Documentary about the early female movie stars: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe - immortal goddesses made by Hollywood to reign over the silver screen.
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Meet Marlene Dietrich.
She is Shanghai Lily, a professional user of men.
Alone in her compartment, she smokes a cigarette.
Her face is lit from above, as if from some celestial source.
She has just learned that the great love of her life is still
obsessed with her.
Is it the motion of the train that causes her hand to shake,
or her inner turmoil?
It doesn't matter.
Alone with her triumph, she transcends earthly concerns,
attaining what the Greeks called an apotheosis
the state of the divine.
She is a goddess.
The cinema was the new art form of the 20th century.
In its golden age, it was truly a mass entertainment.
Everybody could enter the temple, as if they were participating
in a new religion, drawn by the light that came from a projector.
Cinemas were built on a grand scale.
They were called Palaces, Alhambras, Regals, Forums.
They were the cathedrals of the movies.
The screen was like a vast altarpiece.
On it, the actors appeared bigger than life.
No longer men and women. Gods and goddesses.
When movie actresses faced a camera, they were lit, made up
and dressed to perfection.
They became an ideal of beauty.
It was as if they truly belonged to another world.
In mythology, gods do sometimes come down to earth.
Occasionally the cinema played with the idea.
In Down to Earth, Rita Hayworth plays Terpsichore,
muse of the dance.
She is shocked by how a Broadway producer
intends to portray her on stage.
Wait until you hear what's happening on Earth!
A mortal, Daniel Miller is presenting a musical
play about us, the nine muses.
She descends to Earth to put things right, and being divine,
she already knows the moves.
I need a goddess and a goddess comes down out of nowhere.
In One Touch of Venus, a window dresser inadvertently brings
to life a statue of the goddess of love.
Please, how can I fix this if you don't stand still?
As incarnated by Ava Gardner, she moves with extraordinary grace,
and speaks, too.
Oh, look, I don't understand any of this, who are you?
I am Venus, daughter of Jupiter, goddess of love
Oh, very glad to know you,
my name is Hatch, Eddie Hatch, display...
-Goddess of what?!
Goddesses suggest that an ideal world exists,
where choices are clear and wrongs are righted.
A world of certainties.
But Goddesses can also punish and destroy.
They can be jealous and spiteful.
In Mata Hari, the infamous spy is played by Greta Garbo.
Seducing a young pilot into treason, she makes him put out
the lights, with the last being the candle before the Virgin Mary.
-The Madonna's lamp?
I couldn't do that.
You said I came first.
But don't you understand, that it's a holy lamp?
That I swore to keep it burning
You wouldn't do that for me?
Why, why do you ask me to?
To see if you love me as you say.
I do, but I do.
Well then, put it out...
..if you love me.
Garbo did inspire fanatical devotion.
She was said to have a "sensuousness that speaks to all men
"and women", and that, "She is all woman.
In Mata Hari, Garbo even wears a headdress that mirrors
the one worn by the Madonna.
Her triumph has made her divine in her own right.
Garbo belonged to MGM, the Hollywood studio which promised
"More stars than there are in heaven".
Actors under contract were groomed and protected by the studios,
controlling how they were portrayed in fan magazines.
Cinema-goers devoured these stories and formed cults around the stars.
A chosen few were venerated as though they were deities.
It wasn't like that in the first years of Hollywood.
The actors had faces, but no names.
Producers thought that giving them an identity
would hand them too much power.
But the public grew to love this actress,
here playing Kate in a very abridged version of The Taming of the Shrew.
They demanded to know who she was.
Eventually she was named Florence Lawrence.
Her fame was short-lived, but the studios got the point.
The first actress created purely for the cinema had a very enticing name.
They called her Theda Bara.
They said it was an anagram of "Death Arab,"
and that she had been born in the Sahara.
Actually, she was Theodosia Goodman,
Bara's first screen character originated in a Pre-Raphaelite
painting called The Vampire.
In A Fool There Was, she was simply known as "The Vamp."
In this scene, Bara taunts a desperate lover, driving him
to suicide with a line that came a catch-phrase for years.
Bara was a goddess of destruction, like Astarte or Kali.
