Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Noir lovelies . . .

Five more talented lovelies who made a particular impact in Film Noir . . .

A nice publicity shot of sexy and sultry Gloria Grahame, supporting actress Oscar winner for her role in the classic 1952 drama "The Bad and the Beautiful". She made a huge impact in Noir with her excellent performances in Edward Dmytryk's "Crossfire", Nicholas Ray's "In a Lonely Place" and especially Fritz Lang's tension-filled Noir masterpiece "The Big Heat", to name a few. This pic was scanned from one of the vintage stills in my collection.

Another scan from a vintage still, this time the incredibly gorgeous Jane Greer. Jane had a strange career in Hollywood and spent a lot of time getting paid for doing nothing! Howard Hughes had her under contract and since she refused his advances he didnt let her work even though he was paying her regardless! It's a shame too because she was a competent performer and always a pleasure to look at, but no matter, it's her unforgettable perfromance as the ultimate fem-fatale in Jacques Tourneur's ultra-stylish "Out of the Past" that assured her status as a Noir legend.

Ava Gardner looks even slinkier and sexier than usual in this publicity still for Robert Siodmak's "The Killers". I recall seeing a clip of Burt Lancaster on some talk show talking about this film, and her in particular. It went something like: : "Ava Gardner, one of the few truly beautiful women I ever worked with . . . when we did our loves scenes for the Killers, i was deeply stirred . . . in the form of some embarrassment!" Oh that Burt!!

Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder's 1944 Noir masterpiece "Double Indemnity", a role that she played to the absolute hilt! In my opinion Barb shoulda got the best actress Oscar that year! The reality is she never recieved an Oscar but instead was given an honorary award in 1982 for her contributions to the art of screen acting. I would venture to say this is an Academy oversight on par with Edward G. Robinson, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock never winning Oscars!

A great shot of Veronica Lake taken by George Hurell. Affectionately referred to as "Moronica Lake" by the cantankerous Raymond Chandler, she never-the-less made several memorable forays into Noir territory in films like "This Gun for Hire", "The Glass Key" and "The Blue Dahlia", all co-starring pint-sized tough-guy, Alan Ladd. Apparently many women copied her famous long hair style with the peek-a-boo bangs, which caused a lot of safety concerns when these same women ended up working in factories during WWII! Lake then appeared in a few films with her famous blonde tresses done up safely in a bun or some other contained style so the women would follow suit! She is definitely a unique presence on film, there really is nothing else like her! And she suuuuuuuure photographed well
A few beauties who made an impact in Film Noir . . .

Susan Hayward actually played a "nice" girl in the Noir classic "They Won't Believe Me" with Robert Young playing against type as a 3-timing low-life. Susie almost always played "bad" girls in the first half of her career in Hollywood so it's a bit ironic that one of the only noir film roles she ever had was not another one of those.

Lana Turner in a publicity still for Tay Garnett's "The Postman Always Rings Twice". For my money possibly the best picture ever taken of lovely Lana!

Joan Bennet plays an absolutely heartless gold-digging tramp in Fritz Lang's "Scarlet Street", co-starring Edward G Robinson and the eternally oily Dan Duryea. Joan was one of those starlets who's career changed quite a bit simply by her changing her hair color from blonde to brunette!

Gene Tierney . . . *sigh*

Corrine Calvet only made a small amount of films but her first and best performance in William Dieterle's "Rope of Sand" is well-worth seeing! Burt Lancaster, Paul Henried, Claude Rains and Peter Lorre also starred making it a sort of re-hashing of "Casablanca", though not nearly as good.
No one who's ever seen the "Asphalt Jungle" could forget Marilyn Monroe's appearance in it! To quote the slimy Louis Calhern from the film: "Isnt she a sweet thing!"

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