ALICE RACKHAM, the third of my ‘Screen Siren Noir’ series will be published October the 10th. But who is Alice Rackham?
Unlike Diana Christmas and Eden St. Michel – both undeniably glamorous movie stars, whose beautiful visages sold film magazines by the thousands – Alice Rackham wasn’t quite a household name as far as cinema fans were concerned. Certainly, those who went to the theatre knew who she was. Her name alone could sell out a London production of even the most obscure play. On the stage she was this ball of energy impossible to take one’s eyes off. Regular patrons of the theatre adored her.
But she never made it in the same way in pictures.
Part of that was her looks. Not that Alice Rackham was an average looking woman, she was particularly beautiful. Almost breathtakingly beautiful if you saw her in the flesh. But on camera, her curves didn’t come across with all the sex appeal of an Elizabeth Taylor or a Marilyn Monroe (or a Diana Christmas or an Eden St. Michel). Maybe it was the roundness of her face, the way her cheekbones seemed to get lost, but on screen she appeared quite matronly. Blown up thirty-foot-high, she looked like a mum. A young mum absolutely, but a mum nonetheless.
And that was the kind of role she got in British films. It was mothers and teachers and women of authority. Not the girlfriend or the lover or a chanteuse or anyone who screams out with sex appeal, but the solid and stolid type. On stage she could be anything. There was probably no role beyond her. But on screen, she was only ever cast as the most sensible of women.
Not that that meant she wasn’t interested in cinema, she made numerous films in between her stage productions. Indeed, when we meet her in 1958, she’s playing the older sister of a would-be gangster in a new crime film. A sizeable role, but once again a bland role that captured nothing of the passion or beauty of the real her.
Those who met her in real life – particularly those men who knew her in real life – were breathlessly aware of how effortlessly and constantly sexy Alice Rackham was. In the real world, those curves of hers looked in no way matronly. They were delicious and inviting and demanding of attention.
Alice – still unmarried in her mid-thirties – was never bashful about the fact that she was a woman who liked to have fun. That she liked to have fun with the right man. Recently she’d met a young actor and the two of them were entwined in passion every single night. But Alice’s love life was always complicated, and there was forever a chance that it could blow up right into her face.
ALICE RACKHAM will be available this October, and you can pre-order your copy now!