Bright Style in Dark Days Streamlined Moderne and the Depression

Hollywood glamour was one of the most important aspects of material culture during the inter-war years in America. Whether seen to be something to espouse and aspire to as part of the construction of personal identity or something that threatened core American values or avant-garde practice, it was highly significant. The new phenomenon of visiting the cinema was a popular activity, and the texts surrounding film viewing were consumed avidly as part of the landscape of material culture. For the...

British National Identity and Hollywood Glamour at

The British film industry, beleaguered since the 1920s and 1930s by the challenge of American popular films, had enjoyed limited artistic success in terms of its documentary films, led by the film-maker John Grierson. The documentary film movement had produced short corporate films for official organizations, including the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit, the General Post Office Film Unit, the BBC and the British Coke and Gas Company (Higson in Barr (ed.) 1986). This was channelled in to the...

Cold War Cultures Hollywood and Modernism

The popularity of Hollywood continued unabated in Britain throughout the Second World War up until the mid-1960s. American hegemony was then challenged in style terms by the ascendancy of British culture as the source of glamour and modernity, in which film played an important part. The battle for cultural control outlined in Chapters 1 and 2 continued, played out during the war by official British documentary-style propaganda competing with films like the glamorous saga Gone With the Wind...

Deco Decadence and Our Dancing Daughters

Austin Gibbons travelled to Paris in 1925 and viewed the Exposition there with enthusiasm, This influence can be discerned in the 1928 film Our Dancing Daughters, designed with the help of designer Richard Day as Unit Art Director, in which the art deco style made its d but.2 Although the film was subsequently recorded as being filmed entirely using art deco sets, this was not the case (Mandelbaum and Myers 1985). Art deco was used for the homes of two characters, Diana Medford (Joan Crawford)...

Family History

Like those of many historians who have popularized the study of popular culture, my geographic and social origins and gender are still not common amongst university professors. My own academic interest in the popular is not informed by distance, by looking at a strange, foreign activity, but by feeling inside and part of the process of consumption. My paternal grandfather, Harry Massey, was born in 1909 and came from an army background he served as a Sergeant-Major until 1947. He then worked at...

Hollywood Arises

The fledgling film industry had emerged during the 1890s in America and Britain, with news or comedy shorts being shown as a novelty to vaudeville or music hall audiences (Eyles 1997). From 1900 films could be viewed in amusement arcades in America, and by 1905 separate areas were screened off in the arcades or in shops to create rudimentary viewing theatres. They were known as nickelodeons in American and penny-gaffs in Britain, because of their cheap entry price, and attracted a predominately...

Hollywood Beyond the Screen

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Post Modern Glamour A Postscript

By 1967 the pop revolution in design, art and film had passed, along with Britain's brief leadership of glamour. The Beatles appeared on the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in June 1967 with unkempt hair reaching their shoulders and Victorian military uniforms made from acid-coloured satins. This form of post-modern styling reworked past looks in an ironic and self-conscious manner as an effective challenge to mainstream modernism. Hollywood glamour was revived as part of...

Putting On The Style

A revolution in beauty and cosmetics took place in the 1930s, thanks again to Hollywood. Make-up became socially acceptable and widely available for the first time. It was associated with being glamorous, as an editorial piece in Home Chat (1939) demonstrates. 'That Touch of Glamour' advised readers on the application of make-up, including rouge, eye-shadow and lip pencil. Max Factor of Hollywood was the leading brand of beauty products in Britain, and was marketed there from 1930 onwards, with...

Resisting Hollywood Post War Official British Culture

The perceived threat of Hollywood still informed the construction of official British culture and the development of the British film industry throughout the late 1940s and 1950s. Harold Wilson, in his role as President of the Board of Trade, undertook to bolster the British film industry and curtail the influence of Hollywood. The new Labour government was facing a severe economic crisis in 1946, due to foreign exchange problems and debts to America caused by the war. The government had...

The British Reaction

A similar pattern of development in the identification of glamour with Hollywood and art deco took place in Britain as had occurred in America. Orientalism was as popular amongst British audiences as American up until the mid-1920s, when art deco as the representation of modernity took hold. The 1925 Paris Exposition reinforced France's leadership of the luxury end of the market, defining fashion in terms of expensive clothing and interior decoration. Art deco enjoyed limited popularity, mainly...

The Designer Decade

By the 1980s the independent film-makers of Hollywood were dominant. The influence of Hollywood beyond the screen in the 'designer decade' was through the promotion of well-cut clothes and accessories. The bohemianism of the 1970s was superseded by the reassertion of the importance of the designer. In Annie Hall (1977) Diane Keaton plays the insecure female lead in well-cut but plain Ralph Lauren outfits. The transposition of male clothes to the female body, transmitted through the pages of...

The Jazz Age American Ascendancy and the Dbut of Deco

Art deco is a term commonly used by design historians, dealers and collectors for a style of architecture and design prevalent during the period 1925 to 1939, the period when Classical Hollywood Cinema was established and the United States took the world lead in creating a consumer culture.1 Art deco as a potent style in the American home and export markets became a powerful symbol of transatlantic glamour. In this chapter the origins of Hollywood glamour are explored in terms of Parisian haute...

To View This Figure Please Refer To The Printed Edition

Figure 1 Violet Massey (n e Green - my Grandmother) 1939 and then the Duke of Buccleuch. Memorable parts of my childhood were spent accompanying my grandfather to stately homes while he sketched horses or delivered paintings. But there was always a recognizable barrier there, when I was told in hushed tones not to talk and not to expect to be invited into the house. This was not really a 'place for us', we were there to offer the fruits of my grandfather's labour and nothing else. My mother was...

