When I walked into the Museum of Moving Image, there was an immediate feeling of nostalgia and old Hollywood glamour. The first thing I saw during the tour was a wall covered in framed black and white headshots, which the tour guide referred to as portraits, of some of the earliest big time actors and actresses, such as Judy Garland, Eva Gardner, Shirley Temple, and Audrey Hepburn among others.
As we moved through the museum it was fascinating to see actual original costumes and masks used in classic film and TV shows. There was Chewbacca’s mask, Mrs. Doubtfire’s face mask, the mask from The Mask, and wardrobe from Chicago and The Cosby Show. We also saw replicas of the terribly damaged prosthetic legs from Black Swan and learned about make-up artists’ use of silicone latex masks for certain films in which the characters need to transform into a very different looking people or creatures. It is extremely important that the transformation looks believable so that the audience can allow themselves to really experience the film’s theatrical reality. If they don’t believe what they see on camera, they’re simply unable to buy into it. The transformations that are accomplished properly are truly amazing. The talented makeup artists, who accomplish much more than just throwing wigs on actors, work with very high attention paid to detail.
As someone who has always been mesmerized by “movie magic”, I can really appreciate the hard work, time and dedication of all the people involved in the process of creating an alternate reality on film.