Designer: Lynne Day
Company: Ashton Drake
Story Card Edit
1944's Red Venus caused many a jaw to drop. Here was sweet Gene Marshall, "Our All-American Girl", as a gangster's moll--a lady whose repute might not have been ill, but was certainly ailing!
Gene was having the time of her life, playing the Bad Girl usually portrayed by the likes of Madra Lord. The lights on the set dimmed as Gene's lighting stand-in moved out of the "boudoir" and into the cool darkness. Gene took her place at the dressing table, picked up her hand mirror and brush, and began to absentmindedly brush her hair.
This was the big scene. Having been forced into a marriage to stifle a "stoolie" by her gangster boyfriend, she was in a provocative peignoir, waiting on their wedding night for her "husband" to come back from an "appointment". But as she waited, she was inwardly pining for the "Other Man"--no mean acting feat! So the simple act of brushing her hair was giving Gene time to get into the right mood, to connect with her character, to become "Morgan O'Day", floozy with soul--and that meant a dynamite first take.
The crew began to assemble, and the director took his seat by the camera. "Ready?" he said quietly, so as not to break Gene's mood. And as the bright lights snapped on, Gene was gone and "Morgan" sat brushing her hair, torn between duty and love...