Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Recycled Costume Roundup - August

Movie costumes that have been used twice are quite often used yet a third time. After I posted last months inaugural roundup, I came across two of these "three-peats." They are both costumes that I recognized from another blogger's "discovery." 

The first is from a recycle first brought to my attention by a favorite fellow blogger Caftan Woman. She shared this on her Twitter account a couple years ago and, being fascinated with recycles, I bookmarked it. Here is her tweet:

I spotted this unique costume on Fay Helm in The Falcon in San Francisco (1945). It looks like the neckline was slightly altered for the Dick Tracy film. 


The next recycle was noticed by Kimberly Truhler from GlamAmor (you may know her from her TCMFF "Fashion in Film" talks and Film Noir Fashion book published last year) during a live tweet last May of They Won't Believe Me (1947). She noted it had first been worn by Claire Trevor in Murder, My Sweet (1944). I then spotted the dress in The Falcon's Adventure (1946). It looks like it may have lost a strip of sequins on the sleeve along the way. And, as you can see, the neckline was altered both times.

Here's the full costume on Trevor.

This suit worn by Madge Meredith in The Falcon's Adventure (left) also shows up in another of her films, Child of Divorce (right) from the same year.

UPDATE: I also spotted the suit in The Bells of St. Mary's (1945).

Another Child of Divorce recycle is this beaded dress originally worn by Olivia de Havilland in Government Girl (1943). I had saved the photo (right) of Meredith on Pinterest and then someone shared a video of de Havilland in the dress on Instagram and I recognized it as one I had seen very recently. 

UPDATE 10/31/21: I spotted the gown again in Mystery in Mexico (1948), this time with a dark skirt and added embellishments on the back.


And while we're still on the subject of The Falcon movies, here's Falcon regular Jean Brooks in a publicity photo wearing a sparkly gown spotted on an extra in The Falcon's Brother (1942) in a fashion show sequence (I had taken the screenshot for the "Victory" dress). 

It just hit me that the costumes in this entire post are circa WWII era films and the recycles were probably also because of the clothing rationing!


I started off August with a bang, spotting two big recycles in Casablanca (1942), which I hadn't seen since I was a teen (12+ years ago). Right in the first scene inside Rick's Café I spotted this champagne colored gown worn by Olivia de Havilland in It's Love I'm After (1937) - in which Bette Davis co-stars. It's one of my favorite film costumes. It doesn't fit the extra very well though.

UPDATE: I also spotted de Havilland's gown carried by Ann Sheridan in The Doughgirls (1944), seen below. You can't miss those distinctive sleeves!

A few seconds later I spotted Bette Davis' beaded/sequined top from Dark Victory (1939)! Both costumes are still in existence. You can see Olivia reunited with her costume at the bottom of this article as well as a fantastic photo of it on this great WB Classic Studio Tour by Hometowns to Hollywood. A quick google search will bring you multiple images of Bette's. 

Casablanca has another Davis connections as well. The beaded crop-top worn by Madeleine Lebeau was actually originally a jacket worn by Davis in Marked Woman (1937)! I kept thinking of the dress and that the beadwork looked identical but didn't remember there was a matching jacket until someone posted a photo of it on Twitter. It was also worn by Dolores Moran in a publicity photo (not sure if it's from a movie as I haven't seen much of her work). And yes, I counted the rows of beads on the sleeves.

"Hey, Kid. that jacket looks kind of familiar.."

Here is the costume today:


I also spotted my first hat recycle! We all know Bette Davis' iconic hat when she steps off the boat after her makeover in Now, Voyager (1942). Well, I was looking for a certain costume in To Have and Have Not (1945) and spotted it on an extra behind Lauren Bacall! It may not be the actual hat worn by Davis - her stand-in had one too. Between this and Casablanca, that's a lot of Davis-Bogart-Henreid connections!


The last recycle is this heavily braided gown worn by Ruth Hussey in Married Bachelor that she also wore in publicity photos for H.M. Pulham, Esq., both 1941.

I wonder what color the side panels were?

This dress by Kalloch is a cross between Katharine Hepburn's famous  The Philadelphia Story dress (Adrian - waist) and one worn by Myrna Loy in I Love You Again (Dolly Tree - shoulders)! I'd wear all of them (insert ♥ eyes)!


