Powell, Bennett, Hayward.

They were three of the most beautiful women of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  Each with a distinct look and talent.  And when we wrote about them our readers took note.

Hello, everybody.  Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, back and, as always, happy to pass along comments from those of you out there who wish to share your thoughts about our musings.

Eleanor Powell has always been one of Joe’s favorite stars and when we wrote about her a few months back Vincent had this to add: Eleanor Powell was spectacular to watch because she was vivacious, athletic, and good looking. I suspect her career tanked because she lacked the sex appeal of an Ann Miller, Mitzi Gaynor, etc. Her dancing costumes were also a bit overly modest.

We couldn’t agree more.  She was too wholesome.  And let’s not forget that stardom also requires a certain drive and determination.  Powell probably lacked that.  She was content being a wife and mother.

Joan Bennett had that drive.  She also married men who wanted her to continue with her career.  Robin Jordan Henry wrote in and reminded us of that clever lyric of the 1940s:

Going brunette was probably the wisest move Joan Bennett ever made. While she had some success as a blonde in the 1930s, she always looked rather pallid compared to sister Constance; with dark hair, she developed her own identity as a Bennett. It also led to this Cole Porter lyric from “Let’s Not Talk About Love” in 1941: “Let’s speak of Lamarr, that Hedy so fair/Why does she let Joan Bennett wear all her old hair?”

And whenever we mention Susan Hayward we usually elicit some mail.  Hayward does still have a devoted following.  A contributor simply referred to as Collis had this comment: Hayward viewed her career as work thus treating her films as 9 to 6 jobs. She didn’t socialize with her peers for the above reason plus she was extremely shy and didn’t like parties.

This caused much consternation with directors and producers; she wouldn’t give in to the hidden pressures of the day. Because of this viewpoint she was punished by being given roles beneath her talent. This is the reason she is not heard much of except for students of the art of which I am. (undergrad and graduate level) When you watch her performances you can see the influence from the Russian Director/Actor and Producer Gregory Ratoff. The origin of this style is from the European Theatre. She takes care of details.

Many of her directors have called her one of the greatest actors. During the final years of her life many fans such as Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn etc… visited her to express their admiration. Bette Davis was a fan until they worked together and their personalities clashed. Watching her work you don’t see duplicate performances; her characterizations vary not as with Miss Davis.

Neither Frank nor Joe quite appreciate Miss Hayward as much as Collis.

Still, we love being disagreed with.  Let’s hear from you.

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