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.

July 12, 2012

Ms. Lemon: Secretary Chic (Agatha Christie's Poirot)

What does one do when cooped up in the apartment due to incessant rain and insufferable humidity? Pay the bills? Tackle mountains of belated paperwork? Catch up on unread books?  Commit to studying the local language? No, one watches endless hours of Poirot episodes.

In the last couple of weeks, I have managed to plough through the first six seasons of the endearing British crime series starring David Suchet as Agatha Christie's ingenious lil' Belgian detective with the iconic moustache. That amounts to approximately forty-five hours of television consumption in mere days! Appalling! :::lowers head in self-disappointment::: However, I suppose my time wasn't entirely wasted in the process, as my pathological attention-to-detail tendencies have compelled me to take note of the esteemed fashions featured in the show - so much so that I have compiled a rather extensive set of screencaps totaling over 150 images... Not quite sure of how to present them to you in blog post format, I figured I'd start with the character of Ms. Lemon, Poirot's hard-working secretary whose diligence and perfectionism match his own.

Having never read the Agatha Christie novels, I confess to knowing nothing more about the characters and their backgrounds other than what was conveyed through the television show (of which I was told stayed pretty well in-lined with the original cases). From mere deduction, Ms. Lemon seemed to have worked for Poirot from sometime toward the end of WWI through the mid-1940s. The character in the ITV series was portrayed by Pauline Moran, who appeared in 8 seasons, 31 episodes from 1989 - 2001. The series is still in production, and is set to film its 13th (and final) season this year, after which all the Poirot novels would have been completely adapted for screen (that is, with the exception of one short story, The Lemesuirer Inheritance).

The bulk of episodes that I watched in which Ms. Lemon was featured seemed to have taken place sometime in the 1920s-30s. Art Deco influences could be seen in just about everything from that period, with the design aesthetic spanning from architecture to interior design to fashion and jewelry, etc.

Keeping with her fastidious character, Ms. Lemon embodied "secretarial chic" by appearing in stylish but appropriately subdued dresses, low heeled shoes, and understated jewelry. While not always "fashionable," she made certain to appear well-groomed and "put-together." She also wore tortoise shell eyeglasses and set her auburn hair in the popular "finger waves" style of that era. The length of her hair varied but when it was longer, she would pull it into a tight bun (sometimes two smaller buns) seated at the base of her neck. Never did she go with "loose" hair. Finally, her makeup was generally light and minimal, with the exception of the occasional bright red lipstick choices.

The buttons and middle embellishment on the front of this gray dress is very "art deco". 
{from episode: "The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb"}

Twitter Facebook Email GooglePlus Stumbleupon Digg More