Sensual HumidityMonday, January 02, 2017
In my Sunday New York Times Woody Allen Reviews a GraphicTale of a Scandalous Starlet. It is a lovely essay of what seems a very good biography on Mary Astor. I was struck by Allen’s deft use of adjectives.
Many years ago when I began to write, prodded with the help of my novelist friend John Lekich who is very deft in the use of adjectives I decided I could not go there. And I have never have, using a more direct approach without embellishments.
In the Allen essay which I thoroughly enjoyed I was stopped by the following:
The truth is I can think of a dozen other femmes fatales I’d prefer to be lured up a dark alley with to enjoy a beating or violent death. Even Sorel, who is so smitten with this movie star that he wants to see her put on a postage stamp, agrees she never achieved the sensual humidity of Rita Hayworth or Marilyn Monroe. So what did Mary Astor have that such a good book could be written about her? Well, for one thing, she had a major scandal — and a torrid one at that. And while she may not have projected sex appeal, she did reek of aristocracy, or at least her name, Astor, smacked of the manor. Of course she was in no way related to the richest man who went down on the Titanic. Astor wasn’t her real name. She was born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke, a name that would probably never even fit on the average movie marquee.
What exactly is “sensual humidity”?
I thought about it all last night (by then January 2, 2017). I was stumped until I remembered my bathtub shot of Gillian McGinnis. I wrote about her here.
I have to admit I have never ever been to a Turkish bath but when I was taking photographs of McGinnis with my tripod over her and I was looking down, while my lens did not fog up I felt some stirrings that are still in my memory.