This era saw the introduction of colour films and an end to those wonderfully innovating silent movies. It serves, somewhat arbitrarily, as the first decade for our developing catalogue and despite, it being dubbed as "the depression", the 1930s is richer in sci-fi babes than you might initially think.
To start with, there's Loo Loo and her twin Boo Boo (no, honestly) in Just Imagine (1930), played by Joyzelle Joyner, although Maureen O'Sullivan also featured in the film, playing as LN-18. Now a number is a really good name for a sci-fi babe, right ? (number six, seven of nine etc...) For the uninitiated, Maureen is better known for her role as Jane in Tarzan, and a real beauty! The film was set in the future - yes as far ahead as 1980, when we all had planes instead of cars!
I didn't really go for Bridgette Helm in Metropolis, but in Alraune (1930) she definitely hottened up as Alraune ten Binken. The film was a remake of the silent 1928 version (it was originally filmed in 1918 and again in 1952) and Alraune was a genetically-engineered woman, created by impregnating a lowly prostitute with a mandrake plant, which, legend had it, sprouted from the sperm of hanged prisoners.
Take a good look at Margaretta Scott, who played two characters; Roxana Black (now that is a proper sci-fi babe name) and the gorgeous Rowena Cabal, known just as Rowena, in Things to come (1936), based on H.G. Wells' work, "The shape of things to come". Rowena is pictured here, and she is my personal choice for the hottest sci-fi babe of the 1930s.
Now the costume itself is worthy of sci-fi status, especially the short skirt and the huge collar, and its a long way from the boas and long dresses of the era. Oh, and I love the slicked hair, reminds me of Trinity in the Matrix films.
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is a legitimate sci-fi film, and who can forget Ella Lanchester's iconic hair-do as the monster's bride? Not too sure about the babe part though, although at least Dr Frankenstein did a better job with her than he did with the monster!
Making her debut in The Island of Lost Souls (1932), Kathleen Burke played the very sultry and sexy Lota, in another HG well adaptations. Lota has been bred from panthers, though the only indications are her long claw-like nails and upturned eyebrows. Kathleen was a dental nurse and discovered at the age of 19 - though she does look older than that to me - by the film maker at a talent contest. She retired from film-making at the young age of just 25....what a shame!
The Man who Changed his Mind (1936) went to great lengths to seduce his talented co-worker Dr Clare Wyatt, Played by Anna Lee. He puts his mind in another, younger, man only to find he can't change his habits. Clare doesn't fall for it, of course.
Now I am a sucker for the Latino type, so its only proper that we have one in at this early stage. Maria from Lost Horizon (1937) fits the bill. The film made science fiction qualification based on the discovery of Shangri-La. Played by Mexican Margo Albert (Nee María Marguerita Guadalupe Teresa Estela Bolado!), Maria was an inhabitant of Shangri-La, but aged quickly and died when she left, having returned to her "real" age - what a shame!
Before we leave the 1930s, lets have a quick look at perhaps the babe that brought mass sex appeal to the world. Yes, I'm talking about Flash Gordon's companion, Dale Arden, played by Jean Rogers, and her nemesis, Princess Aura.
Dale was described as "beautiful, independent and capable. In most circumstances, Dale is well able to take care of herself and is an ideal companion for the adventuring Flash. Which is not to say that: she is unfeminine." Dale was lusted after by Ming the Merciless, as well as thousands of cinema goers, with her long blonde hair and revealing costumes. Princess Aura was the daughter of Ming and had a crush on the handsome Flash, and just a bit of jealousy towards Dale.
We'll meet both characters later...
>>On to Sci-fi babes of the 1940s