Jean Cocteau | Barbette stills

Glittering drag aerialist Barbette (a.k.a. Vander Clyde) died on this day in 1973. And so it seemed auspicious that this morning I finally got my hands on Nice Guys Don’t Work in Hollywood by Curtis Harrington, in whose first feature Night Tide Barbette (very) briefly appeared as an extra, alongside a young Dennis Hopper. Sadly the mention of Barbette in the book matches the performer’s screen time for brevity. But wanting to mark the occasion in some way, I offer these stills from Jean Cocteau’s hypnotic 1932 masterpiece, Le Sang d’un poète. While Barbette is hardly the centre of attention here, either, he does get a close up as he powders his face and – for a thrilling split second – (accidentally?) looks into the camera. See the whole of Cocteau’s film here.

Barbette 1
Barbette 2
Barbette 3
Barbette 4
Barbette 5
Barbette 6
Barbette 7
Barbette 8
Barbette 9
Barbette 10

Further reading
World Famous Aerial Queen
Man Ray | portraits
Dress-down Friday: Barbette

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  1. Linda Hollander

    Lee Miller??? THE Lee Miller? I’ve only seen this movie about Five times and NEVER noticed!

  2. jon newlin

    …and when will you favor us with an entry on the alluringly adipose odette talazac?

  3. thombeau

    How have I not seen this???
    On a semi-related note, a friend recently gave me a dvd of the Curtis Harrington Collection. I haven’t watched it yet but am looking forward to it. Does not seem to have Night Tide, unfortunately.

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