If glamour is the ability to cast a sexual spell, Annie Leibovitz's photographs have all the magic of a mute glove-puppet panda with a middle-aged man's hand stuffed up it's arse. Her famous photographic tableaux of the blue-blooded and the beautiful, now showing at the National Portrait Gallery and featured in a commemorative online Vanity Fair slideshow, peddle the presumption of glamour as gloss and glass, lacquering locks and polishing butts to produce vacant Stepford bots. Leibovitz has that uniquely American abillity to make sexy girls look like Botoxed Hamptons dames; her 2008 'Fresh Faces' cover styles La-La-Land's finest as middle-aged mannequins dressed by Molly Ringwald. It makes you long for some grizzled hunter to put them out of their misery and drag their pelts back to 1954.
Almost as unglamorous are the reimagined Hitchcock stills from the same issue, which reduce Alf's mad, bad, crumbling, crazy, glorious girls into dewy-eyed, retro-schlock, soft-focus stunnas. Seeing Naomi Watts as Marni (or is it a croissant in a napkin?) makes you properly fear for her forthcoming remake of The Birds.
Real glamour has something intrinsically private about it. A sense of hidden depths. A moment of wild surmise. True beauty is in the glimpsed thigh of the withholder, not the triple-page-spread legs of coiffed starlets without a hair out of place. Beware Vanity Fair, and take some lessons from a man who knew what glamour entailed. Intensely private, alluringly enigmatic, Paul Scofield was the consummate conjurer of his time. And God, that voice.