The great pioneer director, DW Griffith, looked for the opposite
of the vamp an embodiment of goodness, sacrifice, renunciation.
He found her in Lilian Gish.
And he saw how she should be filmed in close up,
and lit like a saint in a Renaissance painting.
In Orphans of the Storm, set during the French Revolution, Gish plays
a girl who is separated from her blind sister,
but believes she is close by.
In fact, the sister, played by real-life sibling, Dorothy Gish,
is in the street outside.
With one potent tear on her cheek, Lilian Gish goes beyond acting.
Like the Virgin Mary, she suffers for the sins of man.
I always saw myself as a painter.
And I had a canvas, instead of brushes and paints,
I only had this, face and body.
But I painted, I hoped, with emotion or with laughter, whatever,
truly enough to affect the people looking, so that they would
believe what I was trying to convey and never catch me acting.
In the silent era, not all
the inhabitants of Hollywood's Mount Olympus were as elevated as Gish.
Clara Bow was more of a nymph.
Her taste for men, on and off screen, was voracious.
Red haired, vivacious, vulgar, she was pronounced by
English writer Elinor Glyn to be the perfect embodiment of "it."
According to Glyn, "it" was that
"strange magnetism which attracts both sexes."
This could be seen in the film It, which starred Clara Bow
as a shopgirl, here flirting with her boss after an awkward date.
Uninhibited, high-spirited and divinely carefree,
she was a very 20s deity.
The first generation of goddesses were stars of the silent screen.
They were not invulnerable.
Clara Bow was one of many victims of the transition
to talking pictures at the end of the 20s.
Another was Gloria Swanson.
Here she is in Queen Kelly, playing a convent girl.
She was then powerful enough to have produced the film herself.
Years later, Queen Kelly was projected on a screen
in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard.
Wilder slyly cast Swanson as a fictional former silent goddess,
She hopes that her younger lover, a screenwriter
played by William Holden, will help her make a comeback.
Still wonderful, isn't it? And no dialogue.
We didn't need dialogue, we had faces.
There just aren't any faces like that anymore. Maybe one, Garbo.
Sweden, chill and remote, produced a different kind of goddess.
Greta Garbo could have been Freya, the Norse deity of love and war.
Her perfect features and gloomy introspection
were well-suited to a romantic cinema of tragedy and loneliness.
In Flesh And The Devil, John Gilbert plays a young Austrian officer
who sees the woman of his dreams alighting from a train.
It is of course, Greta Garbo, already aloof and removed.
When their eyes finally meet, the spark is lit.
Fortunately for the film-makers, the two actors really did become lovers.
As in so many films of this era, the intimacy of their encounter
is fuelled by the exchange of a cigarette.
In this world of mythical passions
and ever more sophisticated lighting,
the striking of a match signifies overwhelming desire.
Garbo had a curious way of being the aggressor in the love scenes.
She would take the man, and then she created her own brand of eroticism.
I remember seeing when she kissed Robert Taylor without using,
very imaginatively, without using her hands at all,
she just kissed him with small kisses all over his face.
In Queen Christina, Garbo was at her most iconic as the defiant monarch
who abdicates her throne for her Spanish lover,
and leaves Sweden for ever.
Her director, Rouben Mamoulian told her,
"I want your face to be a blank sheet of paper.
"I want the writing to be done by every member of the audience".
In a much imitated single shot,
Garbo's expression says everything and nothing.
It was an image for eternity.
Garbo made her last movie in 1941.
From then on, she was very seldom seen.
Her elusiveness guaranteed she would be remembered as a
screen goddess who was for ever young and beautiful.
Garbo's great rival came from Germany.
The famed Hollywood director Josef Von Sternberg went to
Berlin in 1929 to make The Blue Angel.
One look at party girl Marlene Dietrich
and he knew he had found his sleazy bar-room singer Lola Lola.
When his producer said she looked frightful and couldn't sing,
Von Sternberg gave her a screen test.
That's Von Sternberg's voice giving Dietrich instructions.
He was showing how expressive her face could be
with his lighting and her attitude.
In The Blue Angel, Dietrich performs a song that would become
her anthem, Falling In Love Again.
