Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The glam that am

The new issue of Vanity Fair came in the mail today, and I was disappointed. Lawrence Schiller's outtakes of his nude Marilyn photo shoot is the cover feature, but what skin there is is so covered it would get about a PG-rating in a movie. We've all seen Marilyn's famous calendar picture, and the photos in VF don't come close.

The idea behind the photo shoot, according to Schiller, is that Marilyn was trying to get Fox to pay more attention to her, and quit giving all the resources to Elizabeth Taylor. By coincidence, another magazine arrived yesterday with a cover and photos of Taylor. Lifestories is brand new. This is the first issue, sent to my wife as a sample to get her to subscribe. It's kind of thin, but has some good pics.

The cover photo is of Taylor from 1973. A fantastic portrait of the young Taylor is below, from the February 21, 1949 issue of Life, photographed by the one-and-only Philippe Halsman. The thing that amazes me about this picture is that Taylor in the caption is said to be one week shy of her 17th birthday. So when this picture was taken she was 16-years-old! Throw the cuffs on me, sheriff...there's jailbait in the area. Hell, this is practically child porn!

Life was on top of the glamour world, with many covers and interior cheesecake and pretty girl photos, starlets, models, movie stars...they liked the pretty ones (they sold magazines, after all.)

These two pictures of Rita Hayworth are some sexy photos that show virtually nothing beyond some leg. But Hayworth is posed provocatively. In both she's on a bed, in both wearing lingerie. They were popular with servicemen during World War II, and Life at one point called Hayworth “the love goddess.”



 Life even considered the 1941 picture the great pin-up picture of all. Maybe it isn't the greatest, but it definitely holds up, even after 71 years.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from the Life website, offering up these previously unpublished photos of Marilyn Monroe from about 1950, where she's wearing more clothing than she is in the Schiller pictures. (They were probably inspired to show them in answer to the Vanity Fair hype surrounding their own unpublished pictures.) Even though Marilyn is in the very early stages of her movie career it's obvious from these photos that whatever that "it" is that movie stars have, she had "it." Despite her star status Marilyn was never really taken all that seriously during her career. Elizabeth Taylor had the meaty dramatic roles, but Marilyn was considered a sex symbol, not a real actress. I don't know about that. I'm sure the two wouldn't have ever switched jobs. Can you see Elizabeth Taylor in Some Like It Hot? Or Marilyn in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Maybe Marilyn didn't care for her being categorized as a sex symbol, but sex symbols come and go all the time, and yet there's only one Marilyn Monroe. It's too bad she died young, but her legacy is assured; forever young, forever sexy.


Copyright © 1941, 1945 , 2012 Time-Life


DEMiller said...

I think she set the standard for sexy women. Your comments about her not being taken seriously ring true. When I was a boy I overheard my Mother talking about her to a friend. She said something like "She didn't get there with her brains!"

Postino said...

Dave, it was Dorothy Parker who commented while watching Marilyn walk away from her on the studio lot, "That girl has a great future behind her."