WHO WEARS THE PANTS…


I’m going to steal, plagarize, imitate ( yeh, that’s the ticket… ) ~ …no, better yet: PAY HOMAGE to a feature from one of my favorite bloggers’ set-pieces: FRIDAY FOTO FOLLIES. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope my friend approves.

What Aurora over at ONCE UPON A SCREEN does, is post a lot of photos that illustrate a theme. She does all manner of these. Click on Audrey and see what I mean.

We have seen some of the most beautiful women in classic Hollywood wearing designs fit for a Queen…gowned by Edith Head, Irene, Givenchy, Orry-Kelly, Yves St. Laurent et al. But I’m a jeans and boots girl. Casual is my speed. I think slacks are the most comfortable, freeing thing to wear. Taking a page from Once Upon A Screen, my post is self~explanatory: WHO WEARS THE PANTS. Here are some of my favorite actresses in outfits either from a movie, photo~shoot or just lounging around. Some of you might think this look is very unfeminine. But you’d be wrong.

I’ll start with the Patron Mistresses of Pants…Dietrich and Hepburn. And Garbo. Can’t forget Garbo. Comfort Queens.

  
Dietrich                                                     Hepburn


Hepburn wears this beautiful smoking jacket lounging outfit in “Woman of the Year
( 1942 ) and it’s one of my absolute favorites.

  

Androgyny, much?

   
Top hat, white tail and tails. No one wears this better. Alright…if you must count Fred Astaire.

The Great Garbo

Ninotchka” “Anna Karenina” “Queen Christina” and for me, her greatest performance… “Camille” ~ Garbo reigned supreme in classic films of the silent and talkie era. Her mystique is unique. She wore a lot of exotic styles in her films and could carry them off. Not glamorous here, but I love her casual look:


Comfort over style

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Here are some other actresses wearing the pants off…pants.


When I was a kid and watched her in tv’s “Bewitched” I probably had little idea of the fabulous career she had as a leading character actress. My favorite performances of AGNES MOOREHEAD are “Dark Passage” “Caged” and “Magnificent Obsession.” She can cut you to the bone ( “Citizen Kane” ) ~ She wasn’t afraid to be what her character needed her to be. But she also could be a friend. Doesn’t Aggie look marvelously relaxed and youthful here?

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She didn’t care for the name, but ANN SHERIDAN was the Oomph Girl and with good reason; she had it in spades. She was Warner Bros’ glamor girl, but if they gave her half a chance, she showed ’em she could act. Whether comedy or drama, Sheridan could handle both with equal aplomb. She’s pictured here with her director Vincent Sherman, who did two pictures with her: “The Unfaithful” and “Nora Prentiss.” Look at those shades and the hair…do a pair of slacks look like it deters Vinnie? He’s at her feet. 

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Here’s my petite Force of Nature…the Queen, BETTE DAVIS. She built many a soundstage at Warner Bros. from the box office success of her films. Seeing her in pants was such an unusual thing because it’s all about dresses for women back then. I like her riding outfit in “Dark Victory.” For me, that look is prognosis positive. Oooh look, Cora Witherspoon who could play to the manor born or W.C. Fields’ wife. I also like Davis’ outfit in “The Great Lie” when she was keeping Mary Astor company while waiting for “their” baby to be born.

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CAROLE LOMBARD ~ 1930’s icon. She was much more than a screwball comedienne. See her in “Vigil in the Night” “In Name Only” or “Made for Each Other.” But gosh darn it, it’s “My Man Godfrey” and “Twentieth Century” that cements her in our memory almost ninety years later. Looks like she’s talking to the great Lubitsch and comfortable doing it. Could it be… or not to be?

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CLAUDETTE COLBERT could wear the hell out of clothes with that petite little figure of hers. ( Her wedding gown in “It Happened One Night” is to die for! ) She had a great career in film ( “The Palm Beach Story” “Midnight” and “Since You Went Away“…to name a few ) but look at her here at home, chilling out…just as you’d expect from Cleopatra.

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One of my all~time favorite movie stars is DORIS DAY. I am just over the silvery moon about her. Pretty nautical here in her decidedly 1940’s stylized look. What a career she’s had ( comedy/drama/sing/dance ) working with some of the great leading men in Hollywood like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, David Niven, Jack LemmonKirk Douglas…and three guys name Jim: Garner ~ Cagney ~ Stewart. She could also wear her clothes, without them wearing her, whether she’s Calamity Jane or a suburban housewife.  She could do anything. Really. 

