Raquel Welch: a powerful and highly effective persona with a rarely-tapped reward for comedy


The time period “intercourse image” reeks of a bygone age of smirking sexism, and fairly often feminine stars landed with this tag could be given some unique outfit. Ursula Andress had her ivory-white bikini with chunky belt buckle in Dr No; Jane Fonda had her glossy one-piece with black stripes and thigh-length boots because the glam astronaut in Barbarella.

However probably the most outrageous piece of sex-symbol costuming of all time was given to Raquel Welch, who was known as upon to rock a revealing doeskin two-piece in her function as Loana the Honest One within the 1966 dinosaur journey One Million Years BC, that includes stop-motion dino motion by Ray Harryhausen, and primarily based on the less-than-scientific notion that people and dinosaurs coexisted.

Loana was the ultrasexy cavebabe who had three strains within the movie, however the poster picture of Welch on this fairly extraordinary outfit made her a legend. Welch grew to become naughty-but-nice shorthand for a luscious star that blokes of all ages would secretly or not-so-secretly lust after; a form of sitcom gag, like dads watching High of the Pops and ready for Pan’s Individuals to return on.

Kenneth Branagh’s current film Belfast has a shot of Welch entrancing a saucer-eyed household viewers on this movie. And in reality, Welch grew to become much more of a legend in Britain for a publicity stunt in 1972, when – in London to advertise her British-produced western Hannie Caulder – she declared herself to be a Chelsea FC fan, dressed up in Chelsea strip for the photographers and went to a Chelsea dwelling match towards Leicester Metropolis within the itchy-bearded firm of Jimmy Hill. Welch was a powerful, highly effective persona, who didn’t simper or blush however regarded completely amused, as if she might eat any of her admirers for breakfast.

In actual fact, Welch had cult-classic moments earlier than and after her ersatz-Jurassic apotheosis. She had appeared with Frank Sinatra in a now-forgotten thriller known as Woman in Cement (and in reality had a tiny look within the Elvis Presley movie Roustabout). She had been one of many crew within the superb sci-fi film Incredible Voyage, shrunk to microscopic dimension and despatched into the physique of an vital scientist to restore his mind – and inevitably she needed to mannequin a figure-hugging wetsuit.

In Stanley Donen’s Bedazzled, with Peter Prepare dinner and Dudley Moore, through which hapless Dudley sells his soul to the satan, Welch seems because the determine of Lilian Lust who clambers into mattress with him sporting ketchup-red lingerie. Welch obtained no vital respect for her lead efficiency within the little-liked film model of Gore Vidal’s novel Myra Breckinridge in 1970: her taking part in a transgender character is maybe the least of the movie’s problems.

However like so many performers caught with the “intercourse image” job description, Welch had a present for comedy which was generally indulged and generally not: she scored an important success along with her efficiency because the sly Constance de Bonacieux in Richard Lester’s all-star Dumas romps The Three Musketeers and The 4 Musketeers, having a steamy indiscretion with Michael York’s D’Artagnan.

And he or she has actual presence in James Ivory’s Hollywood Golden Age drama The Wild Social gathering from 1975 (an affect on Damien Chazelle’s Babylon), through which she performs the loyal mistress of a has-been star who’s internet hosting an orgy for influential moguls.

Her superstar within the Nineteen Seventies was colossal and it’s a pity that no film-maker might fairly carry out of her that mixture of drollery and brassy bodily power that might effectively have produced an amazing comedy. However she was an icon: an attractive warrior who was greater than a match for human or dinosaur.


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