Jack Smith's Technicolor muse: Maria Montez

A recent retrospective on the cult film-maker revealed his inspiration – a dazzling 1940s diva who could not even act

Jack Smith and Maria Montez were made for each other. They never met. Sadly, she had died before he started making films – drowning in her bathtub in Paris at the age of 39 on 7 September 1951. Yet her spirit imbued his first movie, Buzzards over Bagdad, which reimagined her teaming with Jon Hall and Sabu in Arabian Nights (1942), one of the garishly fantasies that earned Montez the nickname "the Queen of Technicolor".

Indeed, she inspired many of the works contained in the Ica's recent landmark season, Jack Smith: A Feast for Open Eyes, and even acted as a posthumous beard for his avant-garde manifesto, The Perfect Filmic Appositeness of Maria Montez, which appeared in the Winter 1962 edition of Film Culture and laid out Smith's vision for a new Queer cinema. In so doing,

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