Sartorial Screenings- Sudden Fear!


Joan Crawford- the little strumpet that could! By the 1950’s the industry had changed a bit and Joan was out in the cold without a worshipful studio boss to sleep with and actors who emote were showing up!? Here she is in her academy award nominated set chewing frenzy!

Joan is accomplished, wealthy and writes for the stage! Like Edith Wharton and Neil Simon in a horrible lab experiment!

Let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s count the scenes where Joan positions herself to look up at Cheekbones to stretch her crepey/creepy neck to best aging advantage! Who’s Cheekbones? -why Cheekbones Palance! He’s just finished a 16 city tour of Flowers for Algernon the musical and is ready to take broadway by storm! He’s the lead in her new super-soaper-ama!

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He’s brooding, pensive and a wee bit wooden. Not that the script is helping- it’s like Joan writes for the Dove candy heart wrappers. She’s unmoved by his craft- her words of love coming from him are like packing peanuts without salt. All the content, but no flavor. *Obviously she never saw that Ripley Believe it or Not episode where he acts out Rasputin’s death- that was drama, llama!

She gets his bony ass fired!! Job well done- she gets Rob Lowe- Hollywood’s great closer to step in and boom- box office gold. Now she’s headed for San Diego- her real home for some R&R and virgin gnu placenta skin rejuvenation treatments. Anything to keep time at bay!

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Oh, who’s that looking like a pile of chicken wings in a grey flannel suit? It’s Palance! What is he doing on this random train to San Diego? Oh Kismet fiesta, indeed!

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She’s coy- but he woo’d her with stories of his blue-collar youth and years of working in gay porn. fear13

Ok, he was poor, that’s about it. They play poker and he shows her that money (hers) means nothing to him! Folks this train trip is longer than a Kardashian marriage. Many costumes showed only from the collar bones up. I’m not sure Joan wasn’t wearing the bottom half of a vaudeville horse costume during most of these scenes. sudd5

Oh, Cheekbones- let me show you MY Sandiego! They do Chinatown, a bridge or two,  Comic-Con of course, all the tourist trappings. Her friends are charmed!sudd 25

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But by the end of the week- he tells her that their worlds don’t mesh and puts on a show of trying to sneak out of town- yeah right?! Those cheekbones are made to dig gold!

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She begs him to stay- their worlds aren’t so different! He swallows his pride and returns to her. As they grow closer she shares her life with him- including her creepy home office that records everything she says to use in her awful plays- I’m thinking Joan has one of these at home too! Kids- this is foreshadowing. sudden9

They marry! He looks for work in the area- possibly as a floor walker at comic-con. His friends accept him as her jagged future.

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They do all the society parties together and hold the phone- who is this little harlot on a half-shell? It’s Irene! The girl he left behind.  I love me some Gloria Grahame- no one was born to say ‘Toots’ like Ado Annie! sudd4

Cheeks tries to act all super casual- not noticing that his wife is quite the gamey old hen next to his last chick. But they’re in love, right? so much passion under all that tulle- and that’s just him!

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He’s trying desperately to milk this cash cow and needs no distractions! He’d better get IRENE in check once he’s put the old lady down for the night.

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Now, he will slip into even more clothes and hit the street! Off to the sweet unspoiled innocence of that hardly opened bud that is Irene!

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Irene will not allow our poor honest Cheeks to live in kept man peace- she has designs on him and his wife’s money.

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Something has to break- but is he really a bad guy or is Irene playing him like the xylophone he resembles when he’s in a swimsuit?? fear10

Myra/Joan is totally trusting- she KNOWS love- cuz she writes, write? I mean So what if Jackie Collins was married like 820 times……Well, nevermind. It’s time to redraft her super will and her lawyer/2 dimensional prop has a notion that $10,000 a year until he remarries is enough for even the most impressively sculpted lothario. No, Joan does not believe in limiting her love or her prospective widowers ability to grieve in the Riviera. fear14

Sounds like a great plan, Joan.

Life goes on, Myra searches for emu blood for her skin treatments and they host way too many parties for the charity that she plans to leave most of her father’s money to.  The guest list is not very exclusive, cough, cough.

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Irene- subtly-get some!   Stop showing up for every party and flaunting your natural eyebrows! It’s rude! sudd2

Irene and Cheeks dally in the office- because, it’s full of erotic etchings and nothing fires the libido like making out on top of Myra’s bank statements. Oh, but Cheeks forgets about the Dictaphone! OOH! It’s voice activated and Irene is Cheeks activated! Various ideas for creating a Crawford corpse are bandied about. Luckily no one listens to themselves talk every night before bedtime.

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That would be bad! fear15

Lets pause here and ask ourselves what is under this robe? Scuba suit? majorette costume? that swimsuit Connery wore in Dr No? Lets thank the team that made all this possible, shall we? credits

Myra/Joan is not going  to take this killer husband crap lying down! Oh, no Ma’am! In  a plot worthy of…..a better film, Myra turns the tables on them! She will get them both to meet up at Irene’s bordello bungalow and leave compromising notes for each and make it look like a murder suicide and arise like a phoenix with false eyelashes!

