All captures and collages in this post are by Brainscan. He also created the accompanying film clips in the members’ area.
The first five parts of the series are found as follows:
Part 1: 1932. Peak Pre-Code Talkies.
Part 2: 1929-1934. The Other Pre-Code Talkies.
Part 3: 1927. The Swan Song of the Silents.
Part 4: 1900-1926. The Silent Era.
Part 5: 1935-1951. The Dry Years.
Europe to the Rescue
American cinema was, in theory, nudity-free in the 1950s. Surprisingly, two major Hollywood names managed to sneak in some teases – and maybe a bit more – using the ol’ bath trick.
In 1954, Anne Baxter may have flashed some areola in a film called Carnival Story
And Janet Leigh managed to get just about an entire breast on screen in a 1956 film called Safari, although there were no nipples or areolae to be seen, thanks to some dark Hollywood magic.
The USA did have a small coterie of avant-garde filmmakers who incorporated nudity and other shock elements into films that appeared in a few arthouse theaters in Greenwich Village and other such outposts of the outré in the otherwise conformist landscape of the 50s. One such artist was Kenneth Anger, who presented a nude Marjorie Cameron in his fantastical 1954 short, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.
In order to see mainstream nudity, one had to turn to foreign films. Although the UK was puritanical in the 1950s, it was much less so than the USA. The Rank coorporation discovered an exotic-looking German actress who had no qualms about nudity and cast her in the role of the Māori chieftain’s seductive wife in The Seekers. Laya Raki (real name Brunhilde Jörns) created a worldwide stir by baring her breasts, a true rarity in English-language cinema in 1954.
One of the few reliable sources of film nudity in the 50s was France, and one of the great contributors was Dany Carrel, a very fine looking woman.
She was topless in Maternite Clandestine (1953)
and then again in Pot Bouille (1957)
Pot Bouille also featured some exposure from Micheline Luccioni