Another day, another centenary.
From an excellent article on The Hairpin blog:
The first time audiences saw Hedy Lamarr, she was running naked through a field. The second time they saw her, she was in the throes of a very animated orgasm. The next time she appeared on screen - more than five years later - she’d have a new name, a new language, and a new image, but the effect was the same: just the sight of her was enough to stop Hollywood, and audiences across America, in their tracks."Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."
But a new name wasn’t enough to distance Hedy Lamarr from her past as the “Ecstasy Girl,” the star of the so-called “art film” that scandalized all of Europe, and received special denunciation by the Pope. When one exhibitor tried to import it to the States, it was declared “dangerously indecent” and uniformly banned. The real scandal wasn’t the nudity, but the pleasure: a young girl abandons her husband, runs naked, finds a new hot guy, and then has a really intense orgasm for all to see. Who knew what young women the world over would do with that knowledge?
With the help of her new studio, Lamarr was able to denounce her part in Ecstasy, but the stigma of the desiring female would stay with her. Over her Hollywood career, she would be cast as one “high class whore” after another - women whose beauty, and sexuality, make them natural victims of the world around them.
"If you use your imagination, you can look at any actress and see her nude. I hope to make you use your imagination."
"To be a star is to own the world and all the people in it. After a taste of stardom, everything else is poverty."
"Hope and curiosity about the future seemed better than guarantees. That's the way I was. The unknown was always so attractive to me... and still is."
Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, 9th November 1914 – 19th January 2000)
More Hedy Lamarr over at Give 'em the Old Razzle Dazzle