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Archive for August, 2009

Ready To Get Manhandled?

By , 27 August, 2009, 2 Comments

Manhandled Film Poster (1949)

Manhandled Film Poster (1949)

Manhandled (1949) is another one of those films you’ve probably not heard much about — and if you have, you probably heard about it from one of those film critics who didn’t have anything good to say about it.

Stupid film critics. *sigh*

Thankfully I was spared such dim views from dimwits because I’d never heard of Manhandled before watching it on TCM the other night; and I missed most of Robert’s pre-film talk to boot, vaguely catching something about it being a rare Dorothy Lamour film because she was out of her usual sarong (& that it was one of her last films due to the dreaded “aging” that nixed many a beautiful woman’s Hollywood career). So overall, I had few, if any, expectations.

This was a good thing — but it also added to the confusion too. For Manhandled is one film that nearly defies categorization.

There’s intrigue and danger in this vintage who-dun-it of a psychologist’s secretary (Dorothy Lamour) who divulges too much about the patients & her work… When a man confesses his dreams of killing his wife, you might surmise who will end up dead; but from then on out, who knows?

Manhandled does everything it can to keep you on your toes.

You might be pretty sure Dan Duryea (Lamour’s supposed boyfriend) did it; he does have the murder victim’s missing jewels…

dan-duryea-in-manhandled

But what about the victim’s husband — the patient who confessed his dreams of murder?

The police are sure it’s Lamour. (Why her more than the psychologist himself? Duryea helps with that!) Sterling Hayden, as the insurance investigator trying to recover the missing jewels, doesn’t seem to want to believe the secretary could have done it; but maybe he’s too quick to judge…

Hayden and Lamour in Manhandled

Hayden and Lamour in Manhandled

You’ve got good cops playing the “bad cop” to Hayden’s “good cop” treatment of innocent Lamour — and Duryea, the former cop now gum-chewing gum-shoe, who’s full of artificial sweetener (if not crap). Just try to figure it out — and how the film will end!

Interrogation Scene From Manhandled

Interrogation Scene From Manhandled

A black & white film, with much of the style & moody substance of film noir, Manhandled also throws in some comedy — and not the wry, dry, sort either. Manhandled throws you oddball quirks (like when Irving Bacon as Sgt. Fayle charmingly hops into a room just before the door closes), reoccurring gags (the police car has no breaks), and even a few down-right odd situations (like when Detective Lt. Bill Dawson, played by Art Smith, nearly falls asleep on his feet, passing for a drunk). For many of the other viewer-slash-reviewers, the comedy is Manhandled‘s downfall; they want the movie to be a traditional film noir — or at least a straight-up, straight-laced suspense-filled mystery thriller. But both hubby & I found the comedy, even the unnecessarily disarming. It was part of the confusion, the slight of hand; it may have been a distraction, a deviation from formulaic film, but, like Tarantino’s work, in a way that adds to the film.

Whatever you think of the film’s blending of noir & comedy, it’s the dialog which makes & moves this sophisticated film. Some lines are arguably continuity errors, saying things that weren’t exactly told to them; but these lines serve to reinforce the complicated happenings to the viewer. Best of all are how a few lines are used to cover pages of context.

For example, when Duryea goes to get a kiss from Lamour, he asks her if she “doesn’t like him, kitten” to which she replies that she likes him fine, but she’s just not willing to make a second mistake… This clarifies the earlier scene in which Lamour is seen affectionately speaking to a photograph of a little girl; you now know that the child may be her daughter, but Lamour is no fallen woman — her poor circumstances are due to a shove from a cad. Especially important when watching a film made under Code influences.

Perhaps it’s not so odd that I would adore the film & its dialog…

Manhandled was based on a story, The Man Who Stole a Dream, by L.S. Goldsmith and the screenplay was written by Whitman Chambers, a man who authored over twenty published novels and many short stories in the mystery & crime genres. Chambers also had many screenplays to his credit — plus uncredited contributions to one of my favorite films, To Have and Have Not. (Another film I’ve had to defend from critics.)

In any case, Manhandled is an excellent film.

Dorothy Lamour Being Manhandled

Dorothy Lamour Being Manhandled

I won’t say anymore about Manhandled; you ought to enjoy it for yourself. Which will be difficult as the film apparently, sadly, is not available on DVD (other than what appears to be pirated copies) — you’ll have to keep an eye out for TCM’s next showing of Manhandled.

Vintage Suit With Strong Lines

By , 27 August, 2009, No Comment

This 50s wool serge suit by Emery Bird Thayer (Bass, New York) appears to be as straight-forward as those pieced stripes… But look closer and you’ll see all the details which add up to such fantastic style: an Italian-style collar, bold but balanced buttons, a feminine but understated peplum, small shoulder pads, over a slim, dart-fitted, knee-length skirt.