She sings it to Emil Jannings' besotted schoolteacher.
In the original German, the lyrics are actually saying,
"I live for sex, it's the way I'm made".
You've been warned.
When Paramount brought Dietrich to Hollywood,
Von Sternberg forced her to lose 30 pounds.
He re-designed her make-up, her clothing, her style,
the way she was lit - with a single light placed high up.
She was an extraordinary woman and she was a great beauty,
and she was a fine assistant,
and very easy to respond.
She responded beautifully and gave me an image very often
which was not only exactly as I wanted
but very often better than I wanted and she was...she was quite a gal.
Von Sternberg's films were rife with sexual ambivalence, revealing
his masochistic fascination with his enigmatic creation.
In Morocco, Dietrich performs a cabaret number
dressed in top hat and tails.
In a gesture shocking in its casualness,
Dietrich seizes a sly opportunity to kiss one of her own sex.
And the action couldn't be censored without cutting the whole scene.
May I have this?
THE CROWD LAUGH
In Shanghai Express, Dietrich's only rival in exoticism
is the young courtesan played by Anna May Wong.
Born to a laundryman in Los Angeles, Wong was a rarity,
a screen goddess who was Chinese American.
One of her finest roles was actually in a British film called Piccadilly.
Wong played a dishwasher who finds stardom as an exotic dancer.
The English club manager succumbs to her charms.
But see how their kiss was considered too risque for the times.
Wong was doomed to play out her career
in a succession of oriental stereotypes.
As the Hollywood of the times saw it, screen goddesses had to
be all-American or all-European, and definitely white-skinned.
Dolores Del Rio was Mexican.
For all her beauty, she would be cast only for her exoticism.
Never more so than in King Vidor's Bird Of Paradise.
THEY DRUM AND CHANT
Del Rio plays a South Sea Islander.
Joel McCrea is the only American at the party.
She bewitches him.
His mission is to civilise her, but in the end he goes native.
A naked swimming scene portrays
Del Rio as innocent of the inhibitions of McCrea's world.
Once the moralising Hays Code was inflicted on Hollywood in 1934,
this scene was cut from the film.
Over in Europe, a naked swim would be the making of another legend -
the Austrian actress once called,
"The most beautiful woman in the world." Hedy Lamarr.
Ecstasy, a Czechoslovakian film,
made the 19-year-old Lamarr an overnight sensation.
The film caused outrage wherever it was shown.
Equally controversial were its daring scenes of sexual passion.
Little wonder Lamarr's millionaire husband, the first of five,
tried to have all copies of Ecstasy destroyed.
Lamarr was brought to Hollywood by MGM,
but the studio failed to find her a defining role.
# I'll have you all to myself
# Alone and apart...#
In this lavish number in Ziegfeld Girl,
she is simply presented as a goddess for all to adore.
# Safe in my heart
# Out of a dream of you... #
But Lamarr had brains as well as beauty.
Probably her greatest achievement
was collaborating on a revolutionary radio technology,
which paved the way for today's mobile phones.
Some Hollywood stars shone most brightly in the wilder years
before 1934 when the Hays Code imposed its rules of decency.
The rigid censorship greatly limited the freedom of expression
of American filmmakers.
One who made her mark before its imposition was Mae West.
She wrote her own scripts, shimmied around in outlandish costumes,
even chose her leading man.
Here it's a young Cary Grant.
Her verbal playfulness was worthy of Oscar Wilde.
Come here, dear.
I haven't had you alone all evening with all those people.
Well, my public.
Let me take a good look at you.
Ah, you were wonderful tonight.
I'm always wonderful at night.
Yes, but tonight you were especially good.
Well, when I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad...I'm better.
If Mae West belonged to the bar-room and the sideshow,
her sister in the night-club and cocktail lounge was Jean Harlow.
Harlow personified the hot blonde.
In Howard Hughes' World War One flying epic, Hell's Angels,
one line was enough to make her famous.
Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?
I'll try to survive.
Such carnal directness made Harlow an instant star.
She was dubbed "The Blonde Bombshell".
She had the physical confidence that was the mark of a true goddess.
In Red Dust, she sparred brilliantly with the last word in
American masculinity, Clark Gable.
