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The golden age: Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Liz Taylor in vintage Cannes pictures

Imagine a world where Jayne Mansfield paddled casually around in swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and Orson Welles and Jean-Paul Sartre shared philosophical tips in the hotel lobby. Where Gina Lollobrigida posed cheekily with a group of sailors and Brigitte Bardot hung out on the beach, while Sophia Loren and Zsa Zsa Gabor took turns on the deckchairs.

This is Cannes Film Festival as it used to be, back in its super-elegant heyday. In the early days, Cannes wasn't so much about film promotion as a celebration of the movie industry in general. In a time before cellulite-spotting paparazzi snaps, even big-name stars were far more relaxed and many posed happily for photographers on the beach, by the pool and in their hotel rooms.

The resulting snaps offer a fascinating insight into the golden age of cinema, with some of the most iconic silver screen actresses candidly schmoozing the camera. Come delve into the glamour and joie de vivre of Cannes in the 1940s and 50s:

Photos: Rex Features

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