Femmes Fatales Dec 17 2022
IRRESISTIBLE RHYTHM
Blaze Starr drums up interest in her dancing.


Actress, burlesque dancer, and famed consort Blaze Starr looks like a natural with this authentic animal hide djembe, and she'd surely be the center of the best drum circle of all time, but we suspect she rarely needed props to help her draw a crowd. She was one of the top performers of her era, taking her talents from the stage to cinema with the naturist paean Blaze Starr Goes Nudist, and later becoming infamous when her affair with a prominent U.S. governor became public. We talked about that episode a little here, if you don't already know her and are interested.

We tried to date this photo made by James Kriegsmann but it was tricky. Online claims are often incorrect, and we've replicated such errors a few times by trusting them, so our method these days is to be evidentiary about it and try to find the shots on or inside magazines. Most sources, including the respected Getty Images, date the photo to 1960 or 1962, but we found it inside a January 1957 issue of Modern Man. The photo could have been made earlier, even several years earlier, but we're calling it 1956 and we feel pretty confident about it.
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Femmes Fatales Dec 14 2022
A FINAL BOW
Well, you're right. I'm mainly angry at myself. But I'm going to take it out on you.


Pre-Code star Clara Bow looks mighty miffed in this promo shot made for her 1928 Paramount drama Ladies of the Mob, in which she plays the daughter of a lifelong criminal who falls in love with a crook and tries to reform him. Interesting trivia: because bullet squibs wouldn't be invented until around 1943, for shooting scenes studios often employed marksmen to fire real bullets near actors. Both Bow and her co-star Richard Arlen were injured by ricocheting fragments. Which brings us back to the photo. We like to imagine Bow facing Paramount head honcho Jesse Lasky and saying, “Don't worry, Jesse—I'm just going to shoot near you.”

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Femmes Fatales Dec 11 2022
YOUNG AS SHE FEELS
Moody, never really warm enough, thinking about shooting some dumb fucking guy—I'm a real woman alright.

This 1982 promo image of a gun toting Sean Young, a variation on one we shared a while back, comes from Blade Runner, one of the most awesome imaginative achievements in cinematic history. Young played a genetically superior flesh-and-blood replicant—sort of like a clone—who was anguished that she might not be a real woman. But let's go down a list. Genetically superior but not treated with due respect? Check. Trailed by a guy with issues who thinks he deserves on-demand access to her vagina? Check. Entire society telling her what she can and cannot be? Triple check. Young was real enough. Her main motivation was to reconcile her past and have hope for her future, and that overarching theme is exactly why Blade Runner is such a good movie. We've seen it, we'd guess, ten to twelve times, and we'll watch it again that often, at least. 

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Femmes Fatales Dec 7 2022
THE SWORD IN THE...
You're too late. I already pulled it out of the stone, and now I'm in charge of everything.


Edwige Fenech was born in Algeria when it was under French control, had Maltese and Italian parents, and became a film star in Italy, so theoretically she gets to rule all those lands, and possibly England too, since we figure she went there to do the sword pulling. Her first decree as wielder of Excalibur? Better titles for her movies. The photo, which is a colorization of a black and white original, was made for 1969's Alle Kätzchen naschen gern, known in English as All Kitties Go for Sweeties, or alternatively The Blonde and the Black Pussycat. All three of those are terrible names for a film. It was later titled in English The Sweet Pussycats, which is a little better. Obviously, it's a comedy, and if you were to guess it's too stupid to be funny you'd be right. However, anything with Fenech is worth a little something.
 
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Femmes Fatales Dec 3 2022
FIREPOWER WITH FIREPOWER
Something about being overwhelmingly armed always puts me in a great mood.

Above: Peggie Castle has a laugh in a promo image made for her 1956 western titled—unsurprisingly—Two-Gun Lady. She plays a woman who teaches herself how to be a marksman and trick-shot artist in order to avenge the murders of her parents. We don't share many western images (though we should, since westerns were a major part of the pulp market), but Castle's winning smile in this one caught our eye. 

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Femmes Fatales Nov 28 2022
RETRO VISION
If only you could see the world the way I see it.


