|It all started with a skin flick.In 1933, a beautiful, young Austrian woman took off her clothes for a movie director. She ran through the woods, naked. She swam in a lake, naked. Pushing well beyond the social norms of the period, the movie also featured a simulated orgasm. To make the scene “vivid,” the director reportedly stabbed the actress with a sharp pin just off-screen.
The most popular movie in 1933 was King Kong. But everyone in Hollywood was talking about that scandalous movie with the gorgeous, young Austrian woman.
Louis B. Mayer, of the giant studio MGM, said she was the most beautiful woman in the world. The film was banned practically everywhere, which of course made it even more popular and valuable. Mussolini reportedly refused to sell his copy at any price.
The star of the film, called Ecstasy, was Hedwig Kiesler. She said the secret of her beauty was “to stand there and look stupid.” In reality, Kiesler was anything but stupid. She was a genius. She’d grown up as the only child of a prominent Jewish banker. She was a math prodigy. She excelled at science. As she grew older, she became ruthless, using all the power her body and mind gave her.
refuse to do
at any price
anything but …
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