Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #131: Fashion World

This being Thursday, it's time for another Thursday Movie Picks, run by the Wandering Through the Shelves blog. This week's theme is the fashion world, and of course as a lover of old movies, I'm picking some slightly older movies. (However, they're not as old as last week's selections.)

First up is Mahogany (1975). How could you not pick this over-the-top wonder? Diana Ross plays the title character, a worker in a Chicago department store who's studying fashion design at night, and who just knows she can make it in the fashion world. She's discovered by a fashion photographer (Anthony Perkins), who decides to take her to Rome and make her a star. Her boyfriend (Billy Dee Williams), who is trying to improve life for people in the ghetto, is none too pleasd with any of this.

What a Way to Go! (1964). OK, this one isn't so much about the fashion world per se. Shirley MacLaine plays a woman who, at the start of the movie, is donating all her wealth to the US Treasury, which gets her sent to a head shrinker since you'd have to be crazy to do that. It turns out that all her husbands made her rich when all she wanted was love, and then once the husbands got rich, they died spectacularly. For classic movie buffs, part of the fun is that MacLaine describes each of the marriages as being in a particular genre of movie. For Husband #3 (Robert Mitchum), she says life was like a "Lush Budgett Production", at which point we cut to a movie spoof of Shirley MacLaine going through life with a wardrobe that would make even Audrey Hepburn or Kay Francis jealous. dozens of increasingly fancy gowns, one after another after another.

Save the Tiger (1973). Jack Lemmon plays he owner of a clothing company that's failing; at the same time he's going through a mid-life crisis at home. Things get bad enough at the business that he comes up with the idea of hiring an arsonist to burn the whole thing down so he can collect the insurance money. Along the way, Lemmon has some other misadventures. This is another movie that's not quite so much about the fashion world as it is a character study in which the main character just happens to work in the fashion world. He could have owned the company in Executive Suite or Patterns instead. But Jack Lemmon gives an excellent performance making the difficult subject material worth watching.


joel65913 said...

LOVE these!!

Save the Tiger is such a great out of left field catch. It's the nuts and bolts story of the industry that is never considered when most people refer to fashion. It's not a GREAT film but a decent one with some superb performances. Lemmon gets the lion share of the notice but it's a terrific chance to see what Jack Gilford could actually do, he was usually the gentle befuddled old duffer but he goes much deeper in this.

Mahogany is such a riotous mess of a movie, very sloppily put together with no consistent tone and an often misguided Diana Ross performance leading the way. But it's fun and Anthony Perkins adds another twitchy portrait to his gallery.

I adore What a Way to Go! Shirley jumps into it with both feet as do all her co-stars. The Lush Budgett segment is filled with the most fashion for sure and each thing she wears is more fabulous than the one before but the Pinkie Benson vignette (that coat...that wig!) is very much an eye popper and Paul Newman's artist section is full of outré outfits. A very fun movie along with all that fashion.

I went with a recent doc that looks at a designer of the past and then two that are older that take a blacker turn.

Women He Undressed (2015)-Mix of documentary and reenactments tells the story of Australian born Hollywood wardrobe designer Orry-Kelly. THE major Warner Brothers designer throughout much of the Golden Age and a favorite of Bette Davis among others he also designed for films ranging from Some Like it Hot to Les Girls and Casablanca. Covers his often rocky early life-he was seriously involved with Cary Grant before either were famous, working in mob controlled nightclubs etc. though his successes and later struggles with alcohol laced throughout with interviews with those who knew and worked with him including Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury. Directed by Gillian Armstrong.

The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)-High fashion photography Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is much in demand for her provocative layouts that have a violent often blood splattered tinge. She is climbing ever higher until she suddenly starts seeing actual murders through the eyes of the killer and he seems to be moving closer and closer to her. Stylish, with a theme song sung by Barbra Streisand, but rather sick this provided an early spotlight role for Tommy Lee Jones.

Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)-Italian giallo film of a leather clad and motorcycle helmeted killer who is wreaking havoc within the Albatross modeling agency systemically knocking off nearly everyone associated with it. Unsurprisingly based on the title full to the brim with nudity both female and to a lesser degree male as well grisly knife killings all in gaudily lit 70’s colors. A definite precursor to the slasher film craze that swept American films a few years later this bloodbath is set to a striking jazz score.

Myerla said...

The only reason I know Diana Ross is because she missed that penalty at the opening ceremony on the 1994 World Cup. I was too young to ever remember it every time I watched it makes me laugh.

I haven't seen any of your picks, but I like the sound of the last one.

Wendell Ottley said...

We have a match! I also went with Mahogany. Haven't seen your other two picks, but sounds like I should.

Birgit said...

I almost picked Mahogany but it has been so long since I have seen it that I passed...glad it is recognized. Would love to see What A Way to Go and again...always on my radar. Save the Tiger is not one of my favourites even though it's a good movie. I love your picks!

Big Screen Small Words said...

I haven't seen any of your picks, they all sound interesting and are movies that I have to check out.

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen any of these, but they sound interesting.

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

The only reason I know Diana Ross is because she missed that penalty at the opening ceremony on the 1994 World Cup.

I didn't know she was English! ;-) Actually, I always knew the title song long before I saw the movie. The song is better, although as I said the movie is a really fun mess.

Save the Tiger is serious, but not as uncomfortably serious as, say, The Days of Wine and Roses or the even more uncomfortable Under the Volcano (the last one not a Jack Lemmon movie).

Katie Hogan said...

Not heard of any of these but the Jack lemmon film sounds great! Big lemmon fan over here.

Myerla said...


"I didn't know she was English!"

Oi! Cheeky! =P