We here at the Monkey pause to note the passing of one our favorite actresses, Jane Russell. As my big brother noted an e-mail, "in 'the day,' she was hot, hot, hot."
She was indeed.
I am of an age that my first introduction to Jane Russell was during her stint as a foundation undergarment spokesperson "for us full-figured gals," as she put it. I was a little too young to understand what part of her figure she was referring to. Later I figured it out. Hubba hubba.
Probably her most famous role was her first, The Outlaw, in which she co-starred with a cantilevered bra designed by Howard Hughes and his team of aeronautical engineers. Truth be told, it's not a very good movie and she didn't wear the bra anyway. Filming was completed in 1941, but Hollywood's censors delayed its release until 1943, with a nationwide release not coming until 1946.
"They held up The Outlaw for five years," she said later. "And Howard Hughes had me doing publicity for it every day, five days a week for five years."
Russell didn't appear in another film until 1946.
If you want to see her in something good, I'd recommend the two movies she made with Robert Mitchum, His Kind Of Woman (1951) and Macao (1952), and what I think is the best performance of her career, as a nightclub singer trying to keep her gold-digging pal Marilyn Monroe out of trouble in Howard Hawks' musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).
I know everybody remembers Marilyn Monroe's signature performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," but personally, give me Jane Russell.
Light and Shadow: Mary Meade
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