Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bevy of Beauties

A friend sent me this post on the Howard Hughes' flick Son of Sinbad, which speculates that Hughes "must have promised a part in the picture to every stripper from Hollywood to Vegas, because they're all in it." But other than Lili St. Cyr, who played the female lead, there were very few stripteasers in Son of Sinbad.

Vincent Price, one of the film's stars, explained the movie was a way for Hughes to fulfill his commitment to various starlets and beauties. Apparently, Hughes had awarded contracts promising film roles to women all across the country. With Son of Sinbad, Hughes could satisfy his obligations at once. The script, wrote Price in his autobiography, would call for “girls, girls, girls! Instead of the forty thieves, we had the daughters of the forty thieves in a cave. Every marketplace was wriggling with girls, selling their wares, among other things. Twenty girls who had won a Midwest Hughes-inspired beauty contest at least ten years before were rooted out of their happy homes. The price had been a part in a movie--now they were to have their unwonted chance. They were exported from the Midwest to Hollywood . . . and flung onto the set embarrassed to death in the flimsiest costumes. ”

As for Lili, the Hays Office, Hollywood's self-censoring group, was unhappy about her hiring. But the newspaper columnists loved it. Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky spent a day on the set watching her co-stars do a scene, but admitted he was “more interested” in Lili. Skolsky was surprised to learn her voice was “kind of shrill and untrained, didn’t . . . go with her face--sexy and sophisticated--and her figure--worldly, and just about the best in town. ” Other columnists dished the fact that another actress dubbed Lili’s lines, wondered if she’d been signed to a long-term contract, and speculated on her costume--“a smile and not much else” hoped one.


Rick said...

Besides Lili St. Cyr, there are at least two other notable burlesque stars in Son of Sinbad - Kalantan and Nejla Ates. Both were gorgeous, glamorous, and talented dancers. The costumes in Son of Sinbad are stunning, and the dances are well worth watching. But the movie as a whole is hard to sit through.

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