Classic Hollywood #111 – Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson 1934

This promotional photograph of Gloria Swanson was taken by Fox photographer Otto Dyar. The descriptive text on the rear of the photo is somewhat vapid, describing Gloria’s outfit. Swanson only made one film for Fox in the 1930s, Music In The Air (1934) with co-star John Boles.

Here is the text from the photo:

Short and sophisticated is this two-tone cocktail costume worn by Gloria Swanson and designed and created by Rene Hubert, international stylist, head of Fox film wardrobe. The form fitting skirt is of black velvet. The blouse and muff are of black tafetta with white chenille and gold thread stripes. The hat, also designed by M. Hubert, is an adaptation from the Cambodian wand was created in black velvet and features a rhinestone ornament. Note the zipper in the muff- – when opened it reveals a purse and vanity. credit: Fox Film –  Otto Dyar

After appearing in Music In The Air, Swanson took a seven year break from the movies making only one more film Father Takes A Wife (1941). Swanson came back from retirement playing the role she is best remembered for, the faded silent screen star Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard (1950). It is the best film ever made about Hollywood.

Swanson was not the only actress approached to play Norma Desmond. Other actresses who were considered include Mae West, Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Pola Negri and Clara Bow.

Would any of those actresses have given as great a performance as Swanson?

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