Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife—unless he says it turns him on.
Here’s an interesting National Enquirer cover from today in 1966, with a scrunched Ursula Andress and a quote from her husband John Derek, who never actually had a problem sharing her, or for that matter any of his spouses—at least artistically. He shot and published nude series of second wife Andress, third wife Linda Evans, and fourth wife Bo Derek, and directed Derek in the softcore bomb Bolero, which contained a sex scene that had filmgoers asking at the time if maybe Bo and her partner went beyond mere acting. John Derek is actually worthy of a separate discussion sometime, so maybe we’ll get back to him. He was also eerily consistent—Andress, Evans and Derek are virtually clones of one another. See below.
She's a lover, not a fighter.
Above are the cover and several interior pages from Spain’s Triunfo, with Swiss actress Ursula Andress, who according to the magazine was the most beautiful woman in the world. Andress was starring opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in the French action adventure Les tribulations d’une Chinois in Chine, based on Jules Verne’s Tribulations of a Chinaman in China, and released in the U.S. as Up to His Ears. The article discusses among other things how Andress injured herself during the first week of the physically demanding shoot, and you can see a scab on her knee and calf, as well as a bandage on her thigh. While she perhaps didn’t have a gazelle’s grace, she did seem to possess a siren’s allure—her rumored affair with Belmondo supposedly ruined her marriage to John Derek, and this may not have been her first affair. However, it seems possible that the marriage failed for reasons other than fidelity, since John Derek did not seem to be a possessive husband (if his willingness to share his fourth wife Bo is any indication). Anyway, not be overlooked is Pamela Tiffin, who appears in the centerfold. We’ll have more on Tiffin later.
, Les tribulations d’une Chinois in Chine
, Up to His Ears
, Tribulations of a Chinaman in China
, Jules Verne
, Ursula Andress
, Jean-Paul Belmondo
, Pamela Tiffin
, John Derek
, Bo Derek
, sex symbol
Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Erotic fiction has always been a major subset of pulp literature, and for a while sex was likewise part of American cinema. Bo Derek personifies sexual nudity on film as much as any actress we can remember. She was originally presented to the world by her Svengali husband John Derek, who had also helped his second and third wives, Ursula Andress and Linda Evans, become stars. The difference was they could act. Bo couldn’t. But Bolero isn’t godawful because Bo acted in it—it’s godawful because John Derek wrote it. Yet for all its flaws, Bolero is a landmark because it’s one of the last full-blown, joyful, erotic American films. From this point forward, nudity in American cinema seemed to consist of either breast-flashing slapstick, or result in severely negative consequences. Cinema sex as an expression of simple joy still existed, but actual nudity was becoming more and more political. Was it AIDS that did this? Was it simply an overdue cultural shift? We can’t say. Fast forward to 2009 and we have American directors shooting clothed sex scenes, then explaining—as if every other director in town hadn't also shot a clothed sex scene—that not showing skin is much sexier than having actors parading around naked. We disagree, and the stills below prove our point, but we understand that times change. Bolero makes clear just how much. It was one of the worst films of that or any year, but it made sex a celebration. It premiered in the U.S. today in 1984.
, John Derek
, Bo Derek
, Ursula Andress
, Linda Evans
, sex symbol
, poster art
, movie review
Johnny Weissmuller brought Tarzan to life seventy-five years ago today.
This is one of the most beautiful posters we’ve ever seen. Based on the fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan the Ape Man was the first offering in a film and television franchise that has been sixty-plus years running. It has taken forms as diverse as Bo Derek’s teasingly awful 1981 softcore remake, Jock Mahoney’s 1962 potboiler Tarzan Goes to India, and Casper Van Diem’s 1998 career-killer Tarzan and the Lost City. None of these would have been possible without the original Tarzan, and that film worked for one reason—Romanian-born hunk Johnny Weissmuller. He was not an actor trying to fit the role of a superman, but a superman trying to fit the role of an actor. He was a six foot three inch Olympic swimmer who won 67 world and 52 national titles, and whose physicality radiated from the movie screen. Men wanted to be him, and women wanted to ride his vine. Tarzan the Ape Man premiered in the U.S. today in 1934.
, Tarzan the Ape Man
, Edgar Rice Burroughs
, Johnny Weissmuller
, Maureen O’Sullivan
, Neil Hamilton
, Bo Derek
, Casper Van Diem
, poster art
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1969—The Krays Are Found Guilty of Murder
In England, twins Ronald and Reginald Kray are found guilty of the murder of Jack McVitie. The Kray brothers had been notorious gangsters in London's East End, and for their crimes both were sentenced to life in prison, and both eventually died behind bars. Their story later inspired a 1990 motion picture entitled The Krays.
1975—Charlie Chaplin Is Knighted
British-born comic genius Charlie Chaplin, whose long and turbulent career in the U.S. had been brought to an abrupt end when he was branded a communist and denied a residence visa, is bestowed a knighthood at London's Buckingham Palace. Chaplin died two years later and even then peace eluded him, as his body was stolen from its grave for eleven weeks by men trying to extort money from the Chaplin family.
1959—Lou Costello Dies
American comedian Lou Costello, of the famous comedy team Abbott & Costello, dies of a heart attack at Doctors' Hospital in Beverly Hills, three days before his 53rd birthday. His career spanned radio and film, silent movies and talkies, vaudeville and cinema, and in his heyday he was, along with partner Abbott, one of the most beloved personalities in Hollywood.
1933—King Kong Opens
The first version of King Kong
, starring Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray, and with the giant ape Kong brought to life with stop-action photography, opens at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The film goes on to play worldwide to good reviews and huge crowds, and spawns numerous sequels and reworkings over the next eighty years.
1949—James Gallagher Completes Round-the-World Flight
Captain James Gallagher and a crew of fourteen land their B-50 Superfortress named Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, Texas, thus completing the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight. The entire trip from takeoff to touchdown took ninety-four hours and one minute.
1953—Oscars Are Shown on Television
The 26th Academy Awards are broadcast on television by NBC, the first time the awards have been shown on television. Audiences watch live as From Here to Eternity wins for Best Picture, and William Holden and Audrey Hepburn earn statues in the best acting categories for Stalag 17 and Roman Holiday.
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