Femmes Fatales Jul 31 2015
DRINKING TO FORGET
These? These are all for me.

Elli Parvo was also known as Elly Parvo and Elly Pardo, but was born in Milan as Elvira Gobbo. In Italian, “gobbo” would most likely be pronounced with a long “o,” like “hobo,” but most English speakers would pronounce it sonically close to “garbo.” That word—garbo—brings up good associations because of the actress Greta Garbo, and as a bonus it’s actually a Spanish word that means “grace” or “elegance.” So that got us pondering how gobbo sounds so bad to our brains, while garbo sounds so good, though they’re nearly identical words. This in turn got us to thinking gobbo might actually mean something lovely in Italian, and if we learned its translation we’d have a new association for the word, and in the same way garbo must have sounded weird to English speakers until it became associated with a beautiful actress, gobbo could be transformed from sounding like something you dredge up from your lungs, similar to an Affleck or a Ruffalo, to something beautiful. So we plugged the word into the translator and you know what it came up with? “Hunchback.” Really. So, from humble beginnings, Elvira Gobbo made the smartest move of her life by changing her name and, as Elli Parvo, became one of the biggest stars and most desired sex symbols of Italian cinema, appearing in fifty films between 1934 and 1960. The above shot is from 1947’s I fratelli Karamazoff, and she’s hoping to down enough shots to black out any recollection of being a member of the hunchback family. 

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Femmes Fatales Jul 29 2015
PRETTY SLICK
She’s a slippery little devil.

Oiling up like this under a hot sun is terrible for the skin but great for the camera. If you shield your eyes from the glare you’ll see model and actress Mayumi Horikawa seeming to show so much but really showing very little. Horikawa has released numerous albums and singles, one of which was called “Sunny Side.” Indeed. We’re thinking around 1980 on the photo. 

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Femmes Fatales Jul 16 2015
UNCANI DANI
She’s always poking around.


French actress/singer Danièle Graule, better known as Dani, appeared in about twenty movies beginning in 1964, including Un officier de police sans importance, aka A Police Officer without Importance, and La fille d'en face, aka The Girl Across the Way, and was last seen onscreen as recently as 2012. We’ve turned this watery image of her vertically because a horizontal orientation would make it too small to truly appreciate. You know the drill—drag, drop, and rotate for a better view. The shot is from the French magazine Lui and is from 1975. 

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Femmes Fatales Jul 11 2015
DEXTERITY AND POISE
Am I cold? No. The top is of this suit is so much worse than the bottom I’ve decided to spend the day in this position.


Born in Pakistan in 1940, Rosemarie Dexter, aka Rosemary Dexter, established an acting career mainly in Italy and appeared in about forty films between 1963 and 1976, including Casanova 70, For a Few Dollars More, and El desperado. This shot of her in an unusual ruffled swimsuit is from the late 1960s. 

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Femmes Fatales Jul 8 2015
THE FRONT
Dougan reminds the world there’s more than one side to her.


This photo shows American actress Vikki Dougan, the woman who was known as “The Back.” We talked about her before, how she emphasized her back with low-cut dresses that, frankly, raise the question of why she wasn’t actually known as “The Crack.” Numerous Dougan photos show her from the rear, looking over her shoulder at the camera. This image shows that she looked equally good from the other side. It dates from 1957.

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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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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 03
1966—Lenny Bruce Found Dead
American comedian Lenny Bruce is found dead in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home. A photo taken at the scene shows him lying naked on the floor with a syringe nearby, along with other narcotics paraphernalia. The official cause of death is listed as acute morphine poisoning due to an accidental overdose.
August 02
1921—Black Sox Acquitted
After a trial lasting fourteen days, a jury finds eight Chicago White Sox baseball players not guilty of conspiring with a national gambling syndicate to throw the 1920 World Series. Despite the acquittal, newly appointed baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis expels all eight players from major league baseball in an attempt to assure the American public of the purity of the game.
August 01
1966—Whitman Massacre in Texas
Charles Joseph Whitman, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, kills 14 people and wounds 32 during a shooting rampage on and around the university's campus. Ten are killed from the 28th floor observation deck of the University's administrative building. Whitman had already murdered his wife and mother in their homes.

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