Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Crawford's Clothes Closet

When Lucille LeSueur became Joan Crawford and burst onto the Hollywood scene, she immediately became a fashion sensation. When she appeared in that famous ruffled white dress in Letty Lynton, designed by Adrian, millions of copies were sold in clothing stores across the country (500,000 were sold by Macy's as soon as it hit the shelves). Crawford quickly put together her trademark look: bold brows, a wide smear of lipstick, and shoulder pads, setting a trend to over a decade.

Any actress who appears in public without being well-groomed is digging her own grave. ~ Joan Crawford

One of the reasons Crawford had to always look like a Movie Star when she went out was because she had some figure flaws. Her shoulders were much wider than her hips and the shoulder pads were able to hide that fact by highlighting them, so one's attention was brought to them on purpose. She also heavily relied on makeup to shape the contours of her face for the camera, and to hide her freckles.

A retouched photo of Crawford next to the original, circa BB (Before the Brows).

This photo really shows the difference between her hips and shoulder.
How cute are those wedges?!

In order to look like a movie star, Crawford had to dress like a movie star. She was obsessed with clothes and called them her friends. Therefore they had to be stored carefully. Everything was hung up and covered with plastic to keep them dust free. There were separate closets for hats, handbags, shoes (which were custom made and fabric covered to match each outfit), dresses, suits, and furs.

I look at them and I know that I'm a star.


Crawford's love of her clothes could easily be called an obsession. Just look at these astonishing tidbits:
    • would change clothes up to 10 times a day
    • traveled with around 35 suitcases
    • had special wardrobe trunks for her diamonds and earring sets
    • owned 16 fur coats at one point
    • would have favorite hats copied in 12 different colors
    • carried a hip flask of 100-proof vodka with covers made to match her outfits
    • would give guests a tour of her closets
And we though this was her only problem!

More money was spent on Crawford's personal wardrobe than on her movie wardrobes, with Adrian protecting her image with the glamorous gowns he designed for her both on and off the screen. And it was money well-spent, as Crawford's image is and always will be recognizable to millions.

Crawford with her luggage

Crawford's Five Fashion Rules:
1. Find your own style and have the courage to stick to it.
2. Choose your clothes for your way of life.
3. Make your wardrobe as versatile as an actress. It should be able to play many roles.
4. Find your happiest colors - the ones that make you feel good.
5. Care for your clothes, like the good friends they are!
Wearing a monogrammed suit at home

A couple more tips:
  • Wear bright colors to "give them something to look at."
  • "Underdress for a romantic scene, let your face and figure and your expression play the leading roles."
This post is part of The Joan Crawford Blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. Be sure to read all of the other posts on this legendary (yet obsessive) actress.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What to Expect This Month

If you have noticed the scarcity of posts over here, it is because I have been working on my blogathon posts for next month. I have taken off quite a bit more than I can chew with three posts for the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, two for the Film Noir Blogathon, and two for the Second Annual Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon, all in August. I am also hoping to participate in the month-long Summer Under the Stars Blogathon, not to mention the Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge. Therefore I want to get a head-start on my other posts.

This month I do have a post on Crawford's Clothes Closet for the Joan Crawford Blogathon and I may do a few more "Ten Movies on an Island" posts featuring favorite directors. I would also like to do a post on all of the new-to-me Olivia de Havilland films I have watched this month and another Classic Film Book review. Hope you enjoy all of the upcoming posts!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ten Movies on an Island: John Wayne

John Wayne and Judy Garland were my first favorite actor and actress when I was little, and I still love both of them. However, I have watched John Wayne far more often. The following films have been seen so many times I can quote large passages from memory and throw them into ordinary conversations.
1. Angel and the Bad Man (1947) - Gail Russell
2. Fort Apache (1948) - Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
3. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) - Victor McLaglen
4. Rio Grande (1950) - Maureen O'Hara
5. The Quiet Man (1952) - Maureen O'Hara
6. The Searchers (1956) - Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood
7. Rio Bravo (1959) - Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson
8. North to Alaska (1960) - Stewart Granger, Capucine, Fabian
9. Donovan's Reef (1963) - Lee Marvin, Elizabeth Allen
10. McLintock (1963) - Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stephanie Powers
John Wayne film I will NEVER WATCH AGAIN: Wake of the Red Witch (1948) - his death at the end left me and my brothers depressed the rest of the day AND the entire next day!

