Beauties, Babes, and Burlesque - Fri. Aug. 29 - 8PM

Oddball Films and guest curator Christina Yglesias present Beauties, Babes, and Burlesque, a sampling of sexy short films. There will be bikini babes, pretty pin-ups, dancing ladies, and steamy stripteases, all from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. The night will progress from innocent to not-so-innocent as we take a look into the sexy (and by today's standards, sexist) world of films created to showcase beautiful women and titillate the midcentury man.  The night will start off innocently enough with The Sofia Girls: Rhythmic Gymnastics in Sweden (1950's). The athletes of the all-female gymnastic team "express serenity, poise, beauty" as they vault, hike, ski, dance, and tumble through a day of training in the Swedish countryside. In Bikini Girls (1949), a snarky narrator guides us through three shorts featuring bikini babes; Beachcombing BelleAnts in her Plants, and Goldilocks Goes Glamorous. To provide "relief of marital boredom" for those poor "men who have submitted, suffered, and supported long enough", there is the silent, oddly surreal, pseudo-educational short How to Undress in Front of Your Husband starring Mrs. John Barrymore. Next, things will get racier with a series of nine Burlesque Screen Tests and dances. You'll see starlet Barbara Nichols doing the Latin Mambo, Bunny Spencer modeling "the stockings of tomorrow", two afro-cuban dance numbers, Million Dollar Legsthe creepy Caught in the Barbed Wire, and more. Then, eight more burlesque and musical numbers will continue the tease. Highlights include Beauty Bound (1930), which  somehow succeeds in making a full-leg cast seem sexy, and Doll Dance with Arlene and Rene (1940s), a strange strip-tease collaboration between marionette and real-life burlesque performer. To end with a splash, we bring you Lili St. Cyr's Bubble Bath Dance (1951), the famous performance that brought her to court for a "lewd and lascivious" charge. Come early and see a collection of retro commercials for bras, girdles, panties, soap, and other products marketed to increase sex appeal.

Date: Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117

Highlights include: 

The Sofia Girls (B+W, 1950s)
The Sofia Girls is a rare Swedish instructional exercise film with a brilliant choreographic style, wondrously shot in an iconic post Riefenstahl style. One of the gems of the Oddball Archive!

Bikini Girls (B+W, 1949)
Three titillating tales featuring bikini-clad women and an over-the-top narrator. Shot over 50 years ago these  risque shorts always feature women doing things that expose themselves like applying suntan lotion, trying on clothes and “getting comfortable” in the hot sun. A sexy and sexist look at the lighter side of eroticism in the 1940s.

Beachcombing Belle”  A brunette does laundry in a tide pool and strips down to a bikini and sun bathes. The waves wash away her clothes! 

Ants in her Pants” A blonde beauty gardens. The narrator talks about trimming tress as she strips to her bikini. She continues to water plants in her yard wearing a bathing suit. 

Goldilocks Goes Glamorous” A blonde woman walks through the forest and stumbles on the three little bears house. She tries on the families bathing suits and decides Baby Bear’s bikini is just the right fit...

Burlesque Screen Tests and Dancers (B+W, 1950s)
Watch these “Screen tests” and super-quirky burlesque dancers get way-out and weird. Shorts feature Bunny Spencer modeling the “stockings of tomorrow”, Barbara Nichols doing a Latin Mambo on a rooftop and “Afro-Cuban Genni”, masked and dancing with a bowl of fire on her head. Now that’s burlesque!

Lili St. Cyr in Bubble Bath Dance (B+W, 1950s)
Lili St. Cyr was the most influential burlesque dancer in the second half of the 20th century. Her hip-swiveling ways swayed pop-culture sirens from Marilyn Monroe (who copied her style) to Madonna (who bought her famous push up bras) for decades to come.
St. Cyr shimmied across the country with inventive routines in posh nightclubs amassing legions of famous fans, including Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan. Her notoriety and fame brought financial and commercial successes, with roles in movies like Howard Hughes' Son of Sinbad and Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead.

Doll Dance (B+W, 1940s) 
A 1940s Burlesque tit for tat dance number with Arlene and Rene. Both ladies are lovely, only Arlene has someone pulling her strings. 

Vintage Commercials with Sex Appeal (Color and B+W, 1960s-1970s)
Beautify your body with the following commercial products: I Can't Believe It's a Bra "Telephone",  Playtex 18 Hour All in One "You've Lost Weight", 18 Hour Girdle, Story Of Life "Sexual Appeal"  "Airliner" ,  Zest "Mother - Daughter" (whatever that implies), Water Fingers "Home From Work" and many more!

How to Undress in Front of Your Husband (B+W, 1937)

An exercise in exhibitionism and the least titillating striptease ever starring Elaine Barrie AKA Mrs. John Barrymore (!) wife of the famed Hollywood legend.  It's a wonder she was his last wife!

Curator's Biography:

Christina Yglesias is a media artist based in Oakland. She holds a degree in Intermedia Arts from Mills College. She is a former Oddball intern, a professional video editor, and found footage freak. 

About Oddball Films

Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.