Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fashions of 1934 (1934)

Sherwood Nash (William Powell) is a con man who is always trying to think of another hustle. After several others didn't quite work out, he happens upon a talented fashion designer named Lynn Mason (Bette Davis). From there they begin a scheme of knocking off original designs and while that doesn't last it leads them to their next plan and possibly even to romance.

Bette Davis in a publicity still from Fashions of 1934

I am doing this blog really just to share Robert Osborne's hilarious intro to this one when it came on TCM recently. I watched the film and, unfortunately, either the film was a little lackluster or I was completely distracted the whole time. I think it was more the latter issue as I was constantly interrupted. I really will have to watch this one again, I think, to really get much out of the whole viewing experience. So this isn't really a review as much as a sharing of the wonders of Robert Osborne's way of bringing films to life.

I am putting quotes around it, but this is perhaps slightly paraphrased as I was typing directly from the TV. If I missed the exact wording, don't sue me. Robert said, "She (Bette) is glamorized beyond recognition. Her hair is bleached blonde and straightened. Her eyes and face have enough makeup to sink the Titanic. She wears gowns by Orry-Kelly that no human being would wear this side of a Halloween party. She went along with it once, just once. When she saw herself on screen she vowed to never let them do that to her again. Part of the fun of watching this one is knowing the seething fury going on in the mind of Bette Davis while she is parading around in all those ridiculous outfits."

I laughed every time I saw her on screen, almost, imagining her as a very angry furball of a kitty with these big huge eyes being forced into "cute" outfits for everyone else's amusement. I kept imagining the kitty hissing and fighting and eventually giving in only to be ashamed by the result when she looked in the mirror. That whole image in my mind was worth the price of admission, as they say. :-)


kda0121 said...

It's never a bad day when you can watch William Powell. Even if the movie isn't among his best, bad Powell is better than most everyone else.

AbbyNormal said...

Karl - I completely agree with you. He is great!

Jennythenipper said...

I had the same experience. I watched Osborne's introduction and then got interrupted several times. I have no idea what happened in the movie except that Bette Davis didn't like Orry Kelly's outfits.