old-age: various makeups from the 1940s

Various old-age makeups: The 1940s

This section features old-age makeups from movies of the 1940s.

Given the technology available, it’s surprising how effective many of these makeups are.

The movies

Song of Love (1947): Composer Robert Schumann struggles to compose his symphonies while his loving wife Clara (Katharine Hepburn) offers her support. Jack Dawn was the makeup designer.

Buffalo Bill (1944): A heavily fictionalised account of the life of William F ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody. While a hunter and Army Scout he rescues a US Senator and his beautiful daughter, Louisa Frederici (Maureen O’Hara). Cody becomes famous when Ned Buntline writes about his exploits and then he establishes his wild west show which becomes an international sensation. And, of course, he marries that senator’s daughter. The movie also featured Linda Darnell ‘painted down’ to portray the Native American Dawn Starlight. Guy Pearce was the makeup artist.

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942): A musical portrait of the American entertainer George M Cohan – from his early days as a child-star in his family’s vaudeville show in the 1880s up to 1936, when President Roosevelt presented him with The Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to World War I morale. Joan Leslie played his wife Mary who he married in 1908. Perc Westmore was the makeup artist.

H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1940): A rich, staid, middle-aged Bostonian starts to write a short biography for his college reunion which sets him thinking about his life in flashbacks: is he really ‘as happy as the average man could hope to be’; what it would have been like if he had married Marvin Myles (Hedy Lamarr), the ambitious working-class woman fell in love with while working briefly in New York. But he had not been prepared to give up Boston and she was not prepared to give up her career so he had settled for the family-approved fellow-Bostonian Kay instead. By (convenient) chance Marvin happens to be in Boston on business and suggests meeting for a drink – the Production Code ensured it was nothing more – after which both return to their respective spouses – time has moved on, they have both changed, and torches are finally extinguished. Jack Dawn was makeup designer.