Femmes Fatales Jul 4 2015
BLONDE BOMBSHELL
Caution: emits flames, sparks, and blinding light.

Above, the incomparable Marilyn Monroe in two promos made for U.S. Independence Day. Many actresses posed for similar July 4th shots, but these are two of the nicer ones. And she's wearing those Lucite platform heels again. Man, she absolutely lived in those. See here and here. Monroe made these photos in 1953 when she was filming How To Marry a Millionaire, the hit comedy in which she and two pals move into a fancy hotel and use it to attract rich suitors. Guess who played one of the other gold diggers and was actually top-billed in the film? Betty Grable. Why is that curious? Well, let’s just say Hollywood’s difficulty coming up with new ideas is not a new problem. See the next post. 

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Femmes Fatales Jul 3 2015
SPAAK EASY
Effortless, for summer.


We featured French actress Catherine Spaak as a femme fatale a couple of years ago but recently came across the above photo of her and decided on a return engagement. Why? Because this outfit is killer. We love it. We want to see our girlfriends in it. Hell, we want to see every girl in it. We’d even wear it—and make it look better than you can possibly imagine. Oh yeah. 1966 on the shot.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 28 2015
EPIC GWEN
She’s like an onion—every layer you peel gets you closer to the tender parts.

American actress Gwen Verdon was born in Culver City, California. That’s a little like being born in Hollywood—Culver City was home to Triangle Studios, The Culver Studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and other production houses, and it remains home to Sony Pictures Entertainment. Verdon entered the studio system at age eleven and eventually appeared in such films as Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, The Blonde from Brooklyn, and Damn Yankees! This photo is a promo from the latter film, and dates from 1958. 

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Femmes Fatales Jun 25 2015
BURKE LURKS
A face from the darkness.

We already did a little thing on Kathleen Burke in March, but then we found this photo and decided she needed to reappear. It’s a promo for her movie Island of Lost Souls and it dates from 1932.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 16 2015
A BIT OF A STRETCH
I call this move “the giraffe.” Nice, right?

Judging by all available evidence, burlesque dancer Miriam Kartis spent her entire life in this position. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but she must have really liked it at least, because look—there she is below striking a similar pose. She’s one of the thousands of burlesque dancers who don’t have an online presence today, so we can’t tell you anything about her except that most of her surviving photos were shot by famed Austrian lensman James Kriegsmann. We’re guessing around 1960 on these. 

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Femmes Fatales Jun 7 2015
SOTHERN CHARM
Invitation to a dark place.

Above, American actress Ann Sothern, who first appeared onscreen in 1927 and last in 1987, along the way starring in Fast and Furious, The Blue Gardenia, the comedy Maisie and its eight sequels, and dozens of other films, as wells as Broadway plays and television shows. This amazing shot, with Sothern’s luminous, somewhat expectant eyes peering out from shadow, is from 1934. 

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Femmes Fatales May 29 2015
ARCHITECTURALLY SOUND
Building a better future through movies.

María Baxa was born in 1946 in Belgrade, which in today’s deconstructed Yugoslavia makes her Serbian. She appeared in a few Serbian-language films, then ascended into Italian cinema, appearing in productions such as Il commissario Verrazzano with Janet Agren and Patrizia Gori, and Incontri molto... ravvicinati del quarto tipo, aka Very Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind. According to Michele Giordano’s 2000 retrospective La commedia erotica Italiana: vent’anni di cinema sexy, Baxa left the movies in the late 1980s and became an architect. This shot is from 1970.

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Femmes Fatales May 24 2015
HYER AND HYER
Martha Hyer gives us the long and the shorts of it.

We featured Martha Hyer as a femme fatale a few years ago, but these photos show a different side of her so we thought we’d bring her back. This is a pose she liked, apparently, and all the better that she looked great striking it. Both of these are from around 1955.

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Femmes Fatales May 9 2015
BEY WATCH
The only word that applies is re-marki-ble.

This promo photo of American actress Marki Bey was made for the urban gentrification drama The Landlord, a highbrow film that was her Hollywood debut, and doubtless her hope for launching an acclaimed mainstream film career. No such luck—today she’s remembered for the exceedingly lowbrow blaxploitation horrorfest Sugar Hill. But that particular movie is not the worst way a person can be remembered, because as time goes by its standing in the blaxploitation pantheon only grows. It’s often cited by modern critics as a top twenty example of the genre. We have to agree—it was very entertaining. The above photo dates from 1970.

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Femmes Fatales May 6 2015
IDENTITY THEFT
Everything about this photo is right—except who’s supposed to be in it.

Ah, the internet, that font of misinformation. The amazing photo above has made its way onto numerous web pages identified as Sharon Tate. It isn’t. Only wishful thinking could make this model—though beautiful—look even remotely like Sharon Tate. The photo actually shows West German sexploitation actress Gigi Darlene, née Heli Leonore Weinreich, who is known for the 1965 sexploitation flick Bad Girls Go To Hell, as well as Hot Nights on the Campus, Nudes on Tiger Reef, The Very Naked Canvas, et al. Tate has plenty of amazing photos of her own, so when we saw this misidentified in so many places we figured we’d stand up for poor Gigi. Another shot of her from a webpage dedicated to her appears at right, and you can see that the above woman and the one at right are the same. As far as Tate goes, we like this shot.

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The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 06
1962—William Faulkner Dies
American author William Faulkner, who wrote acclaimed novels such as Intruder in the Dust and The Sound and the Fury, dies of a heart attack in Wright's Sanitorium in Byhalia, Mississippi.
July 05
1942—Spy Novelist Graduates from Spy School
Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, graduates from Camp X, a training school for spies located in Canada. The character of Bond has been said to have been based upon Camp X's Sir William Stephenson and what Fleming learned from him, though there are several other men who are also said to be the basis for Bond.
1989—Oliver North Avoids Prison
Colonel Oliver North, an aide to U.S. president Ronald Reagan, avoids jail during the sentencing phase of the Iran-Contra trials. North had been found guilty of falsifying and destroying documents, and obstructing Congress during their investigation of the massive drugs/arms/cash racket orchestrated by high-ranking members of the Reagan government.
July 04
1927—La Lollo Is Born
Gina Lollobrigida is born in Subiaco, Italy, and eventually becomes one of the world's most famous and desired actresses. Later she becomes a photojournalist, numbering among her subjects Salvador Dali, Paul Newman and Fidel Castro.

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