Saturday, July 31, 2021

Bette's Hats and Reviews: The Menace (1932)

I have not been able to find a copy of The Menace (1932). There is a photo of one hat on IMDb, which I have shared here. I do not know if there are any other hats. 

Of Bette's performance, VARIETY said, "Bette Davis has to take a decided second to Natalie Moorhead as the adventuress who kills her husband and blames it on her stepson." In her autobiography, Bette merely said, "I appeared in a monstrosity called The Menace opposite Walter Byron and H. B. Warner. My part consisted of a great many falls out of closets. The picture was made in eight days. I knew I had obviously reached bottom" (Davis, 118). 

The hat was also featured in the February 1932 PHOTOPLAY. The film was tentatively titled The Feathered Serpent.

The caption reads: "MANNISH VEST - just one of the smart details 
of this trim, tailored suit worn by Bette Davis in "The Feathered 
Serpent." The short black wool jacket and skirt stress straight lines.

Davis, Bette. The Lonely Life: An Autobiography. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1962.
Ringgold, Gene. Bette Davis: Her Films and Career. Citadel Press. 1966, 1985.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Recycled Costume Roundup - July

In 2018 I discovered a blog dedicated to recycled movie and television costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood up to the present. If a person comes across a costume that was in two or more films they can submit it to this blog and (eventually) the administrator will add it. The first costume I submitted was this striped outfit worn by Jean Harlow in China Seas (1935) and by an extra in Born to Dance (1935) - both MGM. In fact, I noticed it on the extra, posted on Twitter to see if anyone recognized it, had a strong feeling I had seen it on Jean Harlow, and, after some googling, found it! It was quite thrilling! You can see the post on their website here. They have an email address for submissions - I usually just tag them on Twitter but they haven't been seeing them lately. Their handle is @RecycledCostume. 


Since then I have begun to notice more and more recycled costumes. I've always noticed costumes and always take screenshots of my favorite ones (the main reason I like watching the WatchTCM app on my iPad. It makes it so easy!). I've taken to scanning the extras in party/crowd scenes when watching an A movie and taking notice of the costumes on the lead actresses in B Pictures. I even take screenshots of distinctive costumes just in case I spot them in another film so I can be prepared. And sometimes I just happen to watch two movies back-to-back with a recycled costume in them (like I did in April, which I shared in my monthly "what I watched" post). If you follow me on Twitter or my blog Facebook page (where I have an album specifically dedicated to this) the recycled costumes I am sharing today will already be familiar to you. I have decided to make this a monthly feature as well. I will use my backlog if I have a month where I don't come across any. I will only be sharing costumes that I personally "discovered." This doesn't mean that someone else hasn't discovered them before me but I think this will be a fun feature!


I have had these photos of Joan Fontaine wearing this lovely robe in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941) saved on my Pinterest board for a long time. This month I was watching The Falcon in Hollywood (1944) and thought the robe on an extra looked familiar, so I took a couple screenshots (the moment is so fast it was hard to get good ones). Then, while looking through my Pinterest board for something else, I noticed the photos of Joan Fontaine and realized it was the robe I had been thinking of! 

There's a little bit of a catch on this one though. You'll notice the fabric is shiny on one side and flat on the other with the floral design woven in opposite. Whereas the robe is flat with a shiny collar on Fontaine, it looks all shiny on the extra. I can't tell if the collar is flat (which could mean the robe was reversible) or if it is shiny as well, which would mean it's a different robe altogether. I even watched the scene in Suspicion to see if it looked different on film then it did in the photos One thing I AM certain of is that the fabric is the same. The floral design is exactly the same on both robes (I watched the short clip multiple times to confirm). Both films are from RKO. In Suspicion the gowns are credited to Edward Stevenson, while in The Falcon in Hollywood they are credited to Renie. However, I have seen costumes reused and not credited to their original designer several times (even Adrian!).

UPDATE: In this photo the lapels and robe look the same, so maybe it is the same!


The next recycled gown I noticed was purely an accident. Again I was looking for something else in both a folder of screenshots and my Pinterest board and spotted Joan Crawford and Doris Day wearing the same lace gown! These shots are from Goodbye, My Fancy (1951) - costumes by Sheila O'Brien - and I'll See You in My Dreams (1952) - costumes by Marjorie Best and Leah Rhodes

Doris Day added a shawl

In some publicity photos of this dress there is a black ribbon on the bodice. 
I don't remember how it appears in the film. 


