Category Archives: Film Fanatic

Decision at Sundown

This is a 1957 western directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Randolph Scott. Scott plays Bart Allison who arrives in the town of Sundown looking for revenge after three years of searching for a man named Tate Kimbrough. It’s not clear at first why exactly Bart wants revenge, though it’s hinted that it might have something to do with Bart’s deceased wife, Mary.

Kimbrough is getting married to local girl Lucy (Karen Steele) but Bart breaks up the wedding much to Lucy’s embarrassment. When Lucy suggests that Mary may have been a less than virtuous woman, she is left with more embarrassment to get over!

Scene starts at 46m 35s

Karen Steele’s first acting job was in the radio series Let George Do It (1946 – 54). In this detective comedy Bob Bailey played George Valentine, a World War II veteran returned from the war, who advertises his services as an odd job man.

Bob Bailey

The ad reads:

PERSONAL NOTICE: Do you have a crime that needs solving? Do you have a dog that needs walking? Do you have a wife that needs spanking? Let George do it. Danger’s my stock-in-trade. If the job’s too tough for you to handle, you’ve got a job for me, George Valentine. Write FULL Details.

Postwar wives

This reflects the reality of the post war period in the US when there was a recorded upsurge in “wife spankings” attributed to returning soldiers. Thanks to JS for sending me the newspaper scan.

L’assommoir d’ Émile Zola

Assommoir2L’Assommoir (1877) is the seventh novel in Émile Zola’s twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. Considered one of his masterpieces, the study of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of Paris was a huge commercial success and established Zola’s fame and reputation throughout France and the world.

It tells the story of Gervaise  who runs away to Paris with her shiftless lover Lantier to work as a washerwoman in a hot, busy laundry.

Thanks to Maria White and Harry  for their help with this post.


Scene: Paris, 1850: a public washhouse. Enter Virginie Poisson, the local shrew, who hates the club-footed Gervaise.

Suddenly Mme Boche cried out:

“Goodness, if it isn’t that great tall Virginie! She is actually coming here to wash her rags tied up in a handkerchief.”

Gervaise looked up quickly. Virginie was a woman about her own age, larger and taller than herself, a brunette and pretty in spite of the elongated oval of her face. She hesitated a moment in the center aisle and half shut her eyes, as if looking for something or somebody, but when she distinguished Gervaise she passed close by her with her nose in the air, insolently swaying her hips, and finally established herself only a short distance from her.

Gervaise made a show of keeping her back to Virginie. But she could hear sniggering, and was conscious of her sidelong glances. Virginie, in fact, seemed to have come there to provoke her, and when Gervaise turned around the two women stared hard at one another.

Mme Boche whispered in her gruff voice, “Look at her over there, she’s laughing ’cause you’re crying — the heartless little cat!”

A wild tempest of rage shook Gervaise from head to foot. She stooped with her arms extended, as if feeling for something . . . then snatched up a bucket of soapsuds and threw it at Virginie.

“Bitch!” screamed Virginie. She’d jumped back, so only her boots were wet. All the women in the washhouse hurried to the scene of action. They jumped up on the benches, some with a piece of bread in their hands, others with a bit of soap, and a circle of spectators was soon formed.

“Oh! The bitch” repeated Virginie. “What has got into the fool?” Gervaise stood motionless, her face convulsed and lips apart. The other continued:

“Just look at her, she’s sick of fucking the provinces, soldiers had her for a mattress by the time she was twelve, she’s left a leg back home there. Rotted away it did!”

The women laughed. Virginie, emboldened by her success, went on in a louder and more triumphant tone:

“Come a little nearer, and I will soon settle you. You’d have been better off in the country. It is lucky for you that your dirty soapsuds only went on my feet, for I would have taken you over my knees, pulled up your skirts, and given you a good spanking if one drop had gone in my face. What is the matter with her, anyway?” And big Virginie addressed her audience: “Make her tell what I have done to her! Say! Trollop, what harm have I ever done to you?”

“You had best not talk so much,” answered Gervaise almost inaudibly; “you know very well where my husband was seen last night. Shut your trap or I’ll strangle you for sure .”

“Her husband, she says! Her husband! Madame’s husband! As if she could catch a husband with a bandy leg like hers! Is it my fault if he’s dumped you? . . .”

