Tag Archives: old hollywood

{STYLE IDOL} Omar Sharif: A Look into Old Hollywood Glamour as an Outsider.

Living in todays social media obsessed and tabloid fuelled society, often we forget being a star used to mean more than having a rugged beard and blue eyes (Bradley Cooper) or Magic Mike abs (Channing Tatum).

Unfortunately, we live in a modern climate where divisive tactics keep underdogs down as most studios hail the white movie star. We finally see a rise in black driven stories and characters but is it enough to truly change how the major studios cast roles?

Movies with diverse casts (Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, Get Out,  and Us etc.) are selling tickets to movies globally, but there is still a lack of true diversity within how the screening system works.  We will be taking time exploring some stars of yesteryear that made a splash being different in a time when being different wasn’t as widely accepted.

A prime example of this is the late, great, Omar Sharif!!!

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I want to live every moment totally intensely.

-Omar Sharif

Here’s the back story on Omar Sharif, who went from a supporting character and evolved into being a icon in his own right.  Born Michel Dimitri Chalhoub in 1932, this Egyptian actor of Lebanese origin began his career in his native country in the 1950s appearing in both English and American productions over the course of his career, landing large parts in such pictures as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Funny Girl (1968).

His break through to the mainstream was 1962.  David Lean casting a lesser known and foreign actor in such a big budget film as Lawrence of Arabia was considered a risky move as the supporting role was ‘one of the most demanding supporting roles in Hollywood’.

This came off as a ‘authentic move’ for the studio, seeing how his ambiguous ethnicity allowed him to lean into playing many backgrounds it couldn’t be better casting. Sharif spoke English, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish and even Arabic.  Admitting this himself, Sharif noted he could ‘play the role of a foreigner without anyone knowing exactly where I came from’.

Landing such a high profile supporting role came with it’s own hangups. Omar had to sign a seven-film contract with Columbia.

Not only did this worked out in Sharifs favour as he was received Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, and a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe nomination; he also shared a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year proving he was a box office hit and critical sensation, as well as being a part of one of cinema’s most iconic entrances of a character.

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While filming the wildly culturally inappropriate Genghis Khan, Sharif heard about a upcoming project of Doctor Zhivago, an adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s 1957 novel, which was a landmark in his career.

Omar was a fan of the novel and pitched himself for one of the supporting roles, but in a strange twist of fate was casted as the lead, Yuri Zhivago, a poet and physician.

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Like his adopted surname, meaning ‘noble’, it had been remarked that Sharif’s eyes reflected reality, which then became the ‘mirror of reality we ourselves see’.

Undeniably handsome with his dark features he had qualities of the ideal leading man, but also a certain exotic quality which made him sought after for a string of roles throughout his rise to stardom and icon status.

Our readers may know we have a love for a rebel; his looks alone made him suited to pull off an array of high end ornate costumes but in the end always sustained a dark bad-boy image. It is even alleged that he smoked 100 cigarettes a day!

I don’t know what sex appeal is.

-Omar Sharif

Another stand out role for Sharif was his portrayal of Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl, along side Barbara Streisand in her first film role.  But in true bad boy style,  this decision to take part in this production angered the Egyptian Government as Streisand was Jewish . The country condemned the film.

It also was ‘immediately banned’ in numerous Arab nations.  Streisand herself joked “You think Cairo was upset? You should’ve seen the letter I got from my Aunt Rose”.  Maybe the heightened social tensions added to the chemistry between the two actors as they became romantically involved during filming.

Sharif admitted later that he did not find Streisand attractive at first, but her appeal soon overwhelmed him: “About a week from the moment I met her”, he recalled, “I was madly in love with her. I thought she was the most gorgeous girl I’d ever seen in my life…I found her physically beautiful, and I started lusting after this woman.”.

As the years went on Sharif staked his claim in an otherwise white washed leading man landscape of the industry.  As time would go on, his career veered into television in the 1970s, and even had his own clothing line!!!

This icon is definitely worth the mentioning on The Eye of Faith, as he was a pioneer in the industry at a time when segregation and racial discrimination was very real, and just having dark features alone could alienate you amongst your peers and society.

Plus, like we said, we always have a soft spot for the rebel who marches to the beat of his own drum!

Using the power of diversity for good, and breaking the mould in an otherwise unbreakable industry, we thank you Omar Sharif.

Until next time,

{theEye}

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{MUSIC MINUTE} “Sunset Boulevard / Main Titles” by Franz Waxman

{circa. 1950}

It has come to my attention that there may be people out there who have no idea about Sunset Boulevard – only one of the best films of all time by iconic director Billy Wilder. This disturbs me slightly, so here’s a glimmer of that inspiration in guise of one of our classic {MUSIC MINUTE}s.

