Femmes Fatales Apr 10 2019
GOING AULIN
If she were a poker hand she would definitely be a straight flush


Above is a sweaty photo of Swedish actress Ewa Aulin, which immediately brings to mind the saunas they love up there in Nordic countries. In fact, just a few days ago in Sweden a cop was in a sauna, noticed a wanted fugitive having a steam nearby, and apprehended him while they were both naked. True story. We learned about saunas ourselves when we wandered through Finland, though in deference to us our Finnish acquaintances wore towels. But we digress. We were talking about Aulin. She made about fifteen films, the best known of which is probably the 1968 sex comedy Candy, a flop when it was released that has garnered a cult following in recent years. Apparently it's about a woman searching for the meaning of life. We haven't watched it but we may check it out at some point. If so, we'll report back. The great photo at top first appeared in Playmen magazine in 1973, and was part of a set that included the two shots below. And as you can see, when Aulin goes all-in she does it sans towel, in deference to nobody.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 23 2015
ARAYA LIGHT
No crown needed.

Actress Zeudi Araya was born in Asmara, Eritrea, was crowned Miss Eritrea in 1968, and used the recognition to launch a film career in Italy in 1973. She appeared in about a dozen movies, released a few records, posed for numerous magazines, including Playboy, and most recently shifted into movie production. This tasteful shot appeared in the Italian magazine Playmen and dates from 1976.

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Hollywoodland | Vintage Pulp Feb 7 2013
DRESS TO EXCESS
If there’s such a thing as the most amazing dress ever made, Carroll Baker wore it.


In the summer of 1964, promoting her movie The Carpetbaggers, American actress Carroll Baker attended a premiere at London’s Plaza Theatre in Piccadilly Circus wearing a $28,000.00 transparent dress from designer Pierre Balmain. She had worn it before at the U.S. premiere in June, which means Londoners had an inkling what they were going to see, but what resulted was, well, a circus. The crowd went nuts and the situation devolved into what some newspapers described as a near riot. The above National Examiner, published today in 1972, features Baker wearing what we noticed was a similar but not identical dress. We got curious where it came from, and so we went looking.

Turns out in late 1964 designer Oleg Cassini, entranced by the Balmain dress, designed a similar version for Baker to wear at a promotional event in Las Vegas. The difference is in the placement of the beading—Balmain’s left a v-shaped peek-a-boo, whereas Cassini’s left a diagonal opening across the chest. You can see the difference below. Cassini had built his version of the dress in Baker’s absence using a model of identical size, but it didn’t really fit because bodies have all sorts of differences, even if their crude numerical aspects are ostensibly the same. Baker endured eighteen precarious hours in a gown that was so tightshe couldn’t shake hands without it shifting to reveal parts she wanted to keep hidden. She later wore the dress—hopefully altered—at a premiere of Cheyenne Autumn, and a photo of her posing with a dozen costumed Native Americans survives today in the Associated Press archives.
 
But the dress wasn’t finished quite yet. The next year immortal costumer Edith Head designed yet another variation on Balmain’s original for Baker to wear promoting the film Harlow. We don’t know where the previous two gowns went, but the Head version, one of several she put together, survived and has appeared in Hollywood fashion exhibitions as recently as 2003. Baker also wore a Balmain (or Cassini or Edith Head copy) during a 1966 troop tour in Vietnam, and the only reason a full firefight didn’t break out among the GIs the moment she unveiled herself is probably because that version had no cut-outs (right).
 
Extreme publicity stunts were apparently not unusual for Baker. She considered herself a good actress, but felt that she couldn’t become a star in Hollywood without promoting herself as a sex symbol. “I’ve tried just acting,” she once said, “but sex sells at the box office.” As time wore on, she went from threatening to walk off the set of Station Six—Sahara due to the director pressuring her to appear nude to playing unclothed roles in The Sweet Body of Deborah, Così dolce... così perversa, and Paranoia, as well appearing nude in Playboy and Playmen. Nothing like a shrinking bank account to totally reshape one’s morals. In 1966 AP scribe Doris Klein wrote that Baker was “almost too pretty, too much like a slim teenager to play a sexpot.” But Baker became one of the biggest sexpots in the world. Looking at the 1964 Balmain, and the three to six versions that followed, we’d say it was inevitable.

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Femmes Fatales Dec 28 2009
NEAR AND FUR

Today, nudie mags seem to be the last refuge of women whose careers are failing, but back in the day such publications were instrumental in launching careers. This photo of Italian actress Anita Pallenberg appeared in the Italian nudie mag Playmen in 1965, two years before she scored her first film role. Other women who used Playmen as a stepping stone to stardom include Brigitte Bardot, Patty Pravo, Ornella Muti, and Barbara Bouchet. Pallenberg, in addition to acting, became a famous companion to Keith Richards and moved into fashion design, but fame was a turbulent ride. She dealt and consumed drugs, became involved in the occult, and was even acquitted of manslaughter charges in 1979. There's too much to tell in one small post. We'll revisit this interesting person at a later date.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 21
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
August 20
1940—Trotsky Iced in Mexico
In Mexico City exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe (not an ice pick) by Soviet agent Ramon Mercader. Trotsky dies the next day.
1968—Prague Spring Ends
200,000 Warsaw Pact troops backed by 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring political liberalization movement.
1986—Sherrill Goes Postal
In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States postal employee Patrick Sherrill shoots and kills fourteen of his co-workers and then commits suicide.
August 19
1953—Mohammed Mossadegh Overthrown in Iran
At the instigation of the CIA, Prime Minster of Iran Mohammed Mossadegh is overthrown and the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is installed as leader of the country.
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