16 January 2011

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To Part I

That green dress in Atonement, those waistcoats in Annie Hall, the suits in Inception and, obviously, Peggy, Betty and Joan. While other people may gasp at car chases or fawn over anything with fangs and a six pack, when it comes to films, for me it’s always been about the costume. Luckily it turns out I’m not the only one. Kelly-Marie and Liz came to visit me the other week and over tea and rose infused cupcakes we landed on the idea of costume in film, and our all time favourites. Did it matter if the pieces of costume were accurate if the feel was spot on? Do converse allstars really belong in Versailles? And when it comes down to it, who needs a story line when you have endless spats and tulle?

And so we decided on an assignment: we would each post our favourite films for costume. Whether it is for historical accuracy or ability to capture a zeitgeist in costume detail, the only rule was that the costumes would be our favourite part.

Kelly-Marie is first up with the epic Aviator and the stunningly original Footlight Parade.

The Aviator (2004)

Modern day adaptation of the 1920's-1940's:

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Jude Law as Errol Flynn and Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn.
The leather makes the man.
Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner

Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow
Great tash action Jude.

I choose this one because it takes you through three era's and gets everyone absolutely spot on.
Martin Scorsese took on such a massive task when he decided to make this film. Howard Hughes is such an iconic figure in Hollywood and his love affairs with various Hollywood starlets are so well documented. I don't know how he would have started to even think about casting modern day Katherine Hepburn's and Ava Gardener's, but he did and thank goodness he did it SO well!
Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner has become one of my everyday style icons (those hats)! and Leonardo Decaprio in flight jackets and plus fours... need I say more... Dream Boat!

The costumes are spot on and the sets are an absolute dream come true, I would have killed for a job on set of this film, imagine getting to hunt for all those Art Deco Interiors. They even brought to life the famous Coconut Grove night club, which I have long been fascinated with because of it's kitsch interior and tragic demise. It looked exactly as I imagined it.
I never get tired of watching this film, it's a feast for the eyes in every way imaginable.

FootLight Parade (1933) and any film by Busby Berkeley

Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler looking cute as a button.

'We're in the money'

I have choosen a Busby Berkeley film because visually, in my opinion, you can't get much better.
His films for me are pure self indulgence, if I am feeling down I will watch one and they make me feel instantly happier, they are pure and utter escapism.

I feel they sum up the 1930's for that exact reason. They show how far Hollywood pushed their creative and finacial resorces, making breathtaking pictures for people to escape to in times of great depression. A lot of the story lines start out with penny-less Chorus girls looking for work during the depression. The Gold digger's song 'We're In The Money' (Gold Diggers of 1933) was a tongue in cheek way of 'keeping it real'.

For me it is all about the visuals, and the waterfall scene in Footlight parade is awe-inspiring! The costumes and sets in his films opitimise the lavish glamour of 1930's Hollywood and the choreography he is so famous for literally makes my heart skip a beat.

"As a backstage musical, this one has all the glitter and the darker side of this theatrical world. There is also some historical interest, since it portrays the making of a "Prologue" which was a shortened version of a full scale musical, designed to thrill audiences before the showing of a motion picture. Acting as promotions, these prologues were part of the shift in the American entertainment scene from the silent picture to the talking picture. The first hour of this production provides insight into the theatrical world of the early 1930s."

Quote by Harry Warren

A Harem of Peacocks

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