Veronica Lake for Film Noir “This Gun for Hire” (1942)

This Gun for Hire is a 1942 film noir, directed by Frank Tuttle and based on the 1936 novel (published in America with the same title, and in Britain with the title A Gun for Sale) by Graham Greene. The

In the film Veronica Lake stars as nightclub singer Ellen Graham. The film also stars Robert Preston, Laird Cregar, and Alan Ladd, who the movie made a star of.

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Portrait of Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire directed by Frank Tuttle, 1942  via

Veronica Lake

Portrait of Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire directed by Frank Tuttle, 1942  via

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Portrait of Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire directed by Frank Tuttle, 1942  via

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Portrait of Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire directed by Frank Tuttle, 1942  via

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Portrait of Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire directed by Frank Tuttle, 1942  via

 

1942 Film Noir Veronica Lake Gun For Hire

Portrait of Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire directed by Frank Tuttle, 1942 via

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Portrait of Alan Ladd, Robert Preston and Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire directed by Frank Tuttle, 1942  via

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Early Film Dancer Annabelle Moore (1878-1961)

Annabelle Moore (1878 – 1961) was an American dancer and actress who was quite popular in her youth. She appeared in at least nine films beween 1894 and 1897. The films were dance films and included “A Mermaid Dance”, “Butterfly Dance” and “Serpentine Dance”.

The sale of her films was further boosted in December 1896 when it was revealed that she had been approached to appear naked at a private dinner party at Sherry’s Restaurant – It is even said she introduced eroticism in film.

In 1907 Annabelle starred as the Gibson Bathing Girl in the first of  the Ziegfeld Follies.

In 1910 she married Edward James Buchan. He died in 1958 and Annabelle died penniless in Chicago in 1961. In her obituary in the New York Times it was said Annabelle:

“was the symbol of beauty in her day. She was billed as ‘the original Gibson Girl’ because of her striking resemblance to the Charles Dana Gibson portrait.”

Annabelle had a similar appearance to the Gibson Girl.  But as far as Gibson modeling his idealization of the perfect woman on Annabelle, there is little evidence that he did (source).

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Annabelle Moore, 1900s

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Annabelle Moore, 1908

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Annabelle Butterfly Dance (1894)

W.B. Yeats “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen”

When Loie Fuller’s Chinese dancers enwound
A shining web, a floating ribbon of cloth,
It seemed that a dragon of air
Had fallen among dancers, had whirled them round
Or hurried them off on its own furious path;
So the Platonic Year
Whirls out new right and wrong,
Whirls in the old instead;
All men are dancers and their tread
Goes to the barbarous clangour of a gong.” – W.B. Yeats, ll.49-58 in the poem “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen”.

Vintage Photos of Russian Prima Ballerina Alexandra Danilova

Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova (1903 – 1997) was a Russian-born prima ballerina, who became an American citizen. In 1989, she was recognized for lifetime achievements in ballet as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Born in Peterhof, Russia on November 20, 1903, she trained at the Russian Imperial Ballet School in Leningrad (formerly and currently St. Petersburg). She was one of the few Russian-trained ballerinas to tour outside Russia. Her first professional post was as a member of St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet.

In 1924, she and George Balanchine left Russia. They were soon picked up by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; Danilova as a dancer, Balanchine as a choreographer. Danilova toured for years with the Ballets Russes under Sergei Diaghilev, then with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo after Diaghilev’s death.[1] With the latter company, Danilova andFrederic Franklin created one of the legendary ballet partnerships of the twentieth century. Danilova became known for her glamour and beautiful legs, as well as her work ethic and professionalism.

Danilova made her Broadway debut in 1944’s Song of Norway; her last ballet performance was in 1957.

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Alexandra Danilova photographed by George Platt Lynes, c. 1930s

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 Alexandra Danilova as a star of Colonel de Basil’s Ballet Russe  (1936)  by Maurice Seymour.

Courtesy of Ronald Seymour/Maurice Seymour Archive.

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Alexandra Danilova in Ballet Russe’s Nutcracker

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F. Franklin and Alexandra Danilova (1948) by Irving Penn.

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The Legs of Danilova, New York (1950) by Erwin Blumenfeld

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Alexandra Danilova dances in Gaite Parisienne

Josephine Baker (1906-1975)

Josephine Baker was an American born French actress, singer, dancer and comedianne, but most importantly the first African American female to star in a motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer.

Living in the slums of St. Louis. Starting from the age of eight Josephine was put to work cleaning houses.