The laughter began again. Gervaise, in a low, concentrated voice, repeated:

“You know very well–you know very well! Your sister–yes, I will strangle your sister!”

“Oh yes, I understand,” answered Virginie. “Strangle her if you choose. What do I care? . . .”

Big Virginie turned away, but after five or six angry blows with her paddle she began again:

“Yes, it is my sister, and the two adore each other. You should see them bill and coo together. He has left you with these dirty-faced bastards . . .”

“Bitch, bitch, bitch!” screamed Gervaise, beside herself, once more trembling uncontrollably.

She turned and groped on the ground again; seeing nothing, finding only the small tub of bluing water, she threw that in Virginie’s face.

“The slut! She’s ruined my dress!” shrieked Virginie, whose shoulder and one hand were dyed a deep blue. “Just you wait, you shit!” she added as she, in her turn, snatched up a pail and emptied it over the young woman. At that point, a battle royal began . . . Soon it was impossible to keep track of the score. Both were shivering and streaming with water from head to foot, their bodices sticking to their backs, their skirts clinging to their buttocks .

The laundresses were immensely amused, and applauded as if at a theater .  Suddenly Virginie discovered a bucket of scalding water standing a little apart; she caught it and threw it upon Gervaise. There was an exclamation of horror from the lookers-on. Gervaise escaped with only one foot slightly burned, but exasperated by the pain, she threw a tub with all her strength at the legs of her opponent. Virginie fell to the ground .

The battle began again, this time silent and wordless and literally tooth and nail .  It was on Gervaise that the first blood was drawn. Three long scratches from her mouth to her throat bled profusely, and she closed her eyes with each attack, lest she have an eye put out.. As yet Virginie was not bleeding. Suddenly Gervaise seized one of her earrings–pear-shaped, of yellow glass–she pulled, the ear split, and blood began to flow .

Both women lay on the ground. Suddenly Virginie struggled up to her knees. She’d just picked up one of the paddles and was brandishing it. Her voice was hoarse and low as she muttered:

“This will be as good for you as for your dirty linen!”

Gervaise, in her turn, snatched another paddle, which she held like a club. Her voice also was hoarse and low.

“I will beat your skin,” she muttered, “as I would my coarse towels.”

They knelt in front of each other in utter silence for at least a minute, with hair streaming, eyes glaring and nostrils distended. They each drew a long breath.

Gervaise struck the first blow, with her paddle glancing off Virginie’s shoulder. And then she flung herself sideways to escape Virginie’s weapon, which brushed her hip.

Thus started, they struck each other as laundresses strike their linen, vigorously, rhythmically. When a blow landed on flesh, it sounded muffled, as if it had landed in a tub of water .

Suddenly Gervaise gave a howl. Virginie had hit her with all her might on her bare arm, above the elbow; a red patch appeared and immediately began to swell. She hurled herself at Virginie; the spectators thought she meant to kill her. “Stop! Stop!” they cried. But her face was so terrifying that no one dared go near.


With almost superhuman strength she seized Virginie round the waist and forced her over so her face was pushed down onto the flagstones and her bottom was in the air; despite her struggles, Gervaise pulled her skirts all the way up. Underneath were drawers. Slipping her hand into the slit, she tore them off, exposing bare thighs and bare buttocks. Then Gervaise raised her paddle and began to beat .  Each smack of the paddle fell on the soft flesh with a wet thud, leaving a scarlet mark .

The women were laughing again by this time, but soon the cry began again of “Enough! Enough!”

Gervaise didn’t hear, didn’t tire. Keeping her eyes on her work, she bent low over it, determined not to miss one single spot. She wanted every inch of this flesh beaten, beaten and scarlet with shame. And she began to sing, full of ferocious gaiety, as she remembered an old washer-woman’s song:

Bang! Bang! Magpie’s wash she’s thwacking,

Bang! Bang! With her paddle smacking,

Bang! Bang! Pain after sinning,

Bang! Bang! Here’s a beginning.

And she went on: “This one’s for you, this one’s for your sister, this one’s for Lantier. Mind you give it ’em when you see ’em. Wait! I’ve not finished. This one’s for Lantier, that for your sister, and this one’s for you!

Pan! Pan! Margot au lavoir!

Pan! Pan! a coups de battoir . . .

