I picked this set up at a retro memorabilia store in the Twin Cities' Mall of America. It's supposed to be for my new place, but I am using it right now anyway. I had a great time on my trip, and feel even more excited for the move.
I love it. I think it is adorable. I would have bought more than one set, but they were kind of pricey.
I will be in Minneapolis for the next few days, and probably will not post. Before I take off, I thought I'd share this wonderful quote from Rachel McAdams' interview in this month's Elle:
"When Billie Holiday comes on, I can't help but be transported -- and I'm sure it wasn't as romantic then at all -- but that's the wonderful part of my job: dressing up and walking down the street in New York or Toronto, pretending I'm in the '40s."
When I watch older films, I try to be as forgiving as possible. I have seen enough to realize they originated in a different time and society than what I have known. Some human aspects hardly change over time, and others change significantly. I realize these films reflect certain societal codes and values that have since dissipated. Rather than act overly-critical, I try to accept this, and that the time I live in fails as the greatest and most innovated ever. Basically, older films reflect what people had, just as films today do. Who am I to judge?
This mode of thought backfired when I watched Bus Stop this weekend. Released in 1956, and starring Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray (who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance), the William Inge-inspired film follows a sheltered, yet obnoxious (to put it lightly) cowboy, Bo, who ventures to the big city to ride in a rodeo and find a wife. He prioritizes the marriage bit, and after spying saloon singer Cherie, he becomes convinced she marry him. Cherie, with her own Hollywood dreams and general issues, refuses him, and Bo feels so entitled, he forces her on a bus back to his ranch.
While some fans of the film regard it as one of Monroe's best, I felt disturbed watching it. Murray's performance as Bo particularly got me. He walks in front of cars, stands on tables and shouts at people, and lassos Cherie at the bus station (I would like to add, while this may not prove convenient for the plot line, I cannot believe the many witnesses did not try to help her or call the police). Furthermore, he fails to initiate a decent conversation with Cherie. Instead he yells at her, hits her, and refuses to acknowledge her by her name. Supposedly he cannot be bothered to learn to pronounce a "fancy" name like Cherie properly, so he calls her "Cherry" throughout. This pronunciation continues through the film's end, even when he claims he changed. His rage and forcefulness annoyed me at first, then scared me. I felt sorry for Cherie, and her implied marriage to him at the end. I wish Monroe could have played a stronger character, but I suppose no one wanted to market her that way. Instead, she portrays a woman who gives up her dreams and identity, for a man who MORE than represents, in my opinion, misogyny. And stalkers.
The fact that this ending came off as "happy" also concerns me. It's not happy when a woman enters an abusive relationship. Bo's calling Cherie "Cherry" at the end proves he will never change. Poor girl. I realize 1950s gender roles differed greatly from today's, and perhaps my own beliefs remain too strong, but I could not handle this one. It was a little too much.
Here is the trailer if you would like a peek at Bo. "Hollywood's newest hunk of man" ... charming.
It is no secret I love Marlon Brando, and I am particularly shameless while blogging. However, once again, several months have passed without me watching a new film, or even his films I've loved for years. I miss Marlon, and want to bring him back, so I decided to try a new blog feature: Marlon on a Wednesday. It is just a post once a week, Marlon-related. I know many who read my posts also love him, so this should be fun!
So, for the first post, I decided to share this screen test I found on YouTube. In the early '50s, Marlon auditioned for the lead role in Rebel Without a Cause. Obviously, this did not get filmed, and James Dean made the more famous version later in the decade. However, since I am not a fan of Rebel, I always wondered what this earlier version may have been like.
"Over the course of my career, I've met many talented journalists who suffer from the same inferiority complex. Some are uncomfortable even admitting they write about fashion; they feel the need to make excuses and intellectual justifications. Why is it sports reporters and food writers, for instance, have no problem seeing their work as relevant and serious? Fashion is an art form in its own right, one that has the power to change us, move us, excite us, and make us feel and look good."
I read this paragraph, written by Editor in Chief Stefano Tonchi, in the March 2011 issue of W. It affected me. When I started college, I wanted to be a fashion journalist, and right away I put myself on the path to get there. Unfortunately, my ambitions went nowhere, and I left the field. Don't get me wrong. I am happy with the career decisions I made since then, but every time I read an article in W. or Vogue I think, "I could do that." Therefore, I feel bad for these journalists who cannot own what they achieved. I am proud of everything I accomplish career-wise, even though mine has nothing to do with fashion. I cannot imagine making excuses.
It also still shocks (and saddens) me to read some feel fashion must be justified on an "intellectual" level. I am so tired of this argument. Anyone who claims there is NOTHING smart about fashion is likely just intimidated that they lack the knowledge. That may sound judgmental, but from my experience, it is true. Just like anything else, fashion takes much reading and studying to "get." People acquire "intellect" from individual experiences and interests. If someone does not put the time into something, for whatever reason, obviously they will know little or nothing about it. Does that make them stupid? No. Furthermore, does that make IT stupid? Absolutely not.
I guess I do not understand why someone can appreciate theater, painting, music, literature, or any other art, and gain respect as being "cultured," yet someone interested in fashion receives little or none of the same. Despite how mainstream high fashion has become the last few years, I still read and hear the same negative sentiments Tonchi expresses. I still have sat through college classes where professors have brought in fashion magazines as part of their lectures, basically for the purpose of making fun of them. Furthermore, a few months ago, a local Boise style blog made national news, and every reaction was along the lines of "Who cares?"
Then, the Boise Art Museum opened a shoe exhibit. Is THAT art because a museum says it is? Or do people put that down too? I am not sure, but I would guess if I wore similarly-designed shoes from that exhibit in public, they would be a joke. In that case, they would no longer qualify as "art," but only a woman who spends too much money, takes appearances too seriously, and needs to focus on improving her "intellect."
