Femmes Fatales Aug 29 2021
PROSPECTING FOR GOLD
I have to dig around in this dank cavern under Twentieth Century Fox to find good scripts, but I always manage.


The golden age film studios didn't take kindly to actresses who wanted input into their own careers. U.S. star Jean Peters, who you see above in 1954, had pretty firm opinions about the types of roles she wanted to play. These led to her withdrawing from her planned debut in I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now, being suspended by Twentieth Century Fox for refusing to appear in Sand, and later Yellow Sky, being replaced in Mr. Belvedere Goes to College, being suspended again for refusing The View from Pompey's Head, and refusing to play sexy roles of any type after her turn as a vixen in the film noir Pickup on South Street.

Yes, Peters was particular, but her hits were notable. Pickup on South Street was spectacular, Forever Amber was a star making turn, and Three Coins in the Fountain was a major success. In 1957 she married Howard Hughes and didn't act again until after divorcing him in the early 1970s. Correlation is not causation, or something like that, but it's too bad she lost those years because she chose to wed a kook. She had a good career by any measure, though. She may have hated playing sexpots but we think she was at her best as the smoldering Candy from Pickup on South Street. Watch it and see if you don't agree.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 28 2021
SHIRT TALE
All will be revealed in the end.


In complete contrast to the above photo of a couple of dead guys, here's something life affirming—a photo of Japanese actress Masumi Jun in nothing but a shirt. It was made for her 1974 roman porno movie Gendai shöfu-kö: no shita no uzuki, aka Modern Prostitution: Lust Under a Uniform, and now we see a bit of what's under the uniform. This is the same image as on the cover of the DVD release, but without text and other distractions. The original poster also features Jun in nothing but a shirt. You can see that here.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 25 2021
SAINT OF STRIPTEASE
She was a higher being in the church of burlesque.


Is this Lili St. Cyr's most beautiful photo? Maybe, but why choose? They're all great, such as the ones we showed you here, here, and here. This shot is usually tagged with a date of 1956, but it's actually from no later than 1952. St. Cyr certainly could have worn this eye catching bustier for multiple photo sessions, but if you look at the cover of the true crime magazine Uncensored Detective below, you'll notice that she looks identical all the way down to the cowlick on her forehead and the curls above her ear. Her eye makeup is a little different, but that could have happened mid-shoot. The minutely identical hair leaves no doubt that both images are from the same session. The magazine is from May 1952, so we'll go with 1952 on the shot. But really, she's timeless.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 21 2021
NEEDLE ON THE RECORD
Getting a vaccination can really be a Hasso.


Above is a photo of Swedish actress Signe Hasso from her 1945 spy thriller The House on 92nd Street. We think that if the COVID shot givers looked like Hasso there'd be very few holdouts. But the shot she gives, sadly, is not of the helpful variety—though it was probably easier to administer than convincing some Americans to get their jabs. First the guy's smacked out of his chair, then kicked across the room until he's insensate.

Hasso was born Signe Larsson in Stockholm, was acting in Swedish films by age eighteen, made the leap to Hollywood seven years later, and from that point added many highlights to a career that would turn out to be long and distinguished. Among her notables: Heaven Can Wait, Johnny Angel, and A Double Life, as well as television roles on shows such as The Green Hornet, Magnum P.I., and The Fall Guy.

For the record, we think skepticism against government is healthy. Hell, in a couple of the countries we've lived it's a survival trait. But believing that tens of thousands of scientists are aligning with governments to betray the global population for nebulous goals of control is an outlandish fantasy. Healthy skeptics can be convinced with evidence; unhealthy skeptics can never be convinced, and that's a psychological disorder.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 17 2021
BECOMING ZABOU
From chieftain's daughter to chief attraction.


We're back to burlesque today with a photo of the famed Crazy Horse dancer who went by the name of Miss Zabou. Born and raised in Mali, she was the daughter of a village chieftain, and at sixteen became a member of Mali's le Troupe de Ballet. After a few years she went to Dakar, Senegal for more prosaic work as a hairdresser, and from there moved on to Paris to do the same. Upon visiting Crazy Horse she became interested once more in dance, which we imagine says a lot about either how thrilling Crazy Horse extravaganzas were, or how much more money Parisian burlesqueteers made than Malian ballerinas. In any case, she jettisoned hairdressing, and the beautiful Zabou and her radiant smile became the talk of Paris. We have one more photo of her we may post a little later.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 12 2021
ROMAN RUINS
Who does she ruin? Anyone who gets in her way.


Letícia Román was born in Rome as Letizia Novarese, but launched her film career in the most American way imaginable—in an Elvis Presley movie. That was G.I.Blues, which she followed with such films as La ragazza che sapeva troppo, aka The Evil Eye, Russ Meyer's Fanny Hill, and The Spy in the Green Hat. Román never became a big star, but we think this photo is major. It was made as a promo for the 1966 movie Comando de asesinos.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 5 2021
PROMOTIONAL ART
These mystical lion statues are supposed to bring good luck and fortune. I'm making this one my agent.


