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American Beauty (1945)

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Part of the March of Time series, this episode (Volume 12, Number 2) focuses entirely on the beauty industry in the USA. With spending of over $1 billion (in 1945) on cosmetic products, it ... See full summary »

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Uncredited cast:
Herself (narrator) (uncredited)
Westbrook Van Voorhis ...
Himself (narrator) (uncredited)


Part of the March of Time series, this episode (Volume 12, Number 2) focuses entirely on the beauty industry in the USA. With spending of over $1 billion (in 1945) on cosmetic products, it has evolved into a major commercial enterprise. Packaging has proved to be a very important factor in sales and some $50 million per year is spent on advertising. The FDA look out for harmful products and Federal Trade Commission keeps an eye out for misleading claims. Spas and country resorts, where you can rest and relax, are gaining popularity for those who can afford it as are slenderizing salons and gymnasiums. Hairstyling has become an even bigger business. It's not only women who spend money on beauty products as some $300 million per year is spent by men. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short





Release Date:

5 October 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The March of Time (1945-1946 season) #2: American Beauty  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Volume Twelve, Number Two in the March of Time series. See more »


Referenced in NCIS: Dead Air (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

What happened to mommy?
2 January 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I've seen about 10 of these March of Time shorts, and this one stands out for its laugh-a-minute subject matter.

After the war, we're told that it is the American woman's battle for beauty. American men have been off (having it off) with women from around the world, so the battle is on.

The short shows ever-more-ridiculous methods of attaining beauty, including the iconic machines that shake and prod and suction women while they laze about wishing away the fat.

Two scenes in particular had me laughing out loud, which I hadn't expected.

First, in what is probably a staged scene, a housewife is lying on the floor, face covered in cream, legs elevated on pillows or cushions, and a kid says "What happened to mommy?". Well, you have to see it for the full effect.

The other one is right near the end, where we're about to visit Laszlo Institute. In a sidewalk scene, the narrator is talking about the constant battle for beauty, when a not-too-beautiful woman passing by from behind us suddenly turns around and gives us an angry look.

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