Maria Schell in Gervaise

They had to drag Virginie out of her grasp. The tall brunette, weeping and sobbing, her face scarlet with mortification, grabbed her washing and fled, defeated.


Three weeks later, about half-past eleven one fine sunny morning, Gervaise and Coupeau, the tinworker, were eating some brandied fruit at Pere Colombe’s Tavern, known as L’Assommoir . . .

“Oh, you are none too amiable. You beat people sometimes, I have heard.”

She laughed gaily.

Yes, it was true she had beaten up that great hulking Virginie. That day she could have strangled someone with a glad heart. She began laughing even more when Coupeau recounted that Virginie was so mortified at having displayed everything she’d got, she’d left the neighborhood.


One Saturday Gervaise had hard work. It had rained for three days, and all the mud of the streets seemed to have been brought into the shop. Virginie stood behind the counter with collar and cuffs trimmed with lace. Near her on a low chair lounged Lantier, and he was, as usual, eating candy.

“Really, Madame Coupeau,” cried Virginie, “can’t you do better than that? You have left all the dirt in the corners. Don’t you see? Oblige me by doing that over again.”

Gervaise obeyed. She went back to the corner and scrubbed it again. She was on her hands and knees, with her sleeves rolled up over her arms. Her old skirt clung close to her stout form, and the sweat poured down her face.

“The more elbow grease you put into it, the more it shines,” said Lantier sententiously with his mouth full.

Virginie, leaning back in her chair with the air of a princess, followed the progress of the work with half-closed eyes.

“A little more to the right. Remember, those spots must all be taken out. Last Saturday, you know, I wasn’t all that pleased.”

And they both put on an even more majestic air, as if they were on thrones, while Gervaise dragged herself about at their feet in the black mud. Virginie must have been enjoying herself, for her cat’s eyes sparkled with malicious joy, and she glanced at Lantier with a little smile. Yes, now she had her revenge for that mortification in the wash-house, that paddling she’d never ever been able to forget!


In the 1956 film, based on L’Assommoir, Gervaise was played by Maria Schell while Virginie was played by Suzy Delair. Just as in the book, Gervaise pulls down Virginie’s drawers and exposes her buttocks before beating her with a paddle.  Delair’s bare bottom actually belongs to a body double who was a dancer at the Crazy Horse Saloon with the typically bizarre stage name of Rita Cadillac… and a wonderfully photogenic backside!


Émile Zola’s son and  great-grandaughter, Brigit, watched the spanking scene being filmed but it was too much for the US censor who cut it out.

As a little girl of about ten I had accompanied my grandfather Jacques on the set of Gervaise and had seen the different rehearsals of the famous “spanking” scene. Maria Schell played Gervaise; my grandfather was pleased to note that she represented the character of Gervaise well, physically and psychologically. He chatted with her, and I was all ears.

It was reinstated for the DVD release which featured a drawing of the scene on the cover.

There have been numerous stage productions of Zola’s novel.  The famous impresario Augustin Daly produced a version in New York just a couple of years after the book was first published, and in Paris a 1900 production caused quite a stir when a large billboard went up featuring the paddling scene .

Skipping  forward the best part of one hundred years to the north of England, a version of L’Assommoir was performed under the title A Working Woman at the West Yorkshire playhouse in  November 1992.

It was adapted by Stephen Wyatt and the script includes the fight in the laundry with a few interesting variations. Virginie is bent over an ironing board and the paddling is sound tracked by can-can music.  In one important respect the scene follows the book though;  Gervaise pulls down Virginie’s drawers!


A Working WomanVirginie enters with a token quantity of washing. She walks slowly down past Gervaise, smiling, and then back up to a place with the other washer women.

Mme B:  Hey, Virginie, what are you doing here?

Virginie pulls a couple of other women into a huddle for a whisper. Her face is full of malicious amusement.

 Mme B: (looking at her) I reckon she’s only come here to gloat. She knows all about it, you can bet your life. She’s going to run straight home and tell them how you’ve taken it.

 A burst of laughter from Virginie and her friends. Gervaise turns to face Virginie. Virginie is aware of her gaze.

 Virginie: (to her friends) I think Lantier prefers women with two legs.

Gervaise picks up the bucket and throws the water at her.

