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Designing the Movies: THE WOMEN (1939)
Thu, 9 February 2017, 6:45 PM – 9:45 PM EST
The Revue Cinema Presents:
Designing the Movies: The Women (1939)
Thursday, February 9, 2017, 6:45PM
Guest programmed and hosted by freelance culture writer and film critic Nathalie Atkinson, a columnist for The Globe and Mail, Designing the Movies explores the talents whose names may be less familiar but whose work in production design, art direction, costume and set decoration is intrinsic to creating the world of their films.
There has never been a more fashionable bitchfest than The Women, thanks to the incredible haute couture-inspired costumes by Adrian. As Elsa Schiaparelli said, “What Hollywood designs today, you will be wearing tomorrow.”
With the screening, enjoy an on-stage conversation about the influence of couturiers like Schiaparelli on MGM costume designer Adrian—and how the influence went both ways—with special guest vintage clothing expert Cherie Balch of ShrimptonCouture, the online boutique that’s been called “the Net-A-Porter of vintage.” Balch’s clients include celebrities like Rihanna and Tracee Ellis Ross, international stylists, institutions from The Met and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston to the Kyoto Costume Institute, and the Dior and Gucci archives. Shrimpton Couture’s vintage treasures walk the red carpet, are showcased in museum exhibitions and used as a resource by designers around the world and the boutique also regularly handles the sale of rarities like Adrian originals; its most recent costume acquisition is the tailored suit worn by Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire.
Door prizes courtesy NARS and Raincoast Books
About the Film
USA, 1939, 133mins
Directed by George Cukor, adapted by Anita Loos from the play by Clare Boothe Luce
Starring Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and Joan Crawford
The Women is about what happens when guileless, happily-married socialite Mary Haines’s gossipy frenemy Sylvia Fowler (Russell) discovers that Mary’s husband has been carrying on with scheming shop girl Crystal Allen (Crawford). The trio lead a stellar all-female ensemble cast through scandalmongering, divorce, scheming and an acid comedy of manners with impeccable comedic timing.
It’s no wonder the biting social satire was a Broadway smash. And when MGM put it on the big screen, it became a caustic and legendarily stylish spectacle thanks to Adrian Adolph Greenberg, aka Adrian, one of the starriest of Hollywood’s “star” costume designers. Adrian’s designs for each of the women include sly character commentary, but the black-and-white film also famously includes a ten-minute fashion show sequence shot in Technicolor that has absolutely nothing to do with the narrative of the movie, and everything to do with giving the audience some haute couture eye candy.
About the Series
Film series often focus on cast or director, or link by common subject themes; this ongoing series instead considers the crucial contributions of below-the-line craft in both popular favourites and forgotten gems from across the decades, genres and eras. Guest programmed and hosted by freelance culture writer and film critic Nathalie Atkinson, a columnist for The Globe and Mail, Designing the Movies explores the talents whose names may be less familiar but whose work in production design, art direction, costume and set decoration is intrinsic to the look and world of their films.
With expert introductions and special guest Q&As, Designing the Movies covers the films of production pioneers like William Cameron Menzies (who invented the role, if not the term), Cedric Gibbons, Lyle Wheeler and Canadian Richard Day and their costume contemporaries Howard Greer, Edith Head, Adrian Travis, Banton and Orry-Kelly as well as more recent counterparts like Ken Adam, Roger Christian, Ferdinando Scarfiotti, Dante Ferretti, Adam Stockhausen, Sarah Greenwood and Catherine Martin, Sandy Powell, Jenny Beavan, Colleen Atwood, Wendy Chuck and Michael Wilkinson.
As longtime Alfred Hitchcock collaborator Robert Boyle defined it, production design is the physical environment in which the action and the meaning of a film takes place, interpreting the psychology and emotion of a screenplay and relaying that in visual form. So too the integral, at times misunderstood, role that costume plays in storytelling and bringing characters to life. The screenings are an invitation to reconsider films from a new or different angle, the invisible work made visible. - Nathalie Atkinson