Honorable Mentions: Stagecoach (1939), They Were Expendable (1945), Without Reservations (1946), Red River (1948), Blood Alley (1955), The Comancheros (1961), El Dorado (1966), The Shootist (1976).

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ten Movies on an Island: Bob Hope

Bob Hope is everyone's favorite comedienne. Or at least, he's one of mine. I can't remember the first film I saw of his. It was either Son of Paleface (1952) or My Favorite Brunette/Road to Bali (double feature dvd from Dollar Tree). Whichever film it was, I found Bob to be hilarious and now own several of his movies. His bromance with Bing Crosby is one of the greatest ever captured on film (Bing has a cameo in virtually every Hope film. If not Bob makes a crack about him). I still have lots of his movies to see, but here are my favorites:
1. The Ghost Breakers (1940) - Paulette Goddard
2. Caught in the Draft (1941) - Dorothy Lamour
3. The Princess and the Pirate (1944) - Virginia Mayo
4. My Favorite Brunette (1947) - Dorothy Lamour
5. The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) - Marilyn Maxwell
6. Son of Paleface (1952) - Jane Russell and Roy Rogers
7. Paris Holiday (1958) - Anita Ekberg
8. Alias Jesse James (1959) - Rhonda Fleming
9. Bachelor in Paradise (1961) - Lana Turner
10. The Road to... Series with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour (except Hong Kong) - ok, I'm cheating with this one but I don't remember which ones I like best)
What film was your introduction to Bob Hope? Which of his films is your favorite?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ten Movies on an Island: William Powell

William Powell is one of my top three actors, along with John Wayne and Cary Grant. However, unlike the other two who I grew up watching, Powell came along later.

The first films I saw of his were on a dvd from the dollar store, a double feature: My Man Godfrey (my first introduction to Carole Lombard) and Life with Father. I found Godfrey to be a bit too crazy for my tastes at the time, but my entire family loved Powell's Oscar-nominated performance in Life with Father. A couple years after that I saw the first four Thin Man films and I know I enjoyed them but I didn't go crazy over them. Then, a couple of years ago, I rewatched the Thin Man films and realized just how brilliant Powell and Loy were as a comedy team. It didn't take me long to try to get my hands on all of the other films they made together, as well as watch as many of Powell's films that I could find (thanks TCM and YouTube!). Since then I have watched almost all of Powell's "talkies." I think I just have around a dozen films left. I just discovered a couple of them here and keep hoping TCM will air some of the others.

Narrowing down my favorite ten William Powell films is pretty much next to impossible. Just presume that all the rest are Honorable Mentions ;)
1. The Thin Man (1934)
2. My Man Godfrey (1936) - Carole Lombard
3. Libeled Lady (1936) - Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy
4. After the Thin Man (1936)
5. Double Wedding (1937) - Myrna Loy
6. Another Thin Man (1939) - Myrna Loy
7. Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
8. The Thin Man Goes Home (1945) - Myrna Loy
9. Life with Father (1947) - Irene Dunne, Elizabeth Taylor
10. Mister Roberts (1955) - Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, James Cagney
When did you discover William Powell? Have you seen all of his pairings with Loy? What's your favorite Powell film outside of the Thin Man series?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sinners in the Sun (1932)

Sinners in the Sun (1932) starring Carole Lombard lets it's viewers know right away that this is a film to get "hot and bothered" about. Not only is it evident from the title, but also in the opening credits - gorgeous girls parading around in glamorous gowns.

Once the credits end, we see a woman whose dress and demeanor ooze class, until we find out she's just a model that walks around until her frock catches the eye of some customer, whether or not they actually have the figure to pull them off.

With director Alexander Hall.