How many times have I told you to let down those curtains?
Why? They've all gone off to work.
You heard me, let em' down!
What's the matter? Afraid I'll shock the duchess?
Don't you suppose she's ever seen a French postcard?
Naked bathing was a speciality of pre-Hays Code Hollywood.
Get out of there! What's the idea?
Getting in that barrel.
Oh, I don't know. Maybe I'm going over Niagara Falls.
Jean Harlow died shockingly young of kidney failure at 26.
But her youthful potency survives,
wittily encapsulated in the closing scene of Dinner At Eight.
I was reading a book the other day.
Reading a book?
Yes, it's all about civilisation or something, a nutty kind of a book!
Do you know that the guy says that machinery is going to take
the place of every profession?
Oh, my dear, that's something you need never worry about.
Unlike Harlow, there were stars whose careers endured,
even through the decades of the Hays Code.
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were said to be screen rivals.
Their currency was power and willpower.
Bette Davis was a supreme technician of screen acting,
the accomplished manipulator of what Graham Greene called,
"A corrupt and phosphorescent prettiness."
Why don't you lay off that stuff?
Because I'd rather be drunk than sober.
In her first Oscar-winning role,
she played to perfection a downfallen actress ruined by drink.
Her bitterness and self-pity are her undoing,
but Davis is magnificent in her fury.
Take a look at yourself, take a good look.
Drunken, ill kept, the only feeling you could arouse in a main is pity.
You dare feel sorry for me, with your fat little soul and your smug face.
Picking your way so cautiously through a pest hell existence.
Well, I've lived more in a day than you'll ever dare live.
Pity for me, that's very funny,
because I've never had any for men like you!
'I've often wondered why I had such...enjoyment...'
..From playing these women.
But they are meatier from the standpoint of your craft,
but they are also enjoyable, enjoyable to play.
So I always, as I grew older,
wondered if this was really in my nature, way underneath.
I've never given a definite statement on this fact yet.
The kid, Junior that is, will be down in a minute
unless you'd like to take her drink up to her.
As fading actress Margot Channing, in All About Eve, Davis found
her defining role, boldly fighting her corner against upstarts and age.
We know you, we've seen you like this before.
Is it over or is it just beginning?
She remains as ever the mistress of timing, whether sober...
Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night
Don't get up, and please stop acting as if I were the Queen Mother.
I'm sorry, I didn't...
Outside of a beehive, Margot,
your behaviour would hardly be considered queenly or motherly.
You're in a beehive, pal, didn't you know?
We're all busy little bees, full of stings,
making honey day and night, aren't we, honey?
I'm sure you must get very bored by the constant fiction that you
and Bet Davis are positively daggers drawn.
She'd kill you if she heard you say "Bet."
She's a fascinating actress, Bette Davis.
There's some truth in the charge that artists were manufactured...
You manufacture toys, you don't manufacture stars.
You can't turn them out. There were...nowadays, you see them,
they're all out of the same cookie cutter, you know?
Joan Crawford longed for stardom, and it showed.
If Bette Davis' forte was anger, hers was ambition.
I wish I were free tonight.
In her early roles, this could be tempered with a certain sweetness,
as in Grand Hotel, where her eager, good-hearted stenographer
is flattered by John Barrymore's invitation.
What time tomorrow?
In the funny yellow room where they dance.
All right, we'll dance, hmm?
Like Davis, Joan Crawford transformed her image
in tune with her advancing age.
In All About Eve, Davis is usurped by a younger woman.
Mildred Pierce runs on parallel lines.
Crawford's thrusting shoulder pads
and imperious cheekbones were on full display.
She played the self-made business woman fighting the brattish daughter
and lounge-lizard lover who drag her down.
Crawford's mask-like face expressed sacrifice as few others could.
We weren't expecting you, Mildred, obviously.
It's just as well you know. I'm glad you know.
How long as this been going on?
Since I came home and even before.
He never loved you, it's always been me.
I've got what I wanted.
Monty's going to divorce you and marry me.
And there's nothing you can do about it.
# You must remember this
# A kiss is just a kiss
# A sigh is just a sigh...#
Ingrid Berman was another kind of goddess altogether.