She first danced for the public on the streets of St. Louis for nickels & dimes. Later, she became a chorus girl on the St. Louis stage. At 15 she married a Pullman porter named Baker, but left him when she ran away at age 17, because of racial discrimination.

She made her way to Paris, France. She first captured Paris audiences in La Revue Négre captivating audiences with Danse Sauvage which was exotic and had her performing in nothing but a feathered skirt.

When La Revue Nègre closed, Josephine starred in La Folie du Jour at the Follies-Bergère Theater. Her jaw-dropping performance, including a costume of 16 bananas strung into a skirt, cemented her celebrity status. Her Banana Dance is probably one of the most famous dances during the era. She was given such nicknames as the “Bronze Venus”, the “Black Pearl”, and the “Créole Goddess”.

Her first major motion picture was Zouzou from 1934.

She also is noted for her contributions to the civil rights movement in the US for assisting the French resistence during World War II in which she received the French military honor the Croix de guerre. To show that people from different cultures could live together, Baker took on 12 multinational children and called them her Rainbow Tribe.

One qoute about her reads as follows: “She kissed babies in foundling homes, gave dolls to the young and soup to the aged, presided at the opening of the Tour de France, celebrated holidays, went to fairs, joked with workers and did charity benefits galore. She was all over Paris, always good-natured and exquisitely dressed.” (source)

Josephine Baker, 1928-1930

Josephine Baker, 1920s

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Josephine Baker

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Portrait of Josephine Baker, 1920’s

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Portrait of Josephine Baker for the Follies Bergère by Walery, 1926

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Portrait of Josephine Baker in Paris qui remue at the Casino de Paris by Walery, 1930

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Josephine Baker’s Banana Dance

Footage of Josephine Baker performing her infamous Banana Dance.

Bille Dove – The American Beauty

Billie Dove (1903-1997) was in her heyday known for her voluptuous femininity on the silent screen, rivaled that of Mary Pickford, Marion Davies and Clara Bow in popularity. She retired after only a few years into the talking picture era, however, and is not as well-remembered in today’s film circles as the aforementioned.

She was born Bertha Bohny to Swiss immigrant parents. As a teen, she worked as a model to help support her family and was hired as a teenager by Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld to appear in his Ziegfeld Follies Revue.

However, a burgeoning affair between Dove and Ziegfeld prompted Ziegfeld’s wife Billie Burke to arrange work out West for the young starlet in Hollywood films. She soon became one of the most popular actresses of the 1920s, appearing in Douglas Fairbanks’ smash hit Technicolor film The Black Pirate (1926), as Rodeo West in The Painted Angel (1929), and was dubbed The American Beauty (1927), the title of one of her films.

She married the director of her seventh film, Irvin Willat, in 1923. The two divorced in 1929. Dove had a huge legion of male fans, one of her most persistent being Howard Hughes. She shared a three-year romance with Hughes and was engaged to marry him, but she ended the relationship without ever giving cause. Hughes cast her as a comedian in his film Cock of the Air (1932). She also appeared in his movie The Age for Love (1931).

Following her last film, Blondie of the Follies (1932), Dove retired from the screen to be with her family, although she was at the time still popular. She married oil executive Robert Kenaston in 1933.

Ziegfeld Model - Non-Risque - by Alfred Cheney Johnston

Billie Dove as a Ziegfield Follies Girl, by Alfred Cheney Johnston

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Ziegfeld Model - Risque - 1920s - by Alfred Cheney Johnston

Billie Dove as a Ziegfield Follies Girl by Alfred Cheney Johnston

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Billie Dove

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Billie Dove as a Bride

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Billie Dove

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Billie Dove

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Billæie Dove in Blondie of the Follies, her last film (1932)

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Billie Dove (Reprise)

Alla Nazimova in “Salomé” (1923) – Silent Avant-garde Picture Film

Salomé (1923), was directed by Charles Bryant and starred russian silent-movie queen Alla Nazimova – the film is an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play of the same name.

The play itself is a loose retelling of the biblical story of King Herod and his execution of John the Baptist (here, as in Wilde’s play, called Jokaanan) at the request of his stepdaughter, Salomé, whom he lusts after.

Salomé is often called one of the first art films to be made in the U.S.  The highly stylized costumes, exaggerated acting (even for the period), minimal sets, and absence of all but the most necessary props make for a screen image much more focused on atmosphere and on conveying a sense of the characters’ individual heightened desires than on conventional plot development.

Alla Nazimova in Salomé 1923, directed by Charles Bryant

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Alla Nazimova in Salomé 1923, directed by Charles Bryant

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Salomé Dances