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SEARCH FOR BEAUTY (1934)


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Part of the recent Paramount box set: *Search for Beauty* is a fascinating pre-Coder that's about the sexiest film I can remember seeing. The whole film is about sex disguised as a health and exercise magazine that hucksters Robert Armstrong and Gertrude Michael put over by duping Olympic athletes Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino (!) into lending their names to it.

 

Amazingly frank attitude toward sex actually shows several naked men in a locker room, women showing their crotches (in underwear and bathing suits), etc. Dozens of men and women run around in skimpy, tight bathing suits throughout the film, including a massive production number. There are many scenes of men ogling the scantily clad women, and a jaw-dropping scene where Gertrude Michael zeroes in with binoculars no less on Crabbe's crotch while he's competing in the Olympics.

 

Crabbe is surprisingly good, but 20-year-old Lupino, in her American film debut, is totally unrecognizable with curly blonde hair and Dietrich eyebrows. Armstrong and Michael (always underrated) are solid. We also get James Gleason, Toby Wing (in her best film role, dancing in skivvies on a tabletop), Bradley Page, Nora Cecil, Roscoe Karns, etc. Ann Sheridan and Lynn Bari are among the beauties.

 

There's a hilarious sequence where they decide to build the perfect woman for advertising (think *Page Miss Glory*) by gathering models who are famed for their specific parts.... one for lips, one for hair, etc... and then there's Fanny....

 

I wonder if TCM plans to show this one!

 

Message was edited by: drednm

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  • 5 years later...

It is making its TCM premiere next month.

 

Good to know since I love pre-codes and this sounds like an interesting one.

 

Also,  strange that the OP says this at the bottom: Message was edited by: drednm

 

Did he forget that he used a different username?

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  • 6 months later...
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In this pre-code film, which I really love, Buster Crabbe, who is very good in the film,  has a nearly naked scene in a locker room at the beginning of the film and, at the end, there is a huge production number that features male and female beauties from around the world.

 

When I saw this one twice at the Film Forum in New York City, the theater was jammed both times.

 

The film is brutally frank about SEX.

 

And it's a real hoot.

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In this pre-code film, which I really love, Buster Crabbe, who is very good in the film,  has a nearly naked scene in a locker room at the beginning of the film and, at the end, there is a huge production number that features male and female beauties from around the world.

 

When I saw this one twice at the Film Forum in New York City, the theater was jammed both times.

 

The film is brutally frank about SEX.

 

And it's a real hoot.

I think, if I'm not mistaken, he did those scenes nude. And in the original print, where he was showering, he is shown naked, at least from the backside when he steps in or out of the shower. But because the production code started being enforced shortly afterward, rereleases of the film meant the nude footage had to be cut. And the images do not survive, except in still photographs (publicity shots).

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I think, if I'm not mistaken, he did those scenes nude. And in the original print, where he was showering, he is shown naked, at least from the backside when he steps in or out of the shower. But because the production code started being enforced shortly afterward, rereleases of the film meant the nude footage had to be cut. And the images do not survive, except in still photographs (publicity shots).

If you remember, there is a long shot of the locker room, in which naked men are toweling off and have their backsides to the camera.

 

But, yes, if only we could have seen Buster Crabbe in the nude.

 

search-for-beauty-1.jpg

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If you remember, there is a long shot of the locker room, in which naked men are toweling off and have their backsides to the camera.

 

But, yes, if only we could have seen Buster Crabbe in the nude.

 

search-for-beauty-1.jpg

 

Yes,  there is a young Ann Sheridan here.     Hey, there is something for everyone in this picture of good looking people! 

 

I enjoyed the film and found it interesting since some folks still believe the fitness craze started in the 80s.

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Yes,  there is a young Ann Sheridan here.     Hey, there is something for everyone in this picture of good looking people! 

 

I enjoyed the film and found it interesting since some folks still believe the fitness craze started in the 80s.

You are right, this is one of those rare films in which there is something for everyone.

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In this pre-code film, which I really love, Buster Crabbe, who is very good in the film,  has a nearly naked scene in a locker room at the beginning of the film and, at the end, there is a huge production number that features male and female beauties from around the world.

 

When I saw this one twice at the Film Forum in New York City, the theater was jammed both times.

 

The film is brutally frank about SEX.

 

And it's a real hoot.

 

Yes, there are several naked male butts on display in the locker room scene in SEARCH FOR BEAUTY, but not Buster Crabbe's.

Crabbe would likely not have agreed to any actual nudity of his own on display.

But he does undress several times in the movie without ever revealing anything that wouldn't be seen during one of his swimming competitions. The filmmakers clearly calculated the tease element here with the well-known Olympic athlete.

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Yes, there are several naked male butts on display in the locker room scene in SEARCH FOR BEAUTY, but not Buster Crabbe's.

Crabbe would likely not have agreed to any actual nudity of his own on display.

But he does undress several times in the movie without ever revealing anything that wouldn't be seen during one of his swimming competitions. The filmmakers clearly calculated the tease element here with the well-known Olympic athlete.

 

Why would Crabbe not agreed to showing his rear end?   Based on how he filled his trunks he had a nice one.   ;)

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Why would Crabbe not agreed to showing his rear end?   Based on how he filled his trunks he had a nice one.   ;)

Buster Crabbe does come close to being nude in the film.

 

But, being a famous Olympian, he might've objected to total nudity.

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Why would Crabbe not agreed to showing his rear end?   Based on how he filled his trunks he had a nice one.  

 

 

I presume you're being humorous here asking why a respected Olympic athlete (especially in the 1930s) would not agree to exposing his naked butt in a movie regardless of how nice it looked. 

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I presume you're being humorous here asking why a respected Olympic athlete (especially in the 1930s) would not agree to exposing his naked butt in a movie regardless of how nice it looked. 

 

Yes, I was being humorous,  which is why I used the 'wink' emoticon  (which I assume every user can see). 

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There was a great deal of Buster Crabbe's nearly unclothed bod in the "Tarzan" serial that he made in the early 30's.

 

That serial has survived, I believe, only as a feature-length version.

 

But archivists, I hear, are still looking.

 

Annex%20-%20Crabbe,%20Buster%20%28Tarzan

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you like SEARCH FOR BEAUTY you might also like the 1934 backstage musical/mystery movie "MURDER AT THE VANITIES".  Runs 89 minutes.  It could be on DVD, but I'm not sure.  I know it was on VHS (I have an MCA tape).  It's loaded with a lot of near-nudity; I reckon the filmmakers enjoyed pushing the envelope with those skimpy costumes.  And you get a production number called "Sweet Marijuana" along with the plot such as it is of Victor McLaglen as the detective trying to find out who's been doing the killing while ogling the various females passing by.

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If you like SEARCH FOR BEAUTY you might also like the 1934 backstage musical/mystery movie "MURDER AT THE VANITIES".  Runs 89 minutes.  It could be on DVD, but I'm not sure.  I know it was on VHS (I have an MCA tape).  It's loaded with a lot of near-nudity; I reckon the filmmakers enjoyed pushing the envelope with those skimpy costumes.  And you get a production number called "Sweet Marijuana" along with the plot such as it is of Victor McLaglen as the detective trying to find out who's been doing the killing while ogling the various females passing by.

You're right, it is quite entertaining.  And I saw it on DVD, too.

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