Virginie: You bitch!

 The whole washhouse is silent now. Virginie turns angrily.

 Virginie: So what made you do that then, you lop-sided cow?

Gervaise: (hotly) As if you didn’t know.

Virginie: It’s not me that’s taken your precious husband. Anyone here found Madame’s husband? I’m sure she’ll offer a reward.

Gervaise: He’s gone with your sister, you know bloody well.

Virginie: And who can blame him?

Gervaise: You cow, you bloody cow!

She attacks Virginie. The two women roll across the floor fighting while the other women encourage them and beat their buckets and boards excitedly.

Mme B: (to Charles) Someone ought to stop them.

Charles:  (grinning) Not me love. Best show I’ve seen in years.

Gervaise grabs Viginie’s ear and pulls her earring off. Verginie screams at the pain then grabs Gervaise and wrenches her arm savagely behind her back. Triumphantly she claims victory. But Gervaise comes up behind her and forces her over one of the ironing boards. She grabs a wooden beater from one of the other women, pulls down Virginie’s drawers and starts to beat her.

 Gervaise: I’ll tan your arse for you! You won’t sit down for a week!

The other women roar approval and dance mockingly round the beating to can-can music. Finally Gervaise, exhausted and satisfied, throws down the beater. Virginie crawls away sobbing with humiliation. The others congratulate Gervaise and then start to leave. Gervaise stands there, the excitement of her moment of triumph seeping from her.

In  the 1992 West Yorkshire Playhouse production, Gervaise was played by Kate Gartside ,

Kate Gartside

and Christabelle Dilks went across the ironing board!

Christabelle Dilks

Clara Bow in Black Oxen

Smoking, drinking, carousing, and chasing men! The crimes of the flappers were almost as bad as their successors the bobby soxers , and Clara Bow’s character Janet Oglethorpe commits most of them in five minutes of incendiary screen flapperdom from the 1924 silent movie Black Oxen.

The pay-off is a spanking threat delivered by Lee Clavering (Conway Tearle) via the medium of a speech panel.

Watch from the beginning to 4.40; Clara Bow lights up the screen as the naughty flapper. Then read on for the full story and the novel extracts which include more than a threat.

Intriguingly, the George Eastman House film museum  retains a print of the film which is incomplete, comprising the first seven reels, but not the eighth. A 60-minute version  is available on DVD. No complete version of the film is currently commercially available.

Janet and Lee do get married in the end and in the novel on which the film is based, she also gets the spanking she deserves, not from Lee, but from her father, Jim.

Which leads us to the inevitable question: could the spanking be in the later part of the movie that is now missing?  The parts we do have follow the book closely. And there would have to be some kind of comeuppance for Janet for the story to resolve itself properly.

In the book it is a reported spanking that is talked about  but still described in some detail. How the film handles it remains a mystery.

Janet was a child when she got the other spankings referred to by Lee so her reply to to the idea of him spanking her now, as a grown woman, is nonchalant and even a little risqué (for 1924).

“Can I depend on that?”

This is the dialogue as it was written in the original novel by Gertrude Atherton . The threat is delivered again, not by Lee, but by the father Jim Oglethorpe.

I see that you are even sillier than I thought. You need nothing so much as a sound spanking.”

“My dear Jim,” said Clavering drily. “You’ve just pronounced yourself a man of consummate experience. Need I remind you that when a man has held a girl on his lap as a child, she is generally the last girl he wants on his lap later on? Man loves the shock of novelty, the spice of surprise. It’s hard to get that out of a girl you have spanked—as I did Janet on two different occasions. She was a fascinating youngster, but a little devil if there ever was one.”

Intoxicated - Clara Bow in Black Oxen

In Janet’s next scene we see her partying the night away (13 mins 45 secs into the clip). Later she is involved in a car crash and is taken home, intoxicated, by Lee. In the novel, he has to explain to Jim what happened.

I suppose I know what you mean. But it turned out all right. She happened to meet me, not some man who might have annoyed her. Of course she shouldn’t have taken such a risk, but; what can you do with these flappers? They’re all in league together and you might as well let them go their little pace. It won’t last. They’ll soon be older, and I don’t suppose you intend to play the heavy father and lock her up.”

