02 April 2014

Classic Movie Stars Look-Alikes

I secretly pride myself at having quite the visual eye and being good at faces - and while it's a 'gift' that never comes in handy when you spot somebody in the street that you recognize but desperately want to avoid (despite the fact that they've already spotted you too because the recognition practically stands written all over your face) - I always find it great fun to try and detect resemblances and similarities in movies and their stars. When it comes to people, the mere physical resemblance can sometimes be uncanny; at times going to the extreme point of similar mannerisms, certain looks and personal quirks (which makes it so fun to be an impersonator I believe). Or is it all just in my head, I wonder? Oh well, it varies, of course, what people find similar to what or whom and what others don't. I guess it has a lot to do with how we see and associate other people to ourselves and people we know. In the end, I believe visual memory/association to be highly personal and subjective, deeply connected to one's feelings - depending on the significance of the memories, of course.
Anyhow, enough with the 'spacing-out'. This is just some silly stuff and musings I concocted because I - as usual - couldn't help myself. Enjoy ;) 
(PS. I intend to keep updating this list as I come across more look-alikes. Meanwhile, be free to make more suggestions or take a look at some other funny look-alikes throughout time). 

Sylvia Sidney vs. Marion Cotillard

Sylvia Sidney (left) and Marion Cotillard

I once came across this picture on the Internet and I simply couldn't take my eyes of the resemblance between Sylvia and Marion! I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before! Furthermore, Marion has that old star quality about her; a beauty that made her so well-suited for the 1920s' setting of "Midnight in Paris" (where the right picture above is taken from). 

Lew Ayres vs. Robert Walker

Lew Ayres

Robert Walker

I may be totally wrong on this, but there's just such a striking resemblance between these two guys: the large forehead and contemplating look; the small chin and neat hair that gave them an almost boyish vibe. Arguably, Lew was more handsome during his time, but I'll leave it to you to judge.

Laraine Day vs. Patricia Neal

Laraine Day

Patricia Neal

The resemblance is uncanny and I keep confusing them all the time! There's just something about their eyes and eyebrows when they both looked anxious or troubled... Just watch some of their respective films and see for yourselves; there are lots of similar moments!

Donna Reed vs. Teresa Wright

Donna Reed

Teresa Wright

I don't really know why I keep mistaking them for one another, because they are not really that alike if you look at other pictures of them. Maybe it's the hair? Or their smiles? Or their sweet girl-next-door-persona in, respectively, "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Shadow of a Doubt"? In reality, Teresa reminds me more of Eva Marie Saint or Joan Leslie, whereas Donna almost has a bit of Olivia de Havilland in her...
Olivia de Havilland

Eva Marie Saint
Joan Leslie

Marlene Dietrich vs. Tallulah Bankhead

Marlene Dietrich

Tallulah Bankhead

Of course, people had seen this coming, and I'm sure it has been pointed out before: the bedroom eyes, the nonchalant attitude, the androgynous look, the adjunct in the shape of a handsome man with puppy eyes etc.. One could include Greta Garbo and even Bette Davis in this category, too. Yet, where Marlene and Greta arguably succeeded in using their foreign origin to add to their exotic allure and mystery, and Bette had her undeniably versatile talent, Tallulah - a true 'Scarlett O'Hara' (a part for which she also auditioned for) or should I say the female version of 'Rhett Butler'? - was perhaps overshadowed in terms of being THE silver screen temptress and more known for her controversial lifestyle and attitude off screen (even to have said to have been in a relationship with both Marlene and Greta). However, this is, as I said, debatable. Even Bette admitted to having emulated Tallulah in "Dark Victory", which Tallulah had played on stage. And Tallulah did indeed have a significant influence on women's emancipation which for no reason should be downplayed.

Greta Garbo
Bette Davis

Paul Newman vs. Michelangelo's David

Paul Newman

Michelangelo's David

Okay, okay. This has gone a bit silly, I'll admit, but still there's no doubt about it! I'm utterly convinced that Paul really was a Greek god, originally carved from marble and then took human form, and sent to this planet to set the bar for male beauty PLUS make the silver screen all the more delightful to gaze upon ;D Or maybe he had lived in a previous life, let's say the Renaissance, and Michelangelo just happened to use him as a model for his work...

Vivien Leigh vs. Maureen O'Sullivan

Vivien Leigh

Maureen O'Sullivan

Surely, they could be sisters! With their shared mannerisms, girly voices, dimpled smiles, coquettish/impish nature and at times even feisty beings, not to mention staggering beauty, they could easily have competed for the role as 'Scarlett O'Hara' in "Gone With The Wind" (yet, we're glad Vivien got the role as she was practically born for it!). They even had the chance to play together in the movie "A Yank at Oxford" (1938) just before Vivien was picked for the role as Scarlett. However, it was said that "[...] Leigh felt judged by Maureen O'Sullivan, (whom she had befriended years earlier at school) because O'Sullivan was happily married and Leigh was in the midst of an affair with Laurence Olivier and awaiting word of a divorce from her first husband, Leigh Holman. Therefore, the relationship was 'strained'":

Vivien Leigh (left) and Maureen O'Sullivan

I mean, just look at them!:


Clark Gable vs. Kent Taylor

Clark Gable

Kent Taylor

Apropos, "Gone With The Wind", another major, significant star from the film is (of course) Clark Gable, who seemed to also have a 'twin'..! Something I would have laughed at before this recent and surprising discovery - because to me Clark's looks have always been so very unique. However, I was watching "I Take This Woman" (1940) where the actor Kent Taylor appeared and he immediately struck me by his physical resemblance to Clark - albeit not as tall, nor  deep-voiced and not nearly as magnetic as Clark - and maybe it was simply the moustache that did it, but there were just something so familiar... Apparently, Kent Taylor and Clark Gable shared other than just looks as both their names should reportedly have been used as the inspiration for Superman's alter-ego Clark Kent. 

