I Love Edith Head Movies

Thanks for joining me for my month-long clothing indulgence. The Edith Head movies I reviewed this month are not the only ones on my blog.

Since the summer of 2008, we’ve had sixteen Edith Head movies on Blogging Domino. Alphabetically, the first nine of the sixteen films range in year of release from 1941 to 1982. In Sullivan’s Travels (1941), Veronica Lake has a variety of costumes, and she wears them well. In Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), Head designed clothes to match the clothing styles in the old movies that were edited into the story.

These are nine of the Edith Head films I’ve reviewed on this blog: A Place in the Sun 1951 (Jan 2012), Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid 1982 (Jan 2012), Holiday Inn 1942 (Dec 2009), June Bride 1948 (Aug 2011), Notorious 1946 (Mar 2010), Rear Window 1954 (Feb 2010), Roman Holiday 1953 (May 2009), Sabrina 1954 (Jan 2012), and Sullivan’s Travels 1941 (May 2009). Stars wearing her costumes range from beauties like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn to men like Humphrey Bogart.

The next seven films range from 1945 to 1973. The male stars range from Cary Grant to Robert Redford. The female stars range from Olivia de Havilland to Grace Kelly. These are the last seven (alphabetically) of the sixteen Edith Head films I’ve reviewed on this blog: The Bells of St Mary’s 1945 (Dec 2010), The Greatest Show on Earth 1952 (Aug 2008), The Heiress 1949 (July 2008), The Sting 1973 (Jan 2012), The Ten Commandments 1956 (Apr 2010), To Catch A Thief 1955 (Apr 2009), and White Christmas 1954 (Dec 2009).

In the full cast and crew listing for The Ten Commandments on imdb.com, Head was one of five listed costume designers. I’d love to also have a listing of which costumes she designed. And who doesn’t love Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief? That wardrobe still inspires designers today.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, 1982

Steve Martin stars in a 1940s-style film noir comedy. And even though it’s filmed in the classic film noir black and white, he doesn’t have his trademark white hair. He’s a handsome brown-haired detective looking for his client’s father’s killer. Since eighteen films from the 1940s are used in the story, Martin gets to have scenes with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart among others. Names and places from those films are brought into this plot at odd angles. Comedic surprises abound.

This really isn’t a family-friendly film. I couldn't invite my kids to watch the comedy because of Rigby Reardon’s roaming hands. But aside from the crude humor, it’s really funny. If you’ve seen most of the eighteen films which make a brief appearance from time to time in this story, you may recognize the other films’ original intent and see how this story makes room for the mergers. The Steve Martin film makes the other films feel right at home somehow.

This is not an Oscar-winning film, like the others I reviewed this month, but it includes clips from seven (of the eighteen used in the story) films in which Edith Head had designed clothes. And this is Edith Head’s last film.

Clothes That Mean Something

I’ve enjoyed this month of clothing, noticing Edith Head’s work, noticing clothing in the Bible. Today on Seek God With Me, I’ll take a look at a piece of clothing that has meaning. In the day of Moses, the clothing of priests had specific meaning. Everything that was on the garments had a purpose.

God explained how to make Aaron’s priestly garments and which ones to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. Where did they get the supplies to make everything? Exodus 28:1 tells us that Moses received an offering from those whose heart prompted them to give. It wasn’t a tax or a fee. It was freely given.

For more about clothes, join me at Seek God With Me.

Sabrina, 1954

Linus, the more responsible of the two Larrabee brothers, is in the middle of working out a Larrabee-Tyson merger, a business deal with the family of the woman his brother will be marrying. David, the spoiled playboy brother, can’t seem to settle on one woman since they’re all so fascinating. So the fact that he’s agreed to marry is a big deal. When David sees the chauffeur’s daughter has come home from Paris a bit more grown-up than when she left, he hardly recognizes her. He also suddenly finds her more fascinating than his fiancé. Linus must rescue the business deal, even if it means wooing her himself.

Being with David is what Sabrina wants, but something is wrong. She doesn’t fit into the family’s expectations of the kind of woman David should be with, especially since he’s already engaged. Being with Linus isn’t really what Sabrina wants, but he makes her feel comfortable and secure, for a little while.

Billy Wilder directed this popular film starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden. Although it received six Academy Award nominations, the only one taking home an Oscar for this film was Edith Head (Best Costume Design, Black and White). Head excels at making elegant suits for men and beautiful gowns for women, but French designer Givenchy made Hepburn’s gowns. It made sense because her character had been in Paris for two years.

Clothes That Fit

Skin is a funny thing. It’s designed to protect your vital organs and muscles. You don’t put it on and take it off or shop for a bigger size. If you take care of it, it’ll fit perfectly for as long as you need it.