And lastly, for fun, here is a recycled mirror! I noticed it in Lady Be Good (1941) and shared it online because of a certain artist - Curious Pip, check out her work on Instagram - who loves mermaids and classic movies. Then I spotted it again at the beginning of Come Live With Me (1941)!

Be sure to check out last month's post again. I found a third recycle of the striped flower gown and added it to the post as well as a photo that shows Joan Fontaine's Suspicion robe better :)

Post 450!

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Bette's Hats and Reviews: The Man Who Played God (1932)

I have no idea if these were the true colors of the hat, but it's interesting to see nonetheless.

It was early 1932 and Bette Davis thought her Hollywood career was over. Then a miracle happened. Esteemed actor Mr. George Arliss literally played God with Davis and threw her a lifeline, offering her an important part in his next picture, The Man Who Played God

Davis recounts the astounding and funny moment in her book The Lonely Life (she devotes over four pages to it):

The day before we were to board our train, our phone rang. Ruthie [her mother] answered. I heard her say, "George who? Arliss? Bette, it's for you - it's George Arliss." 

As I went to the phone I wondered which friend was ribbing me and very elegantly I said to the supposed George Arliss - in a very broad British accent - "Yes, Mr. Arliss, and what can I do for you?" 

A beautiful English voice slightly taken aback said, "Is this Miss Bette Davis? This is Mr. George Arliss." 

"Of course," I answered, "and how are you, old boy?" - never dreaming I was really talking to George Arliss himself. 

Finally he managed to get through to me that he was for real - that a Murray Kinnell who was in The Menace with me had suggested my name as a possibility for a part in his next picture. He wondered if I could be a Warner Brothers at 3 o'clock that afternoon. That was in two hours. Could I be - try and stop me! The sky was blue again. The grass was green. An Arliss picture! I wouldn't have to return to New York a failure (119)!

This truly was the chance of a lifetime for a young actress, and the enormity of it was not lost on Bette. "To be in one of his pictures not only put one on the map, but in a dignified way." After a short meeting - "Universal had asked to see my legs. Mr. Arliss was examining my soul" - the part was hers. 

I was too stunned to move. I finally found my voice, thanked him, which was the understatement of the century, and got out of the office without falling in a dead faint...by the time I got to the wardrobe department I couldn't control myself any longer. I started literally jumping up and down and screaming, "I can't believe it! I can't believe it!" 

For the first time care was taken with me by the makeup man, the hairdresser and the wardrobe department. What a difference this can make (121). 

The critics couldn't understand the change that had come over me. It was awfully simple. I had a good part with a fine cast, a fine production, and my makeup and clothes and camerawork were the best (123).
I love the texture of this hat.

This was noticed in the movie magazine Silver Screen, in their "Fired and Hired" article: 
Bette Davis was under contract to Universal, but she was released with the explanation that she did not photograph well and showed no particular ability as an actress. She was at once taken up by Warner Brothers and in The Man Who Played God she gave a fine dramatic performance opposite George Arliss, and critics compared her beauty to that of Constance Bennett (July 1932, page 56). 
In their personal review of the film they said "Bette Davis is the girl, and is good."

The outfit that goes with the white crocheted hat:

Photoplay May 1932

Another favorably review was that of Weekly Variety, which complimented the young actress: 
Bette Davis, the ingénue, is a vision of wide-eyed blonde beauty.

Motion Picture Magazine had this to say about the her performance:

What is, however, unexpected about the picture, in addition to its ingenious plot, is Bette Davis' earnest and intense portrayal of the idol-worshipping girl which makes her suddenly an actress to be reckoned with.

One of the negative reviews was by Mordaunt Halls of The New York Times who complained that she "often speaks too rapidly for the microphone."

However, it was the words said by Mr. Arliss upon completion of the film that Bette recalled with pride. "My dear. Not even I saw all the dimensions you gave to Grace. Thank you!"

If you would like to see more screenshots of the hats and more of Bette's costumes I have an album on my blog Facebook page. You do not need an account to view it. You can watch the film here.

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.
Silver Screen Magazine

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Cinema Wedding Gowns: The Hoodlum Saint (1946)

I've been revisiting a lot of "non-Loy" William Powell movies that I haven't seen in about six years and spotted this wedding gown in The Hoodlum Saint (1946). Esther Williams, who would have been 100 on August 8th, is a guest who is kissed by wedding-crasher Powell looking to find himself a job among the wealthy business men in attendance. 

