Archive for Sybil Seely

Precode Bathtime

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2008 by dcairns

A revealing moment of Claudette Colbert in DeMille’s SIGN OF THE CROSS. Costume and production designer (and later director) Mitchell Leisen measured C.C. from toe to nipple so that the sunken bath could be filled with milk to exactly the level dictated by decency. But who knew she’d bounce around so much?

Tom Sutpen has kindly gone to the work of finding the EXACT FRAME of revelation.

The milk soon became unpleasant under the studio lights, and had to be regularly replaced. Then some studio execs visited, and one of them stepped right onto the surface of the milk, which had set into a cheese-like formation and resembled a smooth marble floor. He sank up to his nipples in it at once, of course. Something about the expensive executive buisiness suit coated with soft, malodorous cheese makes a for a pleasing image.

But not as pleasing perhaps as Myrna Loy in THE BARBARIAN, a 30s knock-off of THE SHEIK starring Ramon Novarro.

Anita Loos scripted this kinky fantasy, which offends some people on the IMDb by indulging in the movie equivalent of s&m roleplay. Myrna is abducted by Novarro and learns to like it. I’m sure Anita Loos didn’t take this seriously as a political statement about male-female relations. It’s all meant as good clean dirty fun. It may not be a great film, but Myrna’s frontal nudity, which is even more revealing when you add the movement of the water, is impressively both explicit and yet not quite clear. Is she wearing some kind of modesty garment? It’s hard to be sure.

Hopefully someone will also mention Sybil Seely in Buster Keaton’s ONE WEEK.