On Sunday, August 11th, Hollywood insider, Donelle Dadigan, and respected actress, Lee Purcell, hosted and invitation only screening of the documentary – THE MAX FACTOR. The film takes a look behind the scenes into the star studded and astounding life of the inventor, pioneer and Hollywood’ legendary King of Make-up. The screening was followed by Q&A with the hosts and Filmmakers Clara and Julia Kuperberg and was moderated by film historian and critic, Leonard Maltin, who remarked “The Max Factor Building is a true Hollywood treasure. I’m always happy to spend time there celebrating its history.”
The reception to follow, featuring Emerald Hare Wines and StarFire Water, offered patrons the opportunity to glean additional information about the great man, his legacy and the building that bares his name (now, the home of The Hollywood Museum). Audience members still eager to hear more took a rare guided tour of Max Factor’s famous Blondes, Brunettes, Brownettes and Redheads Only.Make-Up Rooms, conducted by Ms Dadigan (President and Founder of The Hollywood Museum).
Among those in attendance who offered statements were:
KATE LINDER (Y&R), “I always enjoy going to the Hollywood Museum and this afternoon was no exception. The film about Max Factor was incredibly produced. Not only was I entertained, but I learned a great deal more about this pioneer and father of cosmetics, as well as a little more about the magic of classic Hollywood.”
SONDRA CURRIE (Hangover), “The Kuperberg sisters along with Donelle Dadigan and Lee Purcell have created an extremely entertaining and informative documentary on make-up wizard Max Factor. My Mom actress, Marie Harmon, was a huge Factor fan and I remember going there with her, when I was a small child. It was his son who helped create my mother’s look and she, too, went from brownette to blonde!! Really an excellent film and deserves to be seen!”
MARTIN KOVE (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood/Karate Kid), “As an actor, I time travel … make up and props are my favorites … today, I saw THE MAX FACTOR documentary. This Icon of early Hollywood transformed me with his creative genius, to a page of yesterdays golden cinema, (that as a time traveler ) will be unequaled for decades to come …. The only tribute that supersedes this documentary is Max Factor himself.”
DARRELL FETTY (Emmy-nominated writer/producer/actor), “‘THE MAX FACTOR’ is a must-see for anyone interested in Hollywood Legends, the history of movies, and the evolution of Beauty & Style in our culture. I had no idea of the impact Max Factor had on fashion in general as an early creator of Hollywood glamour…which ultimately influenced the world, via his stylistic vision and innovations in make-up. My favorite moment in the documentary was a personal reflection by award-winning, two-time Emmy nominee Lee Purcell, who recalled her early days in Hollywood, walking past the impressive, deco-styled Max Factor building. Like Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” the young actress would look longingly into the cosmetic-display windows, gazing at products she couldn’t afford….but hoped that someday she’d be able to go inside and buy.
Written, produced, and directed by the talented Kuperberg sisters (Julia and Clara), for Wichita Films, these multiple award-winning documentary Parisian Filmmakers, who have twice been selected at the Cannes Film Festival, have crafted a wonderful documentary about cosmetics pioneer and innovator Max Factor. The film combines informative interviews with fascinating historical and archival footage, chronicling the life of this immigrant/refugee who started out as a poor wig-maker and rose to international fame as a makeup artist, chemist-inventor and builder of a cosmetics empire.
Among the interviews with historians, curators, and celebrities, is the guiding presence of museum owner and founder, Donelle Dadigan, whose insights into Max Factor’s revolutionary ideas, such as the development of his “Color Harmony” concept in which the allure of a woman’s hair coloring and complexion is affected by the various tones surrounding her – So much so that Factor had separate, different-colored rooms for Blondes, Redheads, Brunettes, and Brownettes, “where he developed the various “looks” of his famous movie star clients, like Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, and, later on, Marilyn Monroe.” says Ms Dadigan.
In addition to classic film clips featuring the stars Factor worked with round off this look behind the scenes, the film includes appearances by Jaclyn Smith and Lee Purcell, who tell us what Max Factor meant to them, as well as Donelle Dadigan (President and Founder of The Hollywood Museum located in the Historic Max Factor Building).
Factor invented lip gloss, foundation and wand-applicator mascara; he was Hollywood’s most sought-after makeup artist, painting the faces of everyone from Judy Garland to Joan Crawford to Bette Davis; and he was the first one who came up with the idea of celebrity endorsements for beauty lines. Max Factor revolutionized the beauty industry, as we know it. What is not known, were his struggles as a Polish Jew, who found his way to the Russian court, making wigs for the Tsar. However, the threat of anti-semitism forced him to move his family to America by using his make-up skills to escape. Because of rampant antisemitism in the early 1900s, he and his family fled to America where relatives were living, using his make-up skills to escape. Max Factor moved to Hollywood at the right moment. Theatre make-up did not work very well with projectors and close-ups and the talkies as well the introduction of technicolour created other problems Factor brilliantly solved.
For Cecil B. DeMille’s The Squaw Man in 1913 he lent wigs and mustaches made from real hair which was a novelty. He solved the problem of melting lipstick by testing new products in a kissing machine and changed the looks of many stars by means of a beauty calibrator. In 1935 he had created a make-up empire which allowed him to ask the famous architect S. Charles Lee to build an art-deco office for him which is now the Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles. Clara and Julia Kuperberg interviewed film historian Marc Wanemaker who talks about the achievements of Max Factor, while Donelle Dadigan shows us around the Museum, and the actresses.
ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD MUSEUM:
The Hollywood Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that houses over 10,000 Authentic Show Business Treasures spotlighting more than 100 years of Hollywood history – from the Silents to Talkies, to Hollywood’s Golden Era, Film Noir, Television and its Pioneer Years, through the rebellious 60s, special effects 70s, evolving 80s, involved 90s, technological 2000s, and beyond to current day heartthrobs! The Hollywood Museum’s exhibits showcase the best in film, network and cable television, and new digital platforms featuring iconic and fan favorites! Located in the heart of Hollywood, at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave – The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building is the Official Museum of Hollywood and offers visitors the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world featuring the glamour of Hollywood legends and stars – past, present and in the making. The museum offers one-of-a-kind costumes, props, photographs, scripts, stars’ car collections, personal artifacts, posters, and memorabilia from favorite stars, films and TV shows. Just a few steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Museum has been named the #1 top tourist attraction in Hollywood by LA Weekly, and one of the “Top 10” Museums in LA by the LA Tourism and Convention Board and Trip Advisor.
REGULAR HOURS: Wednesday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
TICKETS: $15 Adults: $12 Seniors (62+): $12 for students with ID and $5 Children under 5.
ADDRESS: 1660 N. Highland Ave. (at Hollywood Blvd.), Los Angeles, CA 90028
MUSEUM INFO: www.TheHollywoodMuseum.com or Tel: (323) 464-7776
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: William Kidston, courtesy of The Hollywood Museum
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