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Over a pre-theatre dinner, Joan/Myra tries to find a way to delay their departure while she crams notes in their gloves. She’s wearing a fab dress here- I’d like to say this next picture isn’t a publicity photo and that Myra/Joan has this stand in a corner of the den….. I mean, I know I have a posing perch for Bruder and I. Captain Morgan anyone? 52fear9

Joan/Myra claims to be upset that both she and Irene are both wearing white and she’ll go change before the house is struck by righteous lightning. She cunningly rubs some Max Factor on her c’ankle so she can swan dive down the stairs and not go out with them.sudd6

Mercy- what a sexy fall that must have been! Concerned friends gather to mourn-

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No- they can’t leave her here alone! all of her spangles will go to waste! She’s far too noble to make them all suffer- go, go you crazy kids! fear5

Ok, Myra/Joan bustles the Cheesers out of the house- leaving her alone with her solicitious husband- after planting a pair of ‘kiss,kiss meet me in your garage and we’ll make a dead wife’ notes in Irene and Cheek’s fannypacks. He worries about her- offering her a nice unlabelled aspirin and a neck massage. She feints sleep to get him to leave.sudd1

She throws on a subtle floor length pelt, a scarf like Irenes and beats feet thru San Diego where the shadows elongate her torso as God intended. She races to Irenes bungalow and tries to catch her alone- she’ll shoot her and frame Cheeks! She test fires. To see how she looks in an action shot.fear3

But Cheeks has shown up for some of his and Irene’s kinky weirdness! Poor people are gross!

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Ok, she’ll shoot Cheeks and frame Irene! But she can’t do it! She can’t go against her own moral code even to save herself! Dumb ass. She runs out into the street- but Cheeks thinks she’s Irene running from him- he follows her! fe17

They race thru SanDiego- driving rather recklessly when he realizes it’s Myra! Now he’s got a plan! fe20

You know what? I can’t ruin this for all of you- it’s too good. You’ll thank me later! Oral reports are due on 10/1/2018. MV5BZjY2NmY2NzctY2JiZi00Nzc2LWI3Y2MtNGY2ZGIxODA5MTdjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUxODE0MDY@__V1_

photo credits: little me

Sartorial Screening! China Seas


Today we welcome back a film favorite- Jean Harlows nipples! Back in 1932 they were covered in Red Dust and in 1935 they gave us this deja view  in China Seas! sea1

Singapore! The jewel of the….well, the China Seas. Our plot revolves around the jaunty, devil may care sea captain and his voyage delivering bullion to people who only have miso currently. Feel free to convert that to todays money in your comments, folks- I’m not here to provide insight, just snark.

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Look at that dock! Teaming with humanity and stereotype! IMG_1737

Here’s our intrepid Captain Gaskell! He is at home both at sea and in the parlor. He is no push over and savvy to all high-jinks! sea 2

Our cast includes more than a few character actors and notables. Our ships drunk is Robert Benchley! Former New Yorker writer and raconteur.  He shared an office with Dorothy Parker!

seas3 Here’s Sir Guy Wilmerding! I kid you not. He’s escorting the comely and virtuous widow who will be the foil to Harlows nipples!

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Almost done with the white suit brigade, I swear. This is the new 3rd officer. I think they stop numbering after 5- after that you’re a purser or something, whatever. He’s got a sad tale and a bad history- I hope that won’t be a problem.  seas5

Here’s our Baddy! Seriously- Margaret O’Brien swears he tried to drown her on another film- the Beery is a bad, bad man. But charming and he knows our leading Lady, Dolly.

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But Dolly only has nipples for our captain. She’s designated herself a friendly port and he only thinks of her as a good time gal. Poor Dolly. Surely alone on the wide ocean she’ll have no competition for his affection. Children, this is foreshadowing. Like the big authors do like Proust, Hemingway, and Danielle Steele.

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Our captain has his hands full- but he’s seen many a voyage and knows the way of the seas.seas9

Captain Gaskell knows danger is lurking everywhere! This looks suspicious!!!! seas10

Trannies? Not on his watch! It’s 1935  and Will Hayes will not sanction such- Oh, my bad. They are pirates dressed as women to sneak on board! If they were simply expressing their need to live openly according to their inner voice, Captain Gaskell would have applauded their courage and given them all vouchers for the midnight lounge where a Roberta Flack cover artist is performing nightly. But NO quarter for pirates!!! Get off our ship!!

seas11 What’s this? A brunette! In garments with ease and demure textiles! It must be a lady of quality!seas12

Why Captain Gaskell! How surprising to see you here on your ship! Enter Mrs Barkley- society widow!! He’s knows her from his time in England.

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Later on, back in the captains cabin, Gaskell tries to set Dolly straight- they have no future and she needs to drape her barnacles over another vessel!

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In a move that I can’t believe got by the censor board, Dolly hops up on his rack (that’s no euphemism)  and tries to tempt him and borrow a book? Who doesn’t know that salt air effects antique bindings and Gaskell would never store his better tomes here? Duh, Dolly.

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Time passes, children are born, Dolly tries to move on. seas21 Random cruiser with fabulous dress time! She also thinks her husband buys her paste jewelry, but who really cares, right? It’s not like he ignores you for 5 strange men and a chessboard.

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I’m glad this shipboard Romeo tries to steal her gum and her heart so we could see the sleeves better.

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Dolly and her maid (Hattie McDaniel, I love you!)  are preparing for dinner at the captains table. seas24

When Dolly theme dresses, she goes all in. She’s like a southern girl with seasonal sweaters. When in Singapore, she will dragon up, even in her lounge wear. This gets bonus points- dragon and…..wait for it….. seas25

Gentle readers, the moment has come. at 26 minutes into this classic- Harlow brings the nips to dinner. seas26

Thru what is CLEARLY a clerical error, Dolly is seated closer to the galley than usual. I wonder why the captain isn’t giving her his full attention? seas27

Tension ensues and catty bantor, but eventually Lady Barkley Square puts our girl in her place- finishing school style. seas28

Don’t screw with Auntie Mame. After dinner, Captain Gaskell heads for the bridge to prove he knows where it is. He is alerted to a major storm! seas29

