The first time audiences saw Hedy Lamarr, she was running naked through a field. The second time they saw her, she was in the throes of a very animated orgasm. The next time she appeared on screen—more than five years later—she’d have a new name, a new language, and a new image, but the effect was the same: just the sight of her was enough to stop Hollywood, and audiences across America, in their tracks.
But a new name wasn’t enough to distance Hedy Lamarr from her past as the “Ecstasy Girl,” the star of the so-called “art film” that scandalized all of Europe, and received special denunciation by the [...]
Errol Flynn was that guy — that one guy, we all know them — who was too handsome for his own good. Early on, he figured out what his looks could do for him, and he rode that wave to various destinations. He was a textbook womanizer, an astoundingly successful player — a lech, a cad, a rake, and any number of other British-sounding adjectives that describe the combination of sexual appetite and the charisma required to feed it. When I look at him, I’m simultaneously repulsed and seduced: I know exactly the kind of guy he is, the compliments he’d offer, how he’d make every girl feel unique. What [...]
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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Gary Cooper, I forgot what an endearing dolt you are in this movie. I forgot how sheepish you look when hungover and rumpled. Jean Arthur, I forgot how snippy and delightful you could be, and how great all the Vermont jokes are. I forgot that I could actually stomach a Frank Capra film, and even like it. And full-length silk man-pajamas, sweet lord, I forgot how hot you could be.
Gloria Swanson wasn’t here to make friends. She wasn’t “just like us.” She didn’t take out the garbage or “wear cotton” or go to the bathroom. Lady had a gold-plated bathtub. She married a Marquis. She was 4’11,” wore a 2 ½ in shoes, and had a waist approximately the size of my neck. She looked most beautiful when frowning. And for a period in the 1920s, she was the biggest star in the world. Swanson wasn’t evil, and she probably wasn’t even a bitch, but she just knew how to run that game. She was of a different set of stars — a different breed than Garbo, Dietrich, [...]