Glamour of the Gods – National Portrait Gallery
In summer 2011 a photography exhibition was held at the National Portrait Gallery entitled ‘Glamour of the Gods’ which featured more than seventy photographs of cinematic legends. The pictures depicted actors and actresses from the 1920s to the 1950s in some unforgettable guises that defined their status as immortal stars.
The age of cinema truly began with one groundbreaking film ‘The Jazz Singer’ in 1927, the first film to feature synchronised picture and sound marked a new era in film history. It gave birth to the ‘talkies’ as they were more commonly known and was the dawning of a new age; the Golden Age of Hollywood.
The period from the 1920s to the 1950s was when golden Hollywood was at its peak and some truly unforgettable and iconic stars were born. All of the silver screen giants from five decades of Hollywood were brought together under one roof. Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, they were all there for us to marvel at in a series of photographs that document the progression from silent to talking films and black and white to colour films.
Some of my favourite pictures from the exhibition were:
Marlon Brando in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’ This famous portrait captures the actor at the peak of his career and incidentally his first wife, Anna Kashfi, was married to my father’s cousin before her marriage to Brando.
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in ‘Swing Time.’ The greatest dancers of all time, I never tire of watching their classic films that are packed with timeless music, beautiful fashion and breathtaking dance routines.
Elizabeth Taylor: My all-time favourite image of the violet-eyed icon. The portrait captures the natural beauty wearing a glamorous dress and statement jewellery.
Although the stars featured in the exhibition are the like of which we may never see again, they live on through their films which we can revisit time and time again. They are representative of a bygone era of grace, style and elegance. In my opinion, they truly are the giants of the silver screen and always will be.
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