Jane Wyman and Claudette Colbert

March 10, 2009

Jane Wyman is one of those actresses (including Joan Crawford and Ginger Rogers) who, in my opinion, fired their stylists when the 1950's rolled around. Search for Jane Wyman pictures on the internet and you will find two completely different people. There is 1940's Jane, sometimes blond sometimes brunette with big eyes and a very chic 40's hairstyle. Then there's the other Jane Wyman, of the 1950's. Her hair is always dark, and always she has these really short little curled bangs and somehow the hair on the side of her head resembles the shape of the Princess Lea do sans the buns. It's a very odd style, and yet it is consistent in almost every single film she made in the 1950's.

Yes, I know, I painted her with the hairstyle that I don't like as much. Here's the truth: I really don't think it's a flattering hairdo, and personally I'd never do that to my mane, but this hairstyle is REALLY fun to paint, and I think it makes for a more nifty image on canvas.

By the way, Jane really was an incredible actress. I had only seen her in Princess O'Rourke and a few of her B-comedies up until about two years ago when I discovered Johnny Belinda. Wow, was she good in that film! Jane also stars in one of my half favorite movies. I may have mentioned this earlier, but there are some movies that are
half fantastic, and half bad. As if the producers switched writers midstream. One of these half favorites of mine is Miracle in the Rain. The first half is fantastic! It's fun, sweet, romantic, well acted and well written. And then like clockwork, the halfway mark passed and all of a sudden it went downhill. Very, very strange. But I love watching the first 50 minutes or so anyway! Anyone else have a half favorite?

While I really love a lot of Claudette Colbert movies (especially It Happened One Night), my absolute favorite is Since You Went Away. I love WWII home front epics, like this one, Mrs. Miniver and The Best Years of Our Lives. Claudette Colbert's portrayal of an army wife, left at home during the war with two young daughters, is so moving. I really think she deserved an Oscar for her performance. Of course an extra reason to see the film is Monty Wooley... any movie with Monty Wooley is worth seeing!

I did another painting, but I'm still not 100% satisfied with it, so I'll do some touch ups and hopefully post that tomorrow. In case you're wondering-- it's Simone Simon. I did find a pretty good image of her, but my painting is just a tad bit off. I'm looking forward to writing about her, though-- especially her performance in one of my all-time favorite films, Mademoiselle Fifi.


Raquel Stecher said...

I guess I've only seen Jane Wyman's films post 1950 so I never noticed about the hairstyle. I can see how a new decade may have brought on a new look. I love the painting of Jane Wyman, you did a great job with the hair.

elena-lu said...

i totally agree with you on the style changes, its odd what they ended up with because a lot of the times thats how everyone remembers them which in a lot of the cases is a little unflattering!!

elena-lu said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one to notice this bizarre hair thing! What the heck happened? My Mom and I always speculate that the hairdresser had it in for the actress in question, and no one else had the heart to tell her her hair looked awful.

Myrna Loy and Claudette Colbert may have been the first to be affected with this malady. Way back in the thirties, when we had truly marvelous hair on Jean Harlow and Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna and Claudette always looked like escapees from the poodle parlor.

Since You Went Away is one of my huge favorites, too. Shirley Temple and Monty Wooley make that film so cute.

The paintings are great! I love the detail on Jane's cheekbones.

Unknown said...

Raquelle- her pre-50's movies are really good! I'm not sure how many are on DVD but TCM plays them a lot. Ronald Reagan is star of the month this month, so all of their films together should be on TCM. I think they're all from the late 30's or 40's, so you can see her really cute hairdos there :)

elena-lu- I know, especially with Joan Crawford. Pictures of her from the 20's and 30's are gorgeous, and yet everyone remembers her with the shoulderpads and crazy eyebrows. What a shame.

casey- Isn't it strange?! That's so funny that you and your mom have a theory about the hair, because the whole 50's hair pet-peeve is a mom-daughter thing in my house too. We get so animated talking about Jane Wyman's hair. It especially drives my mom crazy :)

I'll have to go back and look at Myrna Loy's hair in the 30's and 40's. Maybe it's because they started playing more matronly roles in the 40's? Joan Crawford & Jane Wyman were still picking young attractive parts in the 40's and 50's, and the hair didn't suit their characters at all. It makes sense when they're playing mom roles, but not as fashionable leading ladies.

Keith said...

Hey Kate. I hate to say this, but I think the only thing I've seen Jane in was Falcon Crest. I'll have to check out some of her movies.