You may remember that in a couple of posts about Frank Tashlin, I mentioned that he seemed to be obsessed with showing off his female characters' legs. I wasn't basing this on anything he said (there weren't many interviews with him), but just on the content of his movie, like the pinups-come-to-life scene in Hollywood or Bust.
But after I wrote that, I came upon a couple of newspaper articles from the early '50s where Tashlin was quoted, one of Son of Paleface (one of his first and best) and the other on Marry Me Again (an obscure black-and-white comedy with Marie Wilson and Bob Cummings). I don't have them right in front of me so I can't quote them directly, but here's what they were about:
- In the article on Son of Paleface, Tashlin talks about how he did something new with Jane Russell: "We lowered the camera and discovered her legs," he exults, adding that Howard Hughes called him and the producer (Robert Welch) up and thanked them for showing new aspects of his contractee.
- In the article on Marry Me Again, Tashlin talks about the buxom Marie Wilson and the censorship problems that they ran into (with the censors checking to make sure her dresses weren't too low-cut). But then he says: "Fortunately, there's nothing wrong with legs, and Marie has good ones." Then Tashlin proceeds to detail every scene and costume in the picture where he had the opportunity to show off Marie Wilson's legs.
I would say that this is something a Tashlin biographer, if any, should look into. Except, really, there's nothing very complicated or sinister about it: the guy was a leg man.