Between the late 1920s and early 1930s, a period of films broke the boundaries of what was acceptable to show at the time, called the Pre-Code era. In it, filmmakers would do explicit stories or violent films that were too taboo to show in theaters. Moreover, that’s when the film International House” came to be, starring Gracie Allen, George Burns, W.C. Fields, Bela Lugosi, and Franklin Pangborn. The movie is about a group of people who goes to a hotel in China to bid on an invention called Television. This publicity picture with some of the cast shows how silly this comedy was at the time.
This candid picture of John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich says much about their relationship. He was head over heels over Marlene, who at the time they met was 40 while the Duke was 35. Their secret steamy relationship wasn’t well known publicly for a few decades. Nevertheless, there was no hiding from their peers who knew that something was happening between them. Their romance got so intense that Wayne brought many excuses so that he wasn’t drafted so that he could continue their affair. Well, he did go to war, but only in the movies.
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner first met shortly before Natalie’s debut film Happy Land when she was only ten years old, and he was 18. However, it wasn’t until eight years later that they finally had their first date and a year later tied the knot in 1957, with a beautiful ceremony where you can see Natalie wearing a stunning laced hood and finger-ess gloves. The public was head over heels over their relationship, which lasted just five years. A few years and a divorce later, the two tied the knot again in 1972, until her mysterious demise in 1981.
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard knew how to party and dress up in style, especially when it was a costume party with a Circus theme. At William Randolph Hearst’s (middle) birthday celebration, the pair had a gay ol’ time with other guests like Mervyn LeRoy, with everyone dressed for the occasion. Parties at the time were more like cocktails with mini-games and live music. It is no wonder why celebrities of the time looked like they were always having a blast at every party; when Clark and Carole were involved, it was a guarantee that the party would be off the hook!
King Vidor was a veteran film director with an over 60-year career under his belt that started in the silent era of films. Here we can see him giving direction to Ruth Hussey, Fay Holden, and Van Helfin in the 1941 film HM Pulham, Esq at a wedding sequence. The movie was based on a novel with the same name about a businessman who, while living a “normal” quiet life, couldn’t keep his mind away from a young woman who took him out of his comfort zone to live with more passionate and charismatic energy. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
The film Let’s Make Love starring Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand, was a total flop at the box office and brought a lot of drama behind the scenes. Rumors swirled that Marilyn and her co-star Yves Montand were having an affair while her husband was working on the script for the film. Even this picture shows a lot of animosities backstage. There were many tensions which, in the end, damaged the production. This was Marilyn’s last technicolor film which she only did because she was still under contract with 20th Century Fox.
Here, we have a very young Audrey Hepburn preparing for her role in Secret People. She was just around 23 years old in this image, which is the start of her storied career in acting. In this film, Hepburn plays the part of Nora. She was the youngest daughter of a man who was set to be executed by a brutal dictator in their home country. She and her sister flee to London and try to lead a peaceful life. However, it all goes awry when they get involved in a plot to assassinate the dictator.
Are you ready for a little-known fact about this film? Doris Day was upset that Alfred Hitchcock was paying her no attention. He seemed to spend far more time worrying about lighting, set matters, and other little minutiae. She eventually talked to him about it. Here is his famous reply: “My dear Miss Day, if you weren’t giving me what I wanted, then I would have to direct you!” As it turns out, she was giving exactly the performance he wanted in the first place. Thus, he felt no need to correct her.
Springtime in the Rockies was a significant hit for the era and especially for Betty Grable. Altogether, it managed to pull in just over 2 million dollars, which is around 34 million dollars today. That might not sound like much. However, it was enough to make it one of the top ten films of 1942. It was even popular enough to catch the eye of Disney, who had Donald Duck quacking a version of the lead song while in the bath. The story was initially filmed under the title Second Honeymoon with the director Walter Lang.