Unpublished

BFI, Pressbooks for Our Dancing Daughters, Our Blushing Brides and Our Modern Maidens Interviews (1998) by author with Gwen Carr and Harry Massey Kuhn, A. (1997a) Cinema Culture in 1930s Britain End of Award Report Kuhn, A. (1997b) Cinemagoing in the 1930s Report of a Questionnaire Survey Paynton, V. C. (1995) 'The Ideal Kinema Class, Gender and Cinema Design', M.Phil. Thesis, Southampton Institute. Material collected for Fathers of Pop (1979), an Arts Council film, but largely unused...

Introduction Reclaiming the Personal and the Popular

This book is about tying up loose ends. It offers a reading of visual culture that makes new links between design and film, using an approach taken from material culture studies. It also offers insights into the Americanization of British popular culture by looking at changing representations and meanings of glamour. The book also ties up some loose ends in my own personal history. I began writing it at a moment of alienation its inspiration came from an urge to prove just what an 'outsider' I...

Swinging London Hollywood and

The change from Cold War modernism to the glamour of youth and anti-establishment challenges came as part of a British pop revolution in film and design. 'The Challenge of Pop' was the title of a famous article that Paul Reilly wrote for Architectural Review in 1967. Reilly was Director of the COID at the time, and acknowledged that the old style values of the classic modern movement had been usurped by a new, young, pop aesthetic. 'Carnaby Street and King's Road, Chelsea, with their meagre...

Articles

Allen, J. (1980) 'The Film Viewer as Consumer', Quarterly Review of Film Studies, Vol. 5, Fall, pp. 481-99 Alloway, L. (1958) 'The Arts and the Mass Media', Architectural Design, No. 28, February, pp. 84-5 Alloway, L. (1961) 'Architecture and the Modern Cinema', The Listener, Vol. LXV, No. 1682, 22 June, pp. 1085-6 Alloway, L. (1963) 'The Iconography of the Movies', Movie, Febuary March, pp. 7-9 Bailey-Cutts, A. (1938) 'Homes of Tomorrow in the Movies of Today', California Arts &...

Deco American Style

The look of the exhibits was communicated throughout America by means of newspaper and magazines features, exhibition displays and department store promotions, including exhibitions at Macy's, Lord and Taylor and Abraham and Straus. A selection of almost 400 objects, including furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork and textiles, was made by Charles R. Richards, director of the American Association of Museums, from the 1925 exhibition and shown nation-wide, beginning at the Metropolitan Museum of...

The Migrations of Glamour

The concept of glamour, of a particular look or style being the source of envy, aspiration and desire, only entered common usage during the twentieth century. A relatively new addition to the English language, its meaning in the eighteenth century was linked with magic, enchantment, necromancy or a sorcerer's spell. One of the earliest recorded uses was in 1721 in a Scottish verse 'When devils, wizards or jugglers deceive the sight, they are said to cast glamour o'er the eyes of the spectator'...

Books

Abrams, M. (1959) The Teenage Consumer, London London Press Exchange Albrecht, D. (1986) Designing Dreams Modern Architecture in the Movies, London Thames and Hudson Albrecht, D. (1997) The Work of Charles and Ray Eames A Legacy of Invention, New York Abrams Appadurai, A. (ed.) (1986) The Social Life of Things Commodities in Cultural Perspective, Cambridge Cambridge University Press Ash, J. and Wilson, E. (eds) (1992) Chic Thrills A Fashion Reader, London Harper Collins Atwell, D. (1981)...

Glamour and Post Modern Style

An important feature of post-modern questioning of deep-seated values was the revival of 1930s Hollywood glamour. Just as Wolfe observed the customizers' identification with streamlining, so glamour was revived and celebrated in fine art, interior decoration and fashion. Its revival also informed the development of post-modern architectural criticism. Just as the traditional structures and personalities of the world's most powerful film industry had disintegrated and were superseded by a...

At Home with Modernity

The lure of the outdoor life and the theme of the ocean liner inspired the design of private houses and apartment block buildings during the 1930s in Britain, particularly in coastal and suburban areas. Like the hotels discussed already, they frequently featured balconies for sunbathing, sun terraces or even sleeping porches. Geographically, moderne houses were most frequently constructed in the more prosperous south of England, with very few examples in the north of the country. They were...

New Looks Glamour Design and Cinema

The worthy displays of good design offered by the Council of Industrial Design and of fine art by the Arts Council of Great Britain could not compete for popular attention with the growing stream of American imported goods during the 1950s. The attractiveness of the goods was reinforced by the glamour of Hollywood film and American television during the period. The lifestyle depicted on the Hollywood screen and, from 1955, on the small screen in the form of television portrayed America as the...

Hollywood Hot Rods and Choppers

Customizing, that is altering standard motor vehicles to improve performance and looks, had begun in America in 1920. Modifications were made to the Ford Model T through the availability of custom-made body shells and performance engine parts. The customizing of standard cars escalated in the 1930s, when the hot rod style was created for racing. 'Hot' signified modification, and 'rod' was an abbreviation of 'roadster', as in the Model T roadster. The hot rods were constructed for speed and...

Culture Is Good For

Efforts were made by the British elite to patrol the Council of Industrial Design in 1945, the Arts Council in 1946 and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in the same year. Competition for Hollywood also came from television, although it was less advanced than in the US, with the BBC offering worthy, middle-brow entertainment from the early 1950s and commercial television offering something more popular from 1955. Rationing continued until 1953, and was even more severe than during the war in...