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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Film Poster Venus: The Sin of Nora Moran by Alberto Vargas (1896-1982)

This poster for the largely forgotten 1933 melodrama The Sin of Nora Moran, is regularly voted as one of the greatest film posters of all time.  It is by that great artist of the female form, Alberto Vargas, whose paintings would decorate Esquire and Playboy magazines.  It is a great example of Vargas' painting technique in that he invariable started with the form of a nude woman and then added any clothes over the top which gave his pictures a form-clinging sensuousness.  In fact his supposedly clothed pin up paintings for Esquire were considered so revealing that their presence in the magazine was a key contributor to the US Post Office revoking Esquire's second class mailing rights in 1946.  As a result of trying to clean up their image Esquire dropped Vargas and he wasn't picked up for regular pictures by Playboy until 1960.

Zita Johann in The Mummy

The lead actress of the film, German-born Zita Johann (1904-1993) was most famous for her role in The Mummy (1932) where she played the equivalents of the Rachel Weisz and the Patricia Velasquez roles from the 1999 re-make.  It's doubtful that she actually posed for Vargas who often used his wife as his model.

1 comment:

  1. 05 Jun 2015. Triple-P: I am NOT commenting on this listing (fabulous, as always, though it is, but this seems to be my ONLY method to contact (hopefully!) you. My question is this: are you familiar with a 1930s/40s London photographer (and studio) known as "Val Ray"? He did GREAT full-nude work that was totally uncensored pubically (a fairly rare product in the UK of that era, I trust you'll agree). I have numerous 5x7 sharp original prints in my personal collection, and would be happy to share with you if you wanted to research this fellow and needed illustrations. He definitely deserves some exposure in your excellent blog! Hope to hear back soon. Mike Minnich, Toronto, Canada.