East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Five classical beauties


guruMy web-thingies guru (don’t we all have one?) tells me it’s “good SEO” whatever that means, and a good way to get some extra traffic, to post list-themed contents.
“The Best Five… whatever”.
And who am I to doubt my guru?

So I thought I’d do a list sort of post – and a few nights back a guy pointed a loaded Marlene Dietrich at me1.
Boy was she heart-stoppingly beautiful!
And yet…

Fact: the world is filled with beautiful women. That’s one of the good things of being alive on this world. And if you love movies – like I do – you are certainly aware that there’s been a lot of incredibly beautiful women that have graced the screen.
Some names are legendary – Monroe, Harlow, Turner, the above-mentioned Dietrich…

So, what about my five favorite actresses from the classic Hollywood era?
Sounds like the sort of thing that might please my web-thingies guru…

Carole Lombard

Annex - Lombard, Carole_09

The first one that comes to my mind. An incredible talent, a short, momentous career, a tragic death. I love the fact that she was, both on- and off-screen, a woman that loved laughing. She was, after all, the Queen of the Screwball Comedies.
I sort of, like, obsess a little, about Lombard.
Can’t miss – Lubitsch’s To Be or Not To Be (but check out My Man Godfrey too).

Ava Gardner


An incredible mixture of class and down-to-earth charms, Gardner was featured in some seminal noir and adventure movies, and had a pretty wild personal life. She was always gorgeous – even later inher career, she was simply stunning.
Can’t missMogambo of course, but Bowani Junction is a close second.

Hedi Lamarr


In Hollywod she played a lot of exotic roles, but I could say that I adore this woman for her brains, and it would be perfectly legit – we all know her engineering work was applied from torpedoes guidance systems to modern wi-fi.
Also, back in Germany, Adolf Hitler himself tried to pull her, and she told him to scram. What a babe.
Can’t miss – hard call… I’d say Tangiers, but I also have a soft spot for Samson and Delilah.

Marlene Dietrich


Pure, undiluted sex appeal, and tonnes of character and attitude.
I admit I was not sure… I mean, Dietrich or Garbo? You can’t have them both.
And truly, when I was younger, I would have probably said Garbo. But now, something makes Dietrich more appealing to me.
Can’t miss – anything directed by Josef von Sternberg… I’d say Shanghai Express.

Gene Tierney

Annex - Tierney, Gene (Shanghai Gesture, The)_NRFPT_01

Another regular of noir films, another incredibly beautiful woman. She had a troubled, complicated life (they tried to cure her depression with electroshock, for goodness sake!), and starred in some great movies. She should have been in Mogambo opposite Ava Gardner, but because of health issues was replaced by Grace Kelly.
Can’t Miss – too many films, but Von Sternberg’s The Shanghai Gesture remains one of my faves, together with The Razor’s Edge.

and one outsider…

Margaret Lockwood


British superstar Lockwood was an absolute icon for the British public for three decades. As down-to-earth in real life as she was cool and aloof on screen, she had both wonderful acting chops and an incredible presence.
Can’t miss – most people would say The Wicked Lady (and that’s pretty good), but I’d rather go with Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes.

And this is it.
And if someone out there feels like suggesting his fave classic beauties and their unmissable flicks, well, as usual the comments are open.

  1. long story – you find out the details here, in the comments section. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Five classical beauties

  1. Brigitte Helm, Shelley Winters and Joan Crawford


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