Scored by legendary Hollywood composer Franz Waxman, the moody jazzy score provides the perfect sultry and mysterious backdrop for this strange tale. If I had a dime for every time I said “they don’t make them like they used to” . . . but this film is the epitome of that sentiment.

The film opens as a murder investigation, but delves into the twisted depths of an aging silent movie starlet who coerced a handsome screenwriter to be her live-in gigolo. When he decides its time to leave, things get very . . . dramatic.

Gloria Swanson who was an aging silent movie star herself brings such complexity, vulnerability, and diva strength – you are sure to be shook. On top of that, the film is a gorgeous display of midcentury Hollywood style and glamour; from the grandeur of the mansion (which was also used in Rebel Without a Cause) littered with gold leaf, exotic mouldings, tapestries, and furs to some seriously chic loungewear – there really is inspiration at every turn.

So watch these Main Titles, take in that awesome score, and get yourself a copy of Sunset Boulevard! 

You wont regret it.

Just doing our duty of bring the {past} to the {present} to shape the {future}.

Until next time,

{theEye}

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E.O.F. SNAPSHOT OF THE DAY {JANUARY 12, 2018}

I want to be wild, too!

{read BULLET BREASTS & BEATNIK POETRY ft. Phillipa Fallon & Mamie Van Doren}

Isn’t she great, folks?!

We cherish souls like this who soar high and far away from the status quo.

Not your average starlet . . .

Hope you enjoy! Let us know in the comments below!

Until next time,

{theEye}

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{STYLE-WISE} Marlon Brando’s Screen Test for “Rebel Without a Cause” is EVERYTHING!!!

Unveiled is Marlon Brando’s screen test for “Rebel Without a Cause” ; the iconic 1955 film that catapulted James Dean to icon status when the film was released just shortly after his death, making him a tragic martyr to that beloved ‘live fast, die young” attitude that he has come to represent.

Luckily for him, his death made the young boy with glasses a demi-god for being one hell of a misfit. He made it cool to wear jeans, and kept pioneering the t-shirt which had been a style wall knocked down only a few years earlier by the other (original?) bad boy rebel of Hollywood.

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The man whom James Dean probably looked up to….

After all, Brando had broken onto the scene first on Broadway as Elia Kazan’s wunderkind playing  the ravenously macho Stanley Kowalski  in Tennessee William‘s “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1947. Four years later he would revive the role for the movies, and broke new grounds in the fields of style, as more men adapted wearing their white undershirt alone as influenced by Marlon Brando’s portrayal on the screen.

A Streetcar Named Desire - Marlon Brando - Vivien Leigh- 1951 - Vintage Style- The Eye of Faith

JAMES DEAN on the set of rebel

Appropriate then that Dean’s character Jim Stark would be in the know about these type of style choices. Those guys knew he was cool – they just had to test him.

Interestingly this is not the only collision between the two American legends, as Marlon Brando, himself, was appropriately cast for the lead role of this curious new film by Nicholas Ray.

After all, Marlon Brando was THE rebel of Hollywood. Not only was Stanley a staggering symbol for a delinquency from polite society, but don’t forget he also was “The Wild One“.

The studios must have been pushing for him. Johnny had got it done before, and that’s how the Hollywood system (still) likes to do things. If it’s a safe bet – it’s THE bet. A guy’s already got a persona as the rebel and the film is called “Rebel Without a Cause” (actually, in it’s working stages it was titled “Days of Being Wild” which Wong Kar Wai appropriated for his 1991 film)

But, luckily things didn’t work out that way for all of us, because James Dean really brought something special to that role, that no other actor could give.

He does that mumbling thing and is always looking down, pouting his lips, and squinting his eyes. His hair is effortless. He rocks those Levis Jeans.  He turned the rebel into an introvert, not some hot-shot tough guy who always likes to start fights (like Stanley or Johnny of “The Wild One”), but is actually a fragile romantic. A poet, really, who can’t see life the way everyone else around him has it planned.

This notion is utterly true to life, I think, and that’s why he has left such an impact on the world.

 

Marlon Brando - Vintage Style Idol - T-Shirt Pioneer - Bad Ass Bad Boy Rebel Stud

Brando is surprisingly clean cut in his screen test, and it makes you wonder just what he would have brought to the table. . . somewhere in a different dimension, on another plane, this version exists. I hope one day we get to see it. Watch the video below, and let us know your thoughts!

You can be your own rebel without a cause, by simply being yourself!

Amplify it, and don’t be led by the status quo.

