Norma Shearer was living testament that a slut need not be dirty to be desirable

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10 Sluttiest (Old) Hollywood Actresses

Remember my recent post on “Most Elegant (Old) Hollywood Actors”?

I enjoyed the bejesus-juice out of writing that, since it allowed my twin loves of movies and writing about, well, nothing to shine through.

But you can’t write about actors, and not expect a companion piece about actresses to follow at some point, right? Here you go!

But hang on a mo’.

I thought about it even back then, and realised I just can’t cough up another Top 10 list about elegant Hollywood actresses of the studio era.

My readers will roll their eyeballs at me like a row of Marty Feldmans, and snicker, “There goes that Vic again. Always with the elegance. Snore.”.

So, I thought and thought, and thought, then realised I should maybe tie this in with Valentine’s Day:

That most traditional of days when love, heady love, is in the air, everywhere I look around, love is in the air, every sight and every sound, the Love Boat exciting and new!

So on this wonderful day devoted to love, I offer you something a little different.

For the opposite of love is lust, and you can’t have lust without a good slut.

You heard me.

A good, old-fashioned, heart of gold, can teach you a trick or two, been around the block (and back), get yourself checked for crabs, two-fer Sundays, Heidi Fleiss List slut.

They’re usually not the girls who get candies and cards on Valentine’s, but they ARE the ones guys fantasise about, all through their lives.

Not all guys have the same tastes, though — some favouring one kind of slutty ho over the other, so in the spirit of the variety of spices, I offer you this seductively trashy list below.

With apologies to Bette Davis (too Yankee to be a slut), “Fasten your seatbelts! This is going to be a humpy ride!”

THE CLASSY SLUT

Ahh, Norma Shearer.

The girl who might’ve slept her way to the top, but first she married the top — boy wonder, Irving Thalberg, production chief of MGM who recognised her talents as soon as he left her bedroom.

This Canadian lass from Montreal with the lazy eye, and hyper-theatrical persona was born to play the modern roles which Hollywood glamourised in the pre-Hays era.

From “the other woman” roles, to “the divorced woman” roles, to “saucy high society deb” roles, to a libidinous and almost unrecognisably affable Marie Antoinette, Norma Shearer was THE perfect slut for her time.

This is the gal guys dreamt of going to bed with, if only because they loved thinking of her scratching up their backs with those jungle-red nails.

Unlike almost any other of the women listed below, she also might just be the only one presentable enough to be introduced to dear mama, or to be escorted to brunch at the country club.

She was that rarest of sluts too, she could show she had brains and men didn’t hate it, but admired her for it.

Yes, Norma Shearer was living testament that a slut need not be dirty to be desirable.

She just had to project dirty with those bedroom eyes you see blazing at you above, 70 years ago. Yowza!

9. Marlene Dietrich
THE AC/DC SLUT

Maybe some day men will explain it to me, why the thought of two women with interlocked lips and writhing limbs is universally hot to them, but guys, I just don’t get it.

Most of the women who like that sort of thing look like this, ‘ssamatter you?

But I suppose reality has never intruded into a male’s sexual fantasies, especially since on rare, festive occasion you get a looker who just happens to swing both ways.

And that would pretty much describe the original Blue Angel, Marlene Dietrich.

She was the slut archetype that was virtually unknown until the heady free-for-all days of the Weimar Republic, when monocled girls took turns dancing with diaphanous creatures in Berlin nightclubs, some of them females.

I suppose the reason Marlene Dietrich was better received by males as sex object, than say her MGM foreign rival, Greta Garbo, was that Marlene Dietrich was the kind of woman who was butch enough to drink a man under the table, but also could be sexy in an aggressively kittenish type of way.

Sort of like a Brigitte Bardot who knew her way around a harness.

(Poor Greta had “instruction manual” written all over her)

When you think of testosterone-driven sexual energy, you’d have to think of Marlene Dietrich as your slut of choice.

Heck, if she had sung an octave deeper, she’d be Barry White.

8. Joan Blondell
THE TRASHY SLUT

No one remembers Joan Blondell anymore, save the good burghers of Rantburg.

(As an aside, Burger Nation is a good place to hang out, since their “Good Morning” post always features a sexpot du jour, gone but never forgotten, at least not by them)

In this context, she’s very much like the slut archetype she projected or was made to project, on screen — the girl who might be a knockout, but perhaps a little too low-rent to be seen by your mama.

The Trashy Slut is always showing a little too much leg.

Might be seated in less than ladylike poses.

And loves nothing better than to be admired in her bath, waiting for you to hand her your “loofah”.

By the way, the Italian version of the Trashy Slut will forever be Giuletta Massina in The Nights of Cabiria, with her loud “va fanculs” still ringing out proudly 50 years later.

