Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dress A Day Says: Two Thumbs Up!

Joan Bennett in Vogues of 1938

So. Yes. I'm not sure where yesterday went, either -- if anyone sees a missing Wednesday (with or without a note pinned to it that says "return to Erin: reward"), would you send it along to me? I'm afraid it's out there somewhere lost and lonely.

But, Lost Wednesday (so much less desperate, thankfully, than a Lost Weekend) aside -- I did manage to see this wonderful movie, Vogues of 1938, on the kind recommendation of friend-of-the-blog Deborah.

Vogues of 1938 -- and don't let the title fool you, it was made in 1937 -- is, as far as I can tell, a movie made solely to put on a fashion show (or two, or three). The plot is as slim as the lead, Joan Bennett (and that's saying something) but there's wonderful repartee -- as when Joan, thwarted in her desire for The Guy, hands off her fashion show trophy (fashion show trophy!) to a maid, saying "My hands are full carrying a torch!" Sigh. Why can't you get away with lines like that in real life?

The clothes are sumptuous in that movie-glamour way, and the title card of the designers involved takes up a whole screen, not that I recognized any of their names. The movie also includes significant close-up shots of a lucky thimble, a Russian prince and a petulant titan of industry, truly shocking quantities (to modern eyes) of furs and cigarettes, as well as unintentional humor (at least, I think it was unintentional), when a crooner dedicates a whole song to "Lady of the evening ... lady of the night" which is not, in fact, about a prostitute. (Or, if it was, she was way beyond even Spitzer's budget.) And a horse-drawn milk wagon. And a fairly random Cotton Club interlude. And a kind of cut-rate Marx Brothers-ish trio. This movie is PACKED.

Oh -- and did I mention? -- there's a several-minute interlude of TRICK ROLLER-SKATING. On a raised platform, in evening dress, if you please. (In the movie, the impresario of the failed musical for which the skaters are auditioning tells his would-be ingénue that, in the show, "they'll be dressed as bunnies.")

I recommend watching this movie while doing something else undemanding and just coming to full attention when either Joan Bennett or the roller-skating couple is on the screen, or when you hear the fashion-show music.

So: in short: Dress A Day says "Two Thumbs Up!" Add it to your Netflix queue today!

(The picture of Joan Bennett above is from a total eye-candy wonderland, Evening Gowns Vintage and New, uploaded to some site I've never heard of -- does "Webshots" ring a bell for anyone? -- but well worth checking out.)

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