The Lodger– Window Card — Click for an enlarged image

The Lodger

Before there was Freddie Krueger, there was Jack the Ripper. But, more importantly, before there was Botox, there was the Obie!

In London, in 1937, Merle Oberon was in a near-fatal car accident that left her exquisite and exotic facial features with significant and in movie terms career ending scarring. To make matters worse, an allergic reaction to make-up in 1940 left her skin pitted and more scarred.  Luckily, Merle was married to mega-producer Alexander Korda and all the stops were pulled in terms of lighting and procedures at the time to bring her flawless complexion back. Still….

Enter Lucien Ballard. Protege of Von Sternberg (The Devil is Woman, Morocco); art director for Howard Hughes (The Outlaw); etc., etc. Ballard knew how to make a woman look good. On the set of The Lodger, Ballard developed a flat light that mounts next to the camera that lights the subjects face head-on and reduces unflattering facial lines. This light is still used today in movies and fashion photography and is nicknamed the “Obie”– Merle Oberon’s nickname.

Merle Oberon

What else could Merle do after this extraordinary tribute of love? She divorced Korda and married Lucien lickety split. Then in 1949 she divorced Lucien and married someone else. Oh well.

After his divorce from Merle, Lucien left the business of lighting beauties and turned his attention to other genres. Genres with lots of men, like westerns and epics. In his later years he made quite a legacy for himself with the bloody gory Sam Peckinpah films.

CONDITION: Near Mint. Original window card. The Lodger. 1944. 2oth Century Fox. Despite photo, background is still a creamy white with yellowing at edges only. Colors are vivid. No pin holes, etc. No retouching. Kept in archival sleeve with archival cardboard support.

See also: The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes.

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