A relationship with God is like that. God can surround you, protect you, and cover you in such a way that his presence can be seen when others look at you. If you take care of your relationship with God, you’ll have it forever. And you’ll never grow out of it.

If you are humble about the beauty of your relationship with God, it’s like a beautiful woman with smooth, glowing, healthy skin. She doesn’t have to tell people she has great skin. It’s noticeable.

When you find clothes that fit as if they were a second skin, they’re comfortable. They give you freedom of movement and maintain privacy. They make you feel secure.

This weekend, I’ll review a movie that shows how a relationship, when two people work at it, can grow with you and bloom into something beautiful. There is freedom and security in a good relationship. The hero changes from selfish to selfless and gets rewarded for it with a relationship that will fit perfectly as long as he works at it.

Last week on my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, we saw that it’s a waste of time to put on armor that doesn’t fit. This week I’ll take a look at garments that always fit. Join me.

A Place In The Sun, 1951

Poor George Eastman wonders if he’ll be taken seriously by rich high society girl Angela Vickers. He’s forgotten all about the fling with poor Alice Tripp, but Alice hasn’t. How can he get Alice out of the way, so he can concentrate on Angela?

Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift pair up in this dramatic look at a man doing whatever is necessary in order to get what he wants. Shelley Winters did a great job as Alice. Clift’s acting was wonderful, but Taylor’s beauty stole the show.

George Stevens directed this film which was taken from Theodore Dreiser’s novel “An American Tragedy”. The black and white film won six Academy Awards including, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Writing of a screenplay, Best Music, and Best Cinematography. Edith Head won her Costume Design Oscar for a black and white film two years in a row. This one came right after winning the award for All About Eve the previous year.

Second-Hand Clothes

Today at Seek God With Me, I’m taking a look at the clothes we get from others. Sometimes we get fabulous hand-me-downs from friends or family, and with a little adjustment here or there, they’re perfect for us. I grew up getting clothes my sister outgrew, and it didn’t bother me that they were someone else’s clothes. A neighbor girl had an outfit that was especially cute. When her mom gave the outfit to my mom to see if it would fit me, I was thrilled.

However, we sometimes find that other people’s clothes don’t fit us at all. If a seven-year-old boy tried on his father’s shoes, more than likely, they’d be dangerously big on him. He shouldn’t try to play sports in them.

Can you say no when someone offers you what works for them? This is the kind of thing I’m discussing at Seek God With Me. Won’t you join me?

The Sting, 1973

In retaliation, swindlers join forces in an effort to con a ruthless racketeer out of his riches. Paying attention to body cues, a flick of the wrist, or the wink of an eye won’t help you know how they get away with their complicated cons. Paul Newman played Henry Gondorff, the experienced grifter. Robert Redford played Johnny Hooker, the young con artist looking for a team to help him pull off his ideal scam.

Unfortunately, there are no heroes in this crime comedy. It’s simply bad guys getting back at other bad guys. I think the reason it was so popular is because of the light-hearted touch lent to the movie by the ragtime music. Scott Joplin music became very popular because of this film. Many people began piano lessons during the 1970s using The Sting’s Scott Joplin sheet music.

Directed by George Roy Hill, who worked with the two stars in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969, this film won 7 Academy Awards. Among them were: Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Best Writing, and Best Picture. Edith Head won her 8th Best Costume Design Oscar for the sharp 1930’s costumes in this film.

Our Garments

This month, I’m reviewing movies that have great clothing choices in them. These are Edith Head movies. In fact, Edith Head won an Academy Award for Clothing Design in each of the movies I’ll review this month.

She received many awards for clothing design because she put a lot of thought into how the clothes would affect the actor’s portrayal of a character. In order to design clothes for a character, the movie’s setting is taken into consideration, as well as fabric stiffness and color, the cut of the garment, and what is needed from the garment in the scene.

When you and I pick out clothes for the day, we make our decision based on a variety of factors. Some of us spend very little time on the decision, only asking ourselves, “Is it clean and not all that wrinkled?” Some of us spend a lot of time deciding what to wear because of all the things that factor into the decision.

We can categorize the factors to think about when choosing clothing – 1: Things you think about and 2: Things you might not be thinking about, but probably should.

Things you think about: Is it up-to-date or fashionable? Is it appropriate for the event? Is it appropriate for the weather? Is it comfortable? Does the color look good on you? Do you feel happy when you wear it? Does it have meaning because it was a gift from Aunt Martha? Does it display your pride in sewing talents or sale-finding talents?

Things you might not be thinking about: What kind of offers are you inviting, Lil’ Miss Neckline? Does this outfit project an image or attitude that you want people to see when they look at you?

Join me at Seek God With Me where I’m uncovering the mystery of the first garments. You might be surprised at what those first garments were made of. Check it out.