Friday Photos: True Hollywood Confessions July 24, 2015 by Robert J. Avrech 5 Comments “Always be a first rate version of yourself.”-Audrey HepburnPhoto by Yousuf Karsh, 1959 Jacob Hogers, Abraham’s Servant and Rebecca, 1614 Oil on canvas 37 x 38. I love the landscape, a ruined city. Rebecca points towards the future, and Eliezer strains forward convincing Rebecca to accept Isaac’s hand in marriage. “American men, as a group, seem to be interested in only two things: money and breasts. It seems a very narrow outlook.”-Hedy Lamarr Giandomenica Tiepolo, Rebecca at the Well late 18th century. Look at Rebecca’s eyes. She appears suspicious as she studies the gifts Eliezer offers. It’s as if she can see into the future where she glimpses a difficult life, as wife and mother. I believe the scowling man in the center is Laban, Rebecca’s cunning and greedy brother. “I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience.”-Shelley Winters, 1949 Bartolome Esteban Murillo Rebecca and Eliezer late17th century. Take note of the damaged well and the cracked wall on the top right hand of the frame. Again, this suggests a corrupt city. There’s also the rounded water jugs which echo the rounded forms of Rebecca and the other women. Water and fertility are visually joined as Rebecca gives Eliezer water, an act of kindness and generosity. “The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”-Elizabeth Taylor Giambattista Pittoni Eliezer and Rebecca 18th century. This is fascinating. Eliezer gives Rebecca a valuable pearl bracelet. She looks at the gift, yet she seems hesitant. Should she give up her home and family for these luminous jewels and an uncertain future? The woman on the left seems amused by the unfolding drama. And even the camel shows interest. Kim Novak & Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Vertigo (1958)On Kim Novak’s performance: “You think you’re getting a lot. You’re not. It was very difficult to obtain what I wanted from [Kim Novak] because her head was full of her own ideas. But as long as I’m pleased with the result…In any case, the role was intended for another actress, Vera Miles. We were ready to begin filming…when, instead of seizing the opportunity of a lifetime, Vera Miles became pregnant. I ask you! I was offering Vera Miles a big part, the chance to become a beautiful, sophisticated blonde, a real actress. We’d have spent a heap of dollars on it, and she has the bad taste to get pregnant. I hate pregnant women, because then they have children.”-Alfred Hitchcock“I don’t know if he ever liked me. I never sat down with him for dinner or tea or anything, except one cast dinner, and I was late to that. It wasn’t my fault, but I think he thought I had delayed to make a star entrance, and he held that against me. During the shooting, he never really told me what he was thinking. I know that Hitchcock gave me a lot of freedom in creating the character, but he was very exact in telling me exactly what to do. How to move, where to stand. I think you can see a little of me resisting that in some of the shots, kind of insisting on my own identity.”-Kim Novak Carlo Maratti, Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, 1655-7. Here, again, we see Eliezer offering gifts to Rebecca. She appears anxious to embrace the jewels — and her unknown future. The woman in the center, presumably Rebecca’s handmaiden, seems unsure of the sudden proposal. Maratti was one of the great masters of Baroque classicism. The skin tones and the rich texture of the clothing are sublime. “I defy any pretty girl who is rocketed to stardom in a sex nymphette role to stay on a level path. Lolita exposed me to temptations no girl of that age should undergo. From the time I was about 16, I’d go totally wacko, totally crazy, for about three months at a time, then go into such deep depressions that I wouldn’t even leave the house to go to the grocery store.I hate the spotlight, I hate people looking at me, I don’t like strangers asking me questions. I like to be left alone. I enjoy my security, my safeness with a private life. I was once on a television show, a talk show. My brother had just died two days before that. The interviewer opens his show by saying – and now I was 16 years old – he said, ‘Did your brother kill himself because you played Lolita?’ I didn’t say a thing. I got up and I walked off. I couldn’t even dignify that. I had no words. That’s typical of the reason that I can’t be a movie star. I never could.Am I going to be Lolita when I’m 50? Much as I appreciated Lolita in her day, I’d like to leave her now.”—Sue Lyon,1962 Nicolas Poussin, Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well, 1648. This painting presents a rather complicated narrative. With a hand to her heart, Rebecca is surprised as Eliezer makes his proposal. She doesn’t know what to think. Meanwhile, notice the tough chick in the long green skirt on the right. Her hand is cocked on her hip and, frankly, she looks skeptical about the whole deal. “I’m the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived.”-Bette Davis Paolo Cagliari Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, circa 1580. Again, the figures are framed by the ruins of a city. Rebecca listens calmly to Eliezer’s proposal. This Rebecca is a cool customer, unmoved by the drama being unloaded by the two men. Josef Von Sternberg & Marlene Dietrich on the set of Dishonored, 1931“The strongest appeal [of film] to the masses was the simplest one: the formula always revolves around sex and its biological associate, violence. One bond that links all audiences is the animal in man.”-Josef Von Sternberg Rembrandt van Rijn, 1667 Isaac and Rebecca (The Jewish Bride) 1667. Isaac tenderly wraps an arm around Rebecca’s shoulder. With his other hand, he gently cups her breast. Rebecca tentatively touches his hand. She seems to be asking, Is this love? The identity of the two figures is hotly debated by art scholars. The Rijksmuseum simply lists it as ‘Portrait of Two Figures from the Old Testament.’ Perhaps it is Abraham and Sarah. In any case, it is a deeply moving painting. “If you’re going to do something wrong, do it big, because the punishment is the same either way.”-Jayne MansfieldNovember 1, 1962, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Jayne Mansfield on the set of “Hangover.” This is a rare photo of Mansfield without a wig. Her performance in this episode shows that she had acting chops — when she wasn’t doing a sad MM knock-off. Govert Flinck, Isaac Blessing Jacob, 1638. Isaac’s eyes are closed. He cannot see that he is being tricked by Rebecca and Jacob. Notice Isaac’s coat, falling from his shoulders and carelessly patched, a sign of his weakened state. Flinck was a pupil of Rembrandt’s, and the influence of the older artist is clear in this fine work. “My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.”-Cary Grant Nicolas-Guy Brenet, Rebecca Presents Jacob to Isaac, 1768. Jacob’s posture is one of vulnerability and anguish. He seems at the mercy of those around him. His staff lies on the ground, another symbol of his weakened state. Rebecca watches from outside the tent as her plan unfolds. Jacob seems hesitant to go forward with the deception. Look at how Isaac’s hand is outstretched. This is doubled by Rebecca’s hand also flung out to her side. This is masterly composition but also a deeply moving commentary on this most famous of Torah marriages. “America is now obsessed by stars in an unhealthy way. They don’t actually deserve this kind of attention. They’re only actors — not scientists who are triumphing over cancer or doing some other wonderful thing.”-Eva Marie Saint Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Isaac Blessing Jacob, 1665-70. The composition is like a split screen. On the left is a pastoral landscape, and yet all is not well. The building is crumbling. But stubbornly life goes on. A woman carries a water jug. Two birds nest near the roof. On the right, beautifully framed by the arch, we see Isaac giving his blessing to Jacob. Rebecca has a protective arm around her son, as if restraining his impulse to flee the deception. “As a human being, Miss Crawford is a great actress.”-Nicholas Ray, director of Johnny GuitarPhoto of Joan Crawford, 1959, by Eve Arnold. Matthias Stomer, Selling the Birthright, 1640. Esau has just returned from hunting. The hare he has killed will take a while to cook. Meanwhile he is hungry. Jacob offers his brother a bowl of lentil soup — in return for Esau’s birthright. Isaac does not seem all that sure of himself. But Rebecca stares directly at us, a determined woman in control of her family — and Jewish history. “You know what I want? I want yesterday.”-Natalie Wood Ariel wishes all our friends a lovely and inspirational Shabbat.