Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)

Maggie McNarmara, Dorothy McGuire, and Jean Peters star in this Academy Award nominated film about three American secretaries working abroad in Rome, Italy.

Charade (1963)

Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this delightful romantic comedy involving spies and missing money. Set in Paris. Walter Matthau also makes an appearance as a CIA agent.

The Best of Everything (1959)

Original tagline: "These are the girls who want the best of everything...but often settle for a lot less!" Mid-century drama following the lives of three young career women living in New York City.

High Society (1956)

Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra star in this delightful musical comedy remake of the beloved classic The Philadelphia Story (1940).

Far From Heaven (2002)

Set against a spectacular autumn palette, Juilanne Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Dennis Haysbert star in this compelling drama which grapples with issues of race and homosexuality in conservative 1950s Connecticut.

Death In Venice (1971)

An aging German music composer sojourns to Venice in hopes of improving his health and finds himself enraptured by the beauty of a young adolescent boy. A visually mesmerizing film.

Cracks (2009)

Based on the novel of the same name, Eva Green stars as a young, charismatic teacher at an all-girls English boarding school.

Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

Based on the true story of the Windmill Theatre in London, Judi Dench stars as a wealthy, eccentric widow who purchases a theatre and turns it into a somewhat Moulin Rouge-esque venue that featured nude performers.

Desk Set (1957)

The introduction of computer technology renders the reference jobs of three women potentially useless. Stars Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

Sylvia (2003)

A biopic of writer Sylvia Plath set in the 1950s starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig.

Howard's End (1992)

Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins and Helena Bonham Carter star in this E.M. Forster classic set in turn-of-the-century England.

November 16, 2010

Gilda (1946)

Now those of you who have been following this little blog know that I rarely post any screencaps from black & white films and I made that decision a long time ago because I thought the monochromaticism would render the details [in both the costumes and set pieces] difficult to see and thus, would not be very useful to you all. Well, I'm not sure why I stuck to the notion that b+w wouldn't interest my readers because there is TONS of great inspiration in these pictures so from now on, I will definitely start posting more from these kinds of films! And at the very least, perhaps just by looking at the images, those of you who have not seen the films might be encouraged to seek them out and if I can get only just a few more people interested in old classic b+w movies, then I can rest better at night knowing that I'm doing my part in bringing back these wonderful forgotten gems into the consciousness of the viewing public. :)

So let's start with Gilda (1946), a thrilling love story directed by Charles Vidor and starring the radiant Rita Hayworth and the legendary Glenn Ford. The story opens in Argentina and follows Johnny (Ford) as a down-and-out gambler who is saved from a gunman by feared casino boss Ballin (George Macready). Johnny owes Ballin for getting him back on his feet and shows his gratitude by eventually becoming Ballin's loyal right-hand man. All is well and good until Ballin comes back from a trip one day with a new wife - Gilda (Hayworth), who turns out was Johnny's ex-girlfriend. Hello, tension!

"Let me introduce you to my new wife, Gilda."

Oh crap.

Check out that night-gown.

Johnny and Gilda have what can be described as the classic "love-hate" relationship. We don't know much about their past together but we can tell that it was intense and passionate and most of all, troubled. Ballin entrusts Gilda into Johnny's care, which causes Johnny quite a bit of grief since he becomes torn between his respect and loyalty to Ballin and his undeniable residual attraction to Gilda. Meanwhile, Gilda tries to make Johnny's job miserable out of spite by gallivanting across town with a series of bachelors and singing/dancing at nightclubs. And the rest of the story involves a nice string of arguments, face-slapping, corrupt business dealings, and murder (but I won't tell you whose!)

Hmm, stockings. Always sexy.

The costume designer for this film was the Jean Louis whose creation of this famed black gown (below) propelled his career to skyrocketing new heights in the industry. He eventually also married Loretta Young.

This gown is one of the most well-known pieces in film history.

Lovely white coat. Women should "drape" coats on their shoulders more often, methinks. It just looks so chic.

Wearing your fur coat over just one shoulder was also popular.

Interesting how this style of strapless dress with the gathered bust remains a timeless classic even to this day. 

Fantastic glittering metallic sequined coat.

It would be too loud to wear a full-length version of this glittering coat nowadays but I see lots of women wear short or cropped sequined jackets.


This is an amazing grecian-inspired gown. It just so perfectly tailored to her body.


More sequins! I love the cut of this dress. In my mind, I imagined the body to be an ivory color and the trims, gold.


It was rumored that Rita Hayworth sang all the songs heard in the film but unfortunately that was later noted to be false. She was just great at lip-synching.



I love the matching belt and wristband. Sort of gladiator-esque.

I think the webbing detail is very interesting but I'm not a fan of the "two-tone busts."

Here again we see a similar gown with a two-toned bust. I think the two-tone bust idea is fine if the colors are carried out down the rest of the dress but otherwise it looks a bit awkward to me...


Pin-striped suit dress.

sheer white blouse

same sheer white blouse with a gigantic rhinestone belt

Anyway, Gilda is a great film that I think everyone should see. I hope you enjoyed these screencaps and let me know if you think including b+w films in this blog is a good idea!

Oh Rita, you are just perfection!

November 11, 2010

Cracks (2009)


I'm going to make a confession: I have a major girl crush on Eva Green. What is it about French women that makes you just stop in your tracks, turn your head and just stare? and Marion Cotillard! Mélanie Laurent! I am loving the current crop of French actresses gracing our screens these days! And to be honest, I would've never even heard of the movie Cracks had I not have been watching an interview with Eva Green describing her attempts to master an English accent for a new role set at a secluded all-girls boarding school in the 1930s. My interest immediately piqued: 1930s? boarding-school? What is this movie?! I MUST SEE IT.

The film Cracks was actually inspired by a book of the same name by Sheila Kohler. The original story was set in South Africa instead of England and correct me if I'm wrong ('cos I haven't read the book), not during the 1930s. I'm not sure why the filmmakers decided to totally change the setting and time period of the story - perhaps to make it more visually interesting? - but I'm really glad they did because the styling of this film was absolutely gorgeous!

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