“No, but I’d like damn well to get her married. Mother told me a pretty tale. It seems she made a row at Sherry’s last night, making you and some lady you had with you as conspicuous as herself. Mrs. Vane was there and carried it straight to mother. Mother’s no fool and had already got on to this younger generation business and given Janny one or two tongue lashings, but she never dreamed it had gone as far as it looks. Roaming the streets alone at one in the morning! She’d undoubtedly been drinking last night—God! I’ve a notion to take a switch to her. And I suppose she was pretty well lit the night you picked her up. I’ve never seen a hint of it. Janny’s spoilt enough. Her mother never had the slightest control over her and she could always get round me. But she won’t in the future. I’ll get top-hand somehow. God! My daughter!

Little Miss Mischief - Clara Bow In Black Oxen

Clavering did not express his doubts on this point aloud. He was in truth horribly embarrassed and hardly knew what to say. Not for a moment did he believe that the minx was in love with him, nor would he have taken the trouble to find out, even to please Jim Oglethorpe and his mother, had Mary Zattiany never crossed his horizon. But he felt sorry for his friend and would have liked to banish his brooding distress.

“Look here!” he exclaimed. “You’ll have to buck up and take her in hand. After all, you’re her father and she respects you. No girl respects her mother these days, apparently, but the father has the advantage of being male. Give her a talking to. Tell her how cut up you are. She’s too young to be as hard as she likes to think. Don’t preach. That would make matters worse. Appeal to her. Tell her she’s making you miserable. If that doesn’t work—well, your idea of taking a switch to her isn’t bad. A sound spanking is what they all need, and it certainly would take the starch out of them. Make them feel so damned young they’d forget just how blasé they’re trying to be.

This talk is all very promising and in the end the father takes Lee’s advice and DOES give Janet the adult spanking that she has been asking for – otk with a hair-brush (not a switch)!

Disrespecting her elders - Clara Bow in Black Oxen

We find out about this in a conversation between Lee and the fearsome matriarch Jane Oglethorpe (in the centre of the picture above) – think of Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey and then double it!.

She certainly looked imposing tonight in spite of her old-fashioned corsets and her iron-gray hair arranged in flat rolls and puffs on the precise top of her head, for although flesh had accumulated lumpily on her back, her shoulders were still unbowed, her head as haughtily poised as in her youth, and the long black velvet gown with yellow old point about the square neck (the neck itself covered, like the throat, with net), and falling over her hands, became her style if not the times.

“Well, Lee!” she said drily. “I suppose when you got my note you thought I had gone bug-house, as my fastidious granddaughter Janet would express it. But that is the way I felt and that is the way I feel at the present moment.”

“Dear Lady Jane! Whatever it is, here I am to command, as you see. There is no engagement I wouldn’t have broken——”

“You are a perfect dear, and if I were forty years younger I should marry you. However, we’ll come to that later. I want to talk to you about that damnable little Janet first—we’ll have to go in now.”

When they were seated at a small table at one end of the immense dining-room she turned to the butler and said sharply:

“Get out, Hawkins, and stay out except when we can’t get on without you.” And Hawkins, whom a cataclysm would not have ruffled after forty-five years in Mrs. Oglethorpe’s service, vanished.

“Jim said he had a talk with you about Janet, and that you advised him to spank her,” she said. “Well, he did.”

“What?” Clavering gave a delighted grin. “I never believed he’d do it.”

“Nor I. Thought his will had grown as flabby as his body. But when she stood up to him and with a cool insolence, which she may or may not have inherited from me, or which may be merely part and parcel of the new manner, and flung in his face a good deal more than he knew already, and asked him what he was going to do about it, he turned her over his knee and took a hair-brush to her.”

“It must have been a tussle. I suppose she kicked and scratched?”

“She was so astonished that at first she merely ejaculated: ‘Oh, by Jimminy!’ Then she fought to get away and when she found she couldn’t she began to blubber, exactly as she did when she was not so very much younger and was spanked about once a day. That hurt his feelings, for he’s as soft as mush, and he let her go; but he locked her up in her room and there she stays until she promises to behave herself as girls did in his time. I’m afraid it won’t work. She hasn’t promised yet, but merely hisses at him through the keyhole. D’you understand this new breed? I’m afraid none of the rest of us do.”

Thanks to Michael for telling me about this scene . 


