Jane Greer for Film Noir “Out Of The Past” (1946)

Film historians consider “Out of the Past” a superb example of film noir due to its complicated, dark storyline, dark cinematography and classic femme fatale. In the film a private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames. Jane Greer (1924 –  2001) stars as femme fatale Kathie Moffat.

 

In 1991, Out of the Past was added to the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

 

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Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

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Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

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Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

Jane Greer in Out of the Past 1947 (2)

Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine, during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

Jane Greer in Out of the Past 1947 (3)

Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine, during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

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Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine, during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

Jane Greer in Out of the Past 1947 (5)

Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine, during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

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Jane Greer for LIFE Magazine during the filming of “Out Of The Past” (1946) via

Portraits of Alma Mahler, The most Beautiful Girl in Vienna

A socialite and amateur composer known for her beauty and verve, Alma Mahler (1879 – 1964) was married to composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius, and novelist Franz Werfel. She also undertook a strong flirtation with Gustav Klimt and affairs with numerous artists. She is often regaled as the definitive femme fatale of the early 20th century (source).

When she married Gustav Mahler in 1902, he was nineteen years her senior and the director of the Vienna Court Opera. The terms of Alma’s marriage with Gustav were that she would abandon her own interest in composing. Artistically stifled herself, she embraced her role as a loving wife and supporter of Gustav’s music.

Later in their marriage, after becoming severely depressed in the wake of her daughter´s death, she began an affair with the young architect Walter Gropius (later head of the Bauhaus), whom she met during a rest at a spa. On seeking advice from Sigmund Freud, who cited Mahler’s curtailing of Alma’s musical career as a major marital obstacle, and following the emotional crisis in their marriage after Gustav’s discovery of the affair, Gustav began to take a serious interest in Alma’s musical compositions, regretting his earlier dismissive attitude and taking promotional actions, including editing and re-orchestrating some of her works.

Upon his urging, and under his guidance, she prepared five of her songs for publication (they were issued in 1910, by Gustav’s own publisher, Universal Edition). Alltogether she was the composer of at least seventeen songs for voice and piano.

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Alma Mahler (1900)

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Alma Mahler

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Alma Mahler (1900)

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Alma Mahler (1900)

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Vintage Photos of Rita Hayworth For “Film Noir” Gilda (1946)

Gilda is a 1946 American black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale who becomes locked in a passionate love/hate relationship with a former flame, played by Glenn Ford, who also happens to be in her husband’s employ.

The film was noted for cinematographer Rudolph Mate’s lush photography, costume designer Jean Louis’ wardrobe for Hayworth (particularly for the dance numbers), and choreographer Jack Cole’s staging of “Put the Blame on Mame” and “Amado Mio”, sung by Anita Ellis.

In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)

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Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)

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Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)

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Rita Hayworth wearing the “Amado Mio” two-piece costume for noir film Gilda (1946)

Gilda is a 1946 American black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor starring Rita Hayworth in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale.

The two-piece costume worn by Hayworth in the “Amado Mio” nightclub sequence in the film was offered as part of the “TCM Presents … There’s No Place Like Hollywood” auction November 24, 2014, at Bonhams in New York.

It was estimated to bring between $40,000 and $60,000. The costume sold for $161,000.

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Rita Hayworth wearing the two-piece costume for Gilda (1946).

Photo by Bob Landry.

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Femme Fatales of Silent-Cinema – Vintage Photographs

A Femme Fatale is a French phrase for “fatal woman”. She is the archetype found in literature and art as a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations.

One traditionional view portrays the femme fatale as a sexual vampire; her charms leach the virility and independence of lovers, leaving them shells of themselves.

From the American film-audience perspective, the femme fatale often appeared foreign, usually either of indeterminate Eastern European or Asian ancestry. She was the sexual counterpart to wholesome actresses such as Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford.