While the movie begins in 1919, with Powell coming home from fighting oversees, the bride's dress is definitely 1946...

This shot shows the voluminous skirt, with what looks like just a small bit of train. The veil is probably the same length or just a bit longer than the dress. 

The veil appears to be a lace cap with the tulle attached. White roses tied with a wide ribbon bow make up the bouquet (white roses plays a part in the film). The bride is played by Karin Booth.

The bodice is very snug with a high-to-low waist. There are long, snug fitting sleeves and lace applique on the bust extending above the Queen Anne neckline of the gown. A simple necklace of graduated pearls completes the bridal look. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Bette's Hats and Reviews: Hell's House (1932)

Bette Davis's second of nine movies made in 1932 was, according to her autobiography The Lonely Life, "aptly named Hell's House...which took about five minutes to make although it seemed like an eternity...The camera work was excellent, the editing expert, and playing opposite Mr. [Pat] O'Brien a satisfaction."

Bette wears three hats in the film:


I wish we could see the jacket better. It looks interesting!

Young Durkin's playing is sincere and likewise that of Bette Davis. 

~ NY Times


I love the ruffles and scallops! I would have done a different style hat though.

Notice Bette Davis in this - for she has caught on.

~ Silver Screen


This is a very elegant costume!

In this publicity photo, Bette is wearing the final 
costume from the film but with a straw hat.

I didn't watch this movie because it's about a sweet boy who goes to reform school to cover for someone he admires. However, the entire film can be viewed on YouTube.

At the end of filming, Bette declared: 
Six movies were under my belt. The next role would be it. The next one would be the part to prove I really knew how to act. And then it happened. Universal did not take up my option... I had failed in the new medium which I had come to love.
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.
New York Times
Silver Screen Magazine

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Royal Film Performance Series: Scott of the Antarctic (1948)

The selection for the third Royal Film Performance was the biopic Scott of the Antarctic (1948), about the ill-fated 1912 South Pole Terra Nova Expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott (as this is a true story there are "spoilers" in this post). 

NOTE: Please make sure you visit all the links, especially for the videos, for the full experience :)

September 9, 1904

On board the "Discovery," homeward bound from the Antarctic. I have added a little, I hope, to the knowledge gleaned by Captain Cook, Sir James Ross, and other Explorers before me. But I have only touched the fringe of things. I leave behind a whole continent - vast, mysterious, inhospitable, and still to all intents and purposes unknown. 

The film opens with sweeping views of the icy continent and the wails of siren-like singing, leaving the viewer with a desolate and eerie feeling.

Our first glimpse of Captain Scott, played by John Mills, is as he is being sculpted by his wife, Diana Churchill (step-mother to actress Glynis Johns). He wonders if he will be able to raise enough money for a second expedition to the Antarctic, this time with the South Pole as his goal (Scott's first expedition was from 1901-1904 where he discovered the Antarctic Plateau on which the South Pole lies). If he succeeded, he would also be the first man to reach the South Pole. 

After he raises the money, he sets out with 65 men. We are treated to almost documentary like scenes of their arrival, setting up of equipment, and planning sessions. They also learn that a Norwegian expedition has decided to try their luck in reaching the Pole. I'm sure that Prince Philip, as a Navy man, found these scenes extremely interesting. 

I can't help feeling that we should use every modern invention that comes along. Somebody's got to try these things out!

Portraits of the King and Queen go with the expedition. 

"Queen Alexandra Range" and "Victoria Land."

There are numerous Royal references in the film, with portraits of the current Monarch, George V and his wife Queen Alexandra, as well as locations in Antarctica named after the current queen and Queen Victoria (at the time of the first expedition she would have just died). 

After the long Antarctic night is over - six months - the explorers set out on the first leg of their journey. As they go along, depots of supplies are buried for the return trip and men sent back with samples, letters home, and most importantly news of their progress. They start out with horses and dogs and for the last two legs before they reach the Pole, man-power.  

Finally, there are five men left. The going is arduous and when they arrive at the South Pole they discover that the Norwegians have already come and gone, using dog power all the way. Dejected, they pose for a photo and begin the long way back. 