Actually, the Trashy Slut is not half bad, as far as sluts go. They just like to have a fun time — is that so wrong?

7. Louise Brooks
THE EXHIBITIONIST SLUT

It’s hard to know what to make of Louise Brooks.

She was modern and slutty in ways even men weren’t ready a woman to be in the ’20s.

Brooks, then around 60 years-old, wrote her Congressman a letter asking him to help her to ban Valium in the US, because it took away the desire to pleasure oneself, from a woman (I did not know that actually).

I mean, jeez, no wonder she had to flee to Germany to star as the once, and eternal Lulu in those Pabst films.

Maybe it’s because of her frank, ultra-modern face didn’t particularly want to hide anything from men, that it took a special, brave kind of man to want this lulu of a Lulu.

That famous pageboy for one, influenced every girl from Darla of Our Gang fame, to years later, another Louise, this time House of Eliott, Louise Lombard — that luscious Anglo-Irish actress for whom millions of men tuned into, even for this ultra-chick TV series.

And why not? You never knew when you would get a peak or two.

6. Lana Turner

THE DREAM SLUT

All this talk of slut is making me sleepy.

And that’s good, because next up for Slut Of the Moment, is Lana Turner, the archetypical Dream Slut.

By now, everyone on earth worth their Oscars statuette salt knows the story of how she was “discovered” — seated at the lunch counter at Schraft’s, wearing an angora sweater so tight, the Hollywood agent almost fell over his banana sundae.

Never mind that the story was more of a concoction than an ice-cream soda:

Everyone fell for it, because it was a dream-like way to be plucked from obscurity to fame — Horatio Alger with tits.

This brings us to another point about Lana Turner.

She was one of those sluts that both men and women liked. Some of the slut archetypes listed here really get on some women’s nerves.

Women tend not to like the Trashy Slut, they think the AC/DC Slut is creepsville, and they are dismissive of the Exhibitionist Slut (whilst secretly admiring her cojones).

But the Dream Slut is what they have in mind, when they go into that Victoria’s Secret emporium, plunk down $200 for a bra and see-thru’ nightie, and come out with a smile on their faces.

So now you know, guys.

Stand outside a Victoria’s Secret shop this weekend, and check out the ladies coming out with a twinkle in their eyes.

That’s not a piece of grit. That’s a future Dream Slut out two-hundred bucks.

5. Joan Crawford

THE UPWARDLY-MOBILE SLUT

Oh sure, think men when they catch sight of The Upwardly-Mobile Slut.

She’s a waitress NOW, but this girl has got something. One can really see her going from rags to riches on my arm, and maybe she’s just the gal I need to help me do it.

That sentiment neatly described most of the roles Joan Crawford ever played at Metro:

The Upperwardly-Mobile Slut is the kind that scrubs up well.

She may be forced to buy from the Sears Roebuck catalogue now, but when the time comes, she’ll be a knock-out wearing those Schiaparelli furs.

Perhaps the Upwardly-Mobile Slut is a touch too independent to be the straight-marrying kind, but she certainly can give a man a run for his money, whilst they are together.

Joan Crawford, in her heydey, was one of the most alluring, glamourous stars in the firmament known as Hollywood.

Polite to a fault with her fans (whom she never forgot put her inside the clothes she wore so well), never forgetting to send back an autographed glammed up photo, she knew the recipient could be a future Joan Crawford stuck in some rathole in Iowa.

She played her role well with both men and women, who both gave the Upwardly-Mobile Slut plenty of affection on the big screen.

Heck, she was the girl everyone rooted for to win, in the chick-film to end all chick-films, The Women.

You tell me one “Other Woman” who would get the sympathy she could garner from her audience, like she could. Why, they would’ve knifed Katharine Hepburn themselves if they could.

Please note though:

The Upwardly-Mobile Slut sometimes turns out to be Mommie Dearest.

Just remember, fellas, when she says no more wire hangers, she means it.

4. Clara Bow

THE GOOD-TIME GIRL SLUT

Clara Bow is famous for three things:

1. Having a Brooklyn accent so thick, even Bugs Bunny couldn’t understand her.

(She disappeared when the talkies hit the big time)

2. Bee-stung lips, which by the way, I share, see? *purses lips*

3. Having slept with the entire University of Southern California men’s college football team, just because, well, she wanted to.

That it wasn’t true is beside the point. She was the It Girl, which was flapper and bathtub gin short-hand for a good-time girl.

And that’s what Good Time Girls did back then. Live with it!

3. Barbara Stanwyck

THE BRASSY SLUT

One of the best things about Old Hollywood, is that they didn’t pigeonhole their actresses by looks, just by talent.