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There she is, A girl’s best friend. The great EVE ARDEN who comes in a movie with five minutes of screen time and out she memorably exits, screen left. Here she is in her “Stagedoor” chill. The woman can wear anything. She’s as statuesque as a super model and as sharp as a laser beam. See “Mildred Pierce” if you need proof.

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GINGER ROGERS ~ She could do comedy, drama and dance her *** off. She can put on the glam with the best of ’em ( have you seen her outfits w/dance partner Fred Astaire? ) Doesn’t she look great in these wide legged pants? I always found her to be a natural onscreen.

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HARLOW in satin…is a dream. In slacks…sort of like you and me. I mean, if you and me were glamorous movie star bombshells being relaxed. My favorite films of hers are “Bombshell” and “Libeled Lady” and of course, “Dinner At Eight.” Harlow…you were gone too soon.

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This is my favorite look of IRENE DUNNE’s. She’s on set of “A Guy Named Joe.” She had a nice slacks outfit in “The Awful Truth” too. Never over the top, her talent is always under the radar.

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JENNIFER JONES looks rather pensive. A far cry from her “Portrait of Jennie” “Duel in the Sun” “Madame Bovary” looks. People blow hot or cold over Jones, but I think she’s a fine underrated actress able to exhibit wells of emotion. Her trying to retrieve her love letters from a burning fire brings me to tears. xoxoxo these pants and boots!

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KEEPING UP WITH THE JOANS ~

   

Blonde in the 30’s, brunette in the 40’s. The great underestimated JOAN BENNETT. She can fit any place: on safari or a scarlet street or be the mother of a bride. Yes her sister Constance is known as THE fashion plate. But little sister Joan’s not bad. She’s stylish as diamonds with attitude for days. Whew!!

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She looks like she stepped out of 2018 with those shades and jumpsuit. What can I say about her. No one wore clothes like her. They say no one loved being a movie star more than JOAN CRAWFORD. Well if you’re going to be good at something…

Her career spans decades. I’m partial to her Oscar-winning role in “Mildred Pierce.” But she was good in “Rain“, “Daisy Kenyon” and with Gable. Hell, she’s a STAR!

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“THE LOOK”

You know how to whistle don’t you? LAUREN BACALL is worth whistling for. She was known as “The Look” in her modeling days, and boy she had it. She was never the frilly feminine type. Very tailored. Pants suit her, don’cha think? I like her in “Dark Passage” and “Written on the Wind.” I dunno…I kind of think she was never really given a chance to bloom as an actress. Perhaps not getting good scripts. Perhaps overshadowed by her more famous husband. Perhaps there was more to Life for her. In movies, she always seems down~to~earth, no nonsense; a little intimidating. If you approach her, you’d better bring it. 

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You can’t get more doe-like, more feminine than Loretta Young. Even in this staged photo shoot, she’s a vision. ( Pssst! See her strong performances in “The Stranger” and “Midnight Mary.” )

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For this flaming redhead, comedy or drama, gowns or slacks…LUCILLE BALL could do and wear it all with ease. Yeh, I love Lucy.

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This is MERLE OBERON playing George Sand in “A Song to Remember.” And I have to tell you, I’m floored by this costume. Isn’t it smart? Merle, a unique looking beauty, hasn’t made movies were so memorable other than the towering “Wuthering Heights.” ( I personally like her and Dana Andrews in “Night Song” ). My claim to fame is when I went to see the throngs of stars attend the premiere of “The Godfather” ( 1972 ) back in NYC, I saw Merle Oberon with Robert Wolders. Very few people were excited by seeing her. Boy, I was.

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One of my favorites…PAULETTE GODDARD walks with her beau, Charlie…swinging her shades. Looking sassy, stylish, comfortable and nonchalant. I understand her collection of jewels and paintings is unparalleled in Hollywood. Another actress with not a stellar filmography, her role in “The Women” is a standout. My friend Wendy writes a wonderful essay for my blog on Goddard I urge you to read.

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The Love Goddess is looking mighty casual here in a pair of slacks. Hell, I confess…I don’t care WHAT  RITA HAYWORTH  wears.

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MY STANY!!!!

These are my two favorite fotos of Stany. One she looks younger than one remembers her, and the other she’s so disheveled in “My Reputation” ( 1946 ), her hair and plaid jacket just kill me. 

    

But the theme is pants…

Her career is legendary. But get a load of that blouse, the belt, those leopard print shoes, her attitude. That’s BARBARA STANWYCK alright. See her hand in her pocket? Damn, she’s ready to kick ass, and she ain’t takin’ names either. Elegant.

