n°31/ Wigs and Punishment

August 2012

by Nathalie Azoulai

Did you ever notice that some directors like to cut their actresses' hair and change their usual and iconic haircolor? Remember Orson Welles with Rita Hayworth in The Lady of Shangaï, Jean-Luc Godard with Bardot in Contempt or more recently, Almodovar changing Penelope Cruz into a blond in Broken Embraces? There's something weird about these transformations. As if those directors wanted to show their Pygmalion omnipotent power to the world, being able to submit the biggest stars to their will and reverse their usual image. Moreover if you remember that Hayworth and Welles were about to split at this time and that Godard didn't get along at all with Bardot. So that those new hairstyles and wigs could epitomize godlike punishments meant to alter their muses'seductive appeal.  

Some muses will ever remain unreachable and unpunishable though. Which director would have dared to make Marilyn Monroe a brunette or Ava Gardner a blond? None.


Rita Hayworth

Brigitte Bardot

Penelope Cruz