Now I am ranting, but I just don't understand. I would blame reality TV, but there is a show for everything. With fashion, an older, tougher mindset exists. I applaud Tonchi's writing. I think he captured what many feel, but do not say. I am glad it's out in the open. Thoughts?
P.S. Sorry about the poor outfit photos, and lack of them. It just was not coming together today :)
I know "blockbusters" open in Summer, but I am not digging the line-up this year. I have grown mostly indifferent to Summer movies over the years, but this season seems especially dry. Almost none grab me, and I may even pass on Natalie Portman in Thor. It's a sign of sinister times if even Natalie cannot get me to the theater.
However, someone else may. Several blogs I follow covered Rachel McAdams' new Elle interview, which I cannot not wait to read. I think she is a great actor and personality. Also, the interview reminded me of the Woody Allen film she made, Midnight in Paris. While I am not nerdy for Allen (although I hold a fondness for Annie Hall), this looks cute. It follows a couple in Paris (Rachel and Owen Wilson), and also features Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, and Carla Bruni.
The story and idea of Rachel with Owen Wilson, also looks promising. Personally I am not a relationship person, but they still fascinate me. Observing couples' chemistry and interactions remains a favorite interest of mine. Sick, huh? Just kidding.
Finally, the movie takes place in Paris! Paris is my favorite place I have never been to.
I am on an Alfred Hitchcock kick right now, which I love. He may stand as one of the more mainstream, "classic" film figures, but I think it's in good reason. His films always prove suspenseful, clever, and full of chic costumes. Though perhaps less widely-seen, The Lady Vanishes adheres to these qualities with as much grace as popular works.
When Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) boards a train, she befriends an older woman named Miss Froy. Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty, who plays the "cute old lady" card flawlessly) soon disappears, and everyone Iris asks claims she never came on the train. Iris suspects more sinister moves, and enlists fellow passenger Gilbert (Michael Redgrave) to prove Miss Froy's existence.
Unfortunately, I cannot write more, as I would spoil the rest, but I enjoyed this. Usually I predict outcomes early, but the surprises remained refreshing. The train setting enhanced the suspense here, as the claustrophobic environment trapped each claim and character. Also, while Lockwood and Redgrave maintained chemistry, rarely does a film include an ensemble cast that works together to create such a believable set of characters. The ending contains more outrageous events, but I still felt they could happen to me, or anyone, at any time.
Finally, Lockwood's one costume was fabulous. I cannot find the costume credit anywhere (maybe Edith Head?), but I loved watching her stumble around the train her little black dress and pumps. It made me want to try harder when I travel.
Well, well, well, here we are in cute Summer dress weather again. I bought this at a local boutique recently, and find it absolutely whimsical.
Although, I am not thrilled with its condition after I hand-washed it as the tag dictated. The color bled, as it fairly warned, but I did not expect the top layer to shrink a little. Personally, I think the layered look as is looks cute, but I do not want it to continue. It annoys me to pay more than usual for a garment, and find the condition less than equal to the price, but that seems the norm with most clothes.
Still, I am happy with it, for now. How can I resist such a print?
Also, I found some Summer reading. Bandbox by Thomas Mallon recounts publishing in 1920s, Manhattan. I consider it a winner, but have not started reading it yet. We'll see! Not to mention, Kori from Blonde Episodes just released her novel, Murder on the Boulevard on Amazon! I am excited. It sounds like film noir!
I find nothing overrated about Elizabeth Taylor. She, Joanne Woodward, and Marlon Brando stand as my top picks for the most talented actors of their day. She became every character, and the variety of roles she took shows versatility. She also became a fashion icon. Her beauty and style epitomized Hollywood glamour. In many ways, they still do. All this comes together in Taylor’s first Oscar-winning performance in BUtterfield 8.
As Manhattan model/call-girl Gloria Wandrous, Taylor is both aggressive and scared, fashionable and damaged. I realized I just used a lot of modifiers, but it makes sense. At the beginning of the film, she replies to lover Weston Liggett’s (played by Laurence Harvey) $250 and note, “Enough?” by smearing “No sale” on the bathroom mirror with lipstick, and then steals his wife’s fur coat. Still, she tries to please her mother, who always assumes the best about her, and play good friend to Steve Carpenter, played by Eddie Fisher. Having gone down the wrong path from an expected (in these types of films) horrendous past, Gloria wants to live differently.
Many other moments seem so “Elizabeth Taylor” to me. While not the greatest film, it remains hers, and I like it for that. When Gloria drives her heel into Laurence’s foot, or cries lines like, “Did you ever stop to think you bring out the wildness in me?” and “I saw a woman, utterly proper, utterly conventional, utterly beautiful,” with that Liz Taylor voice, I feel no one else can play the part. I think this despite my opinion Gloria resembles another 60’s film call-girl, Holly Golightly. They even dress alike, with little black dresses and pearls, and orange jackets. Not that this matters. I only find it an interesting resemblance.
I decided I like BUtterfield 8. It is melodramatic, and does not have a happy ending (I think it might have improved with one though!), but it still shows everything I like about Elizabeth Taylor. It also has a good story, bleak as it seems under all that 60s sugar-coating.
No significance to this post's title. I am listening to the Bix Beiderbecke version right now, and cannot think of anything.
I am so proud I finally got another fashion-y post up. For one, again I found a lack of time. For two, I think my style has become kind of boring the past few months. I had to get this hat because I knew it would jazz up my closet a little.
It's lightweight, and perfect for summer. Plus, according to the tag, it's Italian, which means it's cool in my book.
I will hopefully have one or two new posts this week! I have a gizillion films I could "review," and more time to play with photos. So, stayed tuned, I suppose.