Friday, January 28, 2011

Film Fashion Friday: Born to Kill (1947)

This has got to be one of the most fashionable film noirs of the late 40s. I had such a difficult time narrowing down what screen shots to put in this post. Honestly, every outfit in this film is FABULOUS. I watched Born to Kill (1947) for the first time last weekend, due to my Beau being on a huge Lawrence Tierney kick right now, and seriously could not wait until Friday to share it with you all.

The Players

Claire Trevor.....Helen Brent
Lawrence Tierney.....Sam Wild
Audrey Long.....Georgia Staples
Elisha Cook Jr. .....Mart Waterman

Gown designed by Edward Stevenson

Helen has finally gotten her divorce granted in Reno, when she witnesses the murder of a fellow Reno housemate. Although Helen could turn in Sam, she doesn't and there begins a wild and confusing attraction to this murderer. Sam follows Helen to her sister's home and meets her sister, Georgia and Helen's fiance. Soon Sam and Georgia are to be married, but will their marriage last. Will Helen's attraction to her sister's husband break up the marriage? Will the cops catch Sam for the murder he committed in Reno?

Fashion Review
I must admit, Edward Stevenson didn't ring a bell when I was watching the opening credits of this film, so I was greatly surprised at how well dressed this cast was. As I said at the beginning of the post, I really had a difficult time figuring out what outfits to include and which could be left out. I am not kidding when I say pretty much every shot of this film is extremely well costumed. There is such a diversity in the wealth of each character that we are able to see many spectrums of looks, from the lower class to the upper class, not to mention day to evening looks as well.

The accessories in this film are plentiful as they are amazing. The hats, shoes, and handbags really made this a grade A movie, from a fashion sense. Pay close attention to this while you are watching, especially the purse that matches Helen's suit in the first scene and the hat and scarf set right before she hops on the train.

Edward Stevenson was born in 1909 in Idaho. In 1922 he moved to Hollywood and met Andre-Ani and from him Stevenson learn the trade of fashion illustration. In 1925 Andre-Ani went to MGM and brought along Stevenson to be his sketch artist. After two short years under the guidance of Andre-Ani, Stevenson moved to FOX to be assistant designer. This was a short lived stint and a year later Stevenson moved to First National be be head designer. Around 1932, Stevenson opened his own shop and supplied costumes to studios sans contract. Again, this was short lived, as Stevenson was itching to get back to consistent film work. Stevenson return to his roots and took a sketch artist gig for Bernard Newman while working on Roberta (1934). When this film was completed, Stevenson was offered a contract at RKO which lasted for thirteen years. When Howard Hughes bought RKO in 1949, Stevenson moved back to FOX and stay there until 1951. After this, Stevenson worked extensively with Lucille Ball on both "I Love Lucy" and "Here's Lucy."
Fashion Grade: 10/10 (for scene after scene of fashion inspiration)

Born to Kill is available on DVD and through netflix and classicflix for rent.


Miss CherryBubbles said...

Oh, I've never seen this one, but now I have three reasons to... it's film noir, I love just about anything with Elisha Cook Jr., and the costumes are fantastic! Thank you for sharing :)

Amy said... me this movie. I think I will like it. Love you xoxo


vintagekttn said...

This is a great film! I am actually showing this in a couple week to our film noir club. :)

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