We have plenty of {STYLE-WISE} time traveled treasures in our {SHOP}

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Until we meet again,

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Commercial Break: I Married A Witch (1942)


Well well well, Halloweens nearly here.  Just around the corner!  And we feel as if we cannot get ahead on posting all the spooky ghoulish goodies that we’d love to bring to our readers.  Today we renounce the horror of Halloween and reflect on a time back in the 1940s, we know our retro readers will enjoy.


Starring a vivacious Veronica Lake as Jennifer, a 15th century Witch, brought into the present time with her father Daniel.  Both were imprisoned in a tree until a bolt of lightning freed the pair.  In an effort to exact revenge, Jennifer sets out in a diabolical plan to find the ancestors of the bigots who burnt her and her father centuries before.

High-jinks ensue in this romantic comedy, as Jennifer tracks down the puritan Jonathan Wooley (played by Fredric March), who is unhappily engaged at present.  The ambitious witch crafts a plan to steal and marry the man,  but the only way she can entice him to her eccentric ways is by using a Love Potion.


Tensions mounted on the set, and Lake had a rebellious steak.  Making a reputation for herself as being difficult to work with, sneaking weight’s under her dress when March was scripted to effortlessly carry her away.  And antics such as wedging her heel into the leading actors foot off camera to throw off her co-star.  Lake would fade into obscurity as the pictures evolved in the coming years, leaving behind a legacy of luscious side swept blonde hair, and a notorious attitude of a true Witch.

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E.O.F. Style Icon: Buster Keaton

Known as the ‘Great Stone Face’, standing at an astounding 5’5″ we honour a style icon, Buster Keaton. Unconventional, timeless, and one of a kind comedic sensibility, this man’s legacy is more than just dissolving film and a steely gaze. From a time where men had to be men, Buster found a spot for himself amongst film royalty, with a unique perspective to comedy, and a whimsy to his overall performance nobody could replicate. Watching old reels of this pro, we know we’re witnessing true magic.

“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
Buster Keaton

“Silence is of the gods; only monkeys chatter.”
Buster Keaton

Born Joseph Frank Keaton VI, by Vaudville performer parents Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton in Piqua, Kansas on October 4, 1895. The family soon came to tour the Vaudeville scene touring with a medicine show with one of the most dangerous acts about how to discipline a prankster child. Joseph adopted the nickname ‘Buster’ given to him by up and coming Illusionist Harry Houdini himself. Keatons father threw his son down a flight of stairs, where the Illusionist would pick up and dust off the young unharmed boy, referring to the fall as a “buster”.

Business savvy Joe Keaton recognized the appeal of a great show name. Developing in showbiz would lead a young Keaton to search for work in New York where Buster met successful film star and director Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbunkle. This led to Buster being cast in a short The Butcher Boy in 1917, an appearance that would launch Buster Keaton’s film career.

A true individual, Buster would never hesitate if he saw potential for a laugh, whether through some kind of physical comedy stunt (often insisting to do his own stunts which wasn’t common at the time), or going as far as dressing in drag.  This showman brought a fresh spin to the fading Vaudville scene.

Always relevant with the keen sense to know times are a’ changin’, and with a clear baritone voice and stage past, he had nothing to fear over the inevitable transition  of silent movies to ‘talkies’ .   Buster  wanted to bring his signature style to a new generation.  He came to remake many of his past works from the directors chair with modern actors shot for shot.

Having an eclectic and interesting upbringing, style was never something to shy away from for Buster Keaton. Buster busted out of the box with his outlandish and fun fashion choices, be it a tailored tuxedo, or a disheveled clown get-up. His charm and wit always will resinate through his work.

“I gotta do some sad scenes. Why, I never tried to make anybody cry in my life! And I go ’round all the time dolled up in kippie clothes-wear everything but a corset . . . can’t stub my toe in this picture nor anything! Just imagine having to play-act all the time without ever getting hit with anything!”
Buster Keaton

Having battled his own demons being an alcoholic, as well as having some failed marriages under his belt. His personnel was riddled with up’s and down’s, as is the biz. He would come to have a few children from different wives, but it was in 1940, he met and married his third wife Eleanor Norris, who was deeply devoted to him, and remained his constant companion and partner until Keaton’s death.

He was deservedly honoured with an Honorary Academy Award in 1960 for his unique talents and contributions to the film industry. Buster really did have it all, and we think his star is still shining bright today. Special thanks to fuckyeahbusterkeaton who has a great tumblr full of great Buster content!

He passed away at his home, peacefully in his sleep, shortly after playing cards with his wife.

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Until next time,

{theEye}

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