Ray Bolger is shown here taking the time to do Promo photos for the iconic Wizard Of Oz film. However, Bolger was not the original casting for the role; that fell to Buddy Ebsen, who agreed to change positions with Bolger and instead became the Tinman. This led to Ebsen becoming sick from the makeup of the Tinman and having to leave the production. Bolger was also affected by his makeup as the Scarecrow, as the prosthetics left his face with scars that took over a year to go away. It sounded like a harrowing experience, but it was all worth it in the end.
Life seemed to be one big party for Carole Lombard. She grew from a small-time country girl into one of the most iconic screwball comedy actresses of her time. Twentieth Century was the film that made her a major star. She landed the role after the director Howard Hawks found her drunk and hilarious at a party. However, a crashed plane flight cut her life short after it hit a mountain. She was on her way home from a Wartime event to raise money for war bonds. At the time, Carole Lombard had a goal of 500,000 dollars and managed to secure over 2 million. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Marilyn Monroe’s career took off after being discovered while working in an aircraft factory assembling planes. That’s when she decided to quit and sign with a Model Agency, which was just one step closer to becoming an actress. So she divorced her husband and took off to find fame and fortune. Shortly after, 20th Century Fox signed her, where this picture was taken as a screen test. Interestingly, this is the first time we see Marilyn with her signature blonde hair, saying bye-bye to her brunette curly locks. This goes to confirm that gentlemen prefer blondes.
Spring Fever is a silent-era comedy film. Many consider it to be the fundamental starting point for the popularity of Joan Crawford and William Haines, even though it was just their second time starring in a film and their first time together. However, three years later, the film was remade into a comedy musical of all things. Not many films can go from the silent era to a full-blown musical in scope. Dorothy Jordan replaced Crawford, and Robert Montgomery replaced Haines.
Carefree was a powerhouse in design. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made it, and Irving Berlin wrote all the songs. Incidentally, it is also the shortest of the Astaire and Rogers films, coming in with only four feature musical numbers. Four of the featured songs were written by Irving Berlin in just a few days. While he was on vacation, at that. Most notably, the track “I Used To Be Colorblind” was recorded at four times speed, so when played back at normal speed, it appeared to be in slow motion.
Sometimes an actor’s or actress’s work isn’t all acting. They have to pose for pictures, often for publicity, and sometimes for charity. Here, we see the gorgeous Loren Bacall posing in a suit made for the film Dark Passage. It is an all-wool suit that is suitable for all seasons. Plus, it also boasted huge patched pockets, a semi-flared skirt double stitched in the center, and full, long sleeves. Designer Bernard Newman created the ensemble for Warner Brothers. This is just a little taste of the fashion extravaganza of the era that is still admired to this day.
13. There are 24 beers in a case and 24 hours in a day.
That is part of a quote associated with Paul Newman’s original statement, “24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.” However, it has never been proven that he ever said it. In fact, the actor is squarely against it and has fought it for years. Even though we can see the actor here, behind the scenes of his film Paris Blues enjoying a frosty one, Newman himself is outspoken against substance abuse and has aided several charities in this cause. He even created a substance abuse center after his son passed. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
In this little behind-the-scenes peek, we see Barbara Stanwyck having make-up applied on the set of Clash By Night, a film noir drama also starring the one and only Marilyn Monroe. Any actor or actress can tell you that sitting still for makeup can be one of the most tedious parts of the job. Thankfully, here it looks like Stanwyck takes it all in stride, with several other cast and crew members floating around. If they were lucky, sometimes only a little touch-up was needed between shots—all for the art of the movies.
Most times, we as fans don’t have the luxury of seeing inside a celebrity’s home, which is understandable. If you were in the public eye all day long, you would also want some peace. Cary Grant found his peace alongside the beach at a beautiful home in Santa Monica. He would spend his time there, hating to be a shut-in, whenever he was not on set or after his retirement. Of his beachfront home, he said, “I like the ocean because no one can build a house in front of me or plant a high hedge or put up a billboard.”
Not many Hollywood feuds last as long as this one did, and the two women had no problems airing out their dirty laundry in public as often as they could. Their feud was legendary and didn’t even end when Crawford passed away. However, even in the worst of rivalries, there is always little time for fun. As you can see in this picture in Dublin, Ireland. It was during a Press Conference that Joan Crawford held as part of a discussion for the expansion of Pepsi at the time. That didn’t stop Davis from installing a Coca-Cola machine on the set of What Ever Happened To Baby Jane, though.