Shirley Temple 1928 – 2014

Shirley Temple, who died earlier this year aged 85, cemented her latter-day reputation as Hollywood’s ultimate bobby-soxer when she starred in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer the only film to use the term in its title. She never received a spanking in her career as an adult actress, but probably came closest in this 1947 film which was known as Bachelor Knight outside the US.

The plot centers on a high school girl, Susan Turner, who lives with her older sister Margaret, while male authority is provided by Uncle Matt (Ray Collins), a psychiatrist.

After seeing a debonair guest speaker (Carey Grant) at her school, Susan sets about making herself more “mature” to appeal to him, snubbing her teenage boyfriend and giving an absurdly over the top performance of “adult” behaviour.

Eventually, the inappropriate crush is resolved when the older man pretends to cooperate with Susan’s obsession by dating her and forcing her to recognize the gap in their ages. Finally convinced that they are mismatched, Susan returns to her teenage boyfriend, believing that he needs her more.

In the video clip Uncle Matt threatens to put Susan across his knee for arguing with Margaret played by Myrna Loy (no stranger to a screen spanking herself of course).

A year earlier, Shirley had played another troublesome and precocious teen, Corliss Archer, in Kiss and Tell.

To boost sales and attract customers at the local bazaar, Corliss and her friend Mildred decide to start selling kisses.The idea becomes a success among the soldiers visiting the bazaar, and business is booming…until the girls’ parents find out about it!

There isn’t a spanking in the movie, alas, but the gallery below includes three slightly different publicity shots. Shirley is being spanked otk with a hairbrush by her screen father (Walter Abel).

The posed hairbrushing was used on lobby cards and various promotional material and even turned up as recently as 2006 on the cover of a book: American Sweethearts – Teenage Girls in 20th Century Popular Culture by Ilana Nash.

Looking at such figures as Nancy Drew, Judy Graves, Corliss Archer, Gidget, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Britney Spears, American Sweethearts shows how popular culture has shaped our view of the adolescent girl as an individual who is simultaneously sexualized and infantilized. While young women have received some positive lessons from these cultural icons, the overwhelming message conveyed by the characters and stories they inhabit stresses the dominance of the father and the teenage girl’s otherness, subordination, and ineptitude.

According to Ilana Nash, who is writing from a feminist perspective, “Mr Archer’s intense gaze at his daughter’s buttocks suggest a desire to control and consume her sexuality especially since sex is the crime for which he punishes her.”

Clearly she doesn’t approve of young women being subjugated with spankings but her publishers weren’t above using the picture on the cover were they?

Academics can philosophise as much as they want but what Columbia Pictures knew 70 years ago remains true today:

There’s nothing that draws people in like a good spanking!

We’ll be taking a closer look at bobby soxer spankings in my next post.

Sam Taylor Wood

Sam Taylor-Wood Venus

I found another Venus picture. It’s not very big but it has an interesting spanking connection. It’s actually a self-portrait by Sam Taylor-Wood, the director of the 50 Shades of Grey movie. Note that she’s being a little shy and not fully presenting both buttocks to the camera. Hope she won’t let Dakota Johnson get away with doing the same!

Will add this to my Headers page.

It’s been announced this month that there will be TWO versions of the film so they can please both fans of the book and allow the movie to be shown in mainstream cinemas.

What we’re kind of hearing from the fans is they want it dirty… they want it as close as possible [to the book] said producer Dana Brunetti, who has been listening to the demands of the book’s female followers on Twitter.

So after a fairly restrained take on the bestseller for mainstream cinema audiences,  they are now  planning to release a more explicit version soon afterwards.

The first part of the trilogy is set to hit the big screen on February 13 2015.

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

An interesting excerpt from teen flick Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008).

Needless to say, there’s no follow up and we don’t find out if the boyfriend gives the bully her spanking. If this was set in the 1960s or 70s the stereotypical games mistress would have done the job back in the changing room after the match. Another bottom – this time a very red one – for the girls to stare at!

Eleanor Tomlinson

Ear Grabbing

I don’t have a title for this new clip and neither does Chross (help please!) but it’s a nice bare bottom flogging with a build up which includes an ear grab and ear grabs are always good!

Thanks to JS for sending me the bottom picture. He says that “despite appearances, I’m sure the girl isn’t really Debra Winger.”