# As time goes by...#
In Casablanca, she played Elsa,
a noble, troubled woman displaced by World War Two.
She's haunted by the song which evokes her great lost love.
The man in her thoughts, Humphrey Bogart's Rick, arrives on cue.
# No matter what the future brings
# As time goes by... #
Sam, I thought I told you never to play...
When the Swedish Bergman came to Hollywood,
she felt her only image was herself.
She refused to be re-modelled, and quickly tired of
the rigid conventions of the Hollywood dream factory.
They became terribly glossy, and the censorship was so hard on us
that you couldn't do anything that was really down to earth.
And I happened to see a picture called Rome, Open City,
and it so struck me, it so moved me, and it was the real feeling.
Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City revealed unflinchingly
the terrible consequences of the Nazi occupation.
The film starred Rossellini's muse and lover, Anna Magnani,
and scenes like this made her a cinema icon.
Her reckless defiance of the enemy was a far cry
from the romantic view of the resistance depicted in Casablanca.
THE CHILD WAILS
As if to confirm her divine status,
Magnani dies in the priest's arms, as in a Pieta.
Impulsively, Bergman wrote to Rossellini, offering her services.
He cast her in Stromboli as a Lithuanian refugee
who attempts to make a new life on the volcanic island.
The goddess, now deprived of her make-up and hair stylists,
found reality with a vengeance.
During the filming, director and star became lovers.
When the already married Bergman also became pregnant,
she was exiled from Hollywood.
An American senator called her, "A powerful influence for evil."
But she stuck with Rossellini and had a further two children with him.
Ironically, the rejected Anna Magnani,
no Madonna in her own private life, went on to be embraced by Hollywood.
She won an Oscar in 1956 for The Rose Tattoo.
The aftermath of war introduced a new kind of American film.
Dark thrillers dubbed film noir.
They brought to the screen a dangerous type of goddess.
One liberated and toughened by the absence of men
fighting for their country.
In Double Indemnity, Fred McMurray's insurance man
is seduced by Barbara Stanwyck's glamour, and her fast wit.
There's a speed limit on this date Mr Neff. 45 miles an hour.
How fast was I going, Officer?
I'd say around 90.
Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.
Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.
Suppose it doesn't take.
Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.
Suppose I start crying and put my head on your shoulder.
Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder.
That tears it.
Well, speaking of horses, I like to play them myself,
but I like to see them work out a little first.
See if they're front runners or come from behind.
Find out what their whole card is.
In The Big Sleep, Lauren Bacall gives
Humphrey Bogart as good as she gets.
I'd say you don't like to be rated, you like to get out in front,
open up a lead, take a little breather in the back stretch
and then come home free.
You don't like to be rated yourself.
I haven't met anyone yet that could do it. Any suggestions?
Hell, I can't tell until I've seen you over a distance of ground.
You've got a touch of class but I don't know how far you can go.
A lot depends on who's in the saddle.
But no-one could match the actress dubbed "The Love Goddess" -
Rita Hayworth, as Gilda, the woman no man can resist.
Would you like perhaps a tiny drink of Ambrosia,
suitable only for a goddess?
No, thank you.
# One night she started to shim and shake
# That brought on the Frisco quake
# So you can...#
For the number Put The Blame On Mame, about a woman with the power
to cause natural disasters, Hayworth was dressed to kill in black satin.
# They once had a shootin'
# Up in the Klondike
# When they got Dan McGrew...#
To underline her sexual supremacy,
she removes a single glove as only a screen goddess can.
# That's the story that went around
# But here's the real lowdown
# Put the blame on Mame, boy
# Put the blame on Mame... #
"There never was a woman like Gilda," the poster announced.
Such adoration came at a price.
Rita Hayworth famously sighed,
"Most men fell in love with Gilda and woke up with me."
This photograph of her was one of the most popular wartime pin-ups.
Scientists testing an atomic bomb even pasted it on the casing.
When Hayworth was told about it, she wept.
She had no desire to be a goddess of destruction.
In the 1950s, the focus of glamour
shifted from the Hollywood Hills to the shores of the Mediterranean,
the world of European chic and the International Jet Set.