Vintage 1950s Women's Striped Suit At Rusty Zipper

Vintage 1950s Women's Striped Suit At Rusty Zipper

And it completely seams seems like something Barbara Stanwyck would wear…

Barbara Stanwyck In Bold Geometric Suit

Barbara Stanwyck In Bold Geometric Suit

Are You A Shoe-In For This Contest?

By , 25 August, 2009, No Comment

August must be “contest month” or something… Well, at Twolia, there’s a contest every month *wink* But along with the other recent contests I just posted, ShoeHunting.com has a giveaway. To enter, all you have to do to enter is upload a picture to the Runway. That’s it! Show off a cool pair of shoes & one winner will be randomly selected to receive a $100 gift certificate to Zappos.com. Contest ends August 31st at Midnight EST.

Win A Trip To New York During Fashion Week

By , 25 August, 2009, No Comment

Shopbob.com’s giving away a trip to New York during fashion week (travel included), a pair of invitations to the Erin Fetherston Fashion Show in New York, some spending cash and a spree at Shopbop.com.

Shopbob NY Fashion Week Sweeps

Shopbob NY Fashion Week Sweeps

The Grand Prize consists of a trip for 2 to New York, N.Y. Trip including round trip coach class air transportation for 2 to New York departing from the major airport nearest to Grand Prize winner’s home on September 11, 2009 and returning September 14, 2009; ground transportation between airport and hotel in New York; 3 nights’ standard hotel accommodations (double occupancy) at the Westin Hotel in Times Square or comparable accommodations; 2 $200 Visa Gift Cards ($400 total); 2 invitations to attend the Erin Fetherston Fashion Show in New York on September 13, 2009; a $1,000 Shopbop.com Gift Certificate (“GC”) for use on Shopbop.com.

The approximate retail value of the Grand Prize is $3,750.

Enter by signing up for their email list before 11:59:59 p.m. (CT) on August 27, 2009; limit one entry per e-mail address.

Quick Film Links

By , 24 August, 2009, No Comment

At Kitsch Slapped, Deanna dishes on the joys of TCM and Bathing Beauty.

At Out of the Past, Raquelle went to go see Rebel Without a Cause outdoors.

At The Bumbles Blog, check out the Monday Movie Meme.

Oh, and if you’re a film maker, actress or have any other talent, check out Twolia’s Talent Contest — you could win $1000! (And, you can get $50 just for entering this month’s contest!)

Stanwyck Dramatics

By , 20 August, 2009, No Comment

If you like the dramatic look of Barbara Stanwyck’s floral dress…

Stanwyck In Dramatic Floral Print

Stanwyck In Dramatic Floral Print

Look at this vintage draped crepe rayon dress in grey with yellow & white floral print. It’s pretty and appropriate for work as well as special occasions.

Vintage Floral Draped Rayon Dress

Vintage Floral Draped Rayon Dress

This vintage dress features a V neckline, side zipper, and weighted sash panels for dramatic draping.

Violetville Vintage Floral Dress

Violetville Vintage Floral Dress

Foiled Again?

By , 19 August, 2009, No Comment

“Foiled again” has a whole new meaning with this stunning vintage silver suit — make that two meanings… If you’ve ever been lucky enough to be wrapped in silver silk satin jacquard, you’ll want to be foiled that way again! But if you don’t buy it when you see it, you’ll be foiled in that bad way. Tsk tsk!

Vintage 40s Silver Silk Suit With Ruffled Skirt

Vintage 40s Silver Silk Suit With Ruffled Skirt

Vintage 101 With Cameron Silver In Marie Claire

By , 18 August, 2009, No Comment

Packaged along with my September issue of Marie Claire magazine was a special shopping supplement which included a “vintage 101” with Cameron Silver, owner of Decades, vintage boutiques in Los Angeles and London.

Cameron Silver's Vintage 101 Tips In Marie Claire

Cameron Silver's Vintage 101 Tips In Marie Claire

Favorite Quote: In response to “Why go vintage?” Silver starts his reply with, “The irony is that vintage is actually what all of the new stuff in stores is made to look like anyway.”

Boy, do I agree!

In fact, Silver & agree on many things, such as costume jewelry being the best way to “wet your feet” with vintage shopping, where to find vintage, and not to wear vintage from head-to-toe or it looks like a costume.

Yet Silver sort of annoys me when he says, “A tailor is more important than your shrink!” I think the reason so many fashion experts talk about tailors is that they think we all can afford them; but until there’s some sort of insurance that covers alterations that I can get through hubby’s work insurance… Well, hell, the mental health coverage for shrinks is slim enough; I won’t push my luck!

