Monday, August 2, 2010

The Four Silver Ladies of Hollywood...

The other day whilst billboard hunting for my other blog, Daily Billboard, I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the intriguing L.A. landmark, the Hollywood La Brea Gateway monument, featuring four silver lady statuettes.
Hollywood Gateway Silver Ladies statuettes
This weird gazebo on the corner of N La Brea Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, adorned with a spire reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower, marks the western border of the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Silver Ladies Hollywood Gateway
At the corner of the Art Deco inspired structure you'll find a statue of one of four multi-ethnic leading ladies of film, sculpted by Harl West.

First up is Brooklyn-born sex symbol Mae West, known for her acting and singing in I'm No Angel (1933) and My Little Chickadee (1940), to name but two films.

Mae West silver statue
Mae West Silver Hollywood statueShe's also known for memorable quotes like "It's not the men in my life, but the life in my men" and "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?".
Mae West Hollywood gateway sculpture
To her left you'll find actress Dorothy Dandridge, who was the first ever African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, for the 1954 film Carmen Jones.

Dorothy Dandridge silver statue
Dorothy Dandridge Silver Hollywood statue
She also received acclaim from being nominated for BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards, plus performing vocally at such venues as the Cotton Club and Apollo Theater in New York City.
Dorothy Dandridge Hollywood gateway statue
The statue to her left depicts Asian-American actress and fashion icon, Anna May Wong.

Anna May Wong silver statue
Anna May Wong Hollywood statue
She starred in silent and talking motion pictures including The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and Shanghai Express (1932).
Anna May Wong Silver Hollywood sculpture
Born near L.A's Chinatown neighbourhood in 1905, she was the first Asian-American to become an international star.
Anna May Wong Hollywood statue
The final silver statuette looking out over Hollywood Boulevard is that of Mexican actress Dolores Del Rio.

Dolores Del Rio silver statue
Dolores Del Rio Silver statue
A star of Hollywood films in the silent era and the Golden Age of Hollywood, she was also an important actress in Mexican movies, making over thirty films in her career.
Dolores Del Rio Silver Hollywood statue
With the arrival of the 'talkies', she apparently became of one the principal Art Deco symbols of beauty and was the first Latin American movie star to enjoy international success.
Dolores Del Rio Hollywood Gateway
So as you can see that's quite good company to keep, and atop the tower you'll even find a miniature Marilyn Monroe weathervane with her iconic dress billowing.
Silver Ladies Hollywood Gateway Monument
The monument was commission in 1993 and was apparently dedicated in February 1994 to a mixed reception.

I have to say in my opinion it's not the best sculptural work I've ever seen and could be easily overlooked, but it is worth a closer inspection if you are in the vicinity, just for the sheer spectacle.

Hooray for Hollywood...

5 comments:

John Lingard said...

I love the idea, don't get me wrong, its absolutely wonderful, but I agree the animation is inconsistent. West and Dandridge look fantastic, but May Wong and Del Rio just look funny. Anna May has this bizarre kind of "smirk" while Dolores has a cold, "far off," "statuesque" look neither of which communicate the type of allure or exotic sex appeal that these two communicated in their own heydays.

Jason in Hollywood said...

Thanks for your thoughts John

Silver Screenings said...

Hi Jason in Hollywood, I'm a classic movie blogger at silverscreenings.org. I'm writing a post on the Dolores del Rio mural in Hollywood, and would love to include your photos of the gazebo at the end of Hollywood Blvd. Your photos are terrific...while my own are quite poor. Are you OK with me using a couple of your photos? I will link to your site – and please let me know what kind of photo credit you'd like to see. Thanks!

P.S. I plan to upload the post around October 4.

Jason in Hollywood said...

Hi Silver Screenings, you can use a few images with a reciprocal link, but can you limit the number you use as I don't want to take away reason for people to visit this page. Best - Jason

Silver Screenings said...

Thanks so much, Jason. I wish to use 2 images: the full-length shot of Dolores' statue and the "head and shoulders" shot. I can leave a link to my post in the comments here, for your handy reference.

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