Femmes Fatales Nov 9 2021
SMOKE AND FIRE
Hepburn brings a special kind of style to Hollywood.


We don't smoke, but Katherine Hepburn sure makes smoking look good in this RKO promo photo shot by Ernest Bachrach in 1935. Though she had a long and storied career, this early shot is pretty much her iconic image. Prints of it are even sold on Wal-Mart's website. Hepburn is incomparable. Her must-watch films include Bringing Up Baby, Adam's Rib, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Long Day's Journey into Night, The Lion in Winter, the groundbreaking Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (which inspired an excellent reggae song by Black Uhuru), and On Golden Pond.
 
You can sum up Hepburn's output by saying she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar twelve times and won a quartet, the most ever. The Oscar has failed to stay as relevant as it could have over recent decades, and the Academy has made some embarrassing Best Picture choices (Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction—really?), but it's always been a reliable measure of acting quality, so Hepburn's four wins are meaningful. The one thing she didn't do was make a lot of pulp style movies. One that looks as if it qualifies is the 1946 drama Undercurrent. We'll circle back to that and the divine Miss H. in a bit. 

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Femmes Fatales Feb 5 2021
AFTERNOON BREAK
Why go out for coffee when there's a warm Capucine already waiting?


In this photo French model-turned-actress Capucine looks as relaxed as a lounging cat, which is appropriate for a woman whose film roles included The Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther, Jaguar Lives!, What's New Pussycat, The Lion, and Bernard and the Lion. Just to break things up she also was in Fellini – Satyricon. Yet another one name star from the mid-century period, she was born Germaine Lefebvre but early in her modeling career took the name of a type of flower. After some years in fashion, during which she worked for Givenchy and Christian Dior, the silver screen beckoned and the results were a success. This shot is from 1962.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 19 2014
LITTLE SHOPPER OF HORRORS
I swear to God, bitch, you better tell me where you bought those pearls or I’ll claw that smug look right off your head.

Above, the cover of Shelly Lowenkopf’s The Love of the Lion from Kozy Books. No artist info on this, which is typical for Kozy. Lowenkopf, who is male, went on to teach at the University of Southern California, win a Lifetime Achievement Award, become an agent, editorial director, book reviewer, critic, and essayist. He’s still active and maintains a blog that’s worth visiting. Of his Kozy days he says merely that, “under a variety of pseudonyms, I paid many a rent tab.” No pseudonym for this one though. The Love of the Lion was published in 1962. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 23
1973—Peter Dinsdale Commits First Arson
A fire at a house in Hull, England, kills a six year old boy and is believed to be an accident until it later is discovered to be a case of arson. It is the first of twenty-six deaths by fire caused over the next seven years by serial-arsonist Peter Dinsdale. Dinsdale is finally captured in 1981, pleads guilty to multiple manslaughter, and is detained indefinitely under Britain's Mental Health Act as a dangerous psychotic.
June 22
1944—G.I. Bill Goes into Effect
U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Servicemen's Readjustment Act into law. Commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, or simply G.I. Bill, the grants toward college and vocational education, generous unemployment benefits, and low interest home and business loans the Bill provided to nearly ten million military veterans was one of the largest factors involved in building the vast American middle class of the 1950s and 1960s.
June 21
1940—Smedley Butler Dies
American general Smedley Butler dies. Butler had served in the Philippines, China, Central America, the Caribbean and France, and earned sixteen medals, five of which were for heroism. In 1934 he was approached by a group of wealthy industrialists wanting his help with a coup against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in 1935 he wrote the book War Is a Racket, explaining that, based upon his many firsthand observations, warfare is always wholly about greed and profit, and all other ascribed motives are simply fiction designed to deceive the public.
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