PRINT May 1985


Forbidden Dreams

Shutterbug and would-be mise en scénariste Rebecca Blake did the Helmut Newton knock-offs for Eyes of Laura Mars, the Faye Dunaway movie of some years back. Now she has her own big book of glitzy femme “fantasies” (so promoted, but then what’s David Led dick doing here with his “concept”?). Result: “forbidden dreams” so bland all 40-plus female models look alike. Given that the sexy-violence-without-sex concept is really Newton’s, it’s fair that Blakes pictures make his work seem as compassionate as Lewis Hine’s—and Marc Behm’s Nazi-porn read like Céline, and Chanel’s “Share the Fantasy” TV commercials feel like Buñuel.

Blake has no touch on the moments she supposedly wants to capture (all she really wants to do is stage them). Her glossy variation on Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1946 film noir classic Detour (female corpse with telephone cord wrapped around its neck) only makes you glad Ulmer isn’t around to suffer it. The flap copy says Blake now makes rock videos. So does Leni Riefenstahl. But even Susan Sontag would agree Riefenstahl was more subtle.

Greil Marcus


Rebecca Blake, Forbidden Dreams, with a preface by Lina Wertmuller; concept by David Leddick, design by Vincent Gagliostro (London, Melbourne, New York: Quartet Books, 1984), 130 pages, color photographs.