     

Thank you all for perusing my Friday Foto Follies. I might try this again in the future with another theme I’ve gathered along my way. Once again, I tip my hat to Aurora over at Once Upon A Screen who can REALLY show that a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out her photo galleries by clicking on this photo of 40’s horror Queen, Evelyn Ankers:

…and this?  Oh…it’s just my indulgence. I’m an Evelyn Ankers fan:

[   H  O  M  E   ]

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THE BEST of EVERYTHING ~ 1959

The blog: MOON IN GEMINI  is holding its WORKPLACE IN FILM & TV Blogathon this weekend. I’ve clocked in to talk about this 1959 film which I enjoy very much. I admit it’s one of thOse “comfort food” movies because of my familiarity with the movie and familiarity of characters that are pretty much archetypes ( or prototypes…or stereotypes if you wanna be a big ol’ meanie about it! )

What a Character! Ann Doran and Lurene Tuttle

My guilty pleasure is THE BEST OF EVERYTHING.”

From 16 until I retired I spent my working life earning a living in the clerical world of The Office, trying to understand and navigate human dynamics and office politics. I took Civil Service exams to work my way up, had affairs with co~workers, maintained confidences as Secretary to a few bosses, crammed all I could into one~hour lunches ~ more or less ~ (…mostly more ), and cultivated friendships that went past the bounds of 9~to~5 to include some of my best Friday night memories where we went dancing, or hung out at the Blarney Stone with games of Pictionary and glasses of booze strewn across the table by night’s end. ( I remember this time I offered my friends $50 to whoever jumped into the City Hall fountain, but that’s another story… )

The office terrain in the movie is very familiar to me. The dramatics of the life of these secretaries are drastically different from mine. Let’s take a closer look at “The Best of Everything.”

THE DISH:

“THE BEST OF EVERYTHING”

THE INGREDIENTS:

  • One ambitious blonde………………. ( HOPE LANGE )
  • One innocent brunette………………. ( DIANE BAKER )
  • One free and easy redhead….……… ( SUZY PARKER )
  • One sexually harassing boss……….. ( BRIAN AHERNE )
  • One cruelly handsome but brooding, slightly inebriated publishing agent
    ( STEPHEN BOYD )
  • One regretful blonde………………… ( MARTHA HYER )
  • One rich and oily playboy who knocks ‘em up and gets them abortions……………………… ( ROBERT EVANS )
  • One love ‘em and leave ‘em Broadway director………
    ( LOUIS JOURDAN )
  • One tyrannical terrorizing Executive Secretary who is the mistress of the company’s V.P. and accepts any crumbs of his time as he allows… ( JOAN CRAWFORD )

RECIPE:

Gently place all the ingredients into a wide colorful Cinemascopic pan ~ actually baked in New York City ~ stir gently and put in a heated oven. Sit comfortably for two hours and VOILA!!! A delicious soufflé of soap operatic portions is prepared by Chef Negulesco.

There are all kinds of things sort of wrong with this film’s message. It IS sexist. ( Hell, my description of Ingredients is sexist ). But It’s 1959 dumpling, 1959, AND the Dark Ages ( to paraphrase ‘Julie‘ in “JEZEBEL.” The film’s credits trick us into thinking we’re about to enter into the ‘World of Women In the Work Force.’ We see women come off busses and trains,

rushing around the urban jungle of NYC into office buildings, readying themselves for a day’s work; quite the opposite of the suburban housewives of “No Down Payment” or “Strangers When We Meet.” But though the women of “The Best of Everything” are more glammed up than a bunch of 1940’s Rosie the Riveters revving it up in the munitions factory, the Rosies had more of a sense of purpose for work. They were doing it for the cause. And their men were mostly at war. Here, in The Best of Everything,” work is really window dressing. Work is not a reward unto itself but a means to an end; and the be all and end all…was marriage. This is a “woman’s picture” not “Executive Suite.”

SPOILERS ~ Because if you haven’t seen this movie already, well, frankly my dear, c’mon —

Here’s a working girl…who had a boyfriend on the side with vertigo…and didn’t look like she was in a rush to marry

Look at it…wide~open prairie land.

Surveying the land is our first ‘working girl’ in white hat, gloves and pearls. She’ll meet one of the denizens of The Office. ‘Mary Agnes’ is our first intro into the working girl in action. Played by Sue Carson, she makes the most of her brief screen time in this movie. She’s a New York hoot with an accent from Brooklyn.

Plainly put she is the office gossip who’ll give us the lowdown on all the characters. She talks fast and knows the ropes around office life. Besides, she’s caught the brass ring; she’ll be married in a few weeks and will escape. Office gossip, a staple in the world of work.

