock films appear, Norman Bates (Psycho) and Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca).

21 Mrs. John Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate 1962 Angela Lansbury
22 Terminator, The Terminator 1984 Arnold Schwarzenegger
23 Eve Harrington, All About Eve 1950 Anne Baxter
24 Gordon Gekko, Wall Street 1987 Michael Douglas
25 Jack Torrance, The Shining 1980 Jack Nicholson
26 Cody Jarrett, White Heat 1949 James Cagney
27 Martians, The War of the Worlds 1953   
28 Max Cady, Cape Fear 1962/1991 Robert Mitchum / Robert De Niro
29 Reverend Harry Powell, The Night of the Hunter 1955 Robert Mitchum
30 Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver 1976 Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver #30 and Cape Fear #28
* Roles played by more than one actor:
Some villains were portrayed by more than one actor in films of different years. The list is unclear about which, if either, they mean. Other times, they're specific. So #19 Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty, may be the 1935 film with Charles Laughton in the role or the 1962 version with Trevor Howard. There are differences apparently in which film is more true to the reality of the character his story.

101 Dalmatians, Cruella De Ville #39. There is a 1996 live action film with Glenn Close in the role, but also a 1961 animated version with Betty Lou Gerson voicing the character. With Cape Fear #28, it may be Robert De Niro's role or Max Cady in the 1991 film or Robert Mitchum in the 1962 movie. In the case of The Joker #45 Batman the first actor to be in the first film is Cesar Romero in the 1966 Batman movie.

Anne Baxter talks about the character of Eve Harrington #23 in All About Eve.
Reportedly producer Darryl Zanuck wanted to hire Jeanne Crain for the role of Eve Harrington, but director and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz said that Anne Baxter possessed the 'bitch virtuosity' required for the part. 

Along these same lines, Villain #3 is Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. James Earl Jones provides the voice and David Prowse is the physical incarnation of the character we see on screen. 

However, with movies such as Dracula, Scarface and Bonnie and Clyde, it's clear which actors, which films they had in mind. 

For Michael Corleone #11, The Godfather Part 2 is specified in The Godfather Trilogy. This is the film where we see the his rise to power but also we see the character as a baby and a young boy. 

31 Mrs. Danvers, Rebecca 1940 Judith Anderson
32 Clyde Barrow & Bonnie Parker, Bonnie and Clyde 1967 Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway
33 Count Dracula, Dracula 1931 Bela Lugosi
34 Dr. Szell, Marathon Man 1976 Laurence Olivier
35 J.J. Hunsecker, Sweet Smell of Success 1957 Burt Lancaster
36 Frank Booth, Blue Velvet 1986 Dennis Hopper
37 Harry Lime, The Third Man 1949 Orson Welles
38 Caesar Enrico Bandello, Little Caesar 1931 Edward G. Robinson
39 Cruella De Vil, One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1961/1996 Betty Lou Gerson/Glenn Close
40 Freddy Krueger, A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 Robert Englund 

* Won Academy Awards for their portrayals of the characters:
Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes 1990 Misery #17
Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched 1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest #5 

Others were nominated. 

Louise Fletcher and Kathy Bates won Academy Awards for Best Actress
each playing villainous nurses

The Godfather, Marlon Brando, talks to his son Michael Corleone, Al Pacino #11. "I never wanted this for you."

* Most common ideology represented is Nazism
Amon Goeth 1993 Schindler's List #15 Ralph Fiennes
Dr. Szell  1976 Marathon Man
#34 Laurence Olivier
Hans Gruber 1988 1976 Die Hard #46 Alan Rickman
Auric Goldfinger 1964 Goldfinger #49 Gert Fröbe

This can be carried further in discussion. While I've not seen any direct connection in the name, Freddy Kreuger in A Nightmare on Elm Street has a name similar to WWII Nazi official Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger. 

There are three specifically Italian characters and Lugosi set a standard for a vampire's speech pattern (his Hungarian accent) that we'd hear again. Lugosi wasn't comfortable with the English language at the time and was said to have been reading his lines phonetically.

Glenn Close talks about her character in Fatal Attraction #7, AFI video

* Which type of villain is more frightening? 
101 Dalmatians Cruella Shirt

One immediately physically identifiable as a villain, one you recognize from a film you probably saw in your childhood?

Or a villain who's not only attractive but looks like someone we could meet today? A person and a situation that we could encounter in our own lives?

As a matter of fact, Margaret Hamilton plays two roles in The Wizard of Oz, a character who frightens Dorothy in real life and then the Wicked Witch in the Land of Oz.

