Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Beauty Celestial...

...The best, you'll agree...

In 1960, photographer Eliot Elisofon joined forces with Gloria Swanson to capture the final moments of Manhattan's fabled Roxy Theatre - home in 1927 to one of Swanson's last silent epics, The Love of Sunya.

The first image became famous from the moment it first appeared in Life. A decade later, memories of it spurred Stephen Sondheim and the other creators of Follies in finding just the tone for what they decided had to be a story of "rubble in the daylight."

What I didn't know was that there are others in the series.

This one, I think, in stark black and white, is almost more powerful than the more famous color shots. Swanson's defiant, fierce pose bridges the gap between ecstasy and despair, a power given only to the greatest and most evocative of stars.

Standing there, unbowed and utterly unaware of the devastation around her, she is superb, immortal, the very last of Those Beautiful Girls to leave as the curtain comes down, finally and forever...


  1. Beauty celestial, the best you'll agree.

  2. it's unfortunate she's not still around to strike this pose in front of the ruins of the New York Stock Exchange.