Dolly is AGAIN in the captains cabin. She’s quite the smoker and stores her extra menthols in his cabin. Kind of territory marking with nicotine as it were. seas30

The next day the skies show nary a cloud, so the entitled passengers enjoy a hearty breakfast and shooting stuff. seas31

Dolly is snarking it up with the gentry- seas35

It’s a good time to admire Jeans Hamburglar hat and fancy curls. seas40

Time for a dress change! I remember the first time I saw this film- I fell in love with her lame dress- I just know it’s red. I just know it! seas41

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The captain wants everyone to remain calm- the storm is due. seas50

Panic ensues! The waves crash! Unflattering life vests are worn! seas56

Dolly and the Beery take their party back to his cabin- he’s totally blotto. She wins the drinking game and takes her winnings from his wallet where she spots the half note that is the international sign of pirate conspiracy! Every year on my safety tests at work I get the hazmat stuff wrong. How do people know all these signs and symbols? Is it a class somewhere??? Ok, so where were we? Oh yeah- seas70

The weather started getting rough- the tiny ship was tossed. seas72

On no! He wakes up and sees her trying to go warn the captain of :

Captain Phillips: the Prequel but he stops and threatens her. He can’t believe she is going back to captain hair gel after he has ignored her for Demure Mutton! But he’ll let it slide if she behaves. Some threats should help. seas80

Well, its the day after and no one is really up for shuffle board. Lots of souls lost, rum overboard, chiffon dresses irreparable. 5th Officer Albatross comes to report that as in most crises, he was cowering and ineffectual. I see no future redemption for him. He has not earned his pith helmet this day. Must tragedy bring out the turtlenecks on the seas?seas78

Dolly tries to warn the captain in a lounge robe worthy of Mr Furley. He will not listen! She leaves the cabin and Beery spots her and accuses her of treachery! But what is this? Dolly has stolen the Captains key to the armory! Bad Dolly! Don’t combine a bad relationship end with universal harm. Bad Karma Dolly. seas90

Just when you think your bad day has reached its zenith. Pirates. Yup- not those fun musical theatre types either. These are soulless curs of the archipelagos. Mercy! They are here for the bullions! It’s all about the Bullions! IMG_2281

Their leader herds every one into the main lounge Agatha Christie style and refuses to deal with anyone but Beery. Welcome to the brotherhood of men in robes. seas101

They open up the armory, they smash all the hummels, they chase the passengers! The shoot the recently demoted ships mime.IMG_2258

But the bullion casks are full of sand! What???  Who knew? Surely the captain knew. seas102

Beery begs him to give up the loot- or he’ll get……the BOOT!seas105

Ugh- this is gross. Captain Gaskell was the ships best hope in the Merchant Marines annual 3- legged race, too. What a bummer. I’ll save you the torture scenes- just know that it’s not so pleasant and probably on schedule for Fall of 2021:seas115

Looks like our mime is waking up and looking for a place to hide. Or is he?

After much pointless boot twisting the captain refuses to tell about the bullion. They throw him into his own brig. Rude!IMG_2324

But here comes the 5th officer/mime! He’s on the redemption road! IMG_2326

It was sad, yet poignant. Who knew he had a name. huh. Back in harbour, Captain Gaskell interrigates the suspects. seas150

He knows Dolly knows. But does Dolly know that he knows? She refuses to talk. She’s jonesin’ for a ciggie tho. IMG_2348

Aha! Dolly can’t find the box with the marlboro points on it! How can she get that jet ski? Worse yet! She can’t find the half note. IMG_2363

But she tried to tell him- but he was too busy with work and his hoity-toity widow! Fine! I knew and I’ll go to jail for it!

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Beery has other plans. He’s taken poison to avoid jail! Well, satisfied with his job, Captain Gaskell returns to the bridge. Where Lady Barkley Square is waiting. She sees he’s a man of the waves. She knows that altho she’s a fine girl and a good wife she would be- his life, his love, his lady is the sea. They bid fond fairwell. IMG_2385

Captain Gaskell prepares to take Dolly to the magistrates. He won’t cut her a break.IMG_2399

In his heart he knows she was just a pawna dn that he truly owns her heart and she his. Aw……IMG_2430

Happy at last, she departs for prison and he vows to wait for her……and to bring tweezers when he visits. IMG_2428

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photo credits: little me.

 

 

 

 

 

Sartorial Screenings V! Lady of Burlesque


Preshow Robert Osborne moments:

I love Barbara Stanwyck and I love vintage noir/crime novels. I’ve actually read the book this one was based on- it’s Swanns Way by Proust.  The G-string Murders by Gypsy Rose Lee. A neglected classic. If any of you are big with your local PTA, why not suggest it for the 2017/2018 school year required reading?

Ready? Of course you are! Today at Cinema Grievous we proudly review:

Lady of Burlesque!!Today we will explore the seedy underbelly of Burlesque in a converted opera house down on it’s luck-  but a new face has appeared to save the day! Dixie Daisy (her real name of course. Parents- please think about the road you set your kiddies on with these names- Lolita is never going to be the name of an environmental  lawyer. My 2 cents)   credits

Seedy times people, seedy times. But they give the people their best!

1st act

Edith Head does the principal costuming for Stanwyck- but lets show some love for the fabulous salute to the ceiling fans that Flossie is wearing:

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At last! Dixie is busting thru this paper womb of propriety and bringing her sassy strip work to the stage. She’s our headliner, so of course the old guard resents her ‘easy’ path  to sleazy stardom! But she’s no flooz! She’s clawed her way to the  …umm….top with grit, hard work and double jointed knees! Note the appearance of the fox pelt- we still maintain the working girl illusion that pelt=CLASS!

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Dixie will now perform her signature song by the Oscar winner composer Sammy Kahn.