Before we get to watch anything on the big screen, even influential classic films start from the ground up. Part of that process is deciding what their characters will look like, and that’s what we have here. Every inch is considered, from clothing designs to hairstyles, to what color it will be, and how long, curled, straight, braided, or natural. As we can see, Dorothy’s hair could have been much different from what we got on screen. Whether you’re a Doctor of Thinkology or a Good Deed Doer, we can all appreciate good character designs.
Not often do we get to see directors directly interacting with cast members. Still, in this candid photo, taken from Woman On The Beach, we can see Jean Renoir giving points and direction to Joan Bennett and Robert Ryan. Ryan plays a Coast Guard officer plagued with nightmares of a lonely, ghostly woman, and Bennett plays the wife of a blinded man who used to be a famous painter who mistakenly remarks that artists’ work is usually appreciated after they die. Together, they realize the bond they share that sets off a love triangle drama. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Sure, though the film was a musical and biography (albeit fictionalized version) of George Gershwin. But, Hazel Scott was no slouch on the ivory keys herself. A prodigy from a very young age, she could play anything she heard on piano and was even accepted as a student at the Juilliard School of Music at age eight. When she was old enough to start working in Hollywood, she was notoriously protective of her image by wearing her own clothing and jewelry. She also insisted in her contracts that she be given final cut privileges.
Actors have very little time between sets and shots; however, sometimes, there is ample time to grab a match in one of the world’s oldest and most popular games. Here we see Grace Kelly observing thoughtfully as Wendell Cory makes a move and attacks the back row of Jimmy Steward’s game pieces, potentially hoping to promote his pawn to a Queen. Perhaps she went on to play the victor of the round. Unfortunately, we can never tell as this piece of cinema history has flown out the window.
Marlon Brando has been in so many classic films and TV shows that we couldn’t list them all if we tried. Many people discuss how many awards he won or his salacious personal life. Nevertheless, few people knew that he had a love for playing instruments, one of those being the bongo. If you know where to look, you can find many a tale or image of Brando seated behind the small drums playing passionately and with a rock and roll attitude about him. Before he started acting, Brando played the drums in the Cockatoo Club in New York City.
The Duke Steps Out, a story about a millionaire’s son who wishes to become a boxer, is considered one of the long-lost greats in Hollywood Silent film history. Sadly, the film itself has been missing for decades. All that is known to remain are still photos, the soundtrack and sound effects of the film, and known reviews from critics of the era. William Haines has several more popular movies until his firing from MGM due to his refusal to enter into a fake marriage to hide his relationship with his long-time partner Jimmy Shields.
This wonderful image was captured behind the curtain after a performance of Sugar Babies, a Broadway musical that Rooney had starred in, his first ever. The show was an immediate success and went on to have over 1,200 performances during its nearly three-year-long running time. The show was written as a “send-off to burlesque,” featuring Rooney singing, dancing, and performing in drag. It was nominated for a total of 8 Tony awards but did not win any. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
This now iconic film, Reflections In A Golden Eye, is based on the novel by Carson McCullers and was shot initially using a gold-tinted filter to give the movie a shading that would match the title. However, it was also eventually released in black and white, as well as in retinted color. Interestingly, to get Elizabeth Taylor on board, the studio had to hire Montgomery Clift; however, he tragically had a heart attack before filming. The role was then cast to Brando, but only after Richard Burton and Lee Marvin turned it down.
It all started as a party for Sophia Loren that was put together by movie-producing company Paramount almost 60 years ago. Still, Loren remembers it precisely as it was that day. The reason for that look was simply put – fear. Fear that Jayne Mansfield was about to “spill all over the table” in front of dozens of cameras. Everyone who was anyone from the cinema was there that day. However, Loren says she wants nothing to do with the picture and does not autograph it when asked, mainly out of respect for Jayne, who has since passed.