Tag Archive: rear window


Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

One of the things I love most about Oscar night is the parade of dresses.

 

image from missuniversesketch.blogspot.com

image from missuniversesketch.blogspot.com

There is nothing like seeing what styles are making it to the red carpet. Beautiful wide skirts, strapless bodices, bright colors, muted colors, beading and ruffles galore.

 

It is enough to make this clothes-horse wannabe die and go to heaven.

 

I loved the structured Art Deco gowns that  Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, and Nicole Kidman wore. Anne Hathaway’s simple pink sheath was perfect for her body. Octavia Spencer looked fabulous. And Jane Fonda looked great for a woman in her late seventies.

 

Perhaps that is why I am always fascinated by the beautiful costumes in the movies.

 

For sheer numbers of bridesmaid dresses, there is nothing comparable to 27 Dresses. This romantic comedy stars Katherine Heigl as a woman who has been a bridesmaid 27 times with horrible dresses to match. While there is a great montage scene in which Heigl puts on each dress, the movie is about this young woman who is having trouble finding the right guy after a terrible rejection.

 

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Another movie that is more recent is actually an homage to the fashion industry. The Devil Wears Prada started life as a whiny book by a woman who worked for the infamous editor of Vogue. The movie, which stars Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway as the editor and assistant, makes our key personnel into real people who have reasons for being as tough as nails and so malleable. But the other part of this movie is the great clothes that Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt wear throughout.

 

One of my favorite movies during the glamorous age of Hollywood is Mame starring Rosalind Russell as the intrepid and unstoppable Auntie Mame. This movie is non-stop tour-de-force that tells the story of Mame Dennison who becomes guardian of her nephew during the end of the roaring twenties. They adore and care for each other when the party ends with the great depression. Russell is great but so is her wardrobe that surprisingly does not reflect the style of the 1920s.

 

We forgive this aspect because in the 1950s, costume design was bent on making great outfits that were not necessarily historically correct. There is nothing that remotely looks like the loose dresses with the flat chests of the 20s. I thought most of the movie took place in the 50s until the portion about the Great Depression.

 

As time passed that would change. Costumes became breathtakingly accurate.  Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst as the doomed queen featured incredibly intricately detailed dresses and shoes. There are sublime moments in this costume drama as a young princess learns to be a queen while walking the treacherous path of court and public opinion.

 

Grace Kelly in the final scene of "Rear Window," Image from clothesonfilm.com.

Grace Kelly in the final scene of “Rear Window,” Image from clothesonfilm.com.

But perhaps my favorite movie for wonderful costuming is Rear Window starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. This thriller follows a photographer, grounded at home with a broken leg, as he begins to investigate the odd comings and goings of a particular neighbor. Helping him in this adventure is his girlfriend, an editor at a famous fashion magazine. Each scene has Kelly in a gorgeous outfit that accents her figure and is fitting for the moment.

 

At the end of the movie, she is by Stewart’s side as he recovers from two broken legs. We see the high fashion maven in jeans and a cinnamon-colored shirt reading a book on Asia until her boyfriend is asleep. It is a fitting end to a movie that is both suspenseful and beautiful.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Revisiting 1950s Movies

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As Pumpkin Fest gets closer and it is time to create a costume for the scarecrow, I have to admit I am a bit stymied.

I keep thinking about 1950 fashions with those great wide skirts and soft cashmere sweaters. But I am not putting that sweater on a scarecrow that is going to be outside in all sorts of weather.

While I am trying to go through clothing options what I have, I have to admit there are some movies that rolled through my head almost iummediately.

One of the most popular teen movies from the 1950s is Rebel Without A Cause in which there is a new boy in town who has a tendancy to find trouble. But of course, right away he find a girl who understands him and wants to be by his side. This is one of the three movies that made James Dean into a Hollywood legend before his tragic early death. Natalie Wood stars as the girl who loves him.

This next selection might be harder to find but it used to be a classic on late night TV as the star of the movie became a huge TV star on Bonanza, Ponderosa, Little House on the Prairie and Higway to Heaven. I was a Teenage Werewolf starred Michael Landon as a new kid in town with a hot temper. When a fight leads to an appointment with a psychologist, the teen discovers too later that the doctor is really a mad scientist. Things go from bad to worse after that but this movie is great campy fun.

