Friday, October 22, 2010

Gaining Attitude

In the previous post I spent some time describing how the Bolles girl was anything but a one dimensional poster girl peddling glee. As approachable as many were, there were others who wanted nothing at all to do with the guy who had just shelled out his hard earned money for the magazine. Compared with any other pinup illustrator-then or now-Bolles was far more apt to depict his girls in emotions ranging from boredom to annoyance to outright contempt. Clearly, this version of the Bolles girl was not only well aware of her effect on readers but could care less. As you can see from the examples above which span from 1923 to 1941, the not so nice Bolles girl made regular appearances throughout his entire career.

To the right is the entire image for the 1923 Film Fun cover and as you'll notice, there's a lot more going on in the composition that we typically see from Bolles.Yet within a year these sorts of narrative elements would fade from the covers to leave the Bolles girl front and center, free of any visual competition. In some ways this was too bad, because as this examples shows, Bolles had no trouble handling more involved compositions.

But aside from all this, take a closer look at our jaded film star and consider just how racy her image must have appeared the day she hit the newsstands. Notice-as if you haven't already-that revealing swim suit, the rolled hose, those splayed ankles. Naughty girl! Nobody today would take offense at any of this, but back in Bolles' times these were just the sorts of provocations that resulted in Film Fun getting banned by entire countries. Just one more thing; could this be the earliest depiction of a stunt double?