I have the book "Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits" by Mark A. Vieira and it describes a lot of his techniques over the years. His golden age lasted form 1925 to 1943. After that time the studio system was coming to an end and the formal glamour Hollywood look had run it's course.
During his time at the various studios that he worked for and even at his own studios his technique and equipment changed many times. The film was improving and he changed with the times. The one thing that he did practically invent was the "boom light" or at least a moveable boom. He used it in a lot of his portraits, heavily backlighting his subjects as well as using it to light their faces at times.
As good as Hurrell was, he is often given too much credit these days for the Hollywood look. There were a lot of great photographers during that period whose names are forgotten. Some are Clarence Bull, Bill Daniels, Frank Tanner, Laszlo Willinger, and many others.
Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions! I'll even give the green make-up a try as I do have some of that. Seems I read about that same subject some years back which prompted me to get the make-up.
One question that's still with me concerns the lights.
Arri makes a fresnel in 1000W and also a tungsten in 1000W. It appears the
fresnel has a tighter focus capability than the regular tungsten model, which does focus but not as tight.
Which would be better for b/w portrait work, fresnel or non-fresnel?
Another way of putting it, which model would give that quick hard light fall off?
Thanks to all for the help
I believe that when lighting with raw tungsten lights, and the main light is pointed at the subject, you use a fresnel. Any other lights such as rim lights and fill lights you can use barndoors etc. I think that if you don't use a fresnel you will see the paterning that is visible from the bare tungsten tube.
The purpose of the fresnel lens is to collect the light rays and send them in a directed or focused manner therefore giving you the hard edge you are looking for.
I guess I'm a bit of a heretic but I don't like many of the photos on the site mentioned. I'm sure the head and shoulders stuff is fine, but the full length portraits IMHO are clumsy. Although I would have liked to get to know Jean Harlow a whole lot better! Hubba hubba! http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/wub.gif
Well, like anything it is a look you either like or don't.
I like it personally. It is almost as if the look is there to emulate a painting.
You definately have to give those guys credit though for doing what they did with what they had.