Femmes Fatales Sep 24 2018
A FINE SADNESS
If you look close it's easy to trace the tracks of her tears.


This unusual photo stars half Japanese half Irish actress and singer Rumi Koyama, who's shedding a tear for reasons we can't discern, though possibly because she can't sing like Smoky Robinson. But even if she never wrote anything as iconic as “Tracks of My Tears,” she's a very successful singer with numerous hit albums to her credit. But we're more interested in her cinematic output. That consists of ten motion pictures, among them Yoru no nettaigyo, aka BGS of Ginza, and Zoku onna no keisatsu, aka Women's Police 2. We may check out her film work. Anything to stop her crying. The photo came from a November 1968 issue of Punch Deluxe.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 21 2018
SHARPE SHOOTER
Only my friends get to call me Corny. And you're not a friend.


This United Artists promo photo was made for the political thriller The Next Man and it shows U.S. actress Cornelia Sharpe, who was actually never known as Corny, at least not professionally. She had a minor career dotted with a few notable movies, including Serpico and The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. The Next Man was not one of those notable films, but it did star Sean Connery and was directed by Richard C. Sarafian, who helmed the counterculture classic Vanishing Point. This image dates from 1976.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 19 2018
SMOKIN' CHIBA
Time lapse at the local bar: 11pm to closing time.


You could try this attention getting move next time you go out to your favorite watering hole, but we don't recommend it for amateurs. Japanese actress Chiba Kobayashi was a pro. In fact, she was a porn actress, one of Japan's early AV stars. It's difficult to unearth more online about her beyond what we just shared, because though her pseudonym is unusual, its two components are among the most common names in Japan. The mystery just adds to her allure. These photos are from 1972.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 14 2018
KEEPING THE FAITH
In L.A. you need all the help you can get staying afloat.


Hollywood can be so rough you sometimes need a life preserver even on dry land, which we assume is why model, vaudeville performer, and film actress Leila Hyams has a firm grip on one in this Warner Brothers promo image. She appeared in more than fifty films in a dozen years during a very successful career, including 1932's Island of Lost Souls, so the floatation device seems to have worked.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 9 2018
ARMED AND POISONOUS
She's here to drain the swamp and it's a promise she'll actually keep.


U.S. actress Jan Mackenzie outdoes our usual gun toting femmes fatales by being lethally armed with a gun and a snake. Bet you didn't even notice the snake, what with her outfit and incredible nimbus of sun limned hair, but it's there in her left hand. Mackenzie is famous mainly for starring in a historically terrible sexploitation sequel called Gatorbait II: Cajun Justice, about a woman pushed to murder by a bunch of Louisiana swamp lowlifes. From her point of view only two good things came out of that movie: she acted with her future husband Ben Sebastian; and she took his last name, thus distancing herself from a career damaging disaster. But from our point of view any movie that produced the above photo can't be all bad. It's from 1988.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 6 2018
CHANEL NO. 1
Ascent of a woman.


French actress Hélène Chanel was born Hélène Stoliaroff, and since the fragrance Chanel No. 5 predates her birth we guessed she deliberately borrowed the name for her pseudonym. How's that for some crack detective work? We're more than just pretty faces around here. But we may have been wrong. The story goes that she actually chose “Chancel” for her last name, but her agent—ahem—misspelled it “Chanel.” In any case, Hélène Chanel is how she went through the rest of her career, as she starred in numerous films, including Killer calibro 32, Cjamango, and Asso di picche: Operazione controspionaggio, aka Operation Counterspy. And she's also this person's sister, which would make her Chanel No. 2 as far as we're concerned, except for the fact that her sis chose a different pseudonym. We'll let them sort out the pecking order at the next family get together.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 2 2018
BOUCHET'S BOUDOIR
Without her it's just a gaudy mauve bedroom.


Above, a really lovely shot of Barbara Bouchet, considered one of the great beauties of her era, chilling in a hotel room. She was born today in 1943 in the Sudetenland, then part of Germany, today part of the Czech Republic. We've featured her before and all those posts are worth a look, here, here, and here.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 29 2018
FULL POWELL
Enough wattage to light all of Hollywood.


This promo image features U.S. actress Jane Powell, née Suzanne Burce, who started in show business as a child, as an adult appeared in films such as Holiday in Mexico, Rich Young and Pretty, and The Girl Most Likely, and eventually was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Powell played mostly wholesome good girls, which is why this striking shot of her in a skirt way too short for the period is such an interesting rarity. It was made in 1954.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 27 2018
EKBERGIAN PROPORTIONS
She was one of the seven wonders of the natural world.


The Grand Canyon? Forget it. Mount Everest? Overrated. When it comes to natural wonders nothing beat Anita Ekberg, who you see here looking impressively statuesque in two killer shots used by Movieland magazine for a supplement called “Pin-Ups.” These were published in 1955, but they're timeless. 

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Femmes Fatales Aug 22 2018
SAY GOODNIGHT
I've got a handful of sleeping pills for you.


Since we brought up The Big Sleep we might as well share this nice image of Martha Vickers armed and dangerous. Though this was made for the film, it isn't a still frame, but rather a promo image unrelated to the action. She actually does brandish a gun at one point, but it's a 1930s Iver Johnson revolver rather than the automatic you see here. We've shared several other images of Vickers, all rare, all beautiful. See the top three here, here, and here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 21
1959—Max Baer Dies
Former heavyweight boxing champ Max Baer dies of a heart attack in Hollywood, California. Baer had a turbulent career. He lost to Joe Louis in 1935, but two years earlier, in his prime, he defeated German champ and Nazi hero Max Schmeling while wearing a Star of David on his trunks. The victory was his legacy, making him a symbol to Jews, and also to all who hated Nazis.
November 20
1945—Nuremberg Trials Begin
In Nuremberg, Germany, in the Palace of Justice, the trials of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany begin. Among the men tried were Martin Bormann (in absentia), Hermann Göring, Rudolph Hess, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner.
1984—SETI Institute Founded
The SETI Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, the discovery of extrasolar planets, and the habitability of the galaxy, is founded in California by Thomas Pierson and Dr. Jill Tarter.
November 19
1916—Goldwyn Pictures Formed
In the U.S.A., Samuel Goldfish and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures, which becomes one of the most successful independent film studios in Hollywood. Goldfish also takes the opportunity to legally change his last name to Goldwyn.
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