2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of actress and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield in a bizarre car accident – a great opportunity to look back at her colourful life. If the documentary Mansfield 66/67 makes one thing clear, it is that the term ‘post-truth’ is not a recent phenomenon. The makers deliberately choose to put forward many different, conflicting visions of the ‘blonde bombshell’. Was Mansfield, who had Marilyn Monroe as competition in the 1950s, a living cartoon, a camp character – or was she very gifted and blessed with talents other than her ample bosom, to which film titles such as Kiss Them for Me semi-humorously referred? And was her death the result of a flirtation with the Church of Satan, or just bad luck?
The exuberantly designed Mansfield 66/67 – as over-the-top as Jayne herself – also shows the contrast between the 1950s and the 1960s, which brought a new generation of more politically aware actresses to the fore, replacing the three Ms: Monroe, Mansfield and Mamie (Van Doren).