Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Film Noir Bad Girls

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Recently a fellow blogger posted about the death of a couple of 40's B-list movie stars.  I'm always sad to see this part of my personal history plus American history pass by.  

Back in the late 40's and early 50's I used to go to the local movie house down the street from where I lived in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  The movie house was called the Roosevelt Theater.  It was formerly the Downingtown Opera house, something which I did not discover until many years later when a childhood friend sent me a picture of it when it was an opera house.

Back in those days the price of admission for a kid under 12 years of age was 15 cents.  I dreaded reaching the "adult" age of 12 and over because then I would have to pay a whole 45 cents.  An astronomical sum in those days for a poor kid running around barefoot all summer.  

Some of my fondest memories was seeing the black and white films called film noir.  Of course I didn't know what film noir meant back in those days.  I only knew that the action in most of these films usually took place at nighttime.  They were almost always dark unless the scene was in a smoky nightclub with sparkling, sequined encrusted dresses of the females actresses.  Of course all the men, including the Bad Guy, wore suits and hats.  Even then I knew that wasn't real.  All I ever saw my father wear was a sweaty, grease streaked T-shirt.  Where was the reality?  But when I watched these films I was transported into another world, a world of Dames.  Hard, wise-cracking, no-nonsense Dames.  It was wonderful!

Of course we all know the Usual Suspects:  Bette, Joan and Barbara.  No, I'm talking about those Other Dames.  You've all seen them but perhaps don't know there names. Well, here they are in all their film noir glory.  Ladies please:

Ruth Roman

Marie Windsor

Patricia Medina

Hillary Brooke

Beverly Michaels


Ur-spo said...

Such hair !

Ron said...

Those movie glamor queens of the 40's and 50's knew how to do hair.

Cubby said...

That last pic of Beverly Michaels... I swear he's a man! The choker is hiding his Adam's Apple.

nitewrit said...


The great thing about Film Noir was the use of light and shadow. A lot of those scenes were real works of art in the way the use of, or lack of, light was used in the composition and to frame the actors and actions. The directors had to have their reference the earlier German films, the elongated shadows, etc.

Yeah, 15 cents admission and a large bag of popcorn, I think, a dime and a small was a nickel.