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

* * * * * * * * * *

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?

* * * * * * * * * *

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. 

* * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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?

  * * * * * * * * * *

  

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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. 

* * * * * * * * * * 

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

 

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.

      * * * * * * * * * *

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!

  * * * * * * * * * *

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!!

* * * * * * * * * *

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!

* * * * * * * * * *

“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. 

* * * * * * * * * *

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.” )

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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   ]

__________________________________________________________________________

WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( 1942 )

Three weeks ago I was at the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival where of the eight movies I saw that weekend, six: (  The Sound of Music” “The Smiling Lieutenant” “My Man Godfrey” “Don’t Bet On Women” “Calamity Jane and Adam’s Rib ) dealt with the relationship between men and women ( how to get a man…how to keep a man ). Ye Olde Battle of the Sexes, as ye used to call it. So I’ll keep up that glorious subject for a just a little while longer. Since I end with “Adam’s Rib” guess I’ll pick up on where these two meet:

WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( I )TRACY and HEPBURN ( the beginning of a beautiful friendship )

SHE worked well with Cary Grant in four films, was the “It Actress” in Hollywood in the early 30’s, and then labelled “Box Office Poison” as the 30’s closed. HE worked well with a number of well-known 1930’s leading ladies and was considered a fine young dramatic actor. I guess it was fate that they had to meet. ( Or more like working at the same studio ). 1942 introduces audiences to the first of several pairings of what is to become one of Hollywood’s great screen teams: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. I admit I go back ‘n forth with my admiration for WOMAN OF THE YEAR depending on where I am in my own life. I get my back up over that falling strap in her outfit, while making those damned waffles. ( I’m a French toast gal myself. )WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( II ) But the last time I saw the movie I was amazingly calm  about its last ten minutes because some thing just clicked within me re: the first two-thirds of the film. I got a different slant on things this last time.

You see, I’m usually an- noyed by the ‘feminiza-tion’ of  the  ‘Tess Har-ding’ character. I’m not happy with her having to subjugate her ambi- tion to keep her husband feeling secure. It pains me to see her acquiesce her position as role model to hundreds of new generation of WW II women; gals hitting the job market to make a meaningful and fulfilling contribution to the world and not just idly sit under the apple tree waiting for Johnny to come marching home. ( Oooh, did I mix my World War metaphors or what? )

Oy vey! What am I talkin’ about? Don’t worry, I’ve climbed off of that high horse.  I was seeing the glass half-empty when it was actually half-full.

 WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( III )  WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( IV )

Nevermind their honeymoon was interrupted, or that Tess can’t sit still with Sam for five minutes without dealing with some earth-shattering, world-shaking news a la Eleanor Roosevelt. The full-on schism between the couple concerns the adoption of a little Greek war orphan Hepburn wants, without consulting Tracy. She walks out into the night, alone, losing that battle not only to Tracy, but to the little orphaned boy himself. ( Ahhhh…he knows what he wants even if Hepburn doesn’t. )  That’s one of my favorite shots of Hepburn of all her movies, coming out into the night with slacks and long camel-haired coat, pulling up her collar and walking into the darkness. She’s been independent for so long, she forgets she’s not in this marriage thing alone, making all the decisions.

WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( V )I love seeing Tracy & Hepburn battle, crossing swords, stand toe-to-toe with each other as man and woman, and as actors. Hepburn is confident, competent as Tess Harding, in a role that fits her like a glove. I think she understand this wo-man. I think she lived this woman. Tracy as sportswriter Sam Craig is meat and potatoes, doesn’t sweat anybody. He comes in, does his thing, hits a home-run and goes home. For me their chemistry is not sexual, but I get off on their mutual respect for each other.

For two-thirds of “Woman of the Year” I get to see Hepburn in ALL her glory…in full command; in charge, juggling, organizing – not giving advice to the love-lorn or being a Suzy Homemaker, but being a mover and a shaker on the world stage as a journalist. But if I’m being honest – ( with some gentle coaxing from a friend ) –  what I saw for two-thirds of the movie is a woman who is uncompromising, who wants it all on her terms…her way. I liked the soft gender identity switch between them, where Tracy takes on the more “feminine posture” (“You didn’t notice my new hat,”) while Kate gets to “act like a man” (my-way-or-the- highway….your-work’s-not-as-important-as-mine).  What I used to think was assertiveness on Hepburn’s part, was moreso unfair steam-rolling. ( Ok, KM-P? ) She learns a thing or ten from her mentor: the wonderful Fay Bainter.

WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( VII ) Ahh….exhale.

The impact finally dawned on me in what he tells her at the end of the movie before the happy fade-out. He wants her to be Tess Harding Craig. ( “Craig’s Wife” as it were –  L0L! – but I’ll speak about Rosalind Russell next week. ) He’s not giving her an “either/or” choice. He is telling her to be both wife and partner.

And he is not giving her HIS permission. He is assuring her that she