Return Engagement. Faces to Remember - Then & Now

Return Engagement. Faces to Remember - Then & Now
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James Watters. With new photographs by Horst.

New York. Clarkson N. Potter. 1984. Hardback, dust jacket. 168 pages. Over 150 b&w photographs. 280 x 270mm (11 x 10"). 1.1kg. English. Very good; light shelf wear to dust jacket, small area of wrinkling at the top of the rear jacket, internally clean with no inscriptions.

'From Mary Astor and Joan Bennett to Alexis Smith and Loretta Young, here are the stars who have illuminated our lives, affected our styles, haunted our dreams - then and now, from the beginning of this century through the mid-1980s. Return Engagement offers a unique photographic tribute to 74 remarkable actresses. Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert, Myrna Loy and Ginger Rogers offer up legendary legacies. Pola Negri, Ruby Keeler, Luise Rainer and Dorothy Lamour bring back enchanting memories of the fads and foibles of their generations. A few are all but forgotten faces - Esther Ralston, "The American Venus", or Billie Dove, perhaps the one true love of Howard Hughes - while others such as Louise Brooks have come back to claim their lost fame.Now in a series of new portraits by Horst, one of the world's foremost photographers, and fresh interviews with James Watters, Life magazine entertainment editor, these stars sparkle and shine again. For those whose last sitting it turned out to be - Lynn Fontanne at 95, Gloria Swanson at 84, Virginia Bruce at 70 - this book becomes a historic document. For the rest, it is an homage to their not-so-fleeting charms, their rich, varied talents, their place as cultural phenomena. No other century can boast of so many beautiful, gifted women who have left a mark on the social fabric and theatrical heritage of an age. In Return Engagement, revisit these enduring fascinating stars in memorable photographs and revealing words.' (from the blurb).In an article entitled 'Then & Now', published in Life Magazine in February 1980, James Watters interviewed nine female stars of the Silver Screen, each accompanied by a new portrait taken by Horst. The article was so successful that this extended book, Return Engagement, was commissioned. Watters and Horst travelled around the United States interviewing and photographing seventy-four actresses. Watters' introduction touches on both the sadness and the joy of meeting these stars as they neared the end of their lives. Some candidates for the book had died before they could be interviewed and some had withdrawn from the world completely. But the women who are featured in this book are very much alive, strong, inspirational and beautiful. Horst was the perfect candidate for such a project. He had met and photographed many of the women during the pre-War period and in his book Salute to the Thirties he expresses his intense admiration for this breed of American actress. 'Here was a photographer, a contemporary of most of the subjects, whose style was both telling and timeless. With his masterful lighting, the ideal compliment for women of a certain age, Horst was able to capture the human side while not downplaying the aura of stardom - and without retouching, without soft lenses. His own personal touch, continental and gentlemanly of the old school, charmed all the women. Their smiles are real.' (James Watters in his introduction). Each interview is accompanied by an archive image of the actress in her youth against the new portrait by Horst, making this a bittersweet but empowering book.