If you had range, you could play a saucy minx in Jezebel, even though you had bulbous eyes Queen Victoria would be proud of, like Bette Davis.

If you looked like a goddess but swore like a trucker, you could play ditzes in screwball comedies, like Carole Lombard.

If you had a way about you, could handle a champagne flute, or a broomstick, you could play both the ingenue or the lead, like Ingrid Bergman.

But Hollywood also needed a girl from the mean streets who never forgot she was from the mean streets, and that was Barbara Stanwyck, the Brassy Slut.

The Brassy Slut isn’t quite the Trashy Slut, because she’s ambitious.

She’s not the Good-Time-Girl Slut because she’s got character.

And she’s not the Upwardly-Mobile Slut, because usually life is really hard on her, and rarely cuts her a break — this is why her outward veneer is usually cold, and her tongue sassy.

It screams, “I’m out for number 1 ’cause you lousy jerks don’t care about me!”.

Film critic Leslie Halliwell loved Barbara Stanwyck.

She was a genuine outsider in the Hollywood system, able to translate such depths of tenderness in her roles, that her personality jumped straight out at you from the screen, a priceless quality to have.

So guys, when you meet a Brassy Slut or two once in a while, remember, there’s a heart of gold lurking underneath that crusty exterior.

In the phrase of her day, she was some kind of dame.

2. Jean Harlow

THE TROPHY SLUT

Paris Hilton, and before her, the late Anna Nicole Smith are but a few modern examples of a woman who all but created a genre of womanhood, all on her own — the Blonde Bombshell, Jean Harlow.

To imagine that this wispy, but not untalented actress died in 1937, is to realise just how lasting her visual is in our minds:

The Trophy Slut is the gal who a man wants, whom he desires more than anything, not because it says something about her, but because it says something about HIM.

Hey, look at me! You think a hot bit of crumpet like this would marry just any Schmoe!

You know, years ago, I realised my father had married The Trophy…erm, Wife:

Blonde, outrageously beautiful, and though she had a good head on her shoulders, she wasn’t at pains to show it (unlike her daughter, see “Classy Slut”).

When I questioned him about it one day, gently, he all but confessed to me he had indeed, married his version of a Jean Harlow.

“When I walk into a room, I feel like every chap there says, look at that guy. He’s the luckiest so-and-so in the world.”

And so he was.

By the way, for my money, this is one of the funniest scenes in Hollywood history.

The comic timing of Canadian grande dame, Marie Dressler, in doing a double-take, is only matched by the deadpan set-up timing of Jean Harlow.

1. Mae West
THE MAN-EATING SLUT

Mae West. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. Thank God.

I end this Top 10 Sluttiest Actresses list with this inimitable actress, because she was simply, the Queen Slut on celluloid.

No woman even comes close to her Sluttiness, full stop.

There isn’t one female impersonator (whom comically, audiences at the time thought she was) who could match her unreplicatable slut strut.

Never has there been a more outrageous, sexually-explicit woman like Mae West. She OOZED sexual promiscuity, from every pore in her body, a body which had more curves than Old Cutler Road.

This wasn’t the kind of slut that would let a man have the upper-hand, or the last say.

Her attraction for men, lay in the fact that every man likes a good challenge — she was the human equivalent of conquering a boa constrictor.

That they survived uneaten afterwards, was itself another notch in the belt.

Yes, Mae West was one of a kind.

But did you know, I can do a mean Mae West impersonation myself? Yes!

From the chafing inner thighs waddle, to the speech inflections, to that Billy Idol curl around the lips when she is about to launch into her trademark quips, your humble blogger here present can duplicate The Man-Eating Slut to a tee.

I still haven’t screwed up the courage to go dressed as Mae West to a fancy dress party or as a Halloween costume, but I will, I will.

The Man-Eating Slut, after all, is an aged slut. I have time on my side.

Though I AM practising my one-liners, now:

“A hard man is good to find”

“A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that’s subtraction.”

“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

“Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”

“Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”

“Good sex is like good bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.”

“He’s the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of.”

“I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.”

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”

“I only like two kinds of men, domestic and imported.”

“I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

“I wrote the story myself. It’s about a girl who lost her reputation and never missed it.”

“It’s not the men in my life that count, it’s the life in my men.”

“Sex is emotion in motion.”

“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.”

“To err is human, but it feels divine.”

“When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad I’m better.”

“When women go wrong, men go right after them.”

And lastly, there is this Mae West quote that is my personal favourite.

“I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.”

I used this line under my high school year book picture. And by the time the principal saw it, it had already gone to print. Teehee. Sluts rule!

proc. BY MOIVES
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