Designing the Movies: March Musicals!

by Revue Team

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Designing the Movies:
March Musicals!

Tickets Available at www.revuecinema.eventbrite.ca

Thursday March 2 at 6:45 - FUNNY FACE, followed by an on-stage talk all about the stylish and madcap fashion-industry musical. Think makeover movie tropes, Kay Thompson, Richard Avedon, Paris haute couture, and Audrey Hepburn’s career-long relationship with designer Hubert de Givenchy (special guest to be announced). Think pink!

Funny Face (1957)
Directed by Stanley Donen
Art directors George Davis and Hal Pereira
Costume design by Edith Head
Miss Hepburn’s Wardrobe by Hubert de Givenchy

Before The Devil Wears Prada, Audrey wore Givenchy. In this lively ensemble Fred Astaire is a veteran fashion photographer (based on Richard Avedon) who is disillusioned with the vapidity of his trade. On cue, he visits a dusty Greenwich Village shop and discovers unaffected and lovely bookworm Jo (Hepburn). She becomes a reluctant model for Quality magazine, jet-setting to Paris (or Paramount’s idea of Paris). This tale of the push-pull of the fashion industry and its superficial gloss is more affectionate than cutting (if this is satire, it’s extremely subtle) and for all the lavish haute couture, winsome Hepburn in Jo’s simple Beatnik uniform of turtleneck, slacks and loafers steals the picture.

Hosted by Globe & Mail columnist Nathalie Atkinson.

Film presentation: 2K DCP

 

Designing the Movies
March Musicals
Top Hat (1935)

Sunday March 5 at 4:00pm - The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic TOP HAT is introduced by series programmer Nathalie Atkinson with a short talk (with slides!) on the legendary set designs of RKO art directors Van Nest Polglase and Carroll Clark, architects of modern cinematic dreamscapes.

Top Hat (1935)
Directed by Mark Sandrich 
Art directors Van Nest Polglase and Carroll Clark
Costume design by Bernard Newman

It would be enough to have Irving Berlin’s lyrics and music, Max Steiner’s orchestra and Hermes Pan’s Oscar-nominated choreography on the titular number, the energetic “Piccolino” and the tender, unforgettable “Check to Cheek.” But Top Hat isn’t just the most famous and widely beloved of Fred and Ginger’s several cinematic outings, known for its gliding dances, cockamamie mistaken-identity plot or incredible score or even the usual suspects in comedic supporting roles. It’s also the Art Deco pinnacle of RKO studio’s ‘big white sets,’ wherein art directors Van Nest Polglase and Carroll Clark craft an unforgettably elaborate Venetian fantasia.

Film presentation: 16mm print

Designing the Movies
March Musicals
The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Thursday March 9 at 6:45 - THE GAY DIVORCEE, after which series curator Nathalie Atkinson and guest Jonathan Hagey (of Toronto boutique Kingpin’s Hideaway) will discuss Fred Astaire, his influence on American menswear, and dancing in top hat and tails. Hagey is a specialist in historic and estate men's clothing, accessories and antiques and regularly supplies film and television productions.

The Gay Divorcee (1934)
Directed by Mark Sandrich
Art directors Van Nest Polglase and Carroll Clark
Costume designer Walter Plunkett

The first starring vehicle for them as a pair of romantic leads Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, who would go on to make nine more films together. The plot is a variation of the screwball-mistaken identity theme: to obtain a divorce from her absentee spouse, an American woman travels to England, where she meets a dashing performer (naturally). Complications - and ballroom dancing - ensues. In addition to nominations in the production design categories, this early Fred and Ginger classic won the Academy Award for Best Song (“The Continental”). With a young Betty Grable in a small role, The Gay Divorcée also co-stars the best of RKO’s indelible, indispensable stock company players he two Erics - Erik Rhodes and Eric Blore - Alice Brady and Edward Everett Horton.

Film presentation: 16mm print