Best Performance By An Actress In A Wardrobe Test --- Part 1
The screen actor's supreme test of dedication may well be the wardrobe still. They're taken purely for in-house use. They are not intended for the public. Stars learn this early on. Some of them may pose and smile for a costume test early on, but as the years, and the hundreds of such sessions wear you down, the need to wear a sweet expression for the folks in wardrobe becomes less urgent. After you've been in the business a while, you learn to embrace these sittings (or standings) as an opportunity to work through that hangover, or subtly convey your contempt for the studio establishment, or just express boredom and indifference for the whole dreary process of making movies.
Now there are exceptions to every rule, and by way of example, we have Elizabeth Taylor --- here young and fresh-faced and still under the childish impression that one must always smile for the nice cameraman, just like in school pictures. For the sake of the historical record, these lovely shots were made at MGM on October 1 and November 8. The year is 1943, and the movie is National Velvet. Lest you think for a moment that Liz eventually became cynical and gave up her demure countenance before the test lens, we invite you to regard Part Two's assurance that even (over) ten years later, she still had a sweet smile for all those invisible, beleaguered little people bent over their sewing machines in some remote warehouse there on the lot.