We’ve all heard the famous story about Tallulah Bankhead flashing hairpie during the making of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Lifeboat (’44), and Hitch’s reply when told that some guys on the crew had complained and that he needed to ask Bankhead to show a little modesty. “Not my job,” Hitch allegedly replied. “This could be a situation for wardrobe, or it could be a makeup issue or perhaps even one for hairdressing.”

For me this story never quite lands because no sane or rational-minded Hollywood crew person (sound-stage professionals were entirely male in those days) would ever complain about being flashed. Who would be anti-social or arrogant or priggish enough to complain about such a thing? Ludicrous.

Another version of the incident (offered by Steve Hayes) was that the complaint came from a woman affiliated with the Catholic Legion of Decency who was visiting the set. But since when did such a person have anything to say about behavior or work practices during the shooting of a film? The Catholic Legion of Decency was about judging the moral nature of films awaiting theatrical release…right?