Friday, May 31, 2024

Andrew L. Erdman's "Beautiful," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Beautiful: The Story of Julian Eltinge, America's Greatest Female Impersonator by Andrew L. Erdman.

The entry begins:
Julian Eltinge, né William Dalton, was born near Boston in 1881. His dad dragged him and his mom around the Americas in a frontier fantasy, in search of fabled goldmine riches that would never materialize. But with his mom’s encouragement, young Billy began perfecting his remarkable female-impersonating skills. This was a time when many men, from stage luminaries to fraternity bros to business men in Elks’ chapters to military units, had no problem with dragging-up for a good musical comedy or show. It was celebrated. By 1901, Billy Dalton was Julian Eltinge, wowing Boston’s elite in transvestic musicals and on his way to vaudeville, Broadway, and silent screen fame. He would become one of the highest paid, cisgender male actors in the world and virtually define the hugely popular art of precise, nuanced, female impersonation. As his fortunes and health declined in the 1930s, and as fearful, reactionary voices clamped down on sexual and gender nonconformity amid a global economic upheaval and the rise of fascism—sound familiar?—Julian Eltinge and his artistry receded into history. But his story and its era are so lively and relevant that I felt a foolish-joyful drive to write about it all.

Who could play young Billy Dalton as he transitioned into the star named Julian Eltinge? How about Timothée Chalamet?

Who could play his bitter, inebriated...[read on]
Visit Andrew L. Erdman's website.

The Page 99 Test: Queen of Vaudeville.

My Book, The Movie: Queen of Vaudeville.

The Page 99 Test: Beautiful.

My Book, The Movie: Beautiful.

--Marshal Zeringue