Originally Posted by noseoil
Absolutely! You can also see subject movement sometimes, especially the bottom of a beaded dress moving slightly. Exposures were commonly in the range 1/10 to 1/2 second, despite the extremely powerful lighting used.
From examining literally thousands of classic Hollywood images at the Kobal Collection in London, (the source for pics for the book), I can assure you that many of the pics look better in repro than as originals. I am reasonably confident that many used the exact opposite of the current overexpose/underdevelop creed and exposed for the highlights and then developed generously, even at times unto gamma infinity as recommended by Mortensen.
In other words, it ain't just underexposure that blocks the shadows; it's also high contrast.