Theda Bara 1915 via thehairpin

Theda Bara (1885–1955) was one of the most popular actresses of the silent era, and one of cinema’s earliest sex symbols. According to the studio biography her name was an anagram of “Arab Death”, and she was born in the Sahara to a French artiste and his Egyptian concubine and possessed supernatural powers. In fact, her father was a Cincinnati tailor. The film that made Bara a star was A Fool There Was (1915). The film took it´s title from the popular Rudyard Kipling poem “The Vampire” – the poem was even used in the publicity for the film. Kipling had taken inspiration from a vampire painted by Philip Burne-Jones, to write his poem. The poems refrain: “A fool there was…”, describes a seduced man. So, in the American slang of the era, a femme fatale is a vamp, short for vampire.  And the femme fatale roles earned Bara that nickname  – The Vamp.

Louise Glaum via silenthollywood

American actress Louise Glaum  (September 4, 1888 – November 25, 1970)  was called “The Spider Woman” or “The Tiger Woman” as one of silent screen’s most infamous and exotic vamps. She was credited with giving one of the best characterizations in her early career. Her first role as a “vamp,” was as Mademoiselle Poppea in The Toast of Death (1915).

Valeska Suratt via tumblr

Valeska Suratt (June 28, 1882 – July 2, 1962)  was dubbed “The Vampire Woman” on the silent screen. In 1915  Suratt signed with Fox. and like fellow Fox contract players Theda Bara and Virginia Pearson, Suratt was marketed as a “vamp” and was cast as seductive and exotic characters. During her years on the stage, Valeska was noted for the high fashion clothes she wore on stage. She was sometimes called the “Empress of Fashions”. She began on film after being noticed by producer Edward Edelston as she was walking down a hotel staircase one evening wearing a provocative backless gown. Her name became synonymous worldwide for lavish gowns. In the late 1920s her fame waned and she quickly disappeared from public view, never to return.

Musidora, via m.ioic.ch

Jeanne Roques (23 February 1889 – 11 December 1957), better known by her stage name Musidora, was a French actress chiefly famous for her work under the direction of Louis Feuillade: the serials Les Vampires as Irma Vep (an anagram of “vampire”) and in Judex as Marie Verdier.  Les Vampires was not actually about vampires, but about a criminal gang-cum-secret society inspired by the exploits of the real-life Bonnot Gang. Her vamp persona has been compared with that of Theda Bara. Her mystique was accentuated by large, dark eyes and a habit of wearing a black leotard, hood and tights while on the set. After she retired from acting, she became a journalist and a writer on cinema.

Pola Negri via silentlondon

Pola Negri (January 3, 1894  – 1 August 1987) was a Polish stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles. She was the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood, and become one of the most popular actresses in American silent film. She also started several important women’s fashion trends that are still staples of the women’s fashion industry. Her varied career included work as an actress in theater and vaudeville; as a singer and recording artist; as an author; and as a ballerina.However,  three things conspired to end her career in Hollywood. The display that she put on at the funeral of Valentino in 1926, changed the public mood towards her. The Hays Office codes which would not allow filming the very traits that made her a sex-siren European star. And finally, her thick accent would not play in the sound pictures that were coming into vogue.

Myrna Loy via blogspot

Myrna Loy (August 2, 1905 – December 14, 1993) trained as a dancer and started her career at the end of the silent era. She was originally typecast in exotic roles, often as a Theda Bara-like femme fatale  or a woman of Asian descent. Fortunately, she was rescued by the advent of the sound picture, where she was recast in the role of the witty, urbane, professional woman. She is best remembered for her role of Nora Charles opposite William Powell in six “Thin Man” movies.

Jetta Goudal (right) via mubi

Jetta Goudal (July 12, 1891 – January 14, 1985) left World War I era devastated Europe in 1918 to settle in New York City, where she hid her Dutch Jewish ancestry, generally describing herself as a “Parisienne” and on an information sheet for the Paramount Public Department she wrote that she was born at Versailles on July 12, 1901 (shaving 10 years off her age).