There is definitely sexism involved…

MR. SHALIMAR: “Are you looking for experience Miss Bender?”  as he fondles her knee. Check.
CAROLINE BENDER: (sternly) “Of a sort, Mr. Shalimar.” She moves his hand from her knee. Checkmate!

Ageism is touched upon…

MIKE: “Don’t underestimate him, Miss Bender. Treat him with respect. Start being 55 and worried about a job that’s not even good enough for you.
CAROLINE: “Why should he lose his job?”
MIKE: “You. Young people like you. Bright young kids with drive and a flair. He’s afraid.”
CAROLINE: “Afraid of me?”

But yo…it doesn’t excuse the sexism. Brian Aherne’s Mr. Shalimar is especially egregious in the sexual harassment area. Diane Baker’s April Morrison has her moment with him in this sequence where this aging wolf (the boss with all the power) creeps up on our Mid-Western girl. She’s supposed to be taking dictation after 5:00pm. Well…

  

Ahhhhhh…bring back the days of “MAD MEN,” said the CineMaven… tongue~in~ cheek.

But director Negulesco gives Baker a nice little moment after the embarrassing scene for her character April. Shalimar’s given her cab money and a sandwich and sends her home. She waits for the elevator and thinks about what’s just happened. She goes from being mad and indignant, to feeling a bit sophisticated by his pass. Like she’s crossed some sort of line of becoming less small~town girl…to big city woman. Yes, it’s still harassment folks, but April’s a sponge soaking in all her experiences in New York City. She’s so sweet taking it all in and accepting it.

Now’s a good time to take a look at the threesome of “The Best of Everything.” Hope Lange, Diane Baker and Suzy Parker come from a long line of cinematic triumvirates:

 ♥   ♥   ♥     ♥   ♥   ♥

BLONDE AMBITION ~ ( HOPE LANGE as Caroline Bender )

Lange’s working until her betrothed ( Brett Halsey ) comes back from a business trip to marry her. But there’s an earnestness to her approach to work. She wants to do a good job, learn all she can. We see her toughness when she squares off against Executive Secretary Amanda Farrow, played

with easy imperiousness by legend Joan Crawford. She faces her with snarky retorts.

MISS FARROW: “Caroline? When I buzz twice it means I want you for dictation.”
CAROLINE: “Excuse me. I didn’t know.”
MISS FARROW: “Makes one wonders what they DID teach you in college.”
CAROLINE: “Guess I forgot to take the course in buzzers.”

Feisty. Lange is easy on the eyes and easy to get along with, garnering two roommates within the blink of a New York minute. And 1959 girl~talk ensues. The sexual revolution is just around the corner:

CAROLINE: “Well I don’t know. If Eddie hasn’t married by the time I’m twenty~six I may take myself a lover.”
APRIL: “Really? At twenty~six I guess you’re right. If you’re that old you have a right to live.
CAROLINE: “If my mother heard me talk about love so casually I think she’d die.”
APRIL: “My mother never talks about love in any way. She’d no more tell not to have an affair than she’d tell me not to go out and steal a car. She knows I wouldn’t think of it.”
CAROLINE: “But you do think of it.”

APRIL: “Think about it all the time.”

She’s attracted to the company’s handsome teen magazine editor (Stephen Boyd) who drinks a lot. Their relationship is rocky because they both want different things for her. He practices armchair psychology with Lange, trying to sway her from a career in publishing to get her back on track to a career that really counts, being a wife and a real woman and maybe be a part of his life.

MIKE: “Don’t you get caught, Caroline. Get out while you can. Work six months, prove whatever you have to prove and marry the med student, or law student and love happily ever after.”
CAROLINE: “I plan to.”
MIKE: “No business career, no fame, fortune? No ambition?”
CAROLINE: “None.”
MIKE: “How wonderful.”

See…no need to worry about her. She’s got a fiancée, plans for her future with him…while working nights to read manuscripts:

Lange is a good solid actress in the Eva Marie Saint mold of reality~based acting. Okay okay, you may think I say this because they’re both blondes, but not really. Lange has three breakdown scenes she pulls off believably without going over the top. As smart as Lange’s Caroline Bender is, she is still kicked in the gut when she finds her fiancée has married someone else:

CAROLINE: “How do you stop loving somebody when they’ve stopped loving you?”

MIKE: “The man you’re engaged to? Well, this calls for old Dr. Mike’s favorite prescription. Two scotches, straight.”

The movie follows her journey and growth.

