Femmes Fatales Oct 16 2018
THE POWER OF LONDON
The city when it glowed.


This is a brilliant shot of U.S. singer/actress Julie London, an icon during her time who's been just a bit forgotten in this new millennium. She made something like forty movies, a body of work that gives you numerous options to choose from, but for our money we like her role as herself in the neglected Jayne Mansfield comedy The Girl Can't Help It. You can read a bit about the movie here, and more about London when we hopefully revisit her later.

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Femmes Fatales Oct 12 2018
TIP OF THE SPEAR
See the blood? I just killed Raquel Welch.


Which is the best prehistoric lost world adventure ever filmed? Is it One Million Years B.C. with Raquel Welch or When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth with Victoria Vetri? Don't get us wrong. Both are complete bullshit. Both show humans and dinosaurs living together, which never happened unless you're a fundamentalist who believes what you see in biblical museums. But apart from the scientific silliness of both movies, which is best? It's a question like Beatles versus Stones, California white versus Spanish red, or Kanye West versus Anderson Paak. It shows who you are. What you're made of. We're going with Vetri and Ruled the Earth, because the filming of Dinosaurs was basically a longform orgy and Vetri admits it. Also she shot her terrible husband in the chest, and we guess the only reason she used a gun was because her spear was in the other room. Total badass. This photo is from 1970.

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Femmes Fatales Oct 6 2018
BOLKANIC ACTIVITY
She looks serene but she's about to erupt.


These shots of Brazilian model and actress Florinda Bolkan, née Florinda Bulcão, were made in 1968 when she was appearing in her first film Candy. Bolkan would leverage that role into a movie career in Europe by headlining such films as Una lucertola con la pelle di donna, aka A Lizard in Woman's SkinIndagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto, aka Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, and Non si sevizia un paperino, which we just talked about. For a time Bolkan was one of the hottest properties on the continent, and in Italy she was a virtual Vesuvius, with performances ranging from giallo to comedy garnering her acclaim that led to several international awards. All from humble beginnings on this beach. Read a bit more about her movie roles here and here.

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Femmes Fatales Oct 2 2018
TOP JEFF
In Hollywood a good name is half the battle.


She had one of the most memorable monikers in Hollywood history. She appeared in more than sixty films, scores of television shows, and probably a couple of dozen television movies too, and all without very much in the way of serious studio push. She did have a contract with Columbia Pictures, but many of her appearances were uncredited. Nevertheless she worked steadily for forty years, which a lot of bigger stars can't say. She was born Jean Marie Donnell but she acted as Jeff Donnell—not a name you'd easily forget—and this photo shows her in 1942.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 29 2018
ORIGINAL SIMS
It's unorthodox for the beach, but in case you haven't noticed, I can wear anything and look good.


Above is a photo of U.S. model Naomi Sims, a pioneering figure in the world of fashion who achieved global recognition in the 1960s while still a teenager. She was the first black model to front publications as diverse as Life and Ladies' Home Journal. Hollywood of course came calling. She was offered the lead in Cleopatra Jones but turned it down because she saw it as racist. She had a point. Blaxploitation movies are culturally significant and most are fun, but they hinge on crime stereotypes. In a country where so many are willing to see the stereotypes as encompassing of an entire people the argument could be made that the films were harmful. Sims wasn't the first or last to say so. In any case, that was the end of her flirtation with Hollywood, but she went on to author books on health, beauty, and the modeling industry. This photo dates from 1971. 

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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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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 17
1933—Capone Sentenced to Prison
Chicago organized crime boss Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion after all other attempts to tie him to an assortment of crimes, from the mass murder of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre to widespread violations of the Volstead Act, fail. He is sentenced to eleven years in federal prison and, cut off from the outside world while on Alcatraz Island, his power is finally broken.
October 16
1964—China Detonates Nuke
At the Lop Nur test site located between the Taklamakan and Kuruktag deserts, the People's Republic of China detonates its first nuclear weapon, codenamed 596 after the month of June 1959, which is when the program was initiated.
1996—Handgun Ban in the UK
In response to a mass shooting in Dunblane, Scotland that kills 16 children, the British Conservative government announces a law to ban all handguns, with the exception .22 caliber target pistols. When Labor takes power several months later, they extend the ban to all handguns.
October 15
1945—Laval Executed
Pierre Laval, who was the premier of Vichy, France, which had collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, is shot by a firing squad for treason. In subsequent years it emerges that Laval may have considered himself a patriot whose goal was to publicly submit to the Germans while doing everything possible behind the scenes to thwart them. In at least one respect he may have succeeded: fifty percent of French Jews survived the war, whereas in other territories about ninety percent perished.
1966—Black Panthers Form
In the U.S., in Oakland, California, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale form the Black Panther political party. The Panthers are active in American politics throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but eventually legal troubles combined with a schism over the direction of the party lead to its dissolution.
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