The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz
Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction
A one-night stand turned into
a very big mistake for Michael Douglas' character.
Earliest films chosen were from 1931. Little Caesar, Edward G. Robinson as gangster Caesar Enrico Bandello and The Public Enemy, James Cagney's performance as bootlegger Tom Powers and Bela Lugosi as Dracula. The most recent film included is from 2001. Training Day, featuring Denzel Washington's corrupt cop, Alonzo Harris. 

* Genres of films
There doesn't seem to be an overriding number of any one genre of films represented. No larger number of horror, science fiction, thriller, animated, gangster, etc. movies on the list. This may be because of the way movies are being more narrowly defined these days.

41 Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest 1981 Faye Dunaway
42 Tom Powers, The Public Enemy 1931 James Cagney
43 Regina Giddens, The Little Foxes 1941 Bette Davis
44 Baby Jane Hudson, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962 Bette Davis
45 The Joker, Batman 1966 Cesar Romero
46 Hans Gruber, Die Hard 1988 Alan Rickman
47 Tony Camonte, Scarface 1932 Paul Muni
48 Roger Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects 1995 Kevin Spacey
49 Auric Goldfinger, Goldfinger 1964 Gert Fröbe
50 Alonzo Harris, Training Day 2001 Denzel Washington

* Their Dirty Deeds and Physical Appearance
While greed and power are may be what drives many of these villains, some manage to get through a movie without blood on their hands. How are people changed by the introduction of things like money, passion, fame, drugs, childhood and psychological issues? 

Villains may be charming and attractive or they may be hideous. They could be given a feature innocuous as eyeglasses or for some reason a prosthetic hand. They may have a scar meant to be frightening or a malady meant to be somehow comical. Further example of their being 'foreign.' Freddy Kreuger #40 and The Joker #45 share the comic book trope of being disfigured from accidents and moving on to evil deeds. 

Lionel Barrymore, the actor was actually in a wheelchair at the time he played Mr. Potter. The chair was not a trait created for the character. 

Along with his psychological issues, Cagney's character Cody Jarrett in White Heat #26 suffers from debilitating headaches.  

Are people rewarded for bad behavior, glamorized? How many costumes are there devoted to exciting bad guys and gals vs the good guys?

Gordon Gekko-Michael Douglas images
AFI's 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time list includes quotes from some of the villains on the list. The quote by #24, Gordon Gekko seems especially appropriate. 
If you're interested, the movie quotes list only includes talking/sound films and it does not include song lyrics. It begins with films of 1929.
Other quotes chosen:
1 "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." Rhett Butler (not on villains list :) )
2 "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." The Godfather
10 "You talking to me?" Travis Bickle
37 "I'll be back." The Terminator
56 "A boy's best friend is his mother." Norman Bates
58 "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Michael Corleone
73 "Mother of mercy is this the end of Rico?" Little Caesar
99 "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!" The Wicked Witch of the West

This article is part of The Great Villain Blogathon of 2015
Your hosts are Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin and Kristina of Speakeasy, and The Great Villain Blogathon happens APRIL 13 – 17, 2015.

Related Pages of Interest:

Real vs Make-Believe: Margaret Hamilton meets Mr. Rogers; Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz; Margaret Hamilton vs The Wicked Witch of the West 

Mrs. Danvers interview Rebecca novel Hitchcock film: Her side of the story
A man's diabolical housekeeper accused of trying to kill his new wife!
Mrs. Danvers gives her side of the story: An Exclusive Interview

From The Great Villain Blogathon of 2014

Find out more about The American Film Institute, AFI

Vamps Vampires Villains and Flappers Female Vampires 1910s-1920s, Villains?  

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Many of the films can be streamed over Amazon Prime and most of the films are  in DVD sets.  

Character/Actor Images:

The Silence Of The Lambs Anthony Hopkins Poster
Anthony Perkins in Psycho II 24x36 Poster
Louise Fletcher One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Photo
Glenn Close Photos She was in Fatal Attraction and the live action version of 101 Dalmatians

Robert De Niro Photos and Posters De Niro was in Cape Fear and Taxi Driver. He was also in The Godfather, Part 2 for which Al Pacino made the list in his portrayal of Michael Corleone.

Annie Wilkes - Misery - Kathy Bates

Faye Dunaway Autographed Bonnie & Clyde 8x10 Photo
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest Original Vintage Postcard

Wicked Witch of the West

Please note: Some images may not be of actors' as characters on list and may not be from films discussed.