Thursday, October 6, 2016
THE GIRL WITH THE "NON-HALATION" EYES
"Discovered -- a girl with 'non-halation' eyes!", proclaims the snippet from the MARK OF THE VAMPIRE pressbook. Described by the film's famed cameraman, James Wong Howe, as "deep, luminous and mysterious", Lugosi's co-star Carroll Borland's (credited as "Carol Borland") eyes expressed "mystery and terror".
While the statement was pointedly fulsome, Howe nevertheless claimed that "through some conformation of the lens of the eye it is possible to project light into her eyes with no 'kick-back' or halation to fog the film and ruin the effect."
It was the combination of this photographic phenomena and Lugosi's advocacy that landed Carroll Borland (b. Feb. 25, 1914 - d. Feb. 3, 1994) the role as Luna in the MGM vampire story. She appeared in just a handful of films, including two later B-movies by director Fred Olen Ray.
Released in the U.S. on April 26, 1935, MARK OF THE VAMPIRE was known by the shooting title, VAMPIRES OF PRAGUE as late as in the March, 1935 issue of VARIETY.
Borland's Luna character was unique in its time, and the long, dark hair, pallid skin and painted lips would become the model for many more vampire femmes fatales to come, including Maila Nurmi, the Morticia Addams and Lily Munster TV characters and Cassandra Peterson's Elvira. The two photographs below are by MGM's staff photographer, Clarence Sinclair Bull.
BONUS: From the February 25, 1935 edition of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is this article about Carol Borland looking into playing "oriental" characters in film roles, once again as the result of her amazingly unique eyes.