Femmes Fatales Jul 23 2023
UP A CROOKED STAIR
Oh, don't be such a chicken. I'm a nice girl, I promise. Now get that sweet ass of yours up there.


Ukrainian actress Anna Sten looks so femme fatale in this promo image made for her 1934 movie Nana that you could easily think it's satirical. In fact, she reminds us of the unknown model from Whitey Schafer's famous polemical image “Thou Shalt Not.” Maybe the photo even influenced Schafer a little, considering it predates his by six years. You never know about stuff like that. In any case, Sten may look shady but bad girls need love too. See a little more of her here and here.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 17 2017
STEN-OGRAPHY
The shorthand version is her talent never translated.

This promo photo shows Ukrainian actress Anna Sten, who's someone we've talked about before. She was a big star in Europe, but an inability to conquer her heavy accent curtailed a ballyhooed attempt at Hollywood success. It's a story with a fascinating footnote, which we talked about here. The image dates from 1932.

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Intl. Notebook Jan 11 2013
VISIONARY ART
They only have eyes for you.


We were researching our recent post on fascist-era femme fatale Isa Miranda when we stumbled across fourteen sets of eyes from some of the most famous starlets of the 1930s. They were on a Brazilian fashion blog called Cajon DeSastre, now defunct, and we gather they came from a book—Fashion at the Time of Fascism—which we’d love to read if we could find a copy. Anyway, just a little eye candy for Friday.

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Vintage Pulp | Musiquarium Nov 12 2009
CHINA DOLL
She fizzled on the screen, but achieved immortality in song.
A nice piece of Chinese pulp fell into our hands. It’s a shot of Ukrainian actress Anna Sten, née Anna Stenska or Anna Sudakevich, from a Chinese newspaper circa 1934. Sten began in silent movies in Germany, transitioned smoothly into talkies, but saw her career founder after mogul Samuel Goldwyn brought her to Hollywood to make her a star. It was the accent that did her in. She tried like hell but couldn’t shake it. But even if she never wowed them in Tinseltown, and her roles are mainly forgotten, she lives forever in song thanks to Cole Porter, who mentioned her in his timeless hit “Anything Goes.” Anna’s bit comes in about two thirds through, with the lines:
 
When Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction,
instruct Anna Sten in diction,
then Anna shows,
anything goes.
 
Not quite a star on the Walk of Fame, but as consolation prizes go, it’s pretty damned good. Anna Sten died today in 1993, aged 84.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 12
1978—Son of Sam Goes to Prison
David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as Son of Sam, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings. Berkowitz had acquired his nickname from letters addressed to the NYPD and columnist Jimmy Breslin. He is eventually caught when a chain of events beginning with a parking ticket leads to his car being searched and police discovering ammunition and maps of crime scenes.
June 11
1963—Buddhist Monk Immolates Himself
In South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match. He does it to protest the persecution of Buddhists by Ngô Đình Diệm administration, choosing a busy Saigon intersection for his protest. An image of the monk being consumed by flames as he sits crosslegged on the pavement, shot by Malcolm Browne, wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes one of the most shocking and recognizable photos ever published.
June 10
1935—AA Founded
In New York City, Dr. Robert Smith and William Griffith Wilson, who were both recovering alcoholics, establish the organization Alcoholics Anonymous, which pioneers a 12-step rehabilitation program that is so helpful and popular it eventually spreads to every corner of the globe.
1973—John Paul Getty III Is Kidnapped
John Paul Getty III, grandson of billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, is kidnapped in Rome, Italy. The elder Getty ignores a ransom demand for $17 million, thinking it is a joke. When John Paul's ear later arrives in the mail along with a note promising further mutilation, he negotiates the ransom down to $2.9 million, which he pays only on the condition that John Paul repay him at four percent interest. Getty's kidnappers are never caught.
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