Let it Snow

Come Fly with me

The Tender Trap

When Somebody Loves you

It’s been a Long , long time

Right….it’s one of his lesser known classics, tho equally memorable:

Take it off the e string, play it on the g-string! A song that I feel is sadly underused in kiddie dance recitals. Lets retire Itsy Bitsy and see those kids twerk dispassionately to a classic!

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Ah- here comes the action! Biff Brannigan- vaudeville comic has his eye on Dixie- but she has no interest in him. Comics are trouble! No good louses that leave you with the check and a one way ticket to Tulsa. She’s not biting his hook!

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Gypsy Rose Lee perfected the art of the intellectual strip- more provocative that skin baring, me thinks.

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Here Barbara does more singing and strutting than baring, BUT she does actually start pulling her stole apart so by the 3rd minute, dare I say it- you will see her bare muff. Yes, I am an equal mix of shame and snorty laughter at my own ribaldry…..

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Let’s pause a moment to make a timely reminder. Men, a muff tossed at your head is still not a consent. Thank you. Back to our story.

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The audience fails to notice she’s still wearing more than the average person wears to grocery shop.

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Now, let’s talk about what we all know about stripping. It’s degrading to women and It’s a place where women form lasting, satisfying relationships and mentor each other and form complex and unbreakable bonds. Stay in school kids.

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Our plot is also carried along by the ventilation system- something so important is a flesh den, err- legitimate theatre. The men’s dressingroom is directly below. Male strippers you ask?  Um, yeah, no. The men are all comics. Only women entertain with their bodies, dummies. Gees!? Today the girls are very upset about their plumbing and it’s upsetting the boys too. Seriously. Their only sink in the girls dressing room is broken. Damn, did you think I meant….?

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This little man-trap is our tension source in the plot. She thinks she’s a great talent too good for this place! She’s got a mobster boytoy and one of the comics is writing the perfect play for her ascent to the big time! Hmmm….I hope nothing bad happens to her.

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Dotty is really not much more than fluff to our plot, but how could I not show this???

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For me, the entire movie could have been just watching these girls wander around in the official Busby Berkley fetish strip club. But enough about my needs. Lets get back to Lola- the burr in everyone’s pasties.

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Well, Angel has had enough! She comes after Lola- the other girls intervene but only because they are bored. Not because they like Lola. Nobody really likes Lola. For the record, I’ve never been in a fight, but I’m assuming I would climb out-of-the-way too.

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You know who doesn’t like strippers? These two. Lets pause here so I can share how much I love these two actors- they are amazing character actors that just are so underutilized in this- I’ve labelled them so you can track them down and enjoy. I’ll be checking back to quiz you later.

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The girls don’t like them much either. Not for the judgemental ogling. That’s their meat and potatoes.  It’s Stacchi and his crappy pipe smoking. Stacchi is not his real name- no one bothered to ask him if he had a real name. So sad.

After kicking Lolas butt, Angel hydrates as she should. Just as Hollywood taught  us that hookers are strong advocates of flossing, strippers can’t stop raving about hydration!

Angel;

We as an audience already sense the blooming chemistry of Dixie and Biff. Or Diffie, or Bixie or whatever. Here they are headed to the stage for the big number!

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Were you thinking they changed the title because ‘g-string’ was not a code approved title? Well, I’m starting to think it’s because ‘murder’ didn’t actually happen?! Come on people, get the violence going, wills ya?

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Oh dearie dear! The cops have raided our fine establishment! Now according to Burlesque by-law 500B, all theatre employees must be warned of Bacon scented in the building with a red light that is triggered by a backstage member who sees them. Hence, places of ill-repute are called ‘Red Light’ districts. Ok, I made that last sentence up. It sounded great, tho and I was on a roll. Red lights are used in prostitute districts because the tint gives the TB suffering hookers a rosy glow. Ok, thats not true either, I think. just get back to the movie, m’kay?   Biff and Dixie display teamwork as they try to discretely finish their set and leave the stage without shackles.

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Dixie hot-foots it back to the dressing room to get her chapstick and lucky troll doll before the police spot her.

Oh, crap! A phantom creepo has grabbed our heroine and is trying to kill her! He tries to strangle her, but all the noise and commotion- while making a good diversion, is too distracting for him. She escapes!

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Well, the cops round everybody up and try to haul them off- their boss being a very good guy, rents limos to take them to the pokey in style. So class. Afterword he treats them to a steak and egg breakfast and gives them each a share in the Opera House! Merriment and job loyalty secured!  Dixie would like to talk about whom might have tried to give her the 10 digit necktie and I’d like to discuss how she can wear lower bodiced dresses to breakfast than as a professional chaunteuse.

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Dark cloud! Lola’s mobster boyfriend doesn’t show up until the party. He ignored her 1 phone call from the hoo-scow! Jerk! Look at his tiny weasel stache! OOOO- he’s trouble! But Lola is in trouble with him- he knows about her playwright guy on the side and takes a poke at him! Lola is unamused, but her accessories are on point. 5 minute break while I see if I can make any of Grannies pearls into a bowtie. Oh, crap! I have a jeweled turtle I can wear climbing out of my blouse bunny area! Score!

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So, lets recap-

no one likes Lola

Angel significantly dislikes Lola

Lolas boyfriend is mad at her and her side piece

Lola has great jewelry

Someone tried to kill Dixie in the dark

Bifff persuades Dixie to go out for a beverage with him. She dons her best Warden of the North Wookie fur and goes. He doesn’t pay and she doesn’t smile. biff2

Well, back to the grind, as they say!  Now it took me a bit to figure this out, because these are burlesque gals not the club strippers we see now who only need a shoe box to store their costumes. I think these gals are climbing the walls to get to their fancy bits. Huh. I should have used that line for an audience shot.

