Today in our “Black and White Friday” I wanted to reminisce about the great master Dalí and the exhibition I was able to enjoy this summer in Madrid.
This small photograph, in respect of its art and not format, was one of the pieces that most grabbed my attention. It depicts a hanging moment, with an analog camera, and in which nothing is left to chance…
Considered to be one of the Twentieth Century’s photographic icons, this image is inspired by the “Leda Atómica” (Atomic Leda) by Dalí, a masterpiece that appears in the right hand side of the photograph. The photograph is a creation by Philippe Halsman and Salvador Dalí himself.
To capture something like this in one single shot, without the help of Photoshop or retouching programs, would have been far from simple. He needed the help of eight people and immense synchronization.
Whilst three people threw the cats into the air, another threw the water, at the same time the artist jumped and a fifth person quickly pulled away the flooring beneath the furniture so that the pieces would be suspended in the air for a moment. And not only all this… at that moment Halsam’s wife, Yvonne, held the chair up in the air, which we can see to the left.
I read that there were 30 intents and more than five hours of work, of which, sincerely, does not seem too much for the amount of coordination that this image involves.
This image was a revolutionary work in its time; it appeared on the cover of Life magazine on a double page spread and was a resounding success. It has been reproduced and imitated an infinite number of times.
I was lucky enough not only to see part of this series of the Dalí exhibition in Madrid, but also to enjoy the expert explanations from two professional photographers that attended the show with me, Beatriz García Couriel and Martín Tirado, to whom I wish to thank here for their enthusiastic and professional explanations.
– Actors: Katharine Hepburn (Jo), Joan Bennet (Amy), Paul Lukas (Professor Bhaer), Jean Parker (Beth), Frances Dee (Meg), Douglas Montgomery (Laurie).
A film about the adventures, projects, desires, aspirations and affairs of four sisters and their mother, who all fight to keep positive despite their poverty and absence of their father, who is fighting on the front with the Union Army.
The vain but rather selfish Amy; the shy and sensitive Beth; the jealous Meg and the valiant, shameless and daring Jo; together with their mother, and their fierce and wealthy aunt March, the four sisters form a model family.
George Cukor masterfully adapts the work of novelist Louisa May Alcott. In my opinion, it is the best adaptation of all that have been made up till now. It is a film that speaks to us of love, generosity, coexistence, respect, suffering…. however, overall it tells us a tale of family, childhood and the importance of values such as honesty, generosity and tolerance. Values that, if you learn about and receive them from a young age, the acts of giving and sharing will come to you more naturally, and make you happier when you finally reach adulthood. Values that are being lost with increasing frequency nowadays.
It is a charming story in which the superb interpretation of a very young Katharine Hepburn can be put in the spotlight. Only to see her in this role already makes the whole film worthwhile. She is the motivational soul of the story and, I would even dare to say, she represents her own personality. She is tightly attached to her role as Jo. As her beloved Professor Bhaer would say: “A free spirit”. A fighting, fun, dreaming, and above all, brave woman, capable of breaking the strict rules of the American Society at the time.
George Cukor manages to create a film of great visual beauty with an impeccable setting. The photography is by Henry Gerrard and it was to be one of his last works before his death.
Little Women is a film that reaches our most sensitive side. It will make you laugh, and if you are as emotional as me, it will also make you cry.
The film received an Oscar for the best adapted script (1934). It was also nominated for best director and best film (1934).
It was awarded for being one of the best ten films of 1933 (National Board of Review).
Photoplay Awards of 1933: Medal of honour for David O. Selznick, Merian C. Cooper and Kenneth MacGowan for the production. The Photoplay Awards was one of the awards given by the Photoplay magazine. They only had an award for best film of the year and it was voted by its readers. The medal was made from Gold and it was designed and made by Tiffanys. It had an enormous influence on the decisions of the Oscar Awards, until 1934 when interest began to decrease. In 1939 it disappeared from the scene.
Venice Film Festival: Gold medal for best actress in 1934 awarded to Katherine Hepburn.
Nominated for the Mussolini Cup for best director: George Cukor.
Joan Bennett was pregnant when she started filming the movie. The costume designer had to redo all her costumes as Cukor, the director, was unaware of this.
Katharine Hepburn wrote in her autobiography that: “This picture was heaven to do – George Cukor perfect. He really caught the atmosphere”.
Katharine Hepburn asked that the costume designer Walter Plunkett copy a dress that her maternal grandmother had worn in a tintype that she kept.
Although he does not appear in the credits, David O. Selznick produced the film and was the main reason for the project to be carried out to the end. It cost him a lot of effort, seeing as in that period in Hollywood it was thought that a film about women without a Civil War atmosphere would be unsuccessful. Thanks to that, Selznick launched what would later become his greatest work: Gone with the Wind.
This version of Little Women was the third adaptation of the novel after two silent versions in 1917 and 1918. Two more would follow it, one in 1949 and another in 1994.
March’s house interior copies the author of the novel’s, Louisa May Alcott, real house in Massachusetts.
Jo takes off her hood twice when she enters to have tea.
The most famous quote?: When Jo exclaims “Christopher Columbus!” several times throughout the film.