When Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden opened their salons 100 years ago, cosmetics were worn mostly by prostitutes and performers, and businesses were run mostly by men. In a 50-year rivalry they changed all that, becoming two of the first highly successful women entrepreneurs in America. Starting with next to nothing, they created what is today the $150 billion global health and beauty industry. The film traces the women’s story through their decades long groundbreaking careers, drawing links to events of the times.
The Powder & the Glory premiered nationally on PBS in March 2009, and has been televised and screened both in English and in translation in a number of foreign countries, shown at US and foreign film festivals, and in presentations for college, business and community groups. In April 2009 it was awarded a Silver Plaque at the Hugo Television Awards division of the Chicago International Film Festival. It appears regularly now on the World Channel for Women’s History Month in March.
In July 2016, the new musical War Paint, inspired by both The Powder & the Glory and the book War Paint by Lindy Woodhead, premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. It opened on Broadway in April 2017. The show starred Patti LuPone as Helena Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden.
Ann Carol Grossman has made more than ninety films and videos. Since 1982, she has owned Umbrella Films, specializing in films on environmental policy, health, education, and the arts. Credits include 900 Hands (premiered at the Coolidge Corner Theatre); No Time to Waste (winner of the American Medical Writers’ Association’s Award of Excellence); Keep ‘Em Flying (premiered at the American Museum of Natural History), which was selected by the New York Public Library for a special archive of films about New York City.
Arnie Reisman is an award-winning writer, producer and performer in commercial and public television, corporate video, theatre and film. National telecasts include Hollywood On Trial (Oscar-nominated documentary on the blacklist), The Other Side of the Moon (90-minute PBS special for 20th anniversary of the lunar landing) and PBS’ AIDS Quarterly with Peter Jennings. Since the inception of the series in 1996, he has been a regular panelist on National Public Radio’s Says You!, the weekly comedy quiz show now airing in more than 120 markets. He served as Martha’s Vineyard Poet Laureate 2014-2017 and has published two books of poetry and art.