Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nineteen sixties comedy race caper film Venus 1: Natalie Wood in the Great Race




There are some actresses of whom Triple P is very aware of but has never, for one reason or another, seen any of their films.  Natalie Wood is one of these.  We have never seen Rebel without a Cause, West Side Story, Gypsy or Splendor in the Grass.  




The other night, however, feeling in the need for something light to watch we spotted, in our enormous pile of non-watched DVDs, the film The Great Race.  We may have seen this on TV many years ago but we certainly don't really remember it.




A 1965 Blake Edwards epic comedy starring Tony Curtis (in place of the surprising original choice, Charlton Heston, who was too busy being Michelangelo to do it it) and Jack Lemmon it is about a motor car race from New York to Paris loosely based on an actual event which took place in 1908.




The film was one of the inspirations for one of Agent Triple P's favourite cartoon series from when he was a child, Wacky Races.  Perhaps it has rather too much slapstick for our tastes but Wood, as Maggie Dubois, is adorable, funny and charming throughout.




Given how long it is since we first saw the film (if we did and it was probably on TV in black and white) we don't remember (or, perhaps, didn't even register) how utterly gorgeous Wood was in this; especially given a selection of period pastiche underwear she was required to wear for key scenes towards the end of the film.




In the second half of the film the plot takes a Ruritanian diversion and it is at this point that Miss Wood is seen bathing in a lake in her rather delicious lingerie.  Where would films be without the heroine being caught bathing in a lake?  In fact, we will look at another similar scene from another film of the period shortly.








Fortunately, the on set photographer recognised a useful publicity scene when he saw it.




Wood, in her role as a proto-feminist suffragette journalist went through no less than nineteen costume changes in the film.








Several of these costumes were very much designed to show off her impressive figure.




Interestingly, our last batch of pictures of Wood in a corset are from a scene cut from what was a long film.  Imprisoned in a castle wearing the yellow dress we can see on the bushes in the lakeside scene, we next see her dropping into the arms of one of her captors having made her dress into an escape rope.




However, this series of stills show her back up in the castle before her escape, in a scene that isn't in the final film.  Whether it was filmed and cut or these pictures were just shot as publicity stills we don't know but she looks completely delicious in them.








The one above is certainly a publicity still but the others were obviously shot on set.  Wood was tiny, just five feet tall, but unlike some smaller women she was perfectly proportioned with slim and very shapely legs.








In her last scenes in her corset she gets involved in the biggest cinematic custard pie film on celluloid and still looks ravishing, even when covered in gunk.




Natalie Wood was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko in San Franciso on July 20th 1938 (the same day as Diana Rigg) and made her film debut at the age of four successfully moving from child to teen to adult actress.




She died, of course, in tragic and controversial circumstances in 1981 at the age of just 43, still a great beauty.




Another nineteen sixties comedy race caper film Venus soon!

2 comments:

  1. Una actriz maravillosa y una mujer bellísima, con un triste final que no merecía. ¡Divina Natalie Wood!
    Gracias.

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  2. Beautiful - slight resemblance to British actress, Olivia Coleman perhaps?

    ReplyDelete