Norma Shearer in Idiot's Delight

April 07, 2009

Yes, it's about wigs again...

In the comments on my last post, a lot of people brought up the fact that Stanwyck's character in Double Indemnity is a fake, artificial kind of person, hence the fake artificial wig. The only other instances I can think of off the top of my head in which the female lead sports a very unflattering fake head of hair are Norma Shearer's phony countess in Idiot's Delight and Stanwyck again in Baby Face (where she has several hair costume changes on her rise to the top) So I guess the "fake character? let's give her a fake wig" idea may actually be a pattern in classic film. (Three instances can make a pattern, right?)

What do you think of the Shearer wig, and can anyone help me think of more fake wigs/fake characters?


Nicole Newcomb said...

I agree with Norma's wig in Idiot's Delight. Others may disagree with me but I wasn't too keen on Ginger Roger's hairstyle in Kitty Foyle. I prefer her as a blonde.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Ginger Rogers; her face was just made to be surrounded by blonde hair. I don't think she looks awfully terrible as a brunette, just slightly off.

Raquel Stecher said...

I like this wig. Shearer was doing a caricature of Greta Garbo in this one. Her character is supposed to be exagerrated and over-the-top, and in contrast of her real self. So a fake wig tops it off. I can't say I favored her fake accent much though but I loved her clothes. (And of course the best part of the movie is Clark Gable dancing to Puttin' on the Ritz!).

I love your two sketches Kate!

Matthew Coniam said...

Groucho's ridiculous wig in At The Circus and Go West!
If ever there was a character who WOULDN'T wear a wig
and SHOULDN'T wear a wig,
surely it's Groucho!!!
It's such a relief when he ditches it again in The Big Store.

Anonymous said...

This wig doesn't bother me nearly as much as Barbara's. I think because Norma wearing the wig is worked into the story. Her character is deliberately wearing the wig, so it's easier to take. Oh, and I defintely add my vote for Clark and Puttin' On The Ritz! I'm heading over to your add on post to watch that again after this.

This is a terrific sketch! It does Norma's beauty amazing justice. :)

On Ginger and Kitty Foyle (and Bachelor Mother, if I remember correctly), I don't like that hairstyle either. She looks so much more natural as a blonde.

Hey I didn't know Groucho was wearing a wig in At the Circus and Go West! Matthew - I think you need to elaborate on that. :)

Matthew Coniam said...

Once you notice it you'll never be able to stop noticing it. It's dark black and thick, nothing like his real hair, which was pretty thin by that time, at all. I think it's dyed in Big Store, but at least it's real. The trouble is that Groucho is supposed to be the enemy of all pretension; he pulls a man's wig off in Monkey Business, doesn't he? And here he is wearing one himself. It's just plain wrong!

Anonymous said...

Lolita- Thanks so much!!!

Raquelle- I agree that the wig suits her character in Idiot's Delight. So glad you mentioned the Gable dance- I forgot to post it! It's seriously one of my favorite scenes ever. He's so funny!

Matthew- I'll have to go back and watch that now.. is it supposed to look like a wig, or it's more like a "I don't want to show my age" toupee?

casey- I think that in Bachelor Mother she still has blonde hair, although the hairdo itself isn't my favorite. I'm not a big fan of that tucked-under look (I don't know if it's a hairnet or something?) from the 40's, it was a little matronly. What other movie is she brunette... The Major and the Minor?

Matthew- I DEFINITELY have to go back and watch that again!!!

elena-lu said...

ginger is best as a blonde i cant see as anything else!
and i just dont like stanwyck's hair in most films i adore her sooo much shes one of my faves but the hair oh the hair! especially the older ones oh its bad
but i think for double indemnity it suited her for the part

Anonymous said...

You don't like her hair in the 30's or the 40's? I don't actually like a lot of 1940's hairstyles, with the rolled up hair in the front (like in the Shearer & Stanwyck sketches) -- and Ginger should have ALWAYS been blonde, don't you think?