Comment: Days Like These

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The Independent Culture
9 July 1963

CECIL BEATON,

photographer, writes in his journal about the filming of `My Fair Lady', for which he designed the costumes:

"I had watched Audrey Hepburn during the tests, wearing almost no make- up and being photographed in a somewhat flat light. One took for granted her charm and vitality, but it was only when the result was magnified hundreds of times that one realised that, as Jack Warner said, `She's one in a million.'

"Somehow the celluloid accentuates her expressions of tenderness, humour, fun, hauteur and plaintive childishness. Her nose and jawline do not conform to the golden rule of Praxiteles yet add enormous character to the photographed result. After seeing herself without eye-make-up Audrey pleased me by saying that, in the future, she was going to soft-pedal its use. The `Flemish Look', without any eye make-up, is going to be a surprise. Suddenly one realizes what a hard look the black liner gives the eye, and how its effect is to close up, and make smaller, the white of the eye. Audrey's appearance without it will be quite a revolution and, let's hope, the end of all those black-eyed zombies of the fashion magazines."

8 July 1840

JOHN HENRY (later Cardinal) NEWMAN writes to Mrs Thomas Mozley:

"While I was sitting in my surplice at the altar in Margaret Chapel on Sunday, during the first lesson a large black cat fell from the ceiling, down close at my feet narrowly missing my head... Where it came from no one I have met can tell me. It got up in no time, and was at the end of the chapel and back again before anyone knew what the matter was... I had heard a mewing since the beginning of the service. Mrs Bowden, who observed a large cat at S. Maria Maggiore at Rome, suggests that the Record may note it as an additional proof that, in the clerk's words, the Chapel in Margaret Street "goes as near as ever it can to Roman Catholics".

Ian Irvine

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