In her glorious Hollywood heyday, she was a star rivaling that of Gloria Swanson and fellow vamp Nita Naldi.

Goudal appeared in several highly successful and acclaimed films for DeMille, who later claimed that Goudal was so difficult to work with that he eventually fired her and cancelled their contract. Goudal filed a lawsuit for breach of contract against him and DeMille Pictures Corporation. Because of this and her high-profile activisim in the Actors’ Equity Association campaign for the theatre and film industry to accept a closed shop, some of the Hollywood studios refused to employ Goudal. In 1932, at age forty-one, she made her last screen appearance in a talkie, co-starring with Will Rogers in the Fox Film Corporation production of Business and Pleasure.

Olga Petrova via tumblr

Olga Petrova (May 10, 1884 – November 30, 1977) was an American actress, screenwriter and playwright. Born as Muriel Harding in England, she moved to the United States and became a star of vaudeville using the stage name Olga Petrova. Petrova starred in a number of films for Solax Studio sand was Metro Pictures first diva, usually given the role of a femme fatale. During her seven years in film, Petrova appeared in more than two dozen films and wrote the script for several others. Most of her films are now lost.

Virginia Pearsson via pinterest

Virginia Pearson  (March 7, 1886 – June 6, 1958) made fifty-one films in a career which extended from 1910 until 1932. In her silent heydayn she was known as “the screen’s heretic”. She was promoted by William Fox of Fox Film Corporationfor for strong vamp parts and she reigned along with Theda Bara, Louise Glaum and Valeska Suratt as Hollywood’s most notorious vamps. Among her movies is Blazing Love (1916), Wildness of Youth (1922), The Vital Question (1916), Sister Against Sister (1917), The Red Kimona (1925), Wizard of Oz (1925), and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). She went out of style after WWI and by 1924 had to declare bankruptcy. Thereafter she was reduced to extra parts and was forced to live with her husband, former actor Sheldon Lewis, in a small Hollywood Hotel room..

Helen Gardner 1912 via williamhpeck

American film actress Helen Gardner (September 2, 1894 – November 20, 1958), is considered the screen’s first vamp and is known for her portrayals of strong female characters. She predates both Theda Bara, Valeska Suratt and Louise Glaum. She was also a writer, editor, producer and costume designer. Her first production was Cleopatra (1912) which was one of the first American full-length films, playing for many years in the US and abroad.

Vintage Photos of Dandy, Muse and Celebrity Luisa Casati

Luisa Casati  (1881 – 1957) was an Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts in early 20th-century Europe. A celebrity and femme fatale, the marchesa’s famous eccentricities dominated and delighted European society for nearly three decades. She dramatically altered her appearance to become a bewitchingly beautiful figure from some bizarre fairy tale. She wore live snakes as jewellery and was infamous for her evening strolls; naked beneath her furs whilst parading cheetahs on diamond-studded leads.  Nude servants gilded in gold leaf attended her.  Bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table, some of them rumoured to contain the ashes of past lovers. Without question, the Marchesa was the most scandalous woman of her day.

She became a muse to Italian Futurists , captivated artists and literary figures and had numerous portraits painted and sculpted by various artists. She posed for photographs by Man Ray, Cecil Beaton and Baron Adolph de Meyer. Many of them she paid for, as a wish to “commission her own immortality”.  She is famous for saying “I want to be a living work of art”.

Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati [photographer unknown] (ca. 1903)

Casati ca. 1903

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Luisa Casati by Alberto Martini ca. 1906 featuring Luisa Casati on one of her night strolls along the Grand Canal in Venice

Marchesa Casati: Fabulous creation

Luisa Casati in a fountain costume by Paul Poiret, 1910s

Luisa Casati – 1913 by Adolf Demeyer

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Luisa Casati, 1922 by Man Ray

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Photo by Cecil Beaton 1954