Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recycled Movie Costumes

An acquaintaince on another forum who knows I'm a fan of old movies put up a comment that was nothing more than a link and saying it was porn for me. The link was in fact to the Tumblr blog Recycled Movie Costumes. As you can guess from the title, it's a blog about movie costumes that have been recycled, taken from one movie and used in another, perhaps years later.

TCM some months back ran a documentary about Warner Bros. that was made a few years back, and spent some time looking at the various studio departments as they now are. The set design and costume departments were the most interesting. It shouldn't be surprising that in the days when everything was done on the studio soundstages and backlots, the same things would get used over and over again, since it's a good way of keeping down costs. The backlots would probably be the most noticeable place for this, followed by larger set pieces. Sometimes when I see a gaudy curvy staircase in an old movie, I find myself trying to firgure out which other old movies that staircase has appeared in. There's also a round recessed window in the courtroom scene in Leave Her to Heaven that I could swear shows up in the Jamaican government building in The Black Swan.

It shouldn't be a surprise that costumes would get resued, too. If you're going to make Civil War-era uniforms for a movie, why use them once and get rid of them? If you were a studio churning out movie after movie, it would make sense to keep the costumes and then alter them to fit every time you were doing a scene set in the Civil War. The same would hold for all sorts of other period outfits. It's a practice that's still going on, as the blog shows.

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