Bette Davis vs. Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell (left) and Bette Davis

Joan and Bette only starred in one film together, "Three on a Match" (1932), but was reportedly good friends off-screen as well (though it's hard finding head or tail in the rumours circulating Bette's feuds and friends). Though Bette rather early changed her appearance from blond to brunette which made her stand apart from Joan's iconic blonde persona, they looked very similar during the early thirties. Although, I would argue that Joan had more of the cheeky, down-to-earth and 'rosy-cheeked Betty Grable-beauty' that made her the sex symbol she was in comparison to Bette's more aloof beauty.

Joan (left) and Bette
Bette (left) and Joan

23 March 2014

Movie Parallels: 7 Women vs. 7 Men

Seven. There is something about that number. Not only has it been used countless of times in movie titles and themes, but it, of course, goes way back to several biblical, religious, mathematical, astronomic, musical, antique, literary etc. symbolic references. There are seven days in a week. Seven seas. Seven colors in a rainbow. Seven archangels. Seven deadly sins. Seven principles of man.

Well, one could conclude a lot of different things, metaphorically and literally, from the use of the number seven in the two films "7 Women" (John Ford, 1966) and "The Magnificent Seven" (John Sturges, 1960). The latter, a well-known western with an iconic assemble cast and score. The first, a rather misappreciated drama that arguably could be called a western or even Catholic propaganda, but with an just as iconic assemble cast. Anyhow, both are very well executed and acted out, and they both somehow deal with the topic of saving a group of people from 'savage' captivity. The only difference is that the first film deals with a group of seven different women being captured by Chinese bandits, hoping to free themselves, while the other film is about a group of seven different men trying to rescue a village from Mexican bandits. Yet, all total 14 individuals have that in common that they all seem to have or hide some personal struggles of their own while dealing with the dramatic situation they're finding themselves in, respectively. Each woman must decide for herself what she is willing to sacrifice in order to stay alive - or help the other women stay alive - and hopefully gain freedom from the brute hands of the 'savage' bandits. Similarly, each man must decide for himself what - or if - he wants to gain from the low-paid, unsafe task of helping some innocent village people from a 'savage' gang. The gender-divided take-offs make basis for a critique of a gender-stereotypical perspective, e.g. that the 'sinful' woman (Anne Bancroft's character in "7 Women") is redeemed through her self-sacrifice for the group. Or the seemingly heartless and materialistic men in "The Magnificent Seven" finds redemption, peace or 'a better purpose in life' through protecting the innocent villagers. The idea of the seven deadly sins certainly lurks as a moral reminder in the background in both cases. But both films also deal with the necessity of working together despite differences and keeping a cool head in tough situations, even when others stronger than yourself can't. Some make it, others don't. It's the ultimate (American) test of the human spirit: selfishness vs. self-sacrifice. And whether you like the 'americaness' of it all or not; the great performances, cinematography and directing style certainly will convince you that they're worth the watch - and a constructive critique as well.

14 January 2014

Inspired by the '90s: Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore's Wardrobes

After the 1980s' Molly Ringwald's red-haired, pastel-clothed, iconic teen-character had served her time, Winona Ryder, the dark-haired, dark-eyed pixie-beauty, took over the role, representing the epitome of the female teenager during the 1990s' coming-of-age movies. Winona's simple and - typical of the '90s - low-key minimalistic sense of style attracted much recognition in the fashion industry, especially during the height of her career. In her movies, she could wear everything from the late '80s shoulderpads (Heathers) with the early, rather un-flattering grunge-phase of the '90s (Night on Earth, Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael) and the popular earth-coloured minimalism of the same decade (Reality Bites) - as well as the '60s preppy and Nouvelle Vague-inspired fashion (Mermaids, Girl Interrupted).  Cheeky and unabashed, yet also sweet and modest she perfectly embraced the '90s youth culture that was permeated with identity confusion and self-consciousness and furthermore developed the teenage outsider archetype since the '80s high school movies.

The pictures below are, in order of appearence, taken from: "Reality Bites" (1994), "Night on Earth" (1991), "Mermaids" (1990), "Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael" (1990), "Heathers" (1988), "Girl, Interrupted" (1999) and lastly, various pictures of Winona off-screen:




Fashion Trends of the '90s: The minimalistic, the grunge and the rock/rebel chic:


Another favorite style icon of mine from the '90s was Drew Barrymore. Much has changed now (as it usually does) but back then, Drew's clothes as well as her lifestyle screamed of true good-girl-gone-bad attitude, of rebel chic, rock and grunge influence, which very much contradicted her very girly, sweet face (a nice contrast to the contemporary heroin chic image from Kate Moss). True, she struggled with drug-addiction from, sadly, a very young age but luckily she came through and somehow it never left any visible 'marks' on that sweet face - nor her bright attitude towards life and her positive career as it is of now. A change for the good, but also a farewell to the rebel chic look (except she got it back a bit in Charlie's Angels). However, luckily, we can still appreciate her impeccable sense of true '90s style back in those days:

Other popular '90s girls who followed this trend: Alicia Silverstone, Liv Tyler, Claire Danes:

Another influential trendsetter during the '90s: Gwen Stefani: 

My personal favorite looks:


Look like Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore in the '90s:

Winona Ryder '90s Style

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