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“From Marlene to Marilyn: Glamour and Desire on the Silver Screen” Kendra Sykes National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center Summer 2009 Internship
Smithsonian Institution • Education and Research Institute • “I then bequeath the whole of my property…to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge”- James Smithson (1765-1829) • United States government
National Portrait Gallery • Old Patent Office Building • Images are a diversity of individuals who have left-or who are leaving- their mark on our country and culture
“The main objective of a museum- its public obligation- is to tell a story--not just to show why but to tell why” Photo Courtesy of Life Magazine, 1938
My Role as an Intern Marlene Dietrich Marilyn Monroe
Glamour • “A word that has crept into all of the literature that deals with clothes today is “glamour”. The word is a symbol of a comparatively new source of dress idealism-the movies. In clothing themselves women follow a fundamental urge, the need to beautify themselves…the stars of the cinema have become one of the most potent sources of clothes idealism for great masses of women” Glamourous Styles of Films don’t flatter the Average Girl:Chicago Daily Tribune, February 3rd, 1935
“Glamour, according to the dictionary, is a ‘charm or enchantment operating on the vision and causing things to seem different from what they really are’. The Hollywood definition is more specific: Glamour…is the refulgent aura created by nature, art and the press agent…” Glamour Girls: New York Times, June 25th, 1939 “Glamour comes from the old Scotch word, gramarye, meaning to cast a spell or bewitch, to charm, so its part and parcel of the modern scheme of things that age should want glamour as much as youth” This Glamour Business: Los Angeles Time Jan 22nd, 1939 “Fashion is a career to most of the stars and a fascinating one. For they must study the psychology of dress constantly” 15,000A Year for Clothes: Los Angeles Times, June 5th, 1932
Cigarette Ad Car Ad Carole Lombard, 1937 Dolores del Rio, 1938
War and Fashion • The movie industry flourished during the Depression • Popular in the 1930’s because they offered Americans an escape • Powerful promotional impact
Desire • Born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England • “Hollywood could control the image…not the person” • “The man women wanted and men wanted to be” Cary Grant
Insight and Reflections • The value of museums in American culture • The extensive work done for exhibits • Hollywood is huge! • Fun while conducting research • Surrounded by glamour everyday