The 50s were a strange time in which we feared nuclear destruction which lead some film makers to create all sorts of monster movies. Godzilla always comes to mind for me as Tokeyo is once again destroyed by various creatures that have grown to ginourmous size about being hit with radiation. Another monster movie from the era was The Blob in which a gelatinous mass tries to absorb the community after coming from outer space. Perhaps one of the best horror/thriller movies from this era might be Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Once again we are being invaded by aliens. But this time they are able to replicate humans and take our lives away.

The fear and suspicion of the era wasn’t just about what could come from outside of our planet. Alfred Hitchcock played on the suspicion we felt about the people around us with Rear Window as Jimmy Stewart’s housebound photographer who starts to wonder if his neighbor has killed his wife. Hitchcock’s 1951 movie, Strangers on a Train, focused on the fears of a mad man that Farly Granger meets on a train as he is trying to figure out how to get his wife to divorce him so Granger can marry the woman who is his true love. The merry-go-round scene still gives me a thrill.

Thankfully, not all movies focused on our fears. Some went out of their way to be crazy fun. This was the era of the musical. One of my favorites is Guys and Dolls which stars Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando as two gamblers who are trying to find a way to get a place for a big game that is hosting a gambler not known for his kindness and generosity. It involves a Slavation Army-type girl in Jean Simmons and show girl Vivian Blaine. But for me the show-stopping number is “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.”

However, that is not the best musical of the ear. That honor goes to Singin’ In The Rain starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner. The story is about the movie industry as it changes over from silent movies to sound. But really the film is built around a collection of songs. One of my favorites is the “Make ’em Laugh” dance routine with Donald O’Conner and a variety of props.

Do you have a favorite movie from the 1950s?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Lovely Cinnamon To Wear

A few weeks ago, I talked about watching a classic movie and how I planned to watch another one.

Grace Kelly in the final scene of "Rear Window," Image from clothesonfilm.com.

So the husband and I watched Rear Window, and I marvelled again at the elegance of Hitchcock’s direction, his use of character actors and limited space for a set. Thelma Ritter remains one of the best character actresses – Ever. The movie was fab but then again so was Grace Kelly who showed up in so many wonderful outfits.  

But what caught my eye was in the final scene when all is at peace once more. Kelly is sitting on the day bed, propped against one side reading a book about South Asia until she thinks Stewert is asleep when she pulls out her luscious Harper’s Bazaar magazine. And to show how fashion returns to old favorites, she is wearing a crisp cinnamon button-front shirt. This picture comes from the blog Clothes-On Film which goes into a wonderful explanation of each piece and the meanings behind them.

Beautiful Cinnamon Shirt

All I could think of was how that color has been showing up in magazines and catalogs all over the place and then here it is in front of my eyes. (Like the shirt, go to this etsy site to buy it) Does this mean that whoever started the cinnamon trend had been watching Rear Window

I wonder if the team who designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress had been inspired by Grace Kelly in other ways as well – like a gorgeous cinnamon shirt.  

Well, I am not sure how I will incorporate this in my fall wardrobe. I do have a few items I would like to add to the closet to round out what I already have.

 

Tunic Sweater

1. A tunic sweater, prefereably in a neutral color of oatmeal or taupe so it sets off my dark hair without making my pale skin appear that much paler.

This one comes from the Simply Be catalogue.

Tall Boot

 

2. Tall Boots. These are from Jessica London. I love the look with dresses and jeans that are being shown. The heel is only 2 1/4 inches, which is perfect for a clutzy woman as myself. I can’t decide between black or brown. Brown is more my style, black might be more versitile.

 

Swing coat, image from Gone Funky.mybisi.com.

3. A new fall/winter coat. I really like the swing coat designs and would like a dark green color. Finding one exactly how I want it has been difficult and it looks like I might have to make one out of artic fleece.

I found a pattern at Gone Funky but the site says they are out of stock of this pattern. Perhaps the fabric center will have a suitable substitute.

How are you planning to update your fall wardrobe?