Thursday, June 24, 2010

Muse: Kim Novak

After finding all the alluring cat mistress photos of Kim, and seeing the bewitching film Bell Book and Candle, she found her way into my heart.   She's the lead actress in one of my all-time fav films, Hitchcock's Vertigo.  Although she's not the most beautiful actress of her time, not the gracefulest or most charming, not a young fille or an it girl, not the sexiest nor the face of the decade, not a Hitchcock obsession (luckily she didn't end up a Tippi Hedren), not the most sought after -- she's got something far more rare: the sultry death stare of mystery and imminent seduction (refer to photos).  No lead actress of the time exuded such a powerful lock on the camera-- I've also never seen an actress, starlet, or model from the time (late 50s-early 60s) shun the soft beautyshot publicity op for a mysterious femme noir lock on the lens like Novak.

And when she shoots a glance at the camera that's not filled with jaded noir its pleasant, yes, but with an air of knowing behind it-- which is so refreshing when most of her peers prefered uncomplicated wholesome and or uncomplicated bombshell images.  There's something almost scheming behind her sweetest faces that complicate her image in a thrilling way.  

Maybe it was eyebrows.  Novak was noted at the time for her thick sweeping arched dark brows-- at their most prominant in Vertigo.   Those brows are a bold fashion statement on their own.

Kim novak vertigo poster

The infamous spiral French twist:

 In Vertigo (poster below) a woman has several hidden identities captivates Jimmy Stewart's character... Judy the brunette and his client's murdered wife.   Is he really in love with a real person or a false identity?

Novak paired up again with Stewart in Bell, book, and Candle-- and cats.

This promotional poster for the movie is incredible:

Bell book candle poster

Kim Novak was born in 1933 as Marilyn Novak to a Czech-American family in Chicago.  She was hired by Paramont on trial period in the 50s, and they immediately decided to turn her into their bombshell, nixing the overly obvious connection to Monroe, her first name Marilyn.  Among the names thrown around was Kit Marlowe, which Novak resisted, in favor of Kim Novak.  
She started working on a number of films with costars such as Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, and Jack Lemmon.  Those films, while noted, Novak's branded persona didn't shape until Vertigo, Bell Book and Candle, and Strangers When we meet.  In the former two, Novak plays a bewitching, complex outsider female character.   In Vertigo she is torn between two identities-- neither the one she was born into.  In Bell, Book, and Candle she plays a witch... need I say more?  The universe would be amiss of Novak wasn't casting spells on screen.
See her cast her magic:

(this is the argument for the Siamese cat)

In two other career-defining films, Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid and, opposite Kirk Douglas, Strangers When We Meet, Novak's characters show the blurred lines of relationships, deceit, and lust, as both roles deal with infidelity-- and of course, Novak's characters are always the OTHER woman.  Something about her is just slightly off-kilter from the expected, the straight and narrow, and always a bit non-conforming.

A sultry scene from Picnic:

Cats of the Stars.

Lennon and cat!

Twain and cat!
McCartney and cat!
Zappa and cat!
Moon and cat!
Brando and cat!
Corlione and cat!
Kim Novak and cat!
Joan Collins and cat!
Imogene Coca and cat!
Travolta and cat!

Dreamboat Davy Jones and cat!

Liz and Kitten!
Capote and Cat

Kitt as Cat!
Connery and cat!
James Mason and cat!
Clark Gable and cat!
Paulina and cat!
Kelsey Grammar and cats?
Fonda and cat!
Bardot and cat!
Steven Martin and cat in hat!
Georgio Armani and poofy cat!
Nina Simone and cat!
Bewitched cat!

piece de resistance?...

 Basquiat and cat!

 There's a website merging two of my fav things: John Lennon and cats.  Thanks to walking cat-lady cliche Aunt Mimi--John's bitter, single older aunt who primarily raised him from childhood-- John developed a love of cats from a young age.  He had said that his house isn't his home until cats take up residence there.  From Liverpool to London to NYC, John had resident cats at each place he moved.

John's cat drawings.

John and Yoko at Tittenhurst

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