♠  ♠  ♠    ♠  ♠  ♠

MARY AGNES: “And take your time. Farrow never gets back ‘til 3:30.”
CAROLINE: “She doesn’t?”
MARY AGNES: “Of course not. She’s an executive.”
CAROLINE: “How does she get any work done?”
MARY AGNES: “Executives don’t do the work. The higher up you get, the less you have to do. Unless you’re the top man. Then you have to make decisions. The ones just under the top have the best deal. Funny about Farrow. She always wants someone like you. You know, sophisticated.”

♠  ♠  ♠    ♠  ♠  ♠

THE ( INNOCENT ) BRUNETTE ~ ( DIANE BAKER as April Morrison )

‘April Morrison’ is the nice, sweet, wide~eyed innocent from Colorado who longs for love in The Big City.

APRIL: “It’s wonderful to be in love, isn’t it?”
CAROLINE: “Yes it is.”

APRIL: “I’m in love too.”

CAROLINE: “What’s his name?”
APRIL: “I don’t know. I haven’t met him yet.”

You will honey. You will.

As a secretary…she’s a little scattered, but can do her job. I already showed you how smarmy hambone publishing exec Brian Aherne makes a crude pass at her. He plants a kiss on her and she convincingly recoils from. Her next encounter is something else again. A kiss from an old wolf like Mr. Shalimar is no match to her run~in with a good~looking, smooth~talking, spoiled, oily~haired cad named Dexter Key…played by a good~looking smooth~talking, spoiled, oily~haired young future Paramount producer: Robert Evans. Trouble really enters Diane Baker’s world with this guy.

APRIL:     “Did you ever make a girl pregnant before?”
DEXTER: “Not that I know of.”
APRIL:     “You mean some girls became pregnant and didn’t tell you?”
DEXTER: “Some girls don’t.”

His Dexter is a playa; kisses the girls and makes ‘em pregnant. At least he was gentlemanly enough to get them to a “doctor” before skulking away. I was especially shocked at 1959’s suggestion of an abortion. It’s a painful watch seeing Baker’s sweet naive character go down that well~worn road. She was not alone in 1959. She’s not alone in 2017.

♦  ♦  ♦    ♦  ♦  ♦

“I always have a sandwich with my boyfriend at a mutually convenient place, like Grand Central. While I’m working on the nightgown, he’s saving up for the furniture. French Provincial. Both rooms. See ya later.”

♦  ♦  ♦    ♦  ♦  ♦

EASY BREEZY RED-HEAD ~ ( SUZY PARKER as Gregg Adams )

“All I want is a man who’ll love me. For a little while. My mother was married three times. Each one I’d start calling Dad. Then off he’d go. It was confusing at irst, but then I bean to look forward to the change. And now the only thing I want is to be free. To have no ties. To have, to hold and then to let go.”

‘Atta girl!!!!

I have to admit Gregg Adams ( as played by the gorgeous Suzy Parker ) is my favorite character. She’s an easy breezy fast talker; beautiful, glamorous…and doesn’t really care about her job. ( Things I wish I were ). The job is a means to an end for her real dream: a career as an actress.

Let me capture this sequence for you of how we’re introduced to Gregg Adams.

 

Oh man…look at her!! She goes on auditions during office hours, blows off the director, catches taxis, and her gal pals at work cover for her. What more can you ask for in a glamour working girl. She lives by the skin of her teeth. And when she’s not hired at the audition, she doesn’t care. At least she pretends NOT to care. In a scene that pre~dates “Breakfast at Tiffany” she tells her truth to the alley cat:

“You know something kitty, I wanted that part like hell.”

It’s a facade. Parker has it interesting because she’s playing this character Gregg on a couple of levels. Parker is an actress who plays an actress who can’t act. You might think her descent into stalking is a bit of a leap, but I can buy it ‘cuz she’s like the hunter captured by the game.

FaceBook poster Stephanie Kreps writes on Suzy Parker:

“Yes, she is so beautiful and a pretty good actress. This movie was like watching a 50’s version of “The Devil Wears Prada.” The great difference, of course, was that the women were not yet ‘woke’ to their rights as far as sexual harassment or equality in the workplace. The happy ending was not a better job or moving up in their careers but learning their place and getting married or at least the promise of that. Even the most successful woman, Joan Crawford’s role, was seen as a sad loser because she had no real relationship with a man. Many of the men were users and cads. The woman’s job was to find one who wasn’t and nab him.”

