Hollywood Nose Pix
By Stu Kobak
Moviemakers with an acute sense of style often mine the proboscis for visual stimulation. What's in a nose you say? Gertrude Stein might have proclaimed a nose is a nose is a nose, but the truth of the matter cannot be defined by a pair of nostrils alone.
Perhaps the nosiest movie of all time is North By Northwest. The second draft of the film was even entitled, The Man on Lincoln's Nose, but wisdom prevailed and the directionality of the film was immortalized. The sheer size of the presidents' noses on Mount Rushmore dwarfs any other nasal screen concoction. Alfred Hitchcock was surely a director with that sixth sense of style. Hitchcock was well aware that he was making nasal history when he had Cary Grant climbing all across George Washington's famous protrusion. Hitchcock's goes to greater heights than ever before for his bit of onesnoutsmanship. The National Parks Service wasn't any too happy with Hitchcock's nosing around with sacrosanct Mount Rushmore. Their attitude was keep off the presidential schnozzles, but the visionary director simply thumbed his nose at the government little noses and built a set to stand in for the actual Mount Rushmore location. It was probably a good thing too. Can you image the public outcry if Cary Grant had left his footprints on Abe Lincoln's prominent sniffer. Now maybe Eva Marie Saint's dainties would have been acceptable. You can catch North by Northwest in a beautiful DVD from Warner. Color depth is extraordinary and resolution is sharp enough to reveal the make-up on Cary Grant's face in one scene. The noses never looked better either!
mining magic from a nose, the inspired tin nose adorning Tin
Strawn in Cat Ballou is a source for nasal hilarity. The
western villain's metal smell detector is a constant source of
laughter. Can you
just imagine the scene we never see when Strawn has his nose
bitten off in a fight. I like to think that Kid Shelleen is the
man with the sharp teeth who feasted on a cartilage supper. Cat
Ballou is available on DVD from Columbia in a special edition
featuring audio commentary from stars Dwayne Hickman and Michael
Callan. Colors are vibrant and the image provides sharp views of
Lee Marvin in his Academy Award winning role as
Polanski earns the title as the screen's greatest nose slasher.
Playing a small role in his own film Chinatown, Polanski uses a
knife on Jake Gittes' nose with such devious delight one actually
suspects the blood is real. For much of Chinatown, Gittes plays
it fast and lose first with a bandaged nose and later with a
badly swollen reminder of Polanski's craft. Polanski's work with
a knife and behind the camera is available on DVD from
Paramount. The DVD is pretty sharp and colors are stable, though
perhaps they could have had better saturation. Still, this is Chinatown
as good as it gets, for now.
beezeer of W.C. Fields helped
make every acid remark from the comic seem even more snotty.
Fields had a nose spread out over his to such a degree it seemed
to cast a shadow over his eyes and mouth. Fields aficionados
like to credit the comic's enormous beak to his endless appetite
for booze, but the truth is that Fields spent many days as a
homeless street urchin and could not keep his nose out of
trouble long enough for it to heal from the repeated blows.
Fields is now available on DVD in The Bank Dick, a grand
representation of the comic's unique humor. Dig the way Fields
drags out Souse. The
king of Schnozzola was surely Jimmy Durante. The comic worshiped at
the alter of his own magnificent muzzle, using every
opportunity to emphasize its size. Other famous Hollywood noses
included the distinctively prominent nose of John Barrymore,
often depicted in profile to emphasize its power. Bing Crosby
often chided Bob Hope about the precipitous descent from the
bridge to the tip of his nose and even referred to him as old
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