A new bolder breed of European goddesses
were trailed by a circus of hack journalists and news cameras.
Federico Fellini called
the snapping, flashing photographers paparazzi.
They first appeared in his sardonic view of the new hedonism,
La Dolce Vita.
Anita Ekberg parodied herself as a publicity crazy Swedish star
arriving in Rome and soaking up attention.
The stars were just as much on stage in their private lives
as they were on the set.
And at press conferences, they needed to know their lines.
Please, miss. Dormi con pigiama o camicia da notte?
How do you sleep? With pyjamas or night gown?
Night. I sleep only in two drops of French perfume.
One who rose to the challenge
was the irrepressible French sex-kitten, Brigitte Bardot.
You've been called the world's sex symbol,
is this the way you want to be known?
Is this what you hope the future will bring for you
as an actress, or would you like to do something else?
I want to be myself.
And what is yourself?
In And God Created Woman, Bardot was the embodiment of appetite.
Dancing to a sweatier rhythm than any Hollywood goddess,
she taunted and teased her admirers.
From Italy came Sophia Loren,
who combined a regal air with a sense of mischief.
In It Started in Naples, even that veteran of
Hollywood masculinity Clark Cable was there to approve.
What do you enjoy most about now being a world famous beauty?
Maybe I didn't understand the question?
Yes, indeed you did! I was waiting for you to go on.
Europe became a source of fascination to American stars.
Like Orson Welles,
Ava Gardner was a regular on Spain's bullfighting circuit.
Not for nothing did fellow aficionado Ernest Hemingway
call her, "The most beautiful animal in the world."
She was very much at home appearing in a film set in Spain.
In Pandora And The Flying Dutchman,
Gardner's as much a fury as a goddess.
She plays a wilful adventuress who challenges
her racing driver suitor to make a sacrifice.
If I were to ask you, Stephen,
would you push this car off the cliff and into the sea?
Do it, Stephen.
In her triumph, Pandora's face becomes the landscape itself,
dominating her admirer.
When do you want to marry me, Stephen?
Meanwhile, another American screen goddess
was waiting for her European moment.
In Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window,
James Stewart is housebound in a plaster cast.
The woman in his life appears to him like an angel.
A slow-motion kiss underlines the bestowing of a divine grace.
How's your leg?
Hurts a little.
And your stomach?
Empty as a football.
And your love life?
Not too active.
Anything else bothering you?
Mmm-hmm, who are you?
Grace Kelly really did walk in beauty. She was untouchable.
She might have been a goddess come to earth.
Can we be sure she wasn't?
Kelly's career had a perfect Hollywood ending.
She married into Monaco's royalty
and left the movies for an alternative Olympus.
Nothing so much became her stardom as the leaving of it.
With Grace Kelly out of the picture,
Hollywood cherished another ethereal goddess, Audrey Hepburn.
Her gamine looks suggested an eternal youthfulness,
and her slim figure was made for fashion.
She was European, and was the irresistible face of European chic.
In Breakfast at Tiffany's,
she lives in New York but wear Paris clothes, by Hubert de Givenchy.
She's both other-worldly and street smart.
SHE WHISTLES LOUDLY
-I never could do that.
In the 1950s, the dream factory that was Hollywood
still produced screen goddesses.
But these deities would see out the studio system
that nurtured and groomed them.
In the case of one actress, she even helped to destroy it.
In George Stevens' A Place In The Sun, Elizabeth Taylor was cast
as the rich girl who falls for the ambitious but poor Montgomery Clift.
Behind her remarkable beauty,
Taylor revealed an engaging emotional vulnerability.
I tell you why. I love...are they watching us?
I love you too. It scares me...
But it is a wonderful feeling.
It's wonderful that you're here. I can hold you. I can see you.
I can hold you next to me.
But what's it going to be like next week?
That quality did not last long.
Taylor's adulthood, a series of bad marriages and messy divorces,
parallelled her screen career.
Girlish freshness gave way to a jaded voluptuousness.
But she was, without question, a star.
A goddess who knew her worth.
She demanded the unprecedented sum of 1 million to play Cleopatra.
