The beautification of Bette in the final scene was “a photographic phenomenon,” said Crawford’s makeup artist, Monte Westmore. When Bette came back late, the sun had shifted to the west, over the ocean. In order to balance out the light on Bette, who had her back to the beach, the cameraman brought in an arc, facing her. The key light was so intense it burned out every wrinkle on her face and made her look like a little girl again.
Baloney! said Bette, refusing to share any artistic credit. Her transformation had nothing to do with the cosmetic or technical expertise of others; it was her genius, her acting talent. Script girl Adelle Aldrich agreed. “I was at the beach, playing cards with Bette, and twenty minutes before the scene was shot she asked for some time by herself. She walked down the beach alone, and when she came back there was this glow on her face. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It came from within her and reflected on her face.”