Virginia [Virginia Postrel, DeepGlamour Editor-in-chief—CW] recently tweeted and posted on Facebook asking, “What photos should absolutely be in a book on glamour?” While putting together this collection of recommendations from pop-culture, I sought out the two photos above, of Sean Young in Blade Runner and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
But it wasn’t until I saw them side by side that I realized how similar they are. Not only do both women know how to hold the hell out of a cigarette, but the images’ contexts are nearly identical.
Both are from interrogation scenes in which the women are suspected of concealing their true natures. Both characters are extremely poised and confident, and both become romantically involved with their interrogators. There are several other parallels as well. I put together the video comparison above.
These twin scenes are following the same formula and mix of glamorous elements: smoking (even the question of permission to smoke), composure and confidence, deception, emotional distance, and danger. Is there an older film noir scene both these movies are paying homage to?
BTW, Virginia told me she thinks the Sean Young photo “is a little too calculatedly retro for my purposes. It lacks sprezzatura. It’s more like an imitation of glamorous photos from the ’40s.” I think it evokes glamour, but I know what Virginia means—Sean Young’s character does look almost artificial…
November 7, 2011
Cross-posted from my post at DeepGlamour.net