with Alicia Mayer

Friends? Lovers? Enemies? Yes.

Left to right: Carmel Myers, Edmund Goulding, Renee Adoree, Marceline Day on set of A Certain Young Man, 1926.

“…these people lived lives – were friends, were lovers, were enemies. They bickered, they shouted, the cried, they laughed. They went home, flopped down, dropped hats, kicked off shoes and sighed. “

Updated 30 July, 2012: Here is another sensational 1920’s photograph from our family’s collection. Like the one of Ruth Harriet immediately below it, this photo looks like characters from The Great Gatsby have stepped out of the book and come to life.

Unfortunately, and this is the hardest part about inheriting photos with no details, this photo, like so many, had no captions. At a loss, I decided that these were MGM “players” – actors and actresses contracted to movies before my uncle Louis B Mayer invented the star system that took hold in the 30s and 40s.

But thanks to Rhett Bartlett of @DialMforMovies and his network of film historians, I am now able to caption this photo as Carmel Myers, Edmund Goulding, Renee Adoree, Marceline Day who are on the set of A Certain Young Man, which was filmed in 1926 but released two years later. If you look closely behind Goulding you can see the camera under the large shade. What’s very interesting is that this film is evidently “lost”, so it is even more thrilling to have this photo.

Together, in what is probably a posed publicity shot, they look outrageously beautiful in every regard – their clothes, the hats, their expressions. Their sheer vibrancy is not dulled by the sepia that has crept into this B&W photo.

In fact, it is this “aliveness” – that these people lived lives – were friends, were lovers, were enemies, that I see so clearly when I look at this gorgeous group. They bickered, they shouted, the cried, they laughed. They went home, flopped down, dropped hats, kicked off shoes and sighed.

What they didn’t do after this day of filming is tweet, log on to Facebook, turn on the TV, text or watch streaming video from the day.

And more than likely, every person in this photo has also died. They came, they saw, they left. And, my friend, we will all do the same one day…

Copyright Alicia Mayer 2012.

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