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How To Look Good in Movies

Apr 15, 2008
Probably the number of people who have not at one time or another wondered in a sneaking sort of way if they wouldn't look pretty well on the screen is limited to the aborigines of Africa. Needless to say, both beauty and character are the characteristics in demand in the films, as everywhere else. The curious fact is that faces which in real life possess great beauty or deep character, frequently fail to carry this across to the camera.

The chief reason for this lies in the fact that the: camera does not accept color values, and at the same time accentuates many defects which are ordinarily imperceptible to the eye. For example, a wonderful type of Italian beauty appeared at our studio while we were casting "Mama's Affair" for Constance Talmadge. She had never before appeared in motion pictures, and our casting director was quick to seize the opportunity to make a test of her face.

When the picture was shown, her extraordinarily fine coloring of course went for nothing, and her beauty was entirely marred by the inexplicable appearance of a fine down over her upper lip and a large mole on her left temple. Both the mole and the down had been entirely unnoticed in daylight, but under the fierce mercury lights of the studio and the enlarging lenses they made her face grotesque.

At another time we attempted to make a leading man of a famous war hero. This boy had been a college athlete and had subsequently distinguished himself as a bayonet fighter on four battlefields. When his test films were projected, to the astonishment of everyone he appeared as an anaemic, effeminate stripling, whose every gesture aroused the ridicule of the audience.

The skin of the face must be entirely smooth and unbroken. The slightest eruption or blemish is visible on the screen, especially in this day when "close- ups" are the vogue. The teeth must be perfect. Considerations which do not matter in the slightest degree in facial beauty on the screen are those of coloring and of fineness of the features. The pinker a woman's cheeks may be, the hollower they appear to the camera, for red photographs as black, and a face which is beautiful, but coarse in its outline, frequently photographs quite as well as the beautiful face which is exquisite in every detail.

A screen star should be equally beautiful in every expression and from every angle. This is not so true of the stage star, for when she is moving about, speaking and gesticulating, the question of her beauty becomes comparatively unimportant. On the screen, however, important scenes are always taken in "close- ups" wherein the star, whether portraying rage or pain, love or hate, must be equally charming, at the risk of making a permanently bad impression upon her audience.

Many people who are beautiful when seen in "full face" are most unattractive in profile. In fact, the matter narrows down still further, for quite often those who have a lovely profile are, for some inexplicable reason, gross and unattractive when the face is turned to show three-quarters.

A number of the present movie stars have risen to the top despite such impediments by stipulating in all their contracts that they be never shown in close-up in the pose in which they are unattractive. One star in particular never shows the left side of her face for this reason. This, however, is obviously a great handicap.

The male types which are most in demand are not those whose appeal is through physical beauty. Audiences are sick of large-eyed, romantic heroes, and are demanding a little manly force and character in their heroes.

To film well, a man's head should be large, rugged, with the features cut in masses, like a Rodin bust. Whether he is attempting to play "juveniles," "leads" or "heavies" his face must possess the cardinal requi- sites of character. Deep-set eyes, a strong chin, a jutting forehead, a prominent nose, are all desirable. Again, the high cheekbones and long face appear desirable characteristics. William S. Hart's success depends largely on these two simple characteristics of facial structure.

Neither in men nor in women is the hair an essential for screen beauty. Wigs and trick arrangements of the hair are a function of the make-up department, and a man or woman with no hair at all could still be made to appear most attractive to the unsophisticated camera.

In analyzing your own face, then, ask yourself the following questions:
Are my eyes large?
Is my skin fine and well kept ?
Is my mouth small and are my teeth good ?
Is my nose straight?
Has my face character, something which makes it not only beautiful, but which portrays the underlying personality ?

If you can answer these questions in the affirmative you may have a career before you in the motion pictures. If you cannot answer any of them but the last in the affirmative, you may still be successful as a movie actor, for "types" whether of gunmen or millionaires, villains or saints are much in demand.

In any case, if you are to essay a career in the movies, remember that your natural characteristics are all that count. Tricks of rolling the eyes or puckering the lips or setting the jaw are buncombe and are instantly discovered by the camera. Be natural. Keep healthy and happy. That, in the movies, as in real life, is the way to charm and beauty.
About the Author
Malcolm Blake has extensivley researched and written in the field of movies including how to download movies too.
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