But I do wish the fashion folks wouldn’t keep acting as if we all can afford tailors, let alone have one on retainer.

PS Marie Claire loves Twolia too!

Don’t Step On My Wine Suede Shoes

By , 18 August, 2009, No Comment

I’m nearly drunk with desire for these burgundy wine suede shoes from the 40’s.

1940s Burgundy Suede Silk Bow Trim Shoes

1940s Burgundy Suede Silk Bow Trim Shoes

I Love Circle Skirts — But Not Sock Hops!

By , 17 August, 2009, 4 Comments
Vintage Velvet Circle Skirt

Vintage Velvet Circle Skirt

If you love & want to wear vintage circle skirts, like this 1950’s black & red velvet circle skirt, but you don’t want to be asked where the local sock-hop is, here are a few notes on making vintage circle skirts relevant today & not a costume on parade:

* The only bad thing about retro poodle skirts & vintage circle skirts is the very thing that makes them so fabulous — all that fabric. With so much fabric, you’ll be tempted to wear a crinoline to give circle skirts their due; otherwise, the patterns, appliques & details will be lost in the (however luminously sequined & beaded) folds. Yet wear a full crinoline most any place these days, and you’ll find yourself facing questions about sock hops and costume parties *sigh*

But remember, what truly separates the poodle skirt from a circle skirt is the volume of the crinolines &/or petticoats. You can wear vintage circle skirts with more subdued (traditionally slimmer, but proper lengthed) slips, for a softer look (and do lots of twirling, curtsying, and anything else to create interest in that beautiful skirt). You can do this — just look at Audrey Hepburn!

Audrey Hepburn Wearing A Circle Skirt In Roman Holiday

Audrey Hepburn Wearing A Circle Skirt In Roman Holiday

* If you love a circle skirt, but it’s the shorter, more square dance variety or otherwise requires a fluffy feminine crinoline, then save it for more formal occasions — or mix it in with more modern & casual pieces (tee-shirts, bolero jackets, really big & wide belts) for an 80’s re-do (we did this in the actual 1980’s too!)

* Look for longer length skirts, especially if you are tall &/or fuller-figured. Short full skirts, plumped with a crinoline or hanging in folds, will make you look plumper around the hips by bringing the eye “out” rather than in a line down. Plumper from skirts equals frumpier and out-dated, so avoid it.

* Do tuck your blouse or top into the waistband of the skirt. This emphasizes your waist, drawing the eye in and down, helping to create a generous hourglass figure.

* If your blouse is just a hair too short to remain tucked in, or it’s so bulky looking when tucked in that it’s a distracting mess, you can smooth it over the waist of the skirt and use a wider belt to “join” the ensemble as well as accent your waist. As a general rule, however, do not do this with tunics or other very long tops as the tunic or top will press the circle skirt down, causing a second “ripple” in the skirt, ruining the full skirt’s lines.

Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday, 1960

Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday, 1960

* Circle skirts are not yesteryear’s “broomstick skirts” or other long skirts designed to be layered with tunics, as mentioned above. So also avoid long or oversized jackets or blazers.

* Sweaters, both the traditional feminine cardigan & tight-fitting sweater girl varieties, can be worn with circle skirts. If the former, avoid bulky, over-sized, &/or long sweaters which will hide your waistline; if the latter, remember the rules for tops & blouses: tucked in or belted, please.

* Do not wear with socks & saddle shoes or tennis shoes; this makes the outfit look like the old bobby soxer costume. Instead, opt for flats (with or without hosiery), kitten heels (with stockings or pantyhose), or, for that retro 80’s style, with granny boots (as shown below on Pony from Pony & Pink) or lace-up ankle boots and brightly colored socks.

Pony Wearing Vintage Pink Circle Skirt

Pony Wearing Vintage Pink Circle Skirt

Even high heeled stilettos can, depending upon the material of the skirt, the occasion, and the shoe itself, can be an incredible combination for the fashionista who is willing to draw attention to herself.

Just remember that unless your fashion trademark is wearing saddle shoes, avoid the saddle shoe re-do.

* Mix in pieces & accessories from all time periods. A bold Bakelite brooch from the 40’s pinned to a classic white tee & 80’s booties; a 50’s pin up sweater, 80’s Madonna bangles, vintage patent leather peep-toe Mary Janes from the 60’s, and a cloche hat from the 30’s; whatever you’ve got in your closet, dear *wink* (Just like Doe Deer!)

Doe Deer Vintage Circle Skirt Ensemble

Doe Deer Vintage Circle Skirt Ensemble