Jane Russell's Hollywood debut banned over 'shockingly emphasized breasts'

by 24britishtvAug. 1, 2022, midnight 17
-

Sign up for the latest Marvel news, rumours, fan theories, reviews and more We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Russell is probably still best known as half of one of Hollywood's greatest double acts with Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The glossy musical romcom is back on TV screens this weekend, but the raven-haired star's own "double act" made her an instant sensation with her very first movie at just 19 - even though it was years before an eager and titillated public was able to see it.

Discovered by industrial billionaire and filmmaker Howard Hughes, Russell's assets were front and centre during the 1940/1941 shoot of her big screen debut, The Outlaw. Ostensibly about Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday, all the focus soon fell on her character Rio, but Hughes wanted ever more provocative shots of his young star's assets. He told cinematographer, Gregg Toland: "We're not getting enough production out of Jane’s breasts." More scenes and shots were duly devised with the actress bending over towards the camera or heaving her impressive décolletage. Hughes was so frustrated with visible bras spoiling the fantasy, he created his own first precursor to the invisible push-up bra. Russell, however, was not impressed.
• 'Joan Crawford slept with everyone except Lassie' but loved only one Hughes' creation was extremely uncomfortable and the actress declared: He could design planes but a Mister Playtex he wasn’t." Instead, Russell, carefully covered visible wiring on her own bras with tissue paper. Meanwhile, salacious reports were starting to spread about the movie and it's beautiful and sultry new star. Many of which, unsurprisingly, were spread by Hughes himself. Since it is (heavily) implied that Rio is sleeping with both men in the film, Hughes leaked details to religious and conservative groups who predictably demanded the film should be banned. This, naturally, generated enormous enthusiasm amongst the rest of the population and had cinemas scrambling to book in screenings. But then the censors stepped in and a highly public battle erupted that would last years and go to the courts.

The Outlaw was screened for Joseph Breen, who headed the Production Code, which regulated Hollywood's output to protect the public from anything deemed immoral or inappropriate. Breen blasted the film as "definitely and specifically in violation of our Production Code." He highlighted: "the inescapable suggestions of an illicit relationship between the ‘Doc’ and Rio, and between Billy and Rio; and the countless shots of Rio, in which her breasts are not fully covered." He went on to describe in great detail his objections to the film to his boss,

Breen wrote: "In my more than ten years of critical examination of motion pictures, I have never seen anything quite so unacceptable as the shots of the breasts of the character of Rio. Throughout almost half the picture, the girl’s breasts, which are quite large and prominent, are shockingly emphasized, and in almost every instance are very substantially uncovered." Hughes used his financial clout to argue in court that it was no worse than many other films of the time. He won and the film was released in May 1941 – but many cinemas would not show it without substantial cuts, so Hughes pulled it. The US's entry into World War II diverted Hughes' attentions to his businesses, including major contracts with the US army and air force. It would be another two years before he tried again.

-

Related Articles

HOT TRENDS

West Brom player ratings from 0-0 draw v Cardiff City

by 24britishtvAug. 18, 2022, 7 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Lord's gate dedicated to cricket captain Rachael Heyhoe Flint unveiled

by 24britishtvAug. 18, 2022, 6 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Liz Cheney vs Donald Trump: Why it's not over yet

by 24britishtvAug. 18, 2022, 5 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Wright-Phillips heads Stoke leveller against Boro

by 24britishtvAug. 18, 2022, 2 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

How to appeal your A-Level results if you are not happy with your grades

by 24britishtvAug. 18, 2022, 1 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Ahmedhodzic helps Blades beat 10-man Sunderland

by 24britishtvAug. 18, 2022, midnight2
HOT TRENDS

Ryan Giggs sobs in court as he recounts night in prison cell

by 24britishtvAug. 17, 2022, 9 p.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Reading vs Blackburn Rovers: Match Preview 2022/23

by 24britishtvAug. 17, 2022, 9 p.m.2
HOT TRENDS

‘Look Both Ways’ Review: To Be and Not to Be

by 24britishtvAug. 17, 2022, 9 p.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Emma Raducanu thrashes Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati

by 24britishtvAug. 17, 2022, 9 p.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Dele Alli set to leave Everton with Turkey possible destination

by 24britishtvAug. 17, 2022, 5 p.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Women: Fatuga-Dada, Georgiou & Davison Sign On

by 24britishtvAug. 17, 2022, 5 p.m.2