Two-Faced Beauty is a film about 1950s Broadway showgirl Rosemary Williams – a statuesque beauty who shared the same name as me.
Broadway showgirl Rosemary Williams was an up-and-coming model and star of the stage in the early ‘50s. She graced the covers of everything from pinup magazines to Life between 1949 and 1951. In the final year of her fame, Williams – who also went by Williamson – was pulled into the scandalous court trial of her ex-boyfriend Sid Levy, charged with conning several of Rosemary’s wealthy acquaintances out of $50,000, and using the money to buy her fur coats, diamond bracelets, and even a Cadillac. The phone calls from producers stopped, and she disappeared from the public record after 1953.
In Two-Faced Beauty I will re-create a short period in the life of Rosemary Williams, whose name I share. As a woman, Rosemary sought empowerment through the attention she gained from fame and the gifts she gained through guile. I am fascinated by the circumstances of her life, and the twists it took.
The script is built entirely from “found words” obtained in court files, magazine articles, gossip columns, transcripts of police interrogations, and wire-tapped phone calls from the apartment she shared with three showgirls. They reveal a world of auditions, prostitution, intimate relationships, photo-shoots, eviction notices, hangovers and black eyes.
Two-Faced Beauty will be presented in ten vignettes. The vignettes will be linked together into a longer, narrative film to be submitted to film festivals, but they may also be shown on separate screens as a multi-channel work in a gallery. This “accordion” format suits my interdisciplinary approach to art and to film. While there is strong narrative content in the film, it is at its heart an experimental work, exposing the tension between the everyday details of Rosemary’s life and the resonating power of her story.
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