You see, Gregg has an affair with the Broadway director who has turned her down for a role. He’s played by that continental dreamboat, Louis Jourdan. She becomes obsessed with him I s’pose ‘cuz it’s all mixed up with having an affair with your boss. She’s too blind to see he uses ye olde casting couch to bed actresses as fast as he can cast ‘em. The Gregg Adams’ character’s motivation might be explained better in the book, but I take things at face value in movies. I’ll take the leap with you, as long as the ‘shark’ doesn’t jump too high. As I say, Gregg becomes unhinged by her obsession for Jourdan ( attending rehearsals after she’s been fired, going through his garbage… ). It’s painful to see him literally kick her to the curb as she claws to hang on. She seems like the confidant type to bag a millionaire based on her looks and banter. But underneath…vulnerable. And tragic.

♣  ♣  ♣    ♣  ♣  ♣

HE:    Uhhhh, Miss…
SHE:  St. John. Bobbi.

Along with Midge in Vertigo is my other patron saint of working girls, ANN DORAN. She’s all manner of sidekick and Gal Friday. She has a lovely five minute scene with Van Heflin in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” as Kirk Douglas’ secretary. She goes from cynical to interested to concern to skeptical in a seamless blink of an eye. Looks like she can handle anything Heflin or any man throws at her. Ahhhh, if only our three smart girls could. ( I’ll go into Doran’s scene more in~depth at a later date. )  

♣  ♣  ♣    ♣  ♣  ♣

We see the different approaches to work for our three musketeers. Well…to be honest, the different approaches to love. But we do see how work has…worked out for two other women who’s been at the company: Joan Crawford and Martha Hyer. Both of them heads of their department. And both of them in various stages of being/or having been with married men.

Crawford is a bit of a stone~cold bitch in this film but I may have to amend that; is she really a bitch? Isn’t she just as any male boss would be: demanding expectations. She expects her Secretary(s) to be professional. Crawford does seem to have it in for Lange’s character. Perhaps Lange’s is a younger version of herself with potential to replace Crawford in the company. It was great to see this Lange’s moxie in the face of Crawford’s jibes and digs.

Lange not only holds her own with Crawford, but with two love interests as well. Seems her ex~fiancée ( Brett Halsey ) wants to resume his relationship with her.


“I will not become your mistress!!!”

And the second ( potential ) love interest from the publishing company wants her for himself. Or at least warns her of the pitfalls of working for work’s sake. It’s the dangerously handsome Stephen Boyd as Mike Rice, and he keeps trying to dissuade her from working, suggesting she settle down and marry.

MIKE: “Don’t you get caught, Caroline. Get out while you can. Work six months, prove whatever you have to prove and marry the med student, or law student and love happily ever after.”
CAROLINE: “I plan to.”
MIKE: “No business career? No fame? Fortune?”
CAROLINE: “None.”
MIKE: “How wonderful.”

Sheesh! It’s almost as if something’s wrong with a woman who wants to work. They have tiffs about this very thing, but he’s also there for her, in a chivalrous way, when her fiancée breaks her heart and Boyd takes her out for a bender. He’s a good guy; just a product of his time…women should be married.

“I have one small corner of your life. I’ve never asked for more. And I will not settle for less. Now you and your rabbit-faced wife can both go to HELL!”

Is the movie’s underlying message if you stay at a job too long, it turns a woman into a harridan like Crawford? [ She’s a ball buster, but you hear her on the phone with her head-of- the-company-married-lover-asking-for-more-time-together. Been there, done that ]. Martha Hyer is the other example of a working girl. She heads the fashion department, has had an affair with a married man who seems sincerely into her as we watch him look at her longingly, and follow her around to iron things out. Nice wistful romantic music is also played underneath their scene.

SIDNEY: “How’s your baby?”
BARBARA: “Fine. How’s your wife?”
SIDNEY: “Fine, too. She’s in Nantucet for the summer. Have dinner with me.”

BARBARA: “I’m the girl that wants to get married again, remember? The girl for whom an affair with a married man, is not enough.”
SIDNEY: “Have dinner with me. Just dinner.”

BARBARA: “Why Sidney? Because your wife’s gone for the summer?”
SIDNEY: “No. You know that’s not why.”

She has quiet reserve but you can tell this affair has broken her. I understand much of Hyer’s role in the film was left on the editing room floor. A shame. I’d have liked to have seen more of her story ~ home and work. ( Sidney is played by Donald Harron.

♣  ♣  ♣    ♣  ♣  ♣

MR. SHALIMAR: “Ahh Miss Bender. I’ve just been talking to Miss Farrow. You are no longer a typist here.”
CAROLINE: “Well I’ve worked very hard—”
MR. SHALIMAR: “You are now a Reader.”
CAROLINE: “A what?”
MR. SHALIMAR: “A Reader. You’ll get a raise. I fought for you upstairs and managed to get you $20 more.”
CAROLINE: “$20 more a week?” MR. SHALIMAR: “No,  not a week, a month. Oh perhaps it isn’t very much, but think of the honor.”

