With the fanfare and build up to the Oscars, it seems timely to take a trip back to Hollywood's Golden Age. The release of the magnificent "I Used to be in Pictures", by twins Austin and Howard Mutti-Mewse, intoxicatingly takes us back to this sumptuous, glorious era.
At the tender age of 12 the two brothers who always had a fascination with classic Hollywood, began writing letters to the greats that included Lillian Gish, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. This whole exercise extended and resulted in personal invites for tea with others that also included Lana Turner, James Stewart, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. This was indeed a feat that would be impossible to match today!
Image by CHARLES SHEARN
In a past interview with Patrick O'Connor in 2002 for the Daily Telegraph, Austin and Howard compared themselves to the character of Joe Gillis (played by William Holden, for which he earned his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination) the out-of-work writer in Billy Wilder's 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, who charmed his way into the household of the long forgotten star Norma Desmond (played by Gloria Swanson). A strong connection is made and we see the outcome and the tragedy when the ageing and forgotten star falls in love with the young interloper. It seems that these Hollywood legends fell in love in a similar fashion with the genuine interest in their great careers. "We were 20 when we first went to California. Driving in a car with someone like Joy Hodges was amazing. She starred on Broadway, was with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Follow the Fleet. She took us to meet Ginger, who made us banana-splits. Joy was over 80 then, she put us up in her guest house. She'd drive us around, pointing things out: "That was where Marion Davies [an MGM silent starlet] had her beach parties. That was Ramon Novarro's [a Valentino-esque heart-throb] swimming-pool."
Silent movies star Dorothy Revier (1906 -1993) features on the cover of this beautiful coffee table book, unfortunately her career died with the coming of sound. Sadly also, towards the end of her life she lived a lonely existence in her West Hollywood apartment. It was always her dream to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, that wish still goes unanswered.. so Austin and Howard have gallantly started a campaign to get a star for Dorothy. A chance meeting in 2013 by the brothers with Publicist Jayjay Epega, who had been working with Douglas Fairbanks Jr's grandson Dominick Fairbanks, helped them to secure the foreword for the book, a nice touch.
Find out more at http://www.antiquecollectorsclub.com/uk/store/pv/9781851497539/i-used-to-be-in-pictures/austin-and-howard-mutti-mewse-foreword-by-dominick-fairbanks and join the campaign to get Dorothy a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at https://www.facebook.com/Iusedtobeinpictures - every like absolutely counts.
A fabulous read... this one's for Dorothy!
Sneak peak :
"I used to be in pictures" - is released February 2014