Sunday, May 17, 2015

Actors wedding rings cover hide or show in movies

On Screen Cover-Ups: Stars covering wedding rings in films

Harry Houdini & Nita Naldi
The Man From Beyond 1921
What if married movie stars don't want to remove their wedding rings and they're playing a character who's single? What does an actor do? Are you superstitious? A romantic at heart? Do you ever remove your wedding ring? 

Nita Naldi and Don Ameche refused to remove their wedding rings. It didn't matter if they was in films and playing unmarried characters. 

Also in the 1930s Mary Pickford, Irene Dunne, Joan Blondell, Gary Cooper refused to remove theirs. They covered the wedding and engagement rings in different ways. Some with make up over adhesive tape, grease paint, flesh coloured sticking plaster, something like this. When you watch their movies you might still be able to spot them. 

Spotting things like these can be little Easter eggs for film buffs. It goes beyond the question of, "Why is this single man or woman wearing a wedding ring?"  It's part of the audience's willing suspension of disbelief. Audience members are alerted, know something of an inside story and you don't let it interfere with your enjoyment of the movie.

In the 1920s and 1930s hand models used in movie close-ups. Was that really
Joan Blondell Dick Powell 8x10"
the hand of Gloria Swanson or Pauline Frederick? Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn?

Betty Compson and Dorothea Wieck kept them with them but hidden. Dorothea Wieck hid her wedding ring in her shoe. Betty Compson on a gold chain pinned inside of dress. This was not a wedding ring, but a ring given to her by producer George Loane Tucker, credited as her discoverer.

Ruby Keeler had a special ring made that would cover her wedding ring. Ina Claire removed her wedding ring for the first time when making Ninotchka. She later learned that she could have just covered it.

Diamond didn't start becoming the gemstone of choice for engagement rings until the late 1940s when diamond company De Beers launched the slogan, A Diamond is Forever. To this day, couples may choose different types of engagement rings and special jewelry.

Anita Louise covered her ring finger with tape and doped it with flesh colored make up so it didn't show. When Penny Singleton objected to taking off the huge ceylon sapphire given to her by Robert Sparks and an entire sequence had to be rewritten.

The wedding rings of actors such as Fred MacMurray can be seen in movies. Check it out in Double Indemnity. Do you ever catch Robert Taylor's wedding ring? How about Cary Grant's in films such as Mr. Lucky? Grant wore a necklace that had personal significance. It appears in many of his films. Other actors' personal jewelry also is worn but not as noticeable maybe as wedding rings. More on that in an upcoming post.

For Constance Bennett they provided an entire false finger made of rubber to sit atop her real finger!  

Musician Harry James, Betty Grable's husband, had a specially made prop ring which neatly covered his gold band.

Does Alan Ladd have his ring covered with tape and make up in a scene shown in the trailer for This Gun for Hire?

Alan Ladd wouldn't remove his wedding ring. He had a big cameo ring to cover his wedding ring. Do you see it in This Gun for Hire, The Great Gatsby, The Iron Mistress?  

Joan Crawford is said to have asked for each costume for Reunion in France to have a pair of gloves. The film co-starred John Wayne. She doesn't wear gloveswith every costume and her ring may be seen in at least a couple of scenes.

Joan Crawford one glove on, one glove off photograph
Joan Crawford The Best Of Everything 1961

Lauren Bacall vowed she would not remove the ring given to her by husband Humphrey Bogart. Watch for it in Confidential Agent

During Bogart and Bacall's wedding ceremony, when she slipped the ring on Bogart's finger she patted his hand and said "See that you keep it there all the time." Do you see his ring in movies? Was it switched to his right hand?

Cornel Wilde wore tape over his ring in Operation Secret. Steve McQueen openly wore his wedding ring in some movies, even if he was playing a teen such as in The Blob. Carol Burnett was said to wear a flesh colored bandage over her ring. Another article of the same time period notes that she takes it off from time to time when acting.

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint, The Sandpiper Trailer

Elizabeth Taylor's wedding ring was covered by flesh colored tape in some films. She wore her ring in The Sandpiper where she plays an unwed mother. Her husband Mike Todd died in a plane crash in March 1958. Taylor never took off the engagement ring and a bracelet that he gave her. On her right hand she wore Todd's own wedding ring which had been saved from the site of the crash.

Ernest Borgnine wore rings regularly. He may have had a prop ring that covered his wedding ring for films. We know for a fact when he married Ethel Merman it was a double ring ceremony. Would it be easier for men to remove their wedding rings since the tradition of men's wearing wedding rings was not that old? 

In the early 1960s, Peter Fonda removed his wedding ring for his role in the play Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole. He wore the ring for curtain calls.

Specially designed jewelry; morphs into something else:
Arlene Dahl's engagement ring was designed so the setting of diamonds would
Ring Sizing/Streching Kit
3 Pc
detach from the platinum loop that forms the ring. Arlene wears the diamond setting as a pendant before the cameras and no one would guess its sentimental background.

Ann Blyth's emerald cut diamond engagement ring has actually two loops for the finger one size for her third finger and one for her little finger. When she is before the camera, the lovely ring on her little finger is actually her engagement ring.

Related Pages of Interest:

Hands in Film Fashion Surrealist Influences

Lucy Meets The Burtons, Here's Lucy features The Taylor-Burton diamond, Elizabeth Taylor’s 69.42 carat pear-shaped diamond ring

Lon Chaney Johnny Depp Knives Hands and Love Knives, Hands and Unrequited Love Alonzo and Nanon, Edward and Kim. Edward Scissorhands, The Unknown

William Powell and Jean Harlow and that 152-Carat Sapphire Ring

Sources include 1930-1978:
The Milwaukee Sentinel
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Toledo Blade
The Sydney Morning Herald
Photoplay Magazine

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