I’d actually think of calling H.R. and find out what the male Readers get ( if there ARE any ) but oops…it’s 1959. She runs into her nemesis Miss Farrow.

MISS FARROW: “I told Mr. Shalimar that you were not qualified, Miss Bender. You’re too soft. I don’t think you could stand up to a writer and say: ‘Your work is no good.’ I don’t think you have the guts.”
CAROLINE: “Thank you for your confidence in me.”
MISS FARROW: “I call them as I see them.”

CAROLINE: “I’m beginning to think you’re right not to like me, Miss Farrow.”

To get Miss Farrow’s respect is a hard row to tow. She might’ve wanted someone like Caroline ( …what did Mary Agnes say: “Funny about Farrow. She always wants someone like you. You know, sophisticated” ). But faced with the person she used to be when she started out, she might just be seeing pitfalls ahead for Caroline.

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Near the end of the movie there’s a big wedding reception for one of the gals ( …the chatterbox from early in the movie ) The brass ring: Marriage. [ An interesting side note: The movie definitely had parts filmed in New York as I recognized. And when Lange and Boyd attend the reception, they’re walking onto the grounds of the public housing development I used to work in, Jacob Riis Houses, along the FDR Drive. When they walk into the apartment…THAT is definitely a movie set. No project apartment is that big ]. What does work mean to a person. It provides freedom and independence and a means to make one’s way in the world.  You’ll see many other entries from bloggers in this blogathon where the crux of the matter is more work~related. I like a post I wrote two years ago on His Girl Friday where we spend the bulk of the film INSIDE the job, and see Roz Russell at work. Admittedly with “The Best of Everything” work is pretty much tangential, the bulk of its story a shiny, glossy microcosm of human relationships dealing with sacrifices, compromises, self-worth, and most importantly…finding love. 

             

I think this is a great idea for a blogathon Debra, and for you folks out there, there are some more bloggers who tackle the Job of Work. Just click on the banner above to read more. Thanks for reading and thanks for including me, Debbie.

[   H  O  M  E   ]

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HAVING IT ALL??

Can a woman really “have it all”? This ‘EITHER / OR’ situation of choosing to EITHER stay home OR be in the work force ranges from the serious to the comedic in classic films. There are various reasons for which side of the fence women an men are on on this. Movies show there is always a conflict for the woman in these situations. This is every woman’s own personal decision…but maybe Hollywood has influenced us just a little bit on either our choice or, how we view others’ choice. I offer you a couple of examples of what happens when a woman tries to have it all…and please chime in with examples of your own.

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MILDRED PIERCEMildred Pierce has no choice but to hold down a job and the home front when she divorces her husband. She parlays her job as waitress into a franchise of restaurants. She’s also got a new man in her life. Seems like she’s managing this balancing act. There’s just one fly in the ol’ baking batter: Veda.  (  No pie for Veda.  )

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RED SHOESWhile Gene Kelly gleefully pro- claims “GOTTA DANCE!!!” clicks his heels and shines his pearly whites without a care in the world, Moira Shearer’s character in THE RED SHOES ‘gotta dance’ dreams must mean life or death. She’s being pulled in two directions: she wants to be a prima ballerina, and she’s being pushed by impresario played by Anton Wolbrook. But she’s also fallen in love with a young musician (Marius Goring). She’s dancing on the head of a pin.

(  If that life-long dream is too tight for you, I can show you something in a size 7.  )

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THRILL OF IT ALLIn THE THRILL OF IT ALL wife and mother Doris Day falls into a job as a tv spokesperson and it wreaks all sorts of mad-cap havoc and mayhem in her house. Her doctor husband, James Garner, is not pleased about her doing these commer-cials. But her heart is at home anyway…not on set.                        ( What are you kicking about Doris? What’s his                                                                 is yours and what’s yours is yours… )

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LETTER TO THREE WIVES ( II )  LETTER TO THREE WIVES              It’s so nice to have a man around the house…hey, where’d he go?

In A LETTER TO THREE WIVES Kirk Douglas is a teacher and wife Ann Sothern works in radio. Who wouldn’t want a two-income family? With his teachers’ hours he can be there when the kids get home from school and help out around the house. Of course radio’s hours are a little longer, and she’s on call a little more than he, to keep the sponsors happy. She might not be available all the time, but she is contributing financially to the suburban life- style and exclusive country club they’ve become accustomed to. It’s all good …except its created a vacuum that the 0ther WomanAddie Ross – is willing to fill. Is it Ann’s fault she works for a living?

