These five seductresses deserve to be listed because they represent the history of the femme fatale: Lillian Russell, Theda Bara, Clara Bow, Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich. In 1917, the risque role of Theda Bara as Cleopatra in a soon censored and now lost movie had inflamed the minds of the early moviegoers. She was nicknamed the Vamp, a word taken from Vampyr which soon became widely used to refer to the sex bombs of the cinema.
Marilyn had fun on this project. It was not easy for a young modern woman to reincarnate Theda Bara forty years after her glory but the harem costume was enough to bring some likeness. Marilyn poses with the required languor. This costume is estimated £ 300K, for sale by Christie's in London on December 16, lot 10.
It consists of three elements in provocative colors to give an idea of luxury and even lust: a headdress, a bustier and a long skirt. The widely exhibited navel accentuates the resemblance to one of the most glamorous pictures of Theda Bara.
A few weeks later, the project of the greatest blockbuster of the time, which will be the Cleopatra of Liz Taylor, is announced. Marilyn unsuccessfully tried to use the Life photo to obtain the lead role.