This blue floral-banded ensemble was worn in two separate Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy films that I watched back-to-back, Sweethearts (1938) and I Married an Angel (1942). I actually took a screenshot of it in color because it looked familiar, so there may be a third wear out there. If I come across it I will add it to this post. 

UPDATE: I came across a third wear, but not one that I would have remembered, so there is probably a fourth wear out there. Here is is on two different guests at a wedding in The Hoodlum Saint (1946). I say two guest because there are two different hats. Either there are two identical dresses - but why would they dress two people in the same dress - or they switched hats and/or actors on the day(s) they filmed the scenes. One guest has a dark hat with light colored (probably blue) frills as the brim, where the other is a dark hat with two large light colored flowers on it.

Esther Williams looks lovely in this early film role.


Another coincidental sighting was these chorus girl gowns in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) and an extra in I Married an Angel (1942). I had actually taken screenshots because I thought I might add them as a Cinema Wedding Gown (they're wearing veils in the dance number) but changed my mind and deleted them. And then of course I spotted one in the other movie... Notice the bodice decoration was removed. 

The gown on the right was worn by Anita Louise in Marie Antoinette (1938) but that's a separate post. I have a 700+ image album with all the recycles from that movie on my blog Facebook page - linked on the sidebar on the right (photo of Carole Lombard). 

UPDATE: Here they are again in Maisie was a Lady (1941)!

Here it is close-up.


The final recycle I am sharing is this unique and eye-catching striped dress worn by Lana Turner in Marriage is a Private Affair (1944) and by Audrey Totter in a publicity photo (with the grouping of flowers at the bust removed). It showed up in a Pinterest search for something else (anyone else getting odd results in their Pinterest searches the past week?). 

And while we're on this movie here's another recycle I noticed a few months ago - Lana Turner in a cameo as herself in DuBarry was a Lady (1943) and Frances Gifford (with Lana Turner) in Marriage is a Private Affair! You will notice a little bit of lace was added for modesty.

I found several others (I was on a roll this month) but two of them are wedding gowns (three-peats!) that I am saving for a Cinema Wedding Gowns post and the others contain several from the same movies that I would rather do a separate post on whenever I have a slow recycled costume spotting month.

Do you like this new feature? Have you ever spotted a recycled costume before?

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Cinema Wedding Gowns: Spinout (1966)

Since the Star of the Month for July on Turner Classic Movies is Elvis Presley, I thought it would be fun to highlight a wedding scene from one of his films: Spinout (1966). The brides are Shelley Fabares, Diane McBain, and Deborah Walley. None of the grooms are Elvis but, in true Elvis fashion, he kisses all of the brides ;)

From left to right: Faberes, McBain, and Walley.

All three girls are wearing identical shoulder-length tulle veils. The base is donut shaped and rests on a circle of tiny white floral sprigs. Tiny white petals are scattered over the tulle as well.

We only get glimpses of their dresses. Fabares wears a lace gown with a wide neckline, flutter sleeves, and a fitted bodice that seamlessly moves into a medium-full skirt. 

Diane McBain wears a gown made of plain white fabric with a lace shawl/cape-like piece attached to the front of the bodice and going down into a point in the back, also creating the lace "sleeves." The nipped in waist goes into a full skirt with a substantial train. There are also sheer sleeve pieces that go from the wrist to the elbow, lending to a long-sleeve effect (You can see it better in this photo). The groom is Carl Betz, who played Faberes' father both here and on The Donna Reed Show.

Deborah Walley has the prettiest gown, in my opinion. Floral applique over a sheer white fabric with short sleeves and an empire waist. All three brides wear short white gloves and white heels. 

Which gown is your favorite?

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Bette's Hats and Reviews: Way Back Home (1931)

For Bette Davis' final film of 1931 she was lent to RKO. While the critics didn't have anything nice to say about Way Back Home - VARIETY wrote "As entertainment, the film is unbelievably bad. It runs 81 minutes and seems like 281" - Bette was cheered by the fact that she was "well photographed - and more important - was not a sister. I was someone's girl, and you DID understand why he wanted to kiss me at the fade-out. When I saw the picture I, anyway, was encouraged by my physical appearance. I looked the way I had always felt I looked. For the first time" (Davis, 117). 

She wears one hat in the film: 

Davis, Bette. The Lonely Life: An Autobiography. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1962.
Ringgold, Gene. Bette Davis: Her Films and Career. Citadel Press. 1966, 1985.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Royal Film Performance Series: The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

King George VI (blurry), Queen Elizabeth, King Michael of Rumania, and Princess Margaret.

