Many of my film fascinations have started with a photograph, rather than a movie. Photos have the power to beguile us and leave a lasting impression long after the film has faded from memory.
Before I ever saw Garbo, Louise Brooks, Harlow or Valentino in a movie, their photographs enchanted me. Some artists, like Theda Bara, live on primarily through their photos, as most of their films are now lost.
One fascinating face that graced photos first as an artist model, next as a showgirl and finally as a tabloid star, was the infamous Evelyn Nesbit Thaw.
Famous now as "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing," Evelyn's beauty was a the catalyst for the "murder of the century," the murder of architect Sanford White by Evelyn's husband, Harry K. Thaw. After the circus of the trial was over, Evelyn tried her hand at exploitative movies, none of which exist.
An early model for the Gibson Girl illustrations, Evelyn's sad story has faded from the front page, but, in these beautiful images, she still manages to beguile.
A lovely video tribute to Evelyn and
a short version of her story from the
author of "American Eve":
For more about Evelyn Nesbit Thaw, visit these sites:
The Story of Evelyn Nesbit and the Thaw-White Murder
American Experience/Murder of the Century/Love Triangle
The Sanford White Murder
A good read about Evelyn and her life and times is "American Eve" Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White: The Birth of the "It" Girl and the Crime of the Century," by