Above: an amazing shot of Austrian actress Marisa Mell made while she was filming the Italian drama Una sull’atra, aka Perversion Story in 1969.

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Femmes Fatales Nov 23 2022
CLOAKED IN MYSTERY
She's always been considered a very capable woman.

What's the difference between a cloak and a cape? Is it that capes are short and cloaks are long? Is it that cloaks always have hoods? Those distinctions don't stand in the way of companies looking to sell the things. We found many capes with hoods in online stores that were called “hooded capes,” and we found many long garments we thought would be called cloaks but which were categorized as “long capes.” Well, whatever you call it, Rosalind Russell makes good use of it in this shot made for her 1936 drama Trouble for Two.

Russell was one of the great actresses, winning, amazingly, every Golden Globe Award for which she was nominated—five. Conversely, she was nominated for four Academy Awards and got shut out. Such is life. But she received a special Oscar in 1978 for her humanitarian work. She specialized in comedies such as the 1940 smash hit His Girl Friday, but she also starred in several notable dramas. The most interesting for our purposes is probably the 1948 murder tale The Velvet Touch. We plan to check that out and report back. 

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Femmes Fatales Nov 18 2022
MURDER MOST REGRETTABLE
It's not that I want to do it. It's that I have to do it.

Above is a photo of American actress Nancy Coleman made for her 1947 thriller Violence. She starred in the film with Michael O'Shea, but it was her vehicle all the way, as she plays a reporter out to expose a fascist group called United Defenders that uses populist and militaristic propaganda to fill its ranks with veterans. Coleman had a pretty nice career, appearing in such films as Dangerously They Live, Edge of Darkness, and Mourning Becomes Electra before making the usual transition into television roles. We'll probably revisit the subject of Violence, so you may see Coleman here later. 

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Femmes Fatales Nov 13 2022
KAFTAN MARVEL
You wouldn't believe the mischief I get up to inside this thing.


This wonderful 1973 promo image of U.S. actress Gloria Hendry demonstrates the adage “less is more,” as in less skin. We've shown you shots of her in a bikini, with her six-pack abs and muscled arms, but this voluminous kaftan does something special for her. It's like she's hiding a secret. We'll have more of Hendry later. 

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Femmes Fatales Nov 9 2022
ISO METRICS
100 pounds of trigger pull weight.


Above is reedy Iso Yban, here pictured with a toy machine gun and not much else. Her various bios say she was born in Essen, Germany, but moved to Paris, where she became a dancer at Le Crazy Horse, and as a model posed under the aforementioned name, as well as Yso Iban, Isi Yban, Marlène Funch, Christina Madison, Belinda, et al. This bold shot was made by French lensman Serge Jacques and it dates from the late 1960s. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
January 27
1967—Apollo Fire Kills Three Astronauts
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although the ignition source of the fire is never conclusively identified, the astronauts' deaths are attributed to a wide range of design hazards in the early Apollo command module, including the use of a high-pressure 100 percent-oxygen atmosphere for the test, wiring and plumbing flaws, flammable materials in the cockpit, an inward-opening hatch, and the flight suits worn by the astronauts.
January 26
1924—St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad
St. Peterburg, the Russian city founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and which was capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years, is renamed Leningrad three days after the death of Vladimir Lenin. The city had already been renamed Petrograd in 1914. It was finally given back its original name St. Petersburg in 1991.
1966—Beaumont Children Disappear
In Australia, siblings Jane Nartare Beaumont, Arnna Kathleen Beaumont, and Grant Ellis Beaumont, aged 9, 7, and 4, disappear from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, and are never seen again. Witnesses claim to have spotted them in the company of a tall, blonde man, but over the years, after interviewing many potential suspects, police are unable generate enough solid leads to result in an arrest. The disappearances remain Australia's most infamous cold case.
January 25
1949—First Emmy Awards Are Presented
At the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, California, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents the first Emmy Awards. The name Emmy was chosen as a feminization of "immy", a nickname used for the image orthicon tubes that were common in early television cameras.
1971—Manson Family Found Guilty
Charles Manson and three female members of his "family" are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, which Manson orchestrated in hopes of bringing about Helter Skelter, an apocalyptic war he believed would arise between blacks and whites.
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