The Hollywood of the Forties brings many images to mind. Do you remember the most famous pinup of them all? Betty Grable smiling at you all through World War II. The original sweater girl, Lana Turner. Rita Hayworth in all her glory. The stunning and statuesque Ava Gardner. A defiant, scantily clad Jane Russell standing near the hay. Bogart, Garfield, Kirk Douglas, Judy Garland. The brooding Robert Mitchum, the brute power of Burt Lancaster, the alienated Montgomery Clift, the animal menace of Marlon Brando. And perhaps the last of the studio pinups, the fragile and beautiful Marilyn Monroe. These flesh and blood fantasies, and many others, are here 106 stars in 163 full-page glamour photos by 24 leading Hollywood photographers.
The pictures these photographic artists took span the period from the outbreak of World War II to the Korean conflict of 1951. As John Kobal writes in his informative introduction. "The Forties were the years of Old Hollywood's last stand, though the people concerned didn't know it." In a lively introduction, illustrated by ten pictures of the stars off the set, Mr. Kobal discusses the people and films of the Forties, the importance of these photos and the photographers who took them, and their magical appeal to movie fans. The captions give the year, photographer, studio, the movies that many of the portraits are associated with, and the costume designer. Originally printed in fan magazines, on posters, and in fashion spreads, these portraits are legendary. They are part of almost everyone's past, part of their dreams and fantasies.