Record breaking cold temperatures, low fuel for their cookstove, and frostbite hinder their progress. One man dies and then another, so that there are only three left: Capt. Scott, scientist Edward Wilson, and Henry Robertson Bowers. Finally, with only eleven miles left to go, they died on March 29, 1912. Their frozen bodies were found by a searching party in October and a cross was erected with the names of the five men. You can watch the movie here.

The last entry.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Royal Command Performance was held at the Empire Theatre on November 29, 1948. King George VI was ill and unable to attend. Princess Elizabeth had just given birth to Prince Charles on the 14th and so was unable to go as well. The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Prince Philip, and a host of Hollywood stars made it a glittering evening nonetheless. Click here to see a photo of John Mills meeting the Queen.

This article from The Mercury speculates that a newsreel of the new baby Prince will make its premiere at the Royal Command Performance.

Click here to watch the British Pathe video footage of the stars and Royals arriving (videos from the British Pathe have to be licensed and I'm nervous of putting them directly in my post). And here is the AP Archive newsreel. The little girl presenting flowers to Princess Margaret is a cute moment. And note 25 year old Glynis Johns in attendance supporting her step-mother! At the end of the video (next to Jean Simmons) you can see Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor, but they are not named by the narrator. 

The Stars Remember

Loy meeting the Queen Mother with Margaret Lockwood looking on. 
Laurence Olivier, Vivian Leigh, Alan Ladd, and Glynis Johns can be 
seen in the background. I'm not sure who's between Lockwood and Olivier. 

Myrna Loy, in England filming If This Be Sin with Roger Livesy and recovering from appendicitis, devoted an entire page in her autobiography, Being and Becoming, about the evening: 

Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh led the British stars, and the U.S. studios sent over a contingent of their best. The women wore fabulous gowns - mine was a new Dior of rose-colored net and lace - which we were expected to show off while descending a steep, treacherous stairway into the lobby. As we started down, Elizabeth Taylor, delicate and lovely with her white, white skin and violet eyes, turned to Robert Taylor and groaned, "I'm gonna throw up!"

I had sat on those stairs during rehearsals with the cream of English actors at my feet, the acting knights urging me to perform the show's big skit with them. But Hollywood studio representatives said, "No, one of our regular contingent has to do it!" The fact that I was living in England made me ineligible to represent my country, for some reason. They finally worked me into a bit with Sid Field, one of England's most popular comedians, a much-beloved man. When he kissed me during our turn, the entire audience went wild. You could hear them screaming - it was a great moment for them. After the show, we lined up alphabetically for presentation to the royal family. King George, gravely ill, could not attend, but Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother) appeared with her daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret [Princess Elizabeth did not attend, as mentioned above and in the news article below. This account was written in 1987, many years after the fact]. A little tremor ran through me as the Queen took my hand; you could tell she hadn't slept for nights. That round, pretty face was drawn, those bright eyes bloodshot. But she was swathed in glittering silver and covered with jewels, all done up in a diamond tiara and bracelets, emerald necklace and earrings. She clearly believed that if you're a queen, you look a queen.

"You are a great friend of England," she said, her sweet smile transcending fatigue and finery. "Mrs. Churchill told me about the hospital beds you sent over during the war." I was amazed as she recounted my wartime services in England - amazed not by what she said, but because she had done her homework. With the King perilously ill, she had taken time to learn about all the show people she would meet that evening. She was not born a queen, she became one reluctantly when her brother-in-law abdicated and her husband succeeded him, but she was everything a queen should be (234).  

The Daily News, November 30, 1948

The Mercury, December 1, 1948

Alan Ladd seems to have made quite a splash is England! Not only is he spotted numerous times in the Reception video, he was also greeted by hysterical fans who chanted "We want Alan!" as recounted in the newspaper article above. Read more about his trip to England and see more photos here

Alan Ladd meeting the Queen Mother (this is for Hamlette's Soliloquy).

Virginia Mayo and her new husband Michael O'Shea, became friends with Ladd on the boat crossing ("My husband was so fond of Alan"). She recounted their experiences of the momentous evening:
Meeting the Queen is such a ceremony, and we were very nervous about it. We had to learn scenes for the live presentation, Alan was particularly nervous and shy about that. My husband did a scene with Alan and helped him out because Alan was a little unsteady on the stage. He wasn't accustomed to it. It was a gangster sketch, and it worked out very well. They were crazy about Alan in England. After the actors did their bit on the stage we went back to our seats to see the rest of the show. We had the box next to Laurence Olivier, who had been knighted earlier, and Vivian Leigh, and were very awed (Ladd: The Life, The Legend, The Legacy of Alan Ladd. Beverly Linet. Page128).

Patricia Neal, 23, was also on board. She too recalled Alan Ladd (neither of them liked flying) in her autobiography As I Am:

I learned a lot about being a movie star while crossing the country with Alan Ladd. Alan loved people. He would get off the train and walk among hundreds of fans and never lose a button off his suit or have a necktie pulled awry. I learned that you set the tempo for the crowd. If you respect them and let them know it, they'll do the same with you (109).

Soon after our arrival we were told that the king of England was deathly ill. I was surprised to learn that I was to offer a sympathetic message from the American people at the Command Performance for the royal family. It did not seem proper to be so excited about such a grave matter, but I was, after all, going to appear on the same stage with Sir Laurence Olivier. He would introduce me.

I stood in the wings waiting for what I knew would be a magical moment between us. But a messanger interrupted Olivier's entrance with a telegram. Everything stopped.

Impetuously I left my place and rushed to Olivier's side. "What is it?" I asked.

He looked at me as if I were the most revolting thing in the world. "It has nothing to do with you, dear," he said sharply  [It was a message from the King expressing his regrets at being unable to attend, which Olivier then read aloud to the audience].

I got through my speech that evening, but I was so humiliated that I had blown my big moment with the idol of my life (110). 

Afterward the event, the Queen "politely greeted her and then moved on. Suddenly she stopped, came back to Patricia, and said, 'I will give the King your message.' She then stepped away" (Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life. Stephen Michael Shearer. Page 72).

Embed from Getty Images 

Figured out how to embed images from Getty! Here's a slideshow with photos of Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor, Alan Ladd and his wife, Myrna Loy, Patricia Neal and Ronald Reagan, and Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh.

Neal attended the Performance with Ronald Reagan, with whom she was about to start filming The Hasty Heart. "When [we] were not needed on the set, we were sent anywhere that would make good copy. Fortunately, we got on well enough to choose each other's company even when we were not working" (111). She wore a green velvet presentation gown (Shearer).

There was also a reception at the Savoy Hotel the night before for the movie stars. Footage of that can be viewed by clicking here. You can see Alan Ladd, Jean Simmons, John Mills, Robert Donat, Googie Withers, Margaret Lockwood, Patricia Neal, Virginia Mayo, Stewart Granger, and Joan Caufield. 

Neal recalls a compliment she received that night from Robert Donat. "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life!" (Shearer, 71). 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm sure that, out of the Royal party, Prince Philip was the most fascinated with the film. He would visit Antarctica in 1956/57. Raymond Priestly, a survivor of Scott's Terra Nova Expedition, visited Antarctica with him. You can watch a newsreel of his trip here. And below is a longer, color video of his tour. There are some interesting photos from his tour here, including one of the Duke and Scott's son, Peter. He wrote the forward to the book Antarctica Unveiled: Scott's First Expedition and the Quest for the Unknown Continent by David E. Yelverton. He was also an honorary member of the Antarctic Club and attended several of their reunion dinners over the years. In 2012, the Duke attended a dinner celebrating the 100th anniversary of Scott's reaching the South Pole. Scott's granddaughter was in attendance. You can read her remarks at the event here, as well as the speech Prince William made as patron of the Scott/Amundson centenary race that recreated Scott's expedition for charity. Other members of the Royal Family with ties to Antarctica include Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth's youngest son, Edward, who was the first member of the Royal Family to visit the South Pole itself, and Prince Harry, who visited the Pole in 2013 as part of a Walking with the Wounded Expedition. 

Next up in the Royal Film Performance Series: The Forsyte Saga aka That Forsyte Woman (1949).

Previous Film: The Bishop's Wife (1947).

Linet, Beverly. Ladd: The Life, The Legend, The Legacy of Alan Ladd. Arbor House. 1979.
Loy, Myrna & Kotsilibus-Davis, James. Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming.  Alfred A. Knopf. 1987.
Neal, Patricia & DeNeut, Richard. Patricia Neal: As I Am. Simon and Schuster. 1988. 
Shearer, Stephen Michael. Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life. The University Press of Kentucky. 2006.