Femmes Fatales Feb 7 2020
ZOE TROPES
There are no small parts. Only small casting agents.


Above is a lovely shot of British actress Zoe Hendry, who we last saw in 1975's erotic epic Butterfly, and whose other credits read like a cautionary tale of cinematic ambition smashed on the rocks of rent paying reality. She's played, in no particular order, “naked college girl,” in 1974's Confessions of a Window Cleaner, “native dancer,” in 1976's Queen Kong, “topless patient,” in 1978's What's Up Nurse!, and, “other girl,” in 1974's The Man Who Couldn't Get Enough. And who can forget 1976's infamous Nastassja Kinski vehicle To the Devil a Daughter, in which Hendry played “first girl”?

Yes, it's quite a résumé Hendry accumulated, but since she originally got her break on The Benny Hill Show—which made an industry of scantily clad women—her stalwart appearances in sexploitation films are no surprise. But she eventually outflanked one-track-minded movie casting agents by shifting back to television during the 1980s, where she got a chance to act more seriously. Probably got paid better too. Still, we're irresistibly drawn to titles like Queen Kong. Maybe we have one-track minds too, but we have to watch that, right? Right. We'll do the heavy lifting so you don't have to, then report back.

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Femmes Fatales Mar 10 2011
NASTASSJA BY NATURE
Don’t credit her—it’s all in the genes.

Above, German actress Nastassja Kinski, born Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski, whose legendary beauty was 50% spawned by a man some consider to be one of the creepiest-looking actors in cinema history. Is nature weird or what?

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Modern Pulp Apr 2 2009
CAT BAYOU
Nastassja Kinski was the original pussycat doll.

If you think this Cat People poster is beautiful to look at, you should see Paul Schrader’s très chic 1982 film. Unfortunately, even the atmospheric New Orleans setting and several sequences of Nastassja Kinski slinking around totalement nu failed to elevate the film to classic status. This is pretty much unforgivable in a remake, which this was. The best thing we can say for it is that, viewing it today, we realized—as we often do with these old films—how unlikely it is any modern American director and actress would take the chances Schrader and Kinski took here. So even if the film isn’t scary, or suspenseful, or even satisfactorily resolved, we give it high marks for boldness. Cat People opened in the U.S. twenty-seven years ago today.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 23
1935—Four Gangsters Gunned Down in New Jersey
In Newark, New Jersey, the organized crime figures Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman, and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz are fatally shot at the Palace Chophouse restaurant. Schultz, who was the target, lingers in the hospital for about a day before dying. The killings are committed by a group of professional gunmen known as Murder, Inc., and the event becomes known as the Chophouse Massacre.
1950—Al Jolson Dies
Vaudeville and screen performer Al Jolson dies of a heart attack in San Francisco after a trip to Korea to entertain troops causes lung problems. Jolson is best known for his film The Jazz Singer, and for his performances in blackface make-up, which were not considered offensive at the time, but have now come to be seen as a form of racial bigotry.
October 22
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
October 21
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
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