Femmes Fatales May 24 2015
HYER AND HYER
Martha Hyer gives us the long and the shorts of it.

We featured Martha Hyer as a femme fatale a few years ago, but these photos show a different side of her so we thought we’d bring her back. This is a pose she liked, apparently, and all the better that she looked great striking it. Both of these are from around 1955.

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Femmes Fatales May 9 2015
BEY WATCH
The only word that applies is re-marki-ble.

This promo photo of American actress Marki Bey was made for the urban gentrification drama The Landlord, a highbrow film that was her Hollywood debut, and doubtless her hope for launching an acclaimed mainstream film career. No such luck—today she’s remembered for the exceedingly lowbrow blaxploitation horrorfest Sugar Hill. But that particular movie is not the worst way a person can be remembered, because as time goes by its standing in the blaxploitation pantheon only grows. It’s often cited by modern critics as a top twenty example of the genre. We have to agree—it was very entertaining. The above photo dates from 1970.

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Femmes Fatales May 6 2015
IDENTITY THEFT
Everything about this photo is right—except who’s supposed to be in it.

Ah, the internet, that font of misinformation. The amazing photo above has made its way onto numerous web pages identified as Sharon Tate. It isn’t. Only wishful thinking could make this model—though beautiful—look even remotely like Sharon Tate. The photo actually shows West German sexploitation actress Gigi Darlene, née Heli Leonore Weinreich, who is known for the 1965 sexploitation flick Bad Girls Go To Hell, as well as Hot Nights on the Campus, Nudes on Tiger Reef, The Very Naked Canvas, et al. Tate has plenty of amazing photos of her own, so when we saw this misidentified in so many places we figured we’d stand up for poor Gigi. Another shot of her from a webpage dedicated to her appears at right, and you can see that the above woman and the one at right are the same. As far as Tate goes, we like this shot.

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Femmes Fatales May 1 2015
LUXURY CARRA
Dressed for eventual success.

Raffaella Carrà is famous enough today to be known in many countries as simply la Carrà, and in Latin America as merely Raffaella. The above photo shows her pre-superstardom, when she was an up-and-coming actress and singer in her native Italy. Back then she was big in sword & sandal epics, among them 1961’s Atlas Against the Cyclops, and 1962’s Ulysses Against Hercules and Caesar the Conqueror. The photo comes from a British magazine called King and it dates from 1968 

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Femmes Fatales Apr 29 2015
CAUSING A RACQUET
First to 21 wins, but since I’m wearing heels you spot me 20, okay?

Above, a nice shot of French dancer, singer and actress Liliane Montevecchi from 1955. Montevecchi was a bigger star on stage than screen, but acted in many films, including King Creole and Meet Me in Las Vegas. The photo is from 1955.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 20 2015
SWEEPING STATEMENT
It only takes one role to ensure you’ll never be forgotten.

Marcia McBroom’s film résumé is sparse—seven roles total, including in Willie Dynamite and the underrated The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings. She’ll likely never be forgotten, though, because she portrayed Petronella Danforth, one third of the beautiful girl group The Kelly Affair, later called The Carrie Nations, in the eternal camp classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. When we first saw the movie in college it helped make the distinction between bad and “bad” crystal clear. Today it remains a Friday night dorm room favorite and an indispensable gateway into the realm of bad-as-in-hilarious cinema. This photo dates from around 1970. 

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Femmes Fatales Apr 17 2015
CONSTANCE PRESENCE
Ah, I see it now. It rolled under the sofa.

First we had Danielle Darrieux showing her flexibility on a trapeze, followed shortly thereafter by Joey Heatherton attempting a more advanced contortion, now today American actress Constance Dowling—older sister of reliably awesome actress Doris Dowling—shows she needs no device at all to turn herself into a pretzel. Dowling got her start on Broadway and later appeared in films such as Black Angel, Stormbound, and the unforgettable sci-fi thriller Gog. This pose is called a backbend today, but when the photo was made in 1944, it was known as a backstand. In either case, it looks like a pretty useful position.
 
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Femmes Fatales Apr 14 2015
MODESTY MEANS
An itty bitty glimpse of Vitti is almost as good as the whole thing.

It’s not what you reveal, but how you do it. This shot showing about ten percent of actress Monica Vitti is one of the more provocative images we’ve seen of her. It comes from 1966 and was made when she was filming the adventure Modesty Blaise in Italy.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 12 2015
MILES AND MILES
Even visionary filmmakers sometimes don't see clearly.

Vera Miles is most famous as the actress who gets to survive Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. She worked with Hitchcock on many films, but had other worthy roles, including in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Wrong Man, and just about every television detective series of the 1970s. She claims she was never able to never please Hitchcock because she wasn’t sexy enough. This shot proves Alfred needed glasses. It’s circa 1955. 

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Femmes Fatales Mar 30 2015
MARY TO THE MOB
With husbands like these who needs enemies?

Mary Jo Tarola was born in Portland, Oregon in 1928 and by 1952 had established herself in Hollywood, first under the milquetoast moniker Linda Douglas, then under her own far more interesting name. Just two years into her career she married producer Pasquale “Pat” DiCicco. Not well known now, DiCicco was a bootlegger and pimp who became mafia boss Lucky Luciano’s lieutenant in Tinseltown. He was infamously abusive toward women—one dust-up with his first wife Thelma Todd led to her having an emergency appendectomy, and another with his second wife Gloria Vanderbilt involved him slamming her head into a wall. Tarola’s promising film career ended with her marriage to DiCicco, but at least she left behind a few choice artifacts like the above photo by photographer Ernest Bachrach. It dates from 1952 or 1953.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 25
1938—Alicante Is Bombed
During the Spanish Civil War, a squadron of Italian bombers sent by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to support the insurgent Spanish Nationalists, bombs the town of Alicante, killing more than three-hundred people. Although less remembered internationally than the infamous Nazi bombing of Guernica the previous year, the death toll in Alicante is similar, if not higher.
1977—Star Wars Opens
George Lucas's sci-fi epic Star Wars premiers in the Unites States to rave reviews and packed movie houses. Produced on a budget of $11 million, the film goes on to earn $460 million in the U.S. and $337 million overseas, while spawning a franchise that would eventually earn billions and make Lucas a Hollywood icon.
May 24
1930—Amy Johnson Flies from England to Australia
English aviatrix Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia. She had departed from Croydon on May 5 and flown 11,000 miles to complete the feat. Her storied career ends in January 1941 when, while flying a secret mission for Britain, she either bails out into the Thames estuary and drowns, or is mistakenly shot down by British fighter planes. The facts of her death remain clouded today.
May 23
1934—Bonnie and Clyde Are Shot To Death
Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression robbing banks, stores and gas stations, are ambushed and shot to death in Louisiana by a posse of six law officers. Officially, the autopsy report lists seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow and twenty-six on Parker, including several head shots on each. So numerous are the bullet holes that an undertaker claims to have difficulty embalming the bodies because they won't hold the embalming fluid.

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