Ear Grab4
Ear Grab1 Ear Grab2
Ear Grab6

Amelita Ward in The Falcon and the Co-Eds

Amelita Ward 1943

“I just can’t yell convincingly unless I am really spanked.”

Funnily enough, just a couple of days after posting about an off-screen spanking by Tom Conway, another Conway film – The Falcon and the Co-eds – was on TV here. This 1943 movie, about a private detective who investigates a murder at an exclusive girl’s school, also has the English actor delivering a spankingoff screen!

Tom-Conway-Actor the-falcon-and-the-co-eds-movie-poster-

At least the director William Clemens doesn’t leave much to our imagination in this one. We see Conway lift Amelita Ward off her feet and draw back his hand, but cut to two grinning male witnesses while three slaps and the girl’s cries are heard. My screen grab shows just how close we come to seeing Amelita get spanked.

tom conway spanks amelita ward in the falcon and the co-eds

Chross posted this scene a while back, under the wrong title initially, but there was a comment by Dan, which said:

That clip is from “The Falcon and the Coeds” (1943), and it is NOT a real spanking. The only “swats” take place OFF screen — which means, they don’t take place at all.

But Conway’s record of two off screen spanking scenes might not be quite as mediocre as it sounds because I’ve found apparent proof that Amelita Ward really DID get spanked in The Falcon and the Co-Eds.

This report appeared in the St Petersburg Times on September 5 1943 under the headline “Director Has Hands Full With These Forty Beauties”:

Forty beautiful teen-age girls are creating a major problem at the RKO radio studio these days. They all have been cast in small speaking roles in The Falcon and the Co-Eds and each is grimly determined to focus attention upon herself as a stepping stone to future assignments. And the result is a 24-hour-a-day headache for the cameraman and the director.

Each of the young screen aspirants has acquired every known trick for distracting attention from the other players in a scene and directing it upon herself. Here are a few of them:

  • They “up-stage” each other until all are backed against a wall and can go no further.
  • They jump on the end of each other’s lines to kill a possible laugh for a rival.
  • They twist a handkerchief in their hands or move about when another player is reading lines.
  • They move into the foreground so as to take up almost all the screen.
  • And when reproved by director William Clemens, they register wide-eyed innocence and are “so sorry.”

And it is not only against each other that they turn loose their tricks. Tom Conway, who plays “the Falcon” gets a terrific kick out of their maneuvres for the limelight, but laughingly declares that he has to be on his toes all the time if he doesn’t want to find that only the back of his head has appeared in a scene.

“You can’t help but admire their fighting spirit and their determination to be singled out from the mob” laughed Conway, “We try to give them all the breaks possible.”

Sometimes a girl is lucky enough to find a legitimate way to build up her role and gain the spotlight of attention she craves. That was the case with Amelita Ward, who is caught rummaging around in the desk of a dead woman shortly after the discovery of the murder.

She had been hunting nothing more incriminating than a letter to her mother stating that she has flunked her final examinations and would be dropped from the student list. The script called for the Falcon to say: “You ought to be spanked, and I think I’ll do it.” Then the spanking was to take place supposedly offstage with only Miss Ward’s outcries to indicate what is happening.

“I just can’t yell convincingly unless I am really spanked,” insisted Miss Ward. So the director put the scene into the picture. And Conway really spanked Miss Ward and her screams were authentic.

And such is the price of film-land fame.

This is my own clip recorded from the BBC this week. It shows the full scene as Amelita’s character is caught stealing the letter by two policemen. Under the threat of a body search, the letter is recovered and Conway leads up to the spanking with the line “There’s an old saying about sparing the rod…” At no point does anyone say “You ought to be spanked, and I think I’ll do it.”

If the newspaper report is to be believed, Clemens must have edited out the swats. It would have been a satisfactory compromise for all concerned: Amelita was allowed to build up her part; the hitting bit was discreetly left on the cutting room floor, but Tom Conway really DID get to spank her. And let’s not forget that she had acted like a scene-stealing diva and so deserved a spanking just as much as her character – who knows, perhaps that played a part in the director’s decision to film the scene too!

In fact, Clemens should have lined up all 40 Co-Eds and handed a sorority paddle to Conway. That would have cured his 24-hour a day headache.