This elegant photo of June Duprez with a Chinese guardian lion was made when she was filming the drama Calcutta. According to tradition these lions ward off malign influences, and no wonder she's hanging onto it. She was born in England during World War I on a night when Germans were bombing her town. She survived and went on to make a mark in Hollywood, appearing in films like The Thief of Baghdad and Little Tokyo, U.S.A., but due to various factors her career stalled, and she found herself broke and cut off from family money back home due to the chaos of World War II. She made it through this second unstable period—no info on whether the lion helped—but her film career never recovered. Even so, we find her to be an impressive screen presence. We've heard that her best movie may be the 1945 mystery And Then There Were None, so we're going to check that out. This photo is from 1946.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 31 2021
RAW HISHIMI
Yuriko gets fresh in her bestselling photo book.


We could have gone several directions in posting a photo of Japanese actress Yuriko Hishimi, who appeared in such films as Kôshoku: Genroku (maruhi) monogatari, aka Diary of a Nymphomaniac, and Chikyû kogeki meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan, aka Godzilla vs. Gigan. We have shots of her in swimsuits, in flannels, in motorcycle leathers, in auto racing gear, in a nurse's outfit, and more. But underneath all those, there's this. Even then there are many choices because she has entire books of nudes. Well, one third of one book, and all of two others. One of her solo efforts, a big seller, was called Yuriko 1967-73, and this is one of the images from inside.

Japanese actresses posed nude often, which is why we have so many of the shots on our website. They were made, on average, fifty years ago. Today, in our current era, photos of nudes cause debate. Are they artful, or are they exploitation? If they differ from a nude Rodin or Modigliani, is it because of their realism? Is it because of their easy replicability? Or their existence outside a museum setting? Then what of a shocking museum Mapplethorpe or Schiele with the subject's exposed genitals? Perhaps nudes are exploitative only when distributed for profit. But if profit condemns a nude, then what of the profits of galleries and museums? Are nudes exploitative because of their tendency to arouse? Then what of Rodin's famed “Le Baiser”? Since our species owes its very existence to the drive for sex, if nudes arouse, isn't that a celebration of our ultimate purpose on this planet?

These are questions that interest us, which we attempt to ask with each nude image. Opinions differ, but for our part we don't believe there's anything inherently exploitative about the nude form, though clearly the production of such images can lead to that. But we don't live in an all-things-are-equal world, which is to say, for some it's easier to categorize and condemn all of something than try to understand which things might actually be in one category and which might be in another. We believe some nudes are exploitative (such as revenge porn), but not all. The photo above is a Rodin with a knowing look. It's erotic, playful, and a little shy. It's pure art. Which is why we have a similar bonus shot below, and more from Hishimi here.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 29 2021
CHILI RECIPE
How do you get famous in Hollywood? Start with good usage of punctuation.


Chili Williams née Marian Sorenson, seen in a nice shot above, was a U.S. model who appeared in a 1943 issue of Life magazine in a dotted bikini, received 100,000 pieces of fan mail, and became known as the Polka-Dot Girl. Subsequently she was almost always photographed in dots. She might as well have had a permanent case of measles, so dominated her life was by dots, but thanks to them she was discovered by Hollywood. Her cinema career didn't quite take off, though, so she next posed covered with commas, indicating that she wasn't done yet. And when that failed she posed covered with ampersands, which she felt was a bolder way of saying she wasn't done yet. And finally, having hit rock bottom, she posed with money signs in a clear cry for help. Later she was arrested for breaking and entering. Only one of the four previous sentences is true. Can you guess which one? Anyway, by the mid-1950s Chili was out of Hollywood, but many excellent photos like the two here survive.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 27 2021
AND HER LITTLE DOG TOO
I'm off to see my hair stylist, then I'm headed to the pet groomer. Conveniently, they're the same person.


Bet you didn't notice the dog at first, but there he is, such a happy boy, clutched to the bosom of French actress France Anglade. The beautiful mademoiselle Anglade was born in 1942 in Constantine, France, and if you can't quite place that town, that's because today it's in Algeria. See, the French thought of Algeria as just a southerly department of France, which must have made the locals who'd had their land taken over feel a little better about it. Anglade briefly took over French cinema, appearing in an amazing seventeen films from 1962 to 1964. She continued acting until 1994, and when all was said and done had starred in efforts such as Le plus vieux métier du monde, aka The Oldest Profession, 24 Hours To Kill, and Les bricoleurs, aka Who Stole the Body? This amazing photo first appeared in Cinémonde magazine in 1967.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
October 19
1989—Guildford Four Exonerated
The men known as the Guildford Four, who were imprisoned for a series of bombs attacks on British pubs that left five dead and 100 injured, are decreed not guilty after an investigation reveals that police colluded in doctoring statements that appeared to incriminate the defendants.
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