When Cleopatra arrives in Rome, Taylor's equally famous co-star
and lover, Richard Burton, is as much in awe as everyone on the set.
These crowds and monuments were not created by a computer.
But the scene also symbolises the triumph of
an extravagant star over an ailing studio system.
Cleopatra was an epic out of control.
Filming in Britain had to be abandoned when Taylor fell ill.
The sets were demolished.
As production began over again in Rome,
the budget soared from 2 million to 44 million.
While Cleopatra was draining 20th Century Fox's resources,
the studio's last great sensation, Marilyn Monroe,
died in Hollywood in 1962.
Monroe is seen today as a victim of her screen persona,
struggling to bridge the gap between her sex bomb image
and her aspirations to be a serious actress.
Monroe's films played with the discrepancy between her
apparent innocence and the effect she had on men.
The iconic moment comes in The Seven Year Itch
when her skirt lifts up, and director Billy Wilder juxtaposes
her child-like rapture with an older man's lascivious response.
It sort of cools the ankles, doesn't it?
Well, what do you think would be fun to do now?
I don't know, it's getting pretty late.
It's not that late.
The thing is I have this big day tomorrow,
I really have to get to sleep.
What's the big day tomorrow?
Tomorrow I'm on television. You remember, I told you about it?
The Dazzledent hour.
Oooh, here comes another one!
She had no handle on life, but by God she had some other things,
that if you knew what they were,
we could sell that patent to DuPont and they could manufacture it.
Because one would think it's not that difficult,
maybe it's tough to have another, to make another Garbo.
But it should be easy, a blonde small girl with a sweet face.
My God, there should be thousands of them!
They come from all over the world.
Doesn't make a Monroe.
Some stars began their careers swimming naked,
that's how Marilyn Monroe ended hers.
In this scene from the unfinished film Something's Got To Give.
Get back in!
Monroe's irresistible charm takes us
back to the uninhibited days of pre-Hays Code Hollywood.
Come on, the water's so refreshing.
You know, once you've finished doing...you know.
She died in mysterious circumstances a few months after
these images were filmed.
Marilyn Monroe was not just a screen goddess.
She's become an icon for the whole world.
She gained immortality
while the old Hollywood studio system went into terminal decline.
The reign of the screen goddess came to an end.
Many of their temples closed.
This one became a bingo hall.
The post-studio era of the 1960s gave us
female stars cut from a different cloth.
They wanted to appear natural, to avoid looking manufactured.
Even to venture off the screen into the real world of politics.
They were no longer mysterious and untouchable.
But have we seen the last of the screen goddesses?
To answer the question,
we have to go back into the vaults of film history.
There lies a chance of resurrection.
It happened in the case of a silent star who refused to play
the Hollywood game and faded into obscurity.
Decades later, as modern cinema began,
Louise Brooks was rediscovered,
and elevated to the status of a cult icon.
In 1929, the German director, GW Pabst,
cast her in the lead role of Lulu in Pandora's Box.
With her miraculous combination of innocence and perversity,
Brooks was perfect as Lulu.
No dialogue, but an extraordinary face.
On the screen, Louise Brooks simply exists.
In Pandora's Box, Lulu brings down all who fall for her.
Here she fights to regain a lover who plans to marry another woman.
With the arrival of the shocked bride-to-be, Brooks completes
her seduction with a devastating smile of erotic triumph.
Nobody can resist the magnetism of her eyes.
This is the ultimate quality of a screen goddess.
When she is before us, we adore.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Documentary about the early female movie stars: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe - immortal goddesses made by Hollywood to reign over the silver screen.
With the beginnings of Hollywood, the star system was born with an archetypal bad girl - the vampish Theda Bara - and the good girl - the blazingly sincere Lillian Gish. From the 1920s, vivacious Clara Bow and seductive siren Louise Brooks are most remembered, but none made the impact of Marlene Dietrich, an icon of mystery, or Greta Garbo, with her perfect features and gloomy introspection.
From the power of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis to the seductiveness of Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, Hollywood studios produced their own brand of beautiful, sassy and confident women. But it wasn't to last. The era drew to a close with the supreme fame of Elizabeth Taylor and the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe.
Narrated by Elizabeth McGovern.