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ARNELO AFFAIR  ARNELO AFFAIR ( II ) And after the dishes are done and the floor is vacuumed, THEN whaddya do?

THE ARNELO AFFAIR – Yes George Murphy is self-absorbed with his job as lawyer and has little time for wife Frances Gifford. And no doubt, John Hodiak is clearly more exciting than  George Murphy. But don’t you think if Gifford had gone back to work as an Interior Decorator, instead of being a stay-at-home mom, she would have been busy designing homes and not have so much idle time on her hands to be lonely for Murphy and fall for the charms of smooth and charming Hodiak? How many times can a gal go to lunch with Eve Arden.—> ( See the movie and read this nice blog post by Citizen Screen about Arden in Mildred Pierce ). ( And another P.S. Gifford and Hodiak worked together a few years before in Marriage Is A Private Affair.” )

I guess I’ll give Katharine Hepburn the last word on this subject. She is to have said:

“I think that the reason people have an affection for me now is that I have lived a life a lot of women think would have been a nice life to have lived. Dignified but free. They think I’ve done what I wanted to do. They don’t bother to think that they might have five kids and I don’t. But I have brains enough to know you can’t have it all. You just can’t.”

 

This article sums up my exploration of women having to choose between working in the home or having a career outside the home in “Woman of the Year” “His Girl Friday” and “Weekend Marriage.”

( HOME )

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THE GREAT VILLAIN BLOGATHON

 

VILLAIN BLOGATHON ( Oz Witch )Last week, was a week that will live in villany! Speakeasy, Shadows & Satin and Silver Screenings hosted THE GREAT VILLAIN BLOGATHON for 2015. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ve checked out the entries. I, for one, am printing many of them up so I can have them in a handy dandy binder ready for a nice leisurely read.

Click on each photo and get a listed re-cap of each day of the blogathon. And if you don’t see your favorite villain listed, maybe YOU can write about him or her NEXT year…

 

VILLAIN BLOGATHON ( Darth Vader ) VILLAIN BLOGATHON ( %22M%22 ) VILLAIN BLOGATHON ( Hagen ) VILLAIN BLOGATHON ( Blue-Eyed Fonda )

 

In some cases, I wasn’t sure if my comments were published on a blogger’s blog. In other instances, my thoughts were too lengthy for each blogger’s comments section, so I thought I’d express my thoughts here. If you want, you can click over to these excellent essays, and then read my responses here:

From Day 1:  Shadows and Satin –  VEDA PIERCE ( Ann Blyth ) – “Mildred Pierce”

VEDA PIERCE ( VILLAIN - II )

One of my favorite characters of the 1940’s has to be VEDA in Mildred Pierce.” ( I don’t know what that says about me, but moving right along… ). Even her smacks of Venom! I don’t think younger sister Kay, could’ve saved Veda’s coal black soul. ( I loved Kay ). Veda’s diatribe is very telling:

“With this money, I can get away from you. From you and your chickens and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease… You think just because you made a little money, you can get a new hairdo and some expensive clothes and turn yourself into a lady. But you can’t…With this money I can get away from every rotten, stinking thing that makes me think of this place or you!”

First, where does she get off…( calm down, T. ). Secondly, I think this isn’t really directed at Mildred as much as Veda feels this about her self. Don’t you think it reeks of self-hatred? Yes maybe Mildred did “spare the rod” ( as opposed to breaking it over Veda’s head ) but where is the basis of this attack coming from? Veda wasn’t from the manor born. She wasn’t born elite with maids and servants at her feet ( hats off to The Supremes folks ). It wasn’t like they had Mrs. Danvers on retainer.

VEDA PIERCE ( VILLAIN - I )

As much as it might’ve been some of Mildred’s doing, making Veda the way she is, I can’t help think Veda was trying to fill the hole in her heart. Self-hatred. D’ya think I’m totally off the beam?

VEDA PIERCE ( VILLAIN - III )I can not imagine WHAT 1945 audi-ences felt when they saw Veda in this clinch. This is shocking on so many levels: your mother’s lover / husband. That strikes at the core of…of…of something. It’s shocking to even my 21st-century Baby Boomer sensibilities. Veda’s going to prison. She will finally pay for her actions. And in prison, I imagine Veda wrapping CAGED”  matron Hope Emerson around her little finger. She’ll get by.

Scroll down to the page numbers at the bottom…

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