Alex at Neatorama posted The Stories Behind Hollywood Studio Logos recently, including #6 Columbia Pictures: The Torch Lady. I've got a thing about the Torch Lady. I teach anatomical drawing so it's hard for me to ignore the bizarre elongation that's going on under that toga. But Neatorama reminds me that the images illustrating the change are right here on the web. I didn't feel right co-opting their comment column with graphics to highlight the transformation but then I remembered, duh, I have a blog, too.
There's a persistent rumour that the Torch Lady is based on Annette Bening, which Roger Ebert scotched by posting this reference photograph (by Karen Anderson) of the actual model, Jenny Joseph. Ms. Joseph is a real woman: lovely, healthy, and long-suffering. (You try maintaining a heroic posture while waving a lamp overhead with one hand and holding your "Grecian robes" together with the other.)
Artist Michael J. Deas painted the heroic Torch Lady illustration as seen below and on his web site.
Then the Torch Lady made the jump to movies and apparently some special effects team went to work on her thighs.
Now, art students, anatomists, illustrators and Beauty Myth readers, observe closely what I've done in the image below. To compare the three versions, I sized, aligned and superimposed all three of these pictures (the model, the painting, and the movie still) to make the Torch Lady's head the same size and height in the image area. Her legs get longer and longer!
Her torso is slightly elongated and the drapery creates a slimmer columnar figure, but the leg length is incredible. If you're an artist, study how it's done convincingly; you may need to pull off the same trick someday. Everyone else, study how it's done so you're hard to trick.
Actress Shelley Winters once said, "I'm not overweight. I'm just nine inches too short." Apparently, Columbia can fix that problem.