Among Carole Lombard's films, "White Woman" was easily the most over-the-top. A 1933 melodrama set in the jungles of what was then called Malaya, Charles Laughton chews the scenery, and the rest of the cast either follows suit or does nothing to stop him. Carole suffered a laceration arm at the hands of a chimpanzee and likely yearned for another loanout to Columbia (where Harry Cohn, for all his faults, gave her good stories and production values) instead of enduring one more programmer back home at Paramount.
But "White Woman" has one virtue (the pun for Carole's first Columbia film is semi-intentional): Lombard looks incredibly alluring, particularly in a pre-Code setting where she could get away with things that would be deemed verboten less than a year later. For example, take this photo from Eugene Robert Richee, p1202-607, where she's shown in a gown so sheer an outline of nipple is visible:
That same session, in the same form-fitting gown, produced this shot, p1202-613. However, note here that Lombard and Richee played it relatively safe, using a train of satin to distract from Carole's chest and focus attention on her sleek, supple figure:
An original 8" x 10" negative of p1202-613, in excellent condition, is being auctioned at eBay. "This is a nice one," the seller states, and who will argue?
Given that the opening bid is $399, this item is for serious Carole collectors, and bidding ends at 10 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday. Whether you're truly interested or merely curious, you can learn more at http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIGINAL-8-x-10-STUDIO-NEGATIVE-/380475380029?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item589619913d.
We'll leave you with an intriguing photo taken either in late 1933 or early '34, showing Paramount patriarch Adolph Zukor with 11 of the studio's latest starlets:
Top row (from left): Gwenllian Gill, Barbara Fritchie, Dorothy Dell, Evelyn Venable, Elizabeth Young, Ann Sheridan, Grace Bradley. Bottom row: Toby Wing, Charlotte Henry, Zukor, Gail Patrick, Ida Lupino.
Sheridan and Lupino would become bona fide stars, albeit not at Paramount; Patrick, Venable and Bradley had solid careers, generally as supporting players; Wing remained the perpetual chorus girl with occasional supporting parts; Henry replaced Lupino in the title role of "Alice In Wonderland" before her own career shut up like a telescope; Dell showed promise before her death at age 19 in an auto accident in June 1934; and the other three were only in a handful of films.
This week's LiveJournal header shows Lombard and Laughton in their other co-starring vehicle, 1940's "They Knew What They Wanted."