A bath that brought on the Hayes Code – no nipples on screen – no double beds: one of the most popular posts on Beguiling, I wonder why?


Sign of the Cross pre-code Claudette Colbert

Colbert landed her famous role as a femme fatale in Cecil B. DeMille’s films where she wore fetishistic costumes which lose layer after layer of clothing. In the 1932 historical epic, The Sign of the Cross, she starred opposite Fredric March as the Roman empress Poppaea. For an instant, glimpses of her bare breasts and nipples were visible in a scene where her character was bathing in asses’ milk, a scene that came to be regarded as an example of Hollywood decadence prior to the enforcement of the Production Code.

via Claudette Colbert – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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  1. George Kaplan
    July 31, 2013

    Ohh, Claudette Colbert… So gorgeous, that is such an adorably cute scene. If that is “decadence”, George is all for it! Ahem. It’s about a thousand times sexier than much of what is supposed to be so today.
    Fie on the Hays Code! Thanks for this Vickie and the images of Ms Colbert which I’ve always taken serious academic interest in… *winks* How lovely she was!

    • August 1, 2013

      She was lovely, and although she was very precise about how she was photographed, she was beloved in the industry.

  2. July 31, 2013

    Asses milk? ASSES MILK? Sorry, but somehow that diminishes my pleasure in seeing these gorgeous photos. Perhaps it’s because I almost spewed coffee on my laptop (almost but not quite) when I read that. If Hays had left the nips but banned the asses milk, the whole decadence problem would have had a satisfactory resolution!

    • August 1, 2013

      Any bath in dairy products sounds questionable, doesn’t it? And, would it really bubble like that? I think not 😉 .

      • Heather in Arles
        August 2, 2013

        Although Wiki does not agree, I believe that Empress Eugenie of Austria also had a fondness for bathing in milk and Cleopatra too…

      • August 2, 2013

        You know how babies smell, once in a while? A little curdled and milky? Why would anyone want to bathe in that??? Moisturizing?

  3. July 31, 2013

    Dearest V
    One wonders whether the Code Enforcers would make it through many of today’s features.
    Certainly I doubt they’d get far into ‘Shortbus’
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • August 1, 2013

      They wouldn’t even have gotten through the trailer without developing the vapors!

  4. July 31, 2013

    Oh, my!

    • August 1, 2013

      😉 For some reason this is turning out to be one of my most popular posts…

  5. July 31, 2013

    Bring on the decadence! It’s gorgeous.

    • August 1, 2013

      A bath you could do laps in… Cecil B. DeMille knew how to do “decadence” 😉

  6. August 1, 2013

    I have waaaaay more of a problem with the asses milk than the bits of body. Ewwww…
    Was the bath drawn by baristas? It is so frothy that it doesn’t seem to be too far from becoming a cappuccino. Ewwww again.

    • August 2, 2013

      Okay, and to further add to the ewwwwwwww factor, how and when do you milk an ass/donkey/mule? Don’t they kick??? It sounds extremely dangerous.

      • August 2, 2013

        And how many asses does it take to fill a bath that size? I bet even the most sedate ass would be feeling a little like lashing out after standing in a queue for hours. 😉 Of course it might have taken days, that might explain the froth…

  7. Heather in Arles
    August 2, 2013

    Wasn’t she divine? Stupid Hayes code ended all the fun. When sex did come back into film, it wasn’t even sexy anymore. 🙁

    • August 2, 2013

      There’s an impish quality you really don’t see in regards to how sensuality is portrayed in movies – divine, indeed.

  8. George Kaplan
    August 2, 2013

    Who knew that the why and wherefores of asses milk could be so, uh, riveting?! Oh, Roman Empress Poppaea why didn’t use you use bubblebath, instead of having your servants molest innocent asses?! 😉
    I do hope that Sign of the Cross had a disclaimer in the credits: “No asses were milked in the making of this film.”
    Perhaps it’s just me, but watching that scene the only thing that comes to mind, apart from how entertaining it is, is “Boy howdy, doesn’t Ms Colbert look lovely in that liquid, and what a face!” Oh, early 21st Century your priorities are all wrong… *winks*
    May I commend you Vickie on your tagging skills, you’ve really got it down to an Art! “Bare breasts…naked nipples”, if I didn’t know better I’d swear that you had some fun with that alliteration…

  9. George Kaplan
    August 2, 2013

    “Why didn’t use you use…?”, it’s a little known fact that many speakers of Latin spoke gibberish as well…

  10. December 14, 2013

    Thanks for the follow. You have a good-looking and intelligent blog here and I will be back. Regards from Norfolk. Pete.

  11. May 2, 2014

    I feel bad for whoever had to milk all those asses. *snort*

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