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Lola is very upset today about the Asian sterotypes who work nextdoor and peep at her. Now I’m no expert on these things, but you still can’t throw bottles at people who watch you undress in front of a window can you? I mean, they never make the girls pay for their moo-goo, so maybe the guys thought it was a little quid-pro-chow action. Well, something to tell Judge Judy about.

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Dixie does not like this one bit! She snaps at Lola and establishes herself as a suspect…..if anything should ever happen.

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Dixie trots across the alley to check on the restaurant telling even more people how much Lola harshest her mellow. Oh-and is suddenly alone in the dressingroom/hostel upon her return.

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Ah, here comes more tension! Apparently Dixie has only been there a few weeks and this little saucy Sputnik’r was HER spot on the marque prior! hedy

Whatevs.The other girls smell Arkansas on her.

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But she has her good points, I’m sure.

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Biff and Dixie continue their fine vaudeville work.

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Meanwhile, Lolas playwright sidepiece is skulking around the ladies dressingroom in a robe he stole from Jeremy Irons.

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Dixie is still breaking it down on stage-

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Dixie heads back to the suspiciously empty dressingroom with a message for Lola- who is late for her curtain. Oh, no!Who could have forseen such?

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Lola has been strangled by her own g-string! How appropriate. Dang, tho, she looks lovely.  Inspector Straitlace arrives and after he fingerprints Dixie, they all gather to trample any evidence left laying around. Lola we can only assume is also still lying around. She’s past tense now. So she can’t lay now. I think.

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Stanwyck comes very close to calling the cop  a ‘big mug’ in this scene. I’d have supported her choice. Everyone has announced that they heard, saw, enjoyed Dixie and Lola scrapping. Neglecting to mention that it was their only hobby as a group.

Biff realizes during the questioning that the g-string that the cops say they didn’t see is in  his pocket! He’s got to ditch that thong!! But Dixie catches him with it and assumes the worst! No, not that he is a cross dresser! That he killed Lola! Side note- have the producers ever seen a g-string? Did they just tell the prop guy to wad up some uphostery fringe and go with it?

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Finally they get to go back to work, but things have changed! Nikita the Unpure has stolen the main spot on the bill! How did she do it? Hard work and dedication or is she really seeing the mobster on the side and blackmailing their union friendly boss? I’m thinking it’s this really cool whip/strip she does!

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Its not too fetishy, is it?

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meh

Oh come now Ladies- that was pretty stinkin’ cool.

Dixie confronts the boss and finds out that yes, Nikita has something on him.

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Dixie hits the watercooler and ends up bonding with the backstage lech. He’s been at the theatre since it was a real opera house and even sang. But that was years ago. Bitter, angry years ago. I’m sure that means nothing to the plot and is just a character development moment. Stripper with VPL- isn’t that an oxymoron?

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Ah, here comes Biff and he has news- like a really old newspapoer kind of news, but Dixie gets distracted by practically anything that isn’t Biff. biff4

Oh if only they worked as well offstage as on-

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EEK!

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Oh this looks bad! Nikita has been strangled inside the prop coffin that Dixie uses! Who has access to the prop closet? Who has access to Nikita? Who’s going to do the DEVO tribute now?

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Well, here comes the inspector- lets see if Biff can keep it in his pockets this time?!

suspects

Grumpy prop guy has found a clue! A torn up picture in the supposedly locked prop cage! Our suspect is shortwaisted! What does it mean? It means she can’t wear crop tops without some sort of pendant necklace to give the illusion of a longer torso! No, to the plot! What does it mean to our plot! No ideas.

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The police wants to close them down since there’s a killer on the loose. But like Andy Hardy- who also likes to wear a thong- they are going to put on the show!

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Just a thought. They were all headed home when Dixie rallied the troops. All headed home half dressed.

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Well, its time for everyone to leave the theatre for the evening and turn out all the lights and make it extra dark and creepy and you know. But first, some bonding.

hat

Ahem.

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Whatever.

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Hey, who turned off the lights? Dixie is all alone in the dressingroom! Oh my! Honey that is not the great and powerful OZ!

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He’s trying to strangle her and muttering something about legitimate theatre is about Pain and Russian writers! This is jazzy smut! In rush Biff and the coppers- it was a fancy trap!

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How did Biff know?It was the newspaper and the photo! The newspaper talked about Lady Stacchi the golden throated opera singer with a tragic end. The picture was the same as the one of Lolas Mama! Stacchi couldn’t stand the idea of his granddaughter being a skanky burlesque flooz! He killed every flooz he could lay 2 hands on! Dixie was next!

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Well kids, of course they end up together and the Opera House goes on. Lovely.

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One more thing. I just want to say that I don’t think Burlesque or Vaudevillians are floozies. I was just being my snarky self.

photo credits: little me with an assist from Amazon prime…..

Sartorial Screenings! Faithless!!!


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This morning we will return to the 1932 with Tallulah Bankhead gem- Faithless. This went on the dvr because of it’s leading man- Robert Montgomery- little  me loves some Robert Montgomery- he, Franchot Tone and William Powell are the trinity of testosterone in my dvr.

The set up: spoiled heiress gets what every depression audience wants to see- her money gone and her virtue smeared….but in great frocks, of course. We begin-

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Yay! Oh, wait no- it’s not so great in America- but Carol Morgan- socialite orphan is riding high.

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Publicity shot of Carol at home:

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Carol is spending like she has no common sense! oh, dear!

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Carol put the brakes on and think of all the orphans that will be neglected if you can’t help them and the Morgan Home for neglected girls has to close! They will walk the streets! FORESHADOWING!!!!

