Wednesday, November 27, 2013

History Lessons: Fashion in Film and the Hollywood Costume

Clockwise from top left: Clara Bow, Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson and Louise Brooks

Fashion in Film

Film and costume design history expert Kimberly Truhler, one of the presenting hosts at TCM’s 2013 Classic Film Festival, launched her new webinar series The History of Fashion in Film with The 1920s - The Jazz Age on November 17 - and I was there!

Kimberly certainly knows her stuff - she’s an adjunct professor at L.A.’s Woodbury University where she teaches a course on the history of fashion in film, she serves as a film and costume design historian for Christies of London, curates a private vintage fashion collection, manages her own website, GlamAmor (dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and legacy of fashion in film), and much more. Her impressive experience and knowledge were clearly evident throughout the nearly two-hour inaugural webinar session. And what an education I got…

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sight & Sound...Classic Cinema with Live Music

Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo at Davies Hall, San Francisco, November 1, 2013

A few months ago the San Francisco Symphony announced that it would kick off a season-long classic film series with Hitchcock Week, October 30 - November 2. Each night a different Hitchcock movie was to be presented with its music track scrubbed and the score performed live by the symphony orchestra. Psycho launched the series on the 30th, followed by The Lodger on Halloween, Vertigo on November 1st and, on the 2nd, a night of 'greatest hits' excerpts (To Catch a ThiefStrangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, North by Northwest) hosted by Eva Marie Saint. Most appealing to me among these events was the Vertigo program, not only because Vertigo is one of my favorite films of all time, but also because the symphony's musical accompaniment would be the world premiere live performance of Bernard Herrmann's full score. But the event was sold out by the time I found out about it. Only due to my good fortune in making a connection with a very considerate symphony representative did a pair of orchestra section seats come my way. And so it was that on the first Friday night in November my dear friend, Mike, and I, filled with anticipation and excitement, set off for Davies Symphony Hall to see Vertigo and hear its luscious score live. Once there, we sampled the special cocktail concocted for the evening, "The Voyeur" (sparkling wine, Grand Marnier, cognac), had a quick bite to eat, took our seats and waited for the lights to dim.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remembering JFK

Personal Memories of John F. Kennedy

At 43, he was the youngest man to be elected and the only Catholic President of the United States. His youth and religion were issues in 1960 when he won the office by quite a bit less than a landslide. After his assassination in 1963, at age 46, those issues became irrelevant - and 64% of those polled at the time claimed to have voted for him when he was elected, though his margin of victory was just over 50%.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What a Character: Gladys Cooper

The What a Character! blogathon is in progress now, hosted by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula's Cinema Club. Click here for more information and links to participating blogs. My entry for the event follows...
Young Gladys
She was a beautiful child, wide-eyed and wistful, who began modeling at age six; during World War I she was the favorite 'picture postcard' pin-up of British troops; she went on tour in a musical at age 17 and by the time she neared 40 she was a star of the London stage. In 1940, at age 51, she began working as a character actress in Hollywood and would, over the course of the next three decades, earn three Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress. Her name was Gladys Cooper and she is best remembered for her performance as Bette Davis's cruel, steel-willed mother, Mrs. Vale, in Now, Voyager...