05 December 2011

The Ideal Screen Type

As this image from 1928 proves, analysing a movie star's body is nothing new. Here starlet Anita Page is compared to a sketch of the ideal screen type. Comprised of body parts from 13 various actresses (a bit Frankenstein don't you think?) the "ideal type" looks to me like Mary Pickford—not just because they used her eyes but the whole face. The sketch does make you think. Do you know the circumference of your ankles, your wrist?  And how tiny were Ann Pennington's feet?

I'm assuming the 5'2 Anita Page fared well with the comparison. The adorable actress who made an easy transition from silents to talkies was extremely popular, at one point receiving more fan mail than any other actress save Greta Garbo. She should have starred in more films but retired in 1933 at the ripe old age of 23. The good news is you can catch some of her performances on DVD including her turn as a jazz baby in The Broadway Melody (1929), the first talkie to win the Oscar for best picture.

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