The movie shown at the second Royal Film Performance, like the first, had a religious tone to it. It was the now Christmas classic, The Bishop's Wife (1947) starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. It was held at the Odeon Theatre on November 25, 1947, just five days after the Royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. They understandably did not attend. 

While the newlyweds were not in attendance, the audience WAS treated to a 30 minute color film of the wedding. An Australian newspaper described the scene:

The King and Queen, with Princess Margaret, made a tortuous progress to the theatre while milling crowds choked the approaches and pressed against the steel crush barriers.

Mounted police had to force a route for cars bearing the Royal parties and film celebrities.

Several people fainted an had to be extricated by ambulance men. 

~ The Mercury, November 27, 1947

Another newspaper, The Daily News (November 26, 1947), shared this interesting tidbit:

The Film, The Bishop's Wife, is American. It comes under the new British tax and will not be generally distributed. 

Up to £A32/10/ were paid for seats near the Royal box. The show raised more than £A31,500 for the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund. 

Click here to see the program (for sale on Ebay) 

CLICK HERE to watch a two minute British Pathe newsreel. 
I love how they describe the gowns.

And CLICK HERE for a six minute video of silent footage of stars and guests arriving.
British Pathe films have to be licensed, so I have removed them from my posts.

Loretta Young: An Extraordinary Life, by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein, recounts the glamorous star's encounter with the royals:
Among their fellow passangers [on the Queen Mary] was Noel Coward, of whom an anxious Loretta asked, "When I curtsey to the queen how low shall I bow?" To which Coward replied, "To the floor, ducky"(260).

Loretta was not disappointed upon meeting the royal family. She later recalled, "As the big moment approached, I kept running around trying to find out whether I should wear my long white gloves. Everybody was so excited, and I was no exception. Although we had been well rehearsed for the event, we all just plain forgot. I was frantic, for suddenly the line began to move and my turn was coming. At the last minute I got a peek at the others and saw they had their gloves on. I never got gloves on so fast in my life"(261). 

David Niven, according to the authorized biography Niv by Graham Lord, reported to producer Sam Goldwyn, "The audience loved every second of it and the Queen and Princess Margaret told me afterwards and at great length how much they enjoyed it" (148). 


While a fantasy, there are no fantastic heavenly manifestations. There’s a humanness about the characters, even the angel, that beguiles full attention. Henry Koster’s sympathetic direction deftly gets over the warm humor supplied by the script, taken from Robert Nathan’s novel of the same title.

Cary Grant is the angel of the piece and has never appeared to greater advantage. Role, with the exception of a minor miracle or two, is potently pointed to indicate character could have been a flesh-and-blood person, a factor that embellishes sense of reality as the angel sets about answering the troubled prayers of Episcopalian bishop (David Niven).

 Plot, essentially, deals with Grant’s assignment to make people act like human beings. In great need of his help is Niven, a young bishop who has lost the common touch and marital happiness because of his dream of erecting a massive cathedral.

Loretta Young gives a moving performance as the wife whose life is touched by an angel without her knowledge of his heavenly origin. Niven’s cleric character is played straight but his anxieties and jealousy loosen much of the warm humor gracing the plot.


Emissaries from heaven are not conspicuously exceptional on the screen, the movies having coyly incarnated any number of these supernatural types, ordained by their fanciful creators to right the wrongs of this world (not to mention the bookkeeping errors that seem to occur up above). And certainly communion with angels is traditional at Christmastime, which is the season when most of us mortals need angelic reassurance anyhow. So there is nothing especially surprising about the miracle that occurs in Samuel Goldwyn's "The Bishop's Wife," which opened last night at the Astor—except that it is superb. And that is very surprising, in view of the realistic fact that it is a sentimental whimsy of the most delicate and dangerous sort. All of us know that angels don't walk the earth like natural men—and definitely not in the image of that debonair rascal, Gary Grant. And most of us have some dark misgivings about the tact of the makers of films when they barge into the private area of a man's communication with his God. But you need have no anxieties in the case of "The Bishop's Wife." It is as cheerful and respectful an invasion of the realm of conscience that we have seen. And it comes very close to being the most enchanting picture of the year — a judgment to which its many merits will shortly make a strong bid. That is because its incursion is on a comparatively simple and humble plane and its whimsy is sensitively syphoned from the more human and humorous frailties of the flesh. We are not going to make an analysis of the many subtle comments in this tale of a full-bodied guardian angel who answers a young bishop's prayer for guidance and spiritual comfort in the midst of a crisis in his life. We are not going to state any morals which this charmingly casual angel proves in drawing the bishop's wrought attention from a new cathedral to the richer services of life—and, particularly, to a fresh fulfillment of his family responsibilities. We are not going to mouth about these matters, because the picture itself refrains—and that is one of the most endearing of its many endearing young charms. In shaping this warm and winning fable from a Robert Nathan book, Robert Sherwood and Leonardo Bercovici have written with beautiful belief that a point clearly made in performance doesn't have to be hit a dozen times nor a moral quietly manifested put into a hundred solemn words. And so there is no heavy pounding of the lesson of humanity, of the futility of ostentation, of the special possessiveness of a man's love. Nor is there any such pounding in Henry Koster's directorial style. Smoothly and with artful invention he has induced Mr. Grant to give one of his most fluent and beguiling performances as the angel, "Dudley," who fixes things. And he has got out of David Niven a deliciously dexterous and droll characterization of a sorely pressed young bishop who can't quite cotton to this messenger from on high. Elsa Lanchester, too, is encouraged in an exquisitely faceted role of a twitterly little housemaid who flirts with this angelic gent, and Monty Woolley is actually human as an old dodo who is morally re-inspired. James Gleason, Sara Haden and Gladys Cooper are rich in smaller parts. Weakness is only evident in Loretta Young's unctuousness as the bishop's wife. She is the one artificial, inconsistent and discordant note.Of course, there are probably some people who are going to say that this film encourages a futile illusion with its hope of miraculous aid. But they—if they do—will be missing its most warmly inspiring point which is—but wait a minute That's for you to recognize and enjoy. We cannot recommend you to a more delightful and appropriate Christmas show.

Next up in the Royal Film Performance Series: Scott of the Antarctic (1948).

Previous Film: A Matter of Life and Death (1946).

Lord, Graham. Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven. St. Martin's Press. 2003. 
Morella, Joe & Epstein, Edward Z. Loretta Young: An Extraordinary Life. Landmark Books. 1986.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Movies I Watched in June

This month I finished Taxi. The entire series is on YouTube. Then I watched season 1 of Who’s the Boss? free on IMDb. They only have 2 (out of 8) seasons though and only season 1 is on dvd. They’re supposedly rebooting it so hopefully the rest of the series will appear on tv or some streaming service. 

I watched my second non-Daniel Craig Bond movie. I watched From Russia with Love within the last couple of years but wasn't much on it. This month I watched Dr. No. I really liked the first part. The end turned into a sci-fi type movie that was definitely dated. 

Films with an * are rewatches.

  1. Sworn Enemy (1936) - Robert Young & Florence Rice, Lewis Stone
  2. *They Met in Bombay (1941) - Clark Gable & Rosalind Russell
  3. The Saint in Palm Springs (1941) - George Sanders & Wendy Barrie
  4. The Falcon Strikes Back (1943) - Tom Conway & Jane Randolph, Harriet Nelson
  5. Her Kind of Man (1946) - Zachary Scott, Janis Paige, Dane Clark, George Tobias, Faye Emerson 
  6. Let’s Make It Legal (1951) - Claudette Colbert, Robert Wagner 
  7. Stage Struck (1958) - Henry Fonda, Herbert Marshall, Christopher Plummer
  8. Imitation General (1958) - Glenn Ford, Red Buttons, Dean Jones
  9. Darby’s Rangers (1958) - James Garner, Jack Warden, Peter Brown
  10. Paris Blues (1961) - Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier & Diahann Carroll, Louis Armstrong 
  11. Dr. No (1962) - Sean Connery, Ursula Andress
  12. *The Longest Day (1962) - John Wayne, Robert Ryan, etc.
  13. Battle of the Bulge (1965) - Robert Ryan, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews
  14. *The Great Race (1965) - Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn
  15. The Torn Curtain (1966) - Paul Newman & Julie Andrews 
  16. Persuasion (1995) - Amanda Root & Ciaran Hinds
  17. *Walk the Line (2005) - Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon 
Least Favorite Film: Stage Struck wasn't as good as I had hoped. The girl was overly dramatic in a bad way (it's a remake of Katharine Hepburn's Morning Glory). And the "famous actress" felt like an Anne Baxter knockoff. Let's Make it Legal had a predictable story line bur Robert Wagner was cute ;) No movies made it onto my "never watch again list" though!

Favorite Movie: I really liked Imitation General

Rosalind Russell, They Met in Bombay (1941)