When I hear the words "Veronica Lake," I immediately think of the hairdo. I found out today, looking for a suitable photo, that it was called a peek-a-boo hairdo ... I suppose because one eye is concealed by that majestic swoop. No one in the 1940s—possibly no one in American film—had such arresting, downright seductive hair as Veronica Lake, although many women tried to imitate that peek-a-boo 'do. I was thinking of Lake because I saw Sullivan's Travels on Monday night, my first time seeing the Preston Sturges film in a theater. The peek-a-boo hairdo isn't around for long, because Lake's character spends a lot of time with her hair tucked under a hat, pretending to be a boy. Even without the hair, she's wonderful to watch, with perfect comic timing.
Most of Veronica Lake's starring roles were in 1940s films; she switched to television in the early 1950s and eventually dropped out of acting altogether, with a brief revival in the late 1960s. I'd like to see some of her other movies, particularly I Married a Witch, where she co-stars with Fredric March, but surprisingly few besides Sullivan's Travels are available on DVD. If you live in the UK, you're lucky—I Married a Witch was just released on DVD (Region 2, PAL) on March 27. Hopefully we'll see a U.S. release soon. In the meantime, I may try to find This Gun for Hire, which also includes Robert Preston, younger than I can imagine him. Or perhaps I'll watch The Major and the Minor again, just for that wonderful gag at the girls' school involving Lake's signature hairdo (although Lake isn't in the film herself).
If you're looking for more photos of Lake online, Doctor Macro and Peek-a-boo Bang both contain some lovely publicity photos and movie stills.