As she is changing, we see a room full of models wearing high couture - ok, actually most of them are in their underthings, proof positive that this is indeed a Pre-code film, in case you didn't guess already.

The model is Doris (Lombard), in love with a mechanic (Chester Morris) but wanting more out of life like security, but mainly clothes. While on a day trip to Long Island, Doris and Jimmy (Morris) have an argument over his lack of ambition. They end up parting ways and each finds themselves with a wealthy companion, Doris with a married man on the verge of divorce and Jimmy with a rich girl who would rather have love than wealth.

Jimmy and his wife, Claire Kincaid

The film then takes a rather depressing turn, especially for Doris. Her friend's wife commits suicide (Cary Grant is the friend in a small role) and the man she is with reconciles with wife and leaves Grant's character to give her the news. Both Doris and Jimmy go on drinking binges until a chance meeting at a restaurant. Jimmy's wife gives him up (quite big of her but she knew he wasn't in love with her when she married him) and he and Doris are able to get back together at the end, affirming that true love is always better than being wealthy.

I watched the film on Youtube (it's extremely blurry) but the main draw of this film, other than seeing Cary Grant in an early role, is Carole Lombard's wardrobe, designed by Travis Banton. She models one chic and glamorous outfit after another, a feast to the eyes of any Depression-era woman. The Times review said it was a "display of luxury," and that its chief merit was the "slickness of it luxurious accompaniment".

Lombard's most glamorous gown: sequin cross-over halter and bias-cut silk dress with matching sequin coat.
Another pretty gown with a peplum at the waist and a short, fur-trimmed cape.
 Two more looks. The white gown also had a matching hat with bow.
Smart suit and hat with lace blouse and fur.

This picture is blurry but I love the button detailing on her suit here.
Lombard's "Trilby bangs" were apparently also a selling point for the film.

There is also a fashion show, where Doris meets Eric Nelson for the first time (she sneaks off for a swim in the ocean and he joins her).

Lombard modeling one of the outfits from the film (seen on another model in the film and in the photo above).

Carole Lombard and Chester Morris made one other film together, The Gay Bride (1934). She made two more with Cary Grant, The Eagle and the Hawk (1933) and In Name Only (1939).


This post is for the Hot & Bothered Blogathon: The Films of 1932 hosted by CineMaven's Essays from the Couch and Once Upon a Screen. Be sure to read the rest of the steamy posts (which might be difficult if you wear glasses).

Awesome personalized banner made my CineMaven!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Shoutout for the Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon

Just wanted to bring to the attention of the Classic Film Blogging World an Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon hosted by Coffee, Classics, and Craziness. I stumbled upon it through my blogger friend over at Hamlette's Soliloquey. Unfortunately it's in mid-August, right after the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon and ending at the same time as the Film Noir Blogathon and Second Annual Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon are beginning, not to mention the month long Summer Under the Stars Blogathon.


Monday, July 4, 2016

The Olivia de Havilland Centenary Blogathon: Wrap-up Day

We have come to the end of a glorious blogging weekend honoring the beautiful, graceful, and hugely talented Olivia de Havilland on the 100th anniversary of her birth. Here's hoping she makes it to her goal of 110!
And now, the final posts:
Stars and Letters shares some of Olivia's Correspondence in Don't Mess with Olivia de Havilland.
Musings of a Classic Film Addict gives us her Analysis of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939).
Defiant Success explores all 8 of the films of Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn
Smitten Kitten Vintage takes us on the Santa Fe Trail (1940).
Movie Rob discovers a pre-1960s film he enjoyed in The Ambassador's Daughter (1956).
Pop Culture Reverie talks about the underrated To Each His Own (1946). Don't forget to sign up for her upcoming Hail to the Chief Blogathon!
I attempt to cover Olivia de Havillands TV Appearances on my other blog, Bewitched with Classic TV.
My wonderful co-host Crystal closes the blogathon with her Life Story of Olivia.
A HUGE THANK YOU to my co-host Crystal and to all of you for making this blogathon memorable!!!!
I also came across these two posts on Once Upon a Screen for Olivia's birthday: Career in Pictures and Radio Tribute.