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Carol has a fine loving man in her life- Bill! He makes a good living in advertising and he has a strong chin and fine character. He also likes to nap.

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Get up Bill!

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Yes, yes, of course Bill. But Bill soon learns that society will assume that he is Carols kept fancy man! He is now barraged with news people- much like that poor bakery worker sap who dated Cher back in the 90’s.

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Bill knows Carol is a virtuous woman who will step down into his world and let him take care of her. But Bill starts to doubt it as he sees how her friends assume he is just her purse carrying boy toy!

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Think about your life Bill!

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Bill and Carol have a fight that of course ends with her pouting and him looking deep into her glassy eyes and vows to never argue again occur. They are in a rut! The pattern repeats itself like an episode of Hoarders. But he sends her flowers and they carry on.

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Huh. What could the bank want in the height of the depression? Probably just letting her know her new checks are in.

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Screen shots of this movie don’t do the costumes justice- here’s what you wear to find out you are on skid row. Shh- don’t wake the pelts.

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Carol has lost the farm….and the yacht and the maid and a world class Hummel statue collection. Poor Carol. Who can she turn to? Well, after seeing Bills apartment and being shown a can opener, Carol has issues about their love.

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Carol is still a name and a face- trash with cash are begging for her to grace their tables and parties to bring up their social stock. She jumps on the first flea she sees! But she begins to gamble and borrow money and make bad choices! Carol is losing her way- without Bill to ground her. Bills brother thinks he has Carols number-

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Carol- stop betting, take your last scraps of dignity and go home- didn’t you read your Edith Wharton? This won’t end well!!!!

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Carol is all ‘Unhand me new money creepo- I’m a Morgan!’ Good girl Carol- he is clearly not having honorable Bill-like intentions! Carol has had it for the night- oh, here’s her host to tuck her in!

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Carol gets the hint and packs up all the towels and baby soaps she can grab and exits stage right in the middle of the night- but who is this lurking by the Ficus? It’s Weasel Gotrocks!

Bowing to his oily pressure, she accepts money, jewels, liquor and a maid from him and some other things….you can guess.

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If I had to be defiled by Commodore Brillcream, I’d wear this too!

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Carol spends lots of time drinking and trying not to see the Commodore naked. One evening Bill finally finds her address and arrives to see his old sweetie at her apartment.

A fracas ensues! Bill meets her keeper and gets the big picture. She tries to follow him, but the Commodore holds her back and it’s not pretty.

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Her resolve is set, but Bill is gone. She leaves without her fox pieces and tries to be an honest woman. She’s kind of bad at it. She ends up in a crappy boarding house selling her t-straps to the land lady for soup money. Oh- none of that was a metaphor. She really did.

23  Oh, the Coincidence fairy arrives and here comes Bill- looking strapped and strapping! He is no longer in the ad game- he’s a laborer. Look at those hunky callouses! He can’t leave her like this-

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They marry and move into a different rooming house and they combine his  sterno and her hotplate. Again, not a euphemism, just the 30’s. Bill hears about a job- it’s in trucking! Hurray! They celebrate and he heads off to learn the lingo.

But the job is available because the bosses fired the regular union crew to pay new drivers less. Bill has his pride, but he also has Carol. He takes the job.

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These drivers are not understanding Bills lack of union sentiment. He was probably a Taft voter. Tsk, tsk. They try to reason with him. Harshly.

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This is unfortunate. Carol must get a job to help out or the landlady will throw them out, broken spleen and all! Carol tries hard to find a job. She only gets one offer. It’s a little play for pay situation with the local lunch counter owner. She takes it. Bill needs that spleen brace!

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Carol wrestles with her moral qualms like she did on the sofa with the Commodore! BUt practicality and a word from her landlady helped her decide.

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Carol hits the alley. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Uh oh- Carol tries to get one more month of spleen rental for Bill when she bumps into another guy- but it’s Bills brother! He chastises her like the pope at an all you can eat buffet. I don;t know what that means exactly, but he was quite rough on her. She runs the other way right into the billy club of Sargeant Clancy!  He hears her story- and even knew some girls from the Morgan home- he is touched by her Venice to Vice sob story. He has a plan!

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Carol waits tables and in 35 payments, Bill gets to keep his spleen! Happy ending?

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While Carol is working the graveyard shift, Bills brother finally finds them and he tells all! Carol has brought your spleen with her vagina Big Brother!!!

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Uh, oh. Carol arrives home- to find her indiscretion all revealed. She is full of shame and extra fries she snagged off plates.

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Well, hey, who hasn’t hooked for a good cause, I mean really, Bill- aren’t you meant to be together? Didn’t she have the best intentions? Of course she did. Of course he took her back.

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Sigh. Ain’t love grand?

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photo credits: little me with an assist from TCM!

Sartorial Screenings 3- The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown!


In the true spirit of Howard Hughes film technique-plot will be sacrificed here for gratuitous shots of Jane- who’s nightgown really isn’t all that fuzzy, sadly.

Alright, buckle up and have your popcorn ready, this is a doozy!

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Laurel is a  major star! An independent woman who rules her own destiny and loves cigarette pants- as all powerful women do! She knows her worth and packages it accordingly! Let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s count how many times Jane has to blow or suck on something in the first five minutes to establish her character development, shall we?

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Laurels new film is a glorious historically accurate sex romp thru the Bourbon period. Her last film was mostly tequila based, so this is a nice change for her. Her producer and studio boss are very excited about this film loosely based on the life of St Catherine.

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Laurel is torqued off because her bath tub scene got cut by the censors for not meeting their ‘suds to bazooms ratio’.

