In her Hollywood years, Elizabeth Taylor had been often compared to Ava Gardner, and in many ways, she was like a young Ava Gardner: They both have exquisite face and devastating figure, they both can be elegant and yet vulgar, and they were both born seducers who can get any men they want. In the film The Barefoot Countess(1954), Ava Gardner had seduced all the men on a yacht in a black velvet bathing suit with golden fringes. Elizabeth Taylor had wanted that role.
But she did not need to worry, a few years later, in the film Suddenly, Last Summer(1959), Elizabeth Taylor would seduce the whole nation with a white swim suit, although the story line was as dark as it could be for that time period.
Ava Gardner did not just live, she LIVED; she did not love, she LOVED; she did not just enter, she made an ENTRANCE: The first time when she stood in front of a camera, the camera declared its love for her; The first time when she walked around MGM studio, her new home as a new hire, the then already huge star of Hollywood, Mickey Rooney, fell for her; Then more men of Hollywood, including Frank Sinatra. She became known as "The world's most beautiful animal."
In the film The Barefoot Condessa(1954), Ava Gardner as Maria Vargas, a sultry Spanish dancer, was invited by one of her Latin admirers, Alberto Bravano to his yacht in French Riviera. In one scene, she walked along the yacht in a gold and black cover-up, until she arrived at the front, where she stopped, stood, took off her cover-up, dropped it, revealing her sculpted body in a halter neck black velvet bathing suit with golden fringes. All the eyes of the men there were on her, as they should, as she wanted them to do. That's how Ava Gardner made her ENTRANCE in life.
When even the whole Hollywood was not enough, Ava Gardner packed her suitcase, and made a new entrance across the Atlantics, into Spain, the country with which she fell in love while filming Pandora and The Flying Dutchman(1951) in Costa Brava.
Like Pandora, the society woman she played in the movie, Ava Gardner would watch bull fights and made men fight for her once she was in Spain, and she would drink, dance and swim. Ava Gardner loved swimming, and with a body of Venus, she could always make an ENTRANCE while putting on a swimsuit, like she did in The Barefoot Condessa.
If there is one word that could best describe Marilyn Monroe without causing any debate, that word would be: seductive. Perhaps nobody, before or after her, has had such a seductive power. And that power, is not limited only to men.
The film director Billy Wilder, who had directed her in two films The Seven Year Itch(1955) and Someone Like it Hot(1959), once said that Monroe's uniqueness was that "She does not infuriate women." And that's so true. Not even when she depicted a golden digger in platinum curls in films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes(1953) and How to Marry a Millionaire(1953).
Threat to a woman? Perhaps, or definitely, depending on Marilyn Monroe's closeness - both physical and emotional - to the man of your life. But infuriation? Not really.
Marilyn Monroe is one of those creatures we call a girl woman, a woman with an angel's face and a devil's body, a femme fatale who has never lost the innocence of a girl.
Various directors-all men, from Billy Wilder, John Huston, Howard Hawks, Jean Negulesco to Laurence Oliver, had explored and exploited such rare quality of Monroe's, by putting her into some version of a role of "Blond with no brain" with underlying charm and fitting costumes matching such roles.
In the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes(1953), Marilyn Monroe played Lorelei, a show girl who wanted to marry a millionaire while keeping her eyes on all men rich, old or young. In one scene, Lorelei was trying to escape from the cabin of a private detective who was investigating her behavior on a cruise-ship, on behalf of the father of her millionaire-husband-to-be, and she was stuck in the porthole window. A very young Henry Spofford III, originally one of Lorelei's potential rich targets, was passing by and Lorelei asked for help. The too-sophisticated-for-his-age Mr. Spofford III decided to help her after some thinking, and explained to her why he would do it: "The first reason is, I am too young to be sent to a jail; The second reason is, you've got a lot of animal magnetism." Whoever had written that last line, had definitely captured the essence of Marilyn Monroe.
Animal Magnetism, that is what Marilyn Monroe had, in capital letters. No man, no matter a military man, a sports man, a man of pen and brain, or even the president, no man had been able to say no to that animal magnetism. Even 60 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe is still singing her Siren's song to millions of men of the new generations.
Strangely enough, while she was in a swimsuit, which exposed her body and herself the most, supposedly at the epitome of her seductive power, Marilyn Monroe also looked like a girl the most, a naive girl who just happened to have a womanly body.