Can you imagine Jane Russell playing naive or Joan Fontaine as a voracious sex goddess? Unlike male stars, who can have careers even if they're plug ugly, Hollywood's women have traditionally suffered from having their careers mapped out by the degree and quality of their sexual availability on- (and off-) screen. Furthermore, their sexual role is either the dominator (Mae West) or the dominated (Brigitte Bardot). The exception is the incandescent Louise Brooks (above), famously described by Kenneth Tynan as: "The only star that I can imagine being enslaved by or wanting to enslave." Her combustible combination of innocence and audaciously bare-faced insolence remains unequalled. Having rejected Dietrich as too old, director GW Pabst cast the astonishingly beautiful Brooks in Pandora's Box, his adaptation of Wedekind's Lulu plays. As the beautiful Lulu, Brooks devastates both men and women, a shocking (and shockingly rare) study in female power.
David BenedictReuse content