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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 14th, 2014, 1:37 pm

The makeup gets more grotesque each time Jekyll becomes Hyde. The final application, though only seen briefly, is truly hideous. I wonder how they managed to hold down March's eyelids for that. it looks exceedingly uncomfortable. I'm reminded of the makeup used by Lon Chaney in LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. I recall reading somewhere that Chaney used wire to achieve the effect!
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Rita Hayworth » September 14th, 2014, 5:55 pm

Thanks for sharing about the information about Chaney - i.e. wires - I find it very interesting! :)

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 14th, 2014, 8:05 pm

Erik, Chaney's makeup tricks were ingenious, but quite a lot of bunk found it's way into print over the years as to just how some of his effects were achieved. For instance: I read (when I was still at school) that to play a blind man in one film, Chaney covered his eyeball with the white skin from the outer layer of an egg! In truth he used special contact lenses. Also much was made of the way he suffered for his art by enduring the 40lb weight of a solid rubber hump to play Quasimodo. The hump was actually made of papier maché.
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

Western Guy
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Western Guy » September 15th, 2014, 9:02 am

You're right, Joe - many stories of how Chaney "suffered for his art" are exaggerated, though there is no denying some of his makeup techniques came with painful consequences. In PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, for example, it has been said that Chaney used small hooks attached to fish wire to give his nose that skull-like effect, inserting the hook inside his nostrils, pulling them upward with the wire that he then concealed under the wig that he wore. Apparently, he suffered many nosebleeds throughout the production. And as you mentioned, in LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT he is said to have used wires to somehow give his eyes that popeyed appearance, along with a set of wired clamps to pull and hold his mouth into that ghoulish grin. It has also been said that because of the various facial techniques and applications he used that Chaney suffered from severe headaches for most of his adult life.

Lon Jr. didn't fare much better with his monster appearances (courtesy, of course, of makeup maestro Jack Pierce). Unlike the patient Boris Karloff, Chaney (who would much rather have been outdoors hunting or fishing) grumbled not only about how uncomfortable Wolfman, Mummy or Frankenstein monster makeup was to apply (and remove), but how long the procedure took. During the filming of GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, Chaney became so irritated by the monster's headpiece that he ripped it off himself, gashing his scalp in the process (the scar of which is visible in many latter-day photographs of the actor). It has been said that Chaney and Pierce did not have a great love for one another, and whereas in earlier photos of Pierce making up Karloff for his various monster incarnations where he can be seen with a smile on his face, in those makeup pictures with Chaney, Pierce often looks downright miserable.

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Rita Hayworth » September 15th, 2014, 9:16 am

Joe Macclesfield wrote:Erik, Chaney's makeup tricks were ingenious, but quite a lot of bunk found it's way into print over the years as to just how some of his effects were achieved. For instance: I read (when I was still at school) that to play a blind man in one film, Chaney covered his eyeball with the white skin from the outer layer of an egg! In truth he used special contact lenses. Also much was made of the way he suffered for his art by enduring the 40lb weight of a solid rubber hump to play Quasimodo. The hump was actually made of papier maché.



Thanks for sharing this ... I learned something new about his role of playing Quasimodo - man, that's something else!

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Rita Hayworth » September 15th, 2014, 9:23 am

Man, you got to admire the guts that Lon Chaney gone through his days of playing Monsters ... that guy sure endured a lot of turmoil that he went through on a daily basis ...

Stone, thanks for sharing additional information about Chaney - both Lon and Lon Jr. too!

Western Guy
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Western Guy » September 15th, 2014, 10:18 am

Again, I'm not certain if it's accurate, but was not Chaney Sr. once quoted as saying: "Unless I suffer how can I make people believe me?"

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 15th, 2014, 12:29 pm

Yes W.G. I think he did say that. Chaney did suffer considerable discomfort in some roles. For instance, when he played the double amputee "Blizzard" (I think that was the name) his legs were strapped up, tightly, behind him. He wore leather stumps on his knees and a specially tailored frock coat that disguised the fact that his legs were strapped. He could only remain like that for about twenty minutes a stretch before releasing his legs to get the circulation going again!

There's a good photo of Chaney Jr. having a quick smoke while his bandages are being attended to by Jack Pierce. Chaney looks fed-up to the back teeth!

Erik, I'm glad you find these little snippets of information interesting. I'm happy to oblige.
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."


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