Old Hollywood
Cinema
1900-1979

Nostalgia is a seductive liar - George Wildman Ball
Brigitte Helm in L’Argent/Money (1928, dir. Marcel L’Herbier)

Brigitte Helm in L’Argent/Money (1928, dir. Marcel L’Herbier)

1930s imagining of 1980s New York via the sci-fi musical Just Imagine (1930, dir. David Butler) More on the building of the set here. The opening scenes of the film, which feature this cityscape, can be seen here.
Buildings 250 stories high!…traffic on nine levels…rockets that shoot from star to star…airplanes that land on the roofs of buildings…a whole meal in a capsule that can be swallowed in one gulp… No — this isn’t a Jules Verne dream induced by a Welsh rarebit. It’s New York in 1980, as foretold in the new Fox picture, Just Imagine!
In 1980, people have serial numbers, not names, marriages are all arranged by the courts…Prohibition is still an issue…Men’s clothes have but one pocket. That’s on the hip…but there’s still love! Don’t laugh! Our grandaddies laughed at the thought that men might fly! Fantastic? Certainly—but stranger things have come to pass than those which have been portrayed in this dream of New York of A.D. 1980!
-excerpted from Just Imagine's promotional campaign materials, reprinted in Ruth Waterbury's Photoplay: The aristocrat of motion picture magazines

1930s imagining of 1980s New York via the sci-fi musical Just Imagine (1930, dir. David Butler) More on the building of the set here. The opening scenes of the film, which feature this cityscape, can be seen here.

Buildings 250 stories high!…traffic on nine levels…rockets that shoot from star to star…airplanes that land on the roofs of buildings…a whole meal in a capsule that can be swallowed in one gulp… No — this isn’t a Jules Verne dream induced by a Welsh rarebit. It’s New York in 1980, as foretold in the new Fox picture, Just Imagine!

In 1980, people have serial numbers, not names, marriages are all arranged by the courts…Prohibition is still an issue…Men’s clothes have but one pocket. That’s on the hip…but there’s still love! Don’t laugh! Our grandaddies laughed at the thought that men might fly! Fantastic? Certainly—but stranger things have come to pass than those which have been portrayed in this dream of New York of A.D. 1980!

-excerpted from Just Imagine's promotional campaign materials, reprinted in Ruth Waterbury's Photoplay: The aristocrat of motion picture magazines

Corinne Griffith costumed as an Art Deco-style Rolls Royce hood ornament in Lilies of the Field (1924, dir. John Francis Dillon) Art direction by Milton Menasco.
Photographer: Irving Chidnoff

Corinne Griffith costumed as an Art Deco-style Rolls Royce hood ornament in Lilies of the Field (1924, dir. John Francis Dillon) Art direction by Milton Menasco.

Photographer: Irving Chidnoff

Douglas Fairbanks on the Moorish/Art Deco-inspired palace sets of The Thief of Bagdad (1924, dir. Raoul Walsh)
Art direction by William Cameron Menzies.
(via)

Douglas Fairbanks on the Moorish/Art Deco-inspired palace sets of The Thief of Bagdad (1924, dir. Raoul Walsh)

Art direction by William Cameron Menzies.

(via)


The Moorish/Art Deco-inspired palace sets of The Thief of Bagdad (1924, dir. Raoul Walsh)
Art direction by William Cameron Menzies (via)

The Moorish/Art Deco-inspired palace sets of The Thief of Bagdad (1924, dir. Raoul Walsh)

Art direction by William Cameron Menzies (via)

Lionel & John Barrymore and Joan Crawford during the filming of an “exterior” scene for Grand Hotel (1932, dir. Edmund Goulding) The art deco-style hotel entrance, a front built on a soundstage, was designed by art director Cedric Gibbons. (via) 

Lionel & John Barrymore and Joan Crawford during the filming of an “exterior” scene for Grand Hotel (1932, dir. Edmund Goulding) The art deco-style hotel entrance, a front built on a soundstage, was designed by art director Cedric Gibbons. (via

Art deco lobby set for Grand Hotel (1932, dir. Edmund Goulding) Set design by Cedric Gibbons.

Art deco lobby set for Grand Hotel (1932, dir. Edmund Goulding) Set design by Cedric Gibbons.

Boris Karloff presides over an art deco Black Mass in The Black Cat (1934, dir. Edgar Ulmer) (via)

Boris Karloff presides over an art deco Black Mass in The Black Cat (1934, dir. Edgar Ulmer) (via)