vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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'Picture Play,' November 1935: The jury's out on beauty

carole lombard picture play september 1935aa

That's Carole (or as the magazine still referred to her at the time, "Carol") Lombard, as featured in a Eugene Robert Richee portrait in the September 1935 issue of Picture Play. It said of her,

"Beautiful Carol Lombard charms by her wit, her chic, and her increasing power as an artist. Give her any role within reason and she plays it well, but she is best as an ultra-modern searching for a happiness she cannot put into words. Slightly weary of it all, but humorous more than self-pitying. She is uniquely different and has never yet slighted a role nor been indifferent to advice or criticism. Carol's tops!"

Two months later, Lombard was tops in the magazine in a different way, though it wasn't via the cover -- that belonged to Myrna Loy:

myrna loy picture play november 1935 cover large

Inside, Picture Play had a feature from Dorothy Wooldridge called "The Jury Of Beauty." The theme? Twelve of the industry's male "experts on feminine beauty" (including Mitchell Leisen, director of Lombard's latest film, "Hands Across The Table") gave their preferences in various categories among stars of the film community. By 2013 standards, that may well sound shallow and sexist, but it was a good way to provoke arguments at the office pool, beauty salon or bridge club.

Unfortunately, part of two facing pages have been clipped from this article; fortunately, only a minimal bit of copy and a photo or two was lost. It should also be noted that the only studio without a representative among the 12 was MGM, probably a result of studio policy. (Two members of the "jury" hailed from what had just become Twentieth Century-Fox, though the magazine referred to that studio as its pre-merger moniker of "Fox.") Here are their observations:

carole lombard picture play november 1935aa
carole lombard picture play november 1935ba
carole lombard picture play november 1935ca
carole lombard picture play november 1935da
carole lombard picture play november 1935eb

As you can tell, Lombard fared well among the judges, who labeled hers the best body; she tied with Kay Francis for the best back and was even with Marlene Dietrich and Rosita Lawrence for best hands. And just in case you need proof of the beauty of Carole's hands, they -- not her face -- were the subject of a Paramount picture, p1202-495:

carole lombard p1202-495

Some other thoughts:

* Despite the absence of an MGM-related judge, several of its stars won honors. Norma Shearer was judged to have the best hair, Joan Crawford tied Dietrich and Claudette Colbert for best ankles, and Jean Harlow shared best feet with Dietrich and Ginger Rogers. (Let's hope they don't stumble over each other.)

* Marlene won or tied in more categories than any other actress; in addition to the three above, she was judged as having the best legs. (Surprised?)

* Winners of two of the categories went against popular Hollywood legend. We've all heard of the glories of Myrna's nose, but the judges picked...er, selected...Irene Dunne's; Loy didn't land a vote. And what about "Bette Davis Eyes"? Sorry, Jackie DeShannon (and Kim Carnes), but in 1935 Loretta Young's eyes were deemed tops. Bette was blanked.

Earlier in '35, Lombard was voted Hollywood's best-dressed actress in at least one poll. Now, she was being honored for some other attributes.

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