The Lady of Brute Force, 1947, John Decker
Producer Mark Hellinger commissioned this portrait for his prison noir Brute Force starring Burt Lancaster and Hume Cronyn. Decker supposedly made it a blend of Ella Raines, Ann Blyth, and Yvonne De Carlo (the film’s lead actresses), and the result served as the cellmates’ calendar girl whose alluring image triggered their memories.
Decker was a notorious Hollywood artist and forger who enjoyed visiting Los Angeles morgues and painting pictures of female cadavers and once gifted Ida Lupino a painting of a Mexican girl on a slab with her throat cut. He died in June 1947 three weeks before Brute Force was released. Hellinger so admired the painting he displayed it in his home until he too died, aged 44, less than six months after the film came out.