Saturday, May 15, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Tea for Two (1950)

***Sorry this is up SOOOO late!! I had it saved as a draft and never actually hit publish!!****

So the main film for this third week of Musical Month is Tea for Two (1950). I figured I couldn't have a musical month and not feature at least one of Doris Day's films! I really like this film for a variety of reasons, but mainly for its great songs, Doris Day's amazing voice, and great showgirl fashion. I don't know a whole lot about Doris Day and which of her films are the most popular, but I am assuming that most everyone has seen The Pajama Game, so I went with this film. The film tells the story of a rich heiress (Day) and her quest for making it on broadway. To do so, she bets her uncle $25,000, the amount needed for the show to go on, that she can go two whole days without saying yes. What Day doesn't know is that her uncle made some bad investments right before the crash, making him essentially broke. The film is told in flashback and is set in 1929. While the era is suppose to be the late 20's, this film definitely presents the fashion in a very late 40's early 50's style. Leah Rhodes designed the costumes and even though she wasn't able to capture a correct representation of the 1920's, I still feel she did a wonderful job. I especially love all the scenes with the showgirls in their practice clothes. I know I will be using their costumes as some of my summer clothing inspiration. Tea for Two is on on of TMC's Doris Day's box set and is currently an instant on Netflix.

My first recommendation is another Doris Day film, Love Me or Leave Me (1955). The film stars James Cagney alongside Day in a quasi-biographical account of jazz singer's Ruth Etting's life. As with Tea for Two, the film is suppose to take place in the late 20's onto the 30's, but the film's costume suggest otherwise. While I really adore Helen Rose, I do find that one fault with this film's portrayal of the past, although I find this to be the case with many films of the Classical Era and their representation of the past. Having said all that, Rose worked frequently in the musical genre and it shows in this film, with the use of dynamic colors and detailed showgirl costumes. Love Me or Leave Me is on DVD and is currently an instant on Netflix.

My second recommendation for this week is Down Missouri Way (1946). Being that this film was made by one of the poverty row studios, Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), I had never heard of it until I was searching Netflix for some new films to add to my instant queue. Since it was only a little over an hour, I thought, why not watch it. It actually turned out to be quite good, especially for a poverty row production. The film stars Martha O'Driscoll as a college professor who lives on a farm. When a movie crew comes into town and is looking for a trained mule for their picture, O'Driscoll and her mule are thrown into the mix of a film production. The songs are nicely integrated into the film: the mule won't cooperate unless O'Driscoll sings to her first. From a vintage style perspective, this film holds a lot of inspiration, especially for the coming warmer months. I am really loving the farm look that is so nicely presented, mainly through O'Driscoll's maid. I am also digging the use of plaids and O'Driscoll's glasses. The costumes were done by a PRC costumer, Karlise, who had an extremely short stint in the film fashion world. Karlise only has eleven films to her credit, which is not surprising since many poverty row studios were only in business for a year or two before they ran out of money. Even with her short career, I still think her work on this film made it memorable and certainly worth watching.

Only two more musical posts!! :)