Monday, August 26, 2013

Constance Bennett's morning routine

TCM has a short on the schedule early this evening called Constance Bennett's Daily Beauty Ritual, although IMDb says the title is Daily Beauty Rituals. Either way, it's airing a little after 7:50 PM, just after Dangerous Crossing (one of several TCM premieres for Jeanne Crain's day in Summer Under the Stars, although I've recommended a couple of them, including Dangerous Crossing when they showed up over on the Fox Movie Channel) which starts at 6:30 PM.

The short starts with Constance Bennett being waking up in bed, although of course it's a bed in a studio. No way are they getting those massive Technicolor cameras into a private home. The rest of the short is Bennett telling us about her daily routine of applying make-up to make herself look beautiful, because dammit, every woman should look beautiful. Well, of course, Bennett doesn't use the word "dammit"; the folks enforcing the Production Code wouldn't have let her. But that's about all the short is on the face of it.

And yet, watching this brief one-reeler, there's so much defying logic. First, how much make-up was Bennett wearing in the opening scene when she wakes up? Since this is ostensibly a short about her daily ritual, she probably shouldn't have any make-up on, and yet she does. And how much of that make-up is "regular" make-up -- by that I mean the sort of make-up that women watching this short in a theater back in 1937 would have used -- and how much of it is studio make-up necessary for going on camera? A short about the Hollywood make-up artists and their work, using somebody like Bennett as a subject, would have been an interesting historical document? And does she really go through this morning routine? If she's going to be making a movie, shouldn't she go in to the studio without any make-up, so that the make-up appropriate for her role can be applied at the studio? (Unelss of course you're Tootsie, and claim you need to apply your own makeup because you have an allergy to the regular stuff.)

Finally, who had the idea to make this one in the first place, and what was the rationale for making it? Ultimately, the whole short comes across as a curiosity, but also a bit of a head-scratcher. But at least it's a nice one to have left behind.

No comments: