The lace has a floral and foliate pattern and is embellished with hand sewn artificial pearls and scattered celluloid sequins of varying sizes with scalloped edges. The cape is worn by the newlywed Marie Antoinette during the ceremonial blessing of the bed. Costume design by Adrian. Center Back length, 75 inches; Bottom width, approximately 313 inches. Winning bid $4,000.
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Recycled Costume Roundup - October
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Cinema Wedding Gowns: Twice-Told Tales (1963)
We have a spooky wedding gown for today. Sebastian Cabot brings his dead fiancé back to life with a potion, that he himself also takes to become younger. Unfortunately it doesn't last long...
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Bette's Hats and Reviews: The Rich Are Always With Us (1932)
Bette's next film was with Ruth Chatterton in The Rich Are Always with Us (1932).
We were all terrible rich and Miss Chatterton, being the star, was the richest of us all. I was "the pest of Park Avenue" in love with Mr. [George] Brent both on the screen and off - in both cases unsuccessfully. The film bubbled with wit and sophistication, ad I was thrilled to be appearing with Miss Chatterton (The Lonely Life, 124).
The first scene was the interior of a restaurant. Miss Chatterton and Mr. Brent sat at a table and I was to make my way through the tables and greet them in a very chic and secure way. I was actually so terrified of her I literally could not get a word out of my mouth... She kept looking at me in a superior way. I finally - not meaning to - blurted out, "I'm so damned scared of you I'm speechless!"
This broke the ice and we both relaxed. She was most helpful in her scenes with me after that. I never forgot this experience and in later years with young actors were terrified of me, I would always try to help them get over it (125).
Brent married Chatterton shortly after filming was complete.
The NY Times noted:
Bette Davis also serves this film well.
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.
There will not be a second Bette's Hats and Reviews this month.
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Royal Film Performance Series: The Mudlark (1950)
The occasion of the fifth annual Royal Film Performance took place on Monday, the 30th of October, 1950 at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square. The previous Friday had the coldest recorded temperature since April with the first snow of the year and the evening of the performance was cold and wet. The film chosen was The Mudlark (1950), about a young boy who sneaks into Windsor Castle to meet Queen Victoria, played by Irene Dunne.
The caption reads: "This startling likeness to Queen Victoria as she was at 56 is achieved by Miss Irene Dunne in the film "The Mudlark," now being made in England. Two hours are needed every morning for make-up, the foundation of which is cosmetic latex (rubber). This enables the make-up to follow the muscles of the face. Grease-paint is laid over the latex" (Chronicle, Adelaide, SA).
There was much controversy about the choice of film, as Queen Victoria was the great-grandmother of the current King, George VI. According to one newspaper article, the committee "dithered delicately over the question whether some scenes were suitable for Royal eyes. For example, John Brown, Queen Victoria's gillie, refers to Her Majesty as 'she,' and criticizes a dress she is wearing. The 'Mudlark' himself, a tattered urchin who breaks into Windsor Castle, sits on the Throne in his rags. He says, ' Course I see'd the Queen. Sat on the bleedin' Throne, too, that's wot.' " In bold the article continues: "The word 'bleedin' ' was deleted and the committee was considering further cuts when word came from the King that he hoped to see the same version of the film as the public would see." It continued, "Queen Mary [mother of King George], who has never attended a post-war Royal film performance, is to have a copy of The Mudlark shown to her privately just before the performance on Monday week."
This wasn't the only controversy. An article by Dick Kisch for The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW) claimed that, due to "the number of rows, temperamental displays, and rivalries" between British actors and "high-powered American glamour girls" over such things as seating arrangements and precedence when it comes to meeting "Their Majesties," this could be the very last "Royal Command Film Show ... staged in Britain." The organizers of the annual Royal Command VARIETY Show complained that the Film Show was "deliberately trying to steal their thunder." These things were obviously settled as the Royal Film Performance is still in existence today (the recent Bond premiere was NOT part of the RFP, which raises money for the Cinematograph Trades Benevolent Fund).
Over 8000 people braved the rain - some for over 8 hours - to catch a glimpse of the Royals' arrival. They were not disappointed. Marie Watson reported for The Courier-Mail: "Everyone arrived in their best, and if not owning a chauffeur-driven car, hired a Rolls or a Daimler to pull up in front of the theatre for a 'flashbulb' welcome. When everyone was in their seats, a newsreel man broadcast the arrival in the foyer of the Royal Family, and described their actions" (Watson). The Royal ladies "stole the fashion show" when they "arrived dressed in black frocks, making a dramatic foil to the pastel-hued model gowns and fine jewels chosen by women film stars. The contrast made the Royal trio look more strikingly impressive than they have ever looked before outside full Royal regalia." When they entered the foyer, "people gasped at the similarity of the Queen's and her two daughters' dresses." The Queen was reported as wearing black velvet crinoline, with Princess Elizabeth wearing black georgette and Princess Margaret wearing black net. The reason behind this rare occurrence of Royals wearing black had a simple reason - they were dressed in mourning after the recent death of King Gustav of Sweden. This didn't stop them however from adding some serious Royal jewels: "All three dresses were low cut to display a frosty sparkle of magnificent diamond necklaces. The two Princesses had smoothly coifed hair without ornaments, but the Queen wore a diamond tiara" (The Advertiser, Adelaide, SA). They kept warm with "rich white furs" (The Age, Melbourne). When they "entered the auditorium... a dozen trumpeters in the household dress heralded their arrival" (Watson).
This article makes you feel like you are actually there. And click here to see the newsreel (no sound). Irene Dunne arrives at the five minute mark. The Royals arrive at seven minutes. This video shows the Royals chatting with the stars afterwards (also no sound). HM the King and James Stewart didn't seem to have much to talk about lol.
There were over fifty stars in attendance that evening, including Irene Dunne (Queen Victoria), Alec Guinness (Disraeli), Andrew Ray (the "Mudlark"), Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood, Glynis Johns, Richard Todd, Tyrone Power, Montgomery Clift, and - as several newspapers noted - several middle-aged stars, such as Marlene Dietrich (46), Gloria Swanson (52), Claudette Colbert (45), and for the gentlemen, Ray Milland, James Stewart (and family), and John Mills - "It was undoubtedly the evening of the over-40s."
"Marlene Dietrich was in a bouffant pink off-the-shoulder frock. Gloria Swanson wore a slinky black frock, trimmed with fox fur" (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane). "All looked wonderfully glamorous, even under the fierce glare of arc lamps. Dressed in a charming bouffant dress of russet-colored net, embroidered with gold beads, Claudette got almost the biggest hand of the evening when she made her bow on the stage" (The Newcastle Sun, NSW). You can see their gowns well in this video (no sound).
Dick Kisch shared the Royals reactions to the film in his November 5th column: The Queen said "I wonder why people always look up to the Royal box to see whether we are laughing at the jokes, before laughing themselves?" Princess Margaret said "It is quite amusing to tour Windsor Castle in picture form." He notes that she did not comment on the scene where "Queen Victoria reads a young Lady in Waiting a moral lesson on the behavior expected from young ladies in love." Kisch noticed that, although the King and Queen conversed with the artist performers after the show with their usual grace and geniality they refrained noticeably from open comment on the picture itself."
Irene Dunne (46) had actually met the King and Queen privately earlier in the year, during filming. The first American actress to have this opportunity, she was questioned about details of the Windsor Castle set and told "several small interesting details about Queen Victoria. The King also asked many questions about the film. He and the Queen seem very enthusiastic filmgoers. It was a most wonderful experience. The Queen made me feel more of a friend than a visiting actress" (The Sun, Sydney, NSW). After seeing the film, the "King and the Queen told me how much they enjoyed the film." Dunne shared that the "King was particularly interested in the latex cheek pads she wore as part of her make-up in the film" (The Age, Melbourne). Dunne wore pearl-studded lace frock, looking very different than from the film.
Here is a short article about how Dunne prepared for her role.
Andrew Ray, the "Mudlark," is seen below meeting Princess Margaret. When asked by her sister Elizabeth if he enjoyed making the film, he forgot to say "Your Highness." "It's very difficult to remember all these things, isn't it?" she replied with a smile when his father corrected him (The Herald, Melbourne, Vic.). Earlier in the evening, he and his father performed a variety act and he present orchids to the Queen (The Newcastle Sun, NSW).
The reviews of the film were mixed, as seen below:
The following article outlines the parts of the film that may have been uncomfortable to the Royal Family.
Some photos of the event in The Illustrated London News.
Caftan Woman has written a great post on the film. You can read it by clicking here.
All newspaper articles pictured and quoted were found on Trove.
Friday, October 1, 2021
Movies I Watched in September
- Walpurgis Night (1935-Swedish) - Ingrid Bergman
- Calm Yourself (1935) - Robert Young, Ralph Morgan
- Navy Blue and Gold (1937) - Robert Young, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Florence Rice, Tom Brown, Billie Burke, Stanley Morner (aka Dennis Morgan)
- Three Loves Has Nancy (1938) - Janet Gaynor, Robert Montgomery, Franchot Tone
- The Girl Downstairs (1938) - Franchot Tone
- She Couldn’t Say No (1940) - Eve Arden
- Obliging Young Lady (1942) - Edmund O’Brien & Ruth Warrick, Joan Carroll, Eve Arden
- Yellow Canary (1943) - Anna Neagle
- *The Doughgirls (1944) - Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith, Jane Wyman & Jack Carson, Eve Arden
- Blonde Fever (1945) - Mary Astor, Gloria Grahame, Marshall Thompson
- Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945) - Hedy Lamarr, Robert Walker, June Allyson, Rags Ragland
- Out of the Blue (1947) - George Brent, Virginia Mayo, Turhan Bey, Anne Dvorak, Carole Landis
- Early Summer (1951-Japanese) - Setsuko Hara
- Cloudburst (1951) - Robert Preston, Elizabeth Sellers
- Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) - Marilyn Monroe & Richard Widmark, Anne Bancroft, Elisha Cook Jr.
- These Wilder Years (1956) - James Cagney & Barbara Stanwyck
- Loving You (1957) - Elvis Presley, Lizabeth Scott, Wendell Corey, Dolores Hart
- Late Autumn (1960-Japanese) - Setsuko Hara
- Early Autumn (1962-Japanese) - Setsuko Hara