The top ten film hookers of all time // street walking style

I was going to do a prequel to Fiona’s post about the five most stylish nineties movie characters. But then I realised bizarrely, my knowledge of ‘Hollywood hookers’ was more in-depth. For whatever reason that may be. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that ladies-of-the-night on the big screen tend to ooze sex, drugs, rock, roll and a whole helping of ‘tude. Yes, I reckon if my perky arse were ever to sit atop the black leathery contours of the Mastermind chair, my specialist subject would solemnly be announced as: ‘prostitutes on film’. Besides, they’re technically ‘freelancers’ aren’t they? And I’ve a lot of respect for self-employed peeps.

So here they are – ten working girls working ‘it’. Harlots what look hot. Screen sluts with style. I could do this all day long so I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Bring on the Call Girls!

Lulu (Louise Brooks) – Pandora’s Box (1929)


In this silent movie, there’s no need for words as Brook’s sleek-bobbed sex appeal does ALL the talking. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop her adding one Jack the Ripper to her appointment books, and she predictably comes a cropper in the end. Shame, that.

Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich) – Shanghai Express (1932)


In which Dietrich smouldered, ‘it took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily‘ – the dirty ho. But looking this smoking hot, you’d forgive her anything. Bonus Brass Door (= whore, get with my non-cockney muckers) points for her boudoir attire, all lacey and marabou feathers. Ooh!

Nana (Anna Karina) – Vivre sa vie (1962)


Parisian prozzies in the ’60s are bound to look tres fucking cool and this flick doesn’t disappoint – note the hussy homage to Louise Brook’s bob. Ultimately a sad story, but one can’t help but get distracted by the coolness of it all. A must-see. But probably not one to watch with your ‘rents.

Doris (Barbara Streisand) – The Owl and the Pussy Cat (1970)


‘When she starts mixing business with pleasure, she goes out of business’ – happens to us all, sweet cheeks. Gotta love Streisand’s hooker attire in this: humongous fur coats, patent go-go boots, BIG hair and bug-eye shades. Not only did she get her golden globes out but she won one, too, which was nice. George Segal has dressed up like a Scouser for some reason. What a hoot!

Iris (Jodie Foster) – Taxi Driver (1976)


Essentially my style icon (yes I know: not only a hooker but a twelve year old one at that – good, good) this season. Bright wedge heels? Fringed across-body Gap Yaaaah bag? High-waisted hot-pants? Oversized floppy hat? Printed crop top? Yes, yes, YES! See? I’m getting in the slutty spirit already.

Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) – Trading Places (1983)


Here, an excellent demonstration of a good hooker name and good hooker get-up. This is what a curb-server should really look like, although the see-through sheath dress pictured above reminds me A LOT of that one Kate Middleton wore. And that caught Prince William’s eye. Just sayin’. You do the math – she’s Queen of England now (pretty much), so it clearly worked a treat.

Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) – Pretty Woman (1990)


Ahhhh, the world’s most-loved moll – it’s allllll about THOSE boots. And THAT transformation. The sort of hooker you’d be happy to introduce to your mum. Kinda.

Alabama (Patricia Arquette) – True Romance (1993)


Alabama works a good, early ’90s trashy call girl look. She doesn’t spend much screen time as a prostitute, but when she does, she’s unmissable in neon brights, leopard print and Lycra. Pretty much what I wore to work today. Wait…

Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger) – LA Confidential (1997)


Basinger is a high-class tart-with-a-heart. A Veronica Lake-look a like, pimped out to rich punters with a fondness for shagging movie stars. Quite literally a femme fatale, simmering hot sex and yet cooler than an ice-skating penguin. ‘Are you asking me for a date… or an appointment?’ she asks Russell Crowe. Smoother than Ryan Giggs in a silk jumpsuit.

Satine (Nicole Kidman) – Moulin Rouge! (2001)


A welcome addition to the Hollywood hooker landscape. More courtesan than street tramp, Satine’s work attire is about as tasteful as it gets… if a touch theatrical.

So. Are you an actress after an Oscar? Get your kit off and play a prozzie in your next movie role. All the gals featured in this, er, feature have won some kind of academy award for their performances as money honies. Pretty much. And the reason? They are all working it, girlfriend. Something about playing a Hollywood ho clearly perfects your swagger and encourages a simmering performance. Not that I’m condoning prostitution, I hasten to add, no siree. But there’s something timelessly sexy about a girl who’s fit and by gosh – don’t she just know it.

Natalie Wall

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