Tinseltown’s controversial beauties
I became conscious of Hollywood ballyhoo because of two scandals that received ample publicity—and contrasting results. The first actress became a big star because of the controversy, while the other was condemned because of it!
The first one was “The Outlaw” scandal, and the second came years later because of the Ingrid Bergman-Roberto Rossellini affair. Bergman was one of the world’s favorite actresses after she was imported from Sweden, via “Intermezzo.” She won an Oscar for “Gaslight” and was a sight to behold in “Joan of Arc.”
Bergman got tired of Tinseltown’s predictable movies and was eager to work with the critically acclaimed Rossellini. Unfortunately, she got pregnant during the filming of their movie together. As a result, she was banned in Hollywood for years—and even the Vatican condemned her for what she did.
At the center of “The Outlaw” controversy was the lead actress—a buxom Texan named Jane Russell, who was bestowed with a 38D-cup frontage. The film was condemned by the Catholic Church—which piqued moviegoers’ curiosity. The “scandal” paved the way for busty beauties like Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Mamie van Doren, Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren.
Just watching stills from Russell’s starrer was considered a “sin,” making the actress a huge star even before her movie was shown! Interestingly, Jane had little interest in the issue and was in fact quite religious.
At the time, Howard Hughes had already gained notoriety as a brash producer. He was an eccentric millionaire who gifted his women with jewelry and movie stardom. Only a few women didn’t take advantage of his generosity, such as Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner.
Filipino moviegoers were also caught up in “The Outlaw” ballyhoo, but I wondered then what the big deal was. After all, before the Spanish came and introduced Christianity here, many of our women walked around topless!
Mothers thought nothing of dropping everything to expose their breasts to nurse their babies—and it was everybody’s “duty” to look the other way! Why then was there such a ruckus over Jane Russell’s cleavage?
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