Monday, 25 February 2013

Venus in Egypt: Lesley-Anne Down for Sphinx

Lesley-Anne Down was one of Triple P's favourite actresses of the seventies and early eighties.  In a previous post we admired her dressed in black stockings for the enjoyable film The First Great Train Robbery (1979) and in Upstairs, Downstairs.

Here, this time, we have her in a series of publicity photos taken in Egypt for the thriller Sphinx, for which she was the star at a time when female leads were still unusual in Hollywood.  It could have made her a major star but, unfortunately, despite being based on a popular novel by Robin Cook and good locations in Egypt it was a badly reviewed flop.  It essentially killed Lesley-Anne's film career dead and she had to concentrate on TV from then on.  There were a number of things wrong with it, not least a mis-cast Frank Langella and John Geilgud, and Down, who was so good in The First Great Train Robbery was terribly wooden in this.  She was also burdened with an unflattering haircut.  It's an OK film for a wet Sunday afternoon if you don't want to watch that other Egyptian archaeology film from that year, Raiders of the Lost Ark, again.

These publicity shots feature a costume, if you can call it that, which didn't, sadly, appear in the film.  They certainly were widely published in advance of the film's release, including in the December 1980 Playboy from the credits of which we can venture that they were shot by Michael Childers.

You have to give Down her due here as she looks sensational dressed, essentially, in two strips of very sheer fabric held together by a few bits of string.  She's not in a studio but actually out on location in Egypt where she would, no doubt, have been arrested if she had been caught dressed like this.  Full marks for nerve!

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