PRINT May 1985


Return Engagement: Faces to Remember—Then & Now

The selling point here is that fashion cameraman Horst will “go back” and shoot bygone movie queens “as they are today”—as if he had shot them when they were. The problem is not even that the selling point is misleading—the Then pictures are almost exclusively not by Horst—but that those selected (from Museum of Modern Art files, Watters’ collection, etc.) don’t come close to telling the present-day viewer why so many of these women (74 of them, including Janet Gaynor, Fay Wray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Mary Astor) were so luminous on the screen. As for the Now pictures, most of the time we seem to be looking at the Pasadena Ladies Garden Club, if not merely the handiwork of various hairdressers and plastic surgeons: all too few of Horst’s photos capture any individuality at all.

On those rare occasions when he does get a shot with life in it—Louise Brooks, old, bitter, indomitable; Myrna Loy,

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