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Look it up kiddies- it’s a thing! Laurel refuses to come to the opening tonight until that calgon orgy is put back in. She knows art and how to sell it! Grandeur studios was built on Laurel Stevens bust! Seriously- they’ve been able to expand 3 times in 5 years!

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Meet- aw, heck, I forgot her name. She’s a retired actress who provides sassy yet loving candor to Laurel in exchange for light housework and getting to eat anything in the fridge. Lets call her Maureen. She is wearing a fabulous belt! laurel is dressing for the opening- but slowly- so we can see her fabulous movie star home- look at all the ficus!

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Laurel uses this scene to explain to Maureen that sex appeal is a tool and that you don’t  need a man- it’s all career and fancy lamps! Oh, phone call!

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Ok, off we go- time to hit the premiere and dazzle the masses!   What could go wrong?

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You will NEVER believe this! A nefarious man is waiting to abscond with Laurel! What a thing to do on the opening night of The Kidnapped Bride!!

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Meet Mike and Dandy: an ex-con and his friend who believes in his good heart. They are kidnapping Laurel to get money to start over. I’m not sure they’re a couple, but maybe.

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Meanwhile- the producers are being grilled by the faux Hedda Hopper about Laurel and whether or not they are cheesy enough to stage a ‘napping on the night of the premiere! But they are as shocked and upset as soulless studio people can be.

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Laurel is forced to put on this lovely velvet cape by her kidnappers. Seriously- whats up with this? It doesn’t conceal her or keep her from seeing her whereabouts or anything- were they just worried about her getting a cold? Do they want to kidnap one of the 7 dancing princesses?

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Well, when they arrive at the hideout- Laurel makes a brave escape attempt and her druid cape impedes her- maybe there was a point after all.

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Laurel is carried into the house and forced to listen to Dandy unveil the plot!

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Oh, you two are twisted weasels! They have truly creepy plans indeed! Dandy is going to force Laurel to wear this Lanz nightgown and play a frisky game of ‘what big _____ you have’ with them. She’s going to need so much therapy after this- you know Patty Hearst was given a very similar nightie in plaid. Look it up.   12

Laurel soon realized that not only is Mike evil- he thinks he’s Perry Como! It’s now time for the sensitive exposition talk about how Mike was an innocent man framed by the justice system and now he is marked for life and can’t do anything but continue down the perditious path. Poor Mike.

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Meanwhile- Laurel, ever the professional, is practicing for her next movie- where she plays a high wire artist with Rory Calhoun- ‘Cleavage under the Big Top’…..

15  16  This film has it all, suspense, athletics, early American furniture….

Meanwhile Maureen finds evidence that Laurel couldn’t have left of her own free will and rushes to show the studio guys!

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Laurel tries all of her best wiles to get her Perry Como impersonating abductor to release her. She nearly throw out her back trying to saunter in his dead Grandmothers negligee but they are hardened er, desperate criminals!

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Mike the excon had to register with his parole officer and was smart enough to leave the hideout as an address. When Detective McBride shows up to check on Mike- who he believed was innocent all along, but still a ne’er-do-well, Laurel tries out her expansive lung capacity on him-

IMG_8476.JPG Wow- that was close! luckily Mike keeps her from escaping and locks her in the ‘Young Brides 4 piece all mahogany look veneer bedroom suite’.

IMG_8568But she is always listening…..

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Over a strangely long period of time for a public figure to be missing and only noticed by 4 people, Laurel, Mike and Dandy form a bond and enjoy long walked on the beach, toast and wearing each others clothes and wigs.

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They decorate their tiny display Christmas tree and do all the other things one routinely does with their kidnapper. Yes, they paint each others nails alot.

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At last the deal is made with the studio to ransom Laurel using a price by the pound. The ransom will be delivered and Mike and Dandy will go off to Mexico! By now, The faux Hedda cannot be put off- she knows something is up! So does detective Mcbride and oh, it’s about to all get crazy and misunderstandings will commence!

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But what about Mike? He isn’t really a kidnapper- he’s misunderstood. What about Dandy? He’s just a low-level airport worker that wants to go to Mexico. If they take the money, they’re really crooks and what about Laurel? What about how she feels about Mike? What about Dandy and how I’m thinking he feels about Mike in the novel, but was edited it out of the film by the uptight Hays board?

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Now it’s Christmas day and Dandy has a gift for Laurel- no it’s not another nightgown- it’s a really odd purchase for a bachelor man to bring his hostage, but hey, Dandy- you be you!

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Oh, whats that noise? It’s a car, possibly the police or the neighborhood watch coming for Dandy!

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Oh, carollers. That was close!

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Well, the big day arrives- Maureen has all the money in a very generic suitcase and Dandy has his generic swap suitcase ready- he is ready to make the drop as they say.

But second thoughts are brewing all around. Mike- about becoming the thing he has denied for so long- a criminal.

Laurel- about being used by the studio like she is just a commodity! But she has no doubts about the fabulous lacy catsuit with chiffon skirting that Dandy bought her- it’s delish!

33No, we can’t do this! We must stop Dandy! Time for a madcap chase thru the streets in a stolen police car!!

IMG_9030They find Dandy in the breakroom- abusing the companies generous break policy- Dandy is the reason minimum wage is so low.

IMG_9048.JPGThe police arrive and so does Maureen and the studio people! Fire laws are clearly not followed and they are going to arrest Mike and Dandy! Oh no! Think Laurel, think!

IMG_9054.JPGLaurel announces that it was all her idea and the boys are her publicity team! The suitcase is full of old newspaper and a stray girl scout uniform that Dandy can’t explain, but nothing criminal in most states! Yay! Laurel and Mike will be together forever and Dandy will live with them until they find out. Ah, love.

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photo credits: little me, with an Amazon assist. All images remain the property of the original owner.

 

 

Sartorial Screenings 2-Born To Be Bad!


This week Olivia DeHavilland turned 100! Today we honor her by focusing on the work of her sister Joan Fontaine- the little hussy!

Our film is BORN TO BE BAD. The 1950 story of a blonde who scanks her way to the top!

This is Donna- she is a charming good hearted gal who is always careful to protect her crisp white blouses with a matronly smock while working. She also clips coupons and wears sensible mid heels.

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She will marry a millionaire next week and all of her dreams will come true. OF course.

Donna is planning a massive party with the help of her poor but loyal friend Gabby- he’s a starving painter so he has to do catering jobs on the side- stay in school kids, stay in school. You can tell he is devil may care because of his Eddie Haskell jacket.

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Hurray Donna! You have canapes to make and a life of well-meaning acts to get to. Whoopsie! Watch out for that ominous event coming, Donna!

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Cue the organ music! young wholesome Christabel, who is coming to sublet the apartment is here a day early!

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Oh my- she feels awful about arriving the day of your society party!  She says she’ll just go find a park bench to curl up on and hope no mashers find her innocent flesh enticing. born5

Christabel immediately charms anything in her vicinity! Don’t be fooled Gabby- she’s trouble!

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Don’t worry, Donna- Christabel knows you are busy- she’ll just find something to do and stay out of your dowdy cargo robe wearing way.

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Hours later, Donna adds last minute paprika sprinkles to the pigs in a blanket and Curtis her fiance arrives! He is not really a young Walt Disney- he just has that lip thing like him. Donna has donned a flashy gown and ever practical- low heels and a gingham apron. Assuming that gingham is a turn on for Curtis.

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He leaves her to make himself a fancy pink squirrel cocktail and who does he find?

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Donna! Come quickly!!!

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Well, Curtis tries desperately to operate the phone and find another ticket for the premiere they were to attend with Christabel as the 3rd slutty wheel.

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No dice! All the seats at Hamilton were sold out months ago. But thats ok, Christabel will stay here and plot while you are gone. Have a good time kids!

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At the party, Christabel meets another of Donnas platonic hangers on. A young writer with no money. Christabel is turned off my his wallet, yet intrigued by his butt.

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Writer boy and Christabel snog on the side- but she makes no bones about her hot pursuit of wealthier game. He thinks she will let her heart and loins rule the day- he is soo naive.

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Christabel poses for Gabby Non’Montalban and hides from her aunt and uncle who know she’s trouble, run in the same social circles, attend the same parties, appear to be legally responsible for her- but just leave phone messages for her alot. Oh, and the aunt appears to be kind of dying or something- but the will isn’t a plot point, so Christabel isn’t so concerned. born15

Gabby finds her a challenge to paint- she keeps skanking off to meet Curtis- claiming he dropped his slide rule or she has a message for him. He is totally fooled. But Donna is starting to wake up and smell the hot cup of crapaccino Christabel keeps trying to serve her. But being polite, she lets it keep going.

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Christabel has no time for poor people stuff- Curtis has asked her to meet him at a jewelry store. She thinks its to buy her a trollope offering, but no- he wants advise on what to buy Donna as an engagement present. The store is all out of plaid!

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Christabel almost blows Mission: Wealth SUCK when she can’t handle Curtis wanting to buy some serious rocks for Donna-she tries to dissuade him into buying a little ‘I Like Ike’ button and some russell stovers, but he goes for the jewelers choice- offering to buy Christabel the trinket she suggested as a thank you gift. She grinds her molars and keeps quiet.

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Well, this is a long movie! Lets buzz ahead- Donna starts to doubt her love for Curtis- because she likes his stuff alot. She martyrs out and leaves him in the clutches of Christabel- and clutch she does.  They marry in haste and and she presses his disney-stache to her only slightly repulsed lips as often as she can tolerate for the greater good of all his cash! He runs into Donna at Gabbys latest starving artist show at the Dave & Busters parking lot. He is still smitten and starting to emerge from the skank-haze of Christabel. But he is married! Donna is not that kind!She has nobility of spirit and lapels to keep her warm.

born20  Christabel has the novelist- who’s gotten a publisher! His advance makes him even hunkier. Donna and her old boarder have a come to Jesus meeting!

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born22Christabel knows she has the upperhand- the one with the wedding band on it- but her lust for writer boy is making her sloppy!

bornm22Curtis is slowly starting to think Christabel is filling her day with charity events and writer humping to avoid him- he tries desperately to get her back to the woman she thought she was when they were courting- even tho that woman didn’t really like him much either, but hey, whatever- that Christabael didn’t avoid him.

born23 Ah, writer boys book is out and its a scorcher!

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This weekend after the charity party for debutantes without frenulums, Curtis plans a long weekend at their country estate overlooking the Matterhorn- he hopes to rekindle the flames of his lame marriage. Christabel hopes to escape to see her favorite author for a naked book signing at a bed and breakfast.

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As soon as the party ends, Christabel peels it for the sex cabin and her writer beau! Meanwhile:

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Uh, oh! Christabel tries to sneak back home and act like she doesn’t smell like moist bookbindings and English Leather! But Curtis is onto her! Where have you been, Trollope!

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Auntie died earlier today while you claim you were plumping her pillows! Who’s pillows did you plump, Christabel???

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Well, Christabel flies to Reno, establishes residency and fights her prenup while working a topless dive off the strip. Writer boy?

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And Donna?

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All is right with the world and plaid triumphs!

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photo credits: little me with a TCM assist. All images must be treated respectfully, as I have.