Well hello darlings, it’s been a little while.
Did you watch the Oscars a couple weeks ago? Did you swoon over some dresses and wince over others? It is, you know, tantamount to the Super Bowl for some of us, particularly those of us fond of sequins/sparkles, overwrought acceptance speeches, far reaching tributes, photo montages, red carpet mayhem, [sometimes] painfully bad musical numbers and general Hollywood hijinks.
No longer a resident of Los Angeles, I think my non-proximity to the Industry writ large has actually caused me to be nostalgic for the whole spectacle, and thus, oh yes, I very surely watched the Awards, the pre-shows, and the post-shows, and read blog after blog after blog. Excessive? Maybe a little. But it only happens once and year, and besides, I have another good reason.
I’ve been sick. And thus, rather annoyed. A deathcold, really. Not fun, but not life-threatening – but just enough so that standing is a precarious thing, and walking about is unpleasant. I don’t like being sick and I like even less being sick just when the weather is finally getting nice, but sometimes it happens – particularly after flying, so I’ve taken to drinking copious amounts of water, eating chicken soup, taking lots of vitamins, taking luxuriant naps and availing myself of the streaming feature on my Netflix account.
Which means, at least for me,…costume dramas, police/legal procedurals en masse (shameful? It depends on your definition), swoony embarrassing romantic comedies, feel-good girl movies (saw WHIP IT the other day, which was actually adorable and I wholly recommend seeing it), and last but certainly not least, a healthy dose of 1940s cinema, often but not always Noir.
Film Noir is something I’ve had a developing fascination, aided and abetted by a musicology seminar in college about the scores of Otto Preminger/Jacques Torneur/etc. films – and also by talking over wine and chocolate with Waxing Poetic’s very own Brianna Colburn, whose self-described ‘nerdy, perverse love’ of the genre was intriguing because in summary, black and white films about mob bosses, frame jobs, and low-life crime aren’t necessarily things I’d immediately associate with her. And then she said it was largely because of the clothes.
So… I watched LAURA, which, if you haven’t seen it (I hadn’t), is great. This is Netflix’ summary, which roped me in because if nothing else, watching pretty things (yay cinematorgraphy!) is a good distraction at any point:
Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) has been murdered, and as New York City Det. Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates, he finds that everyone seems to be in love with her — and he, too, gradually falls under her spell. But things aren’t always what they seem. Otto Preminger’s classic mystery received four Academy Award nominations, including a nod for Best Director, and won the Oscar for Best Cinematography.
I’m an eternal sucker for whodunits of the mid-Atlantic-clipped-accent variety where soundstages in Los Angeles stood in place for Park Avenue apartments and budgetary constraints due to the war resulted in innovation, pastiche, and adventure. Not to mention, Gene Tierney, who plays the title role, is absurdly beautiful and one of my style icons.
The film is narrated by one Waldo Lydecker, Laura’s dear friend and former mentor, a dandy/bon vivant/writer who spends his days writing pithy screeds in his marble bathtub (see below)
…as well as chatting up celebrities on the radio, conjecturing about various crimes, being peevish, spewing some great lines, and penning a column for a Vanity Fair-type publication.
You’ve read the summary. Simple, no? Except, as never, because of course she ends up NOT being dead (spoiler, sorry dears), but rather much alive, and thus the movie evolves from a murder-mystery into more of a character piece, an exploration about what it was like to be a progressive, independent woman in a era where that wasn’t so often an option, and an opportunity to see some really ridiculous posturing, incredibly silly AND AMAZING sets, and hear snappy dialogue. And see dresses (like below).
That dress? I know you can’t see the whole thing but when you do (watch the movie) you will know. Enough said. And she has an army of amazing hats, absurd little coats, and a bedroom I would secretly love to have for my own.
See below for some examples of aforementioned hats:
The feather alone = I WANT IT.
And then this little number, in a flashback scene:
and then THIS – which, silly as it is, is also a pretty amazing rainhat…
So, hats and dresses aside, I’m interested in what YOU think of the film. This means, of course, that you need to see it. Which is easy, given that Netflix has it streaming, Amazon too, and if you feel like buying it (I would), it’s not that hard to come by.
Til later, and there will be much more then,