Edith Head will be a significant part of my research paper, so one of the major sources must be related to her. In his biography of Edith Head, Edith Head: The Life and Times of Hollywood’s Celebrated Costume Designer, the author indicates that Edith’s childhood experience were somehow miserable and Edith never felt willing to talk about it, which can be deduced from the short length of the first chapter on her childhood. However, her childhood experience played a big role in shaping her personalities and disposition. Her stepfather once said to her, “Edith my girl, you’re no beauty. If you’re going to get anywhere in this world it will be with your brains” (Chierichetti, 6). It’s interesting to see how Edith turned out to use her brain to work for other female’s beauty, and how her step father’s advice actually presented a latent feminism for her to adopt later. The strength of this book is that in the chapter called Edith Head, Superstar, the author writes about Edith’s working experience with Gloria Swanson and Nancy Olson for Sunset Boulevard, which gives a great example for how Edith presented her actresses in their best moments and thus helped to create some of the timeless characters, such as Norma Desmond. Through his writing, the author also talks a lot about Edith’s finesse in strengthening her status in both Paramount and Hollywood. For example, she might not be able to win eight Academy Awards without her social network and popularity among the committee. “Shirley Wilson, who was a production coordinator on the Linkletter show, says, ‘she could go up to the toughest men and flatter them and get them to do whatever she wanted. She was a real femme fatale in her own way’” (Chierichetti, 154). This biography provides valuable insights into Edith’s personalities, working experiences and working habits, all of which are helpful sources for me to have a better understanding of Edith’s creation of Femme Fatale on screen. The weakness of this book might be that it only has a few touch on Film Noir and Edith Head.
Chierechietti, D. (2003). Edith Head: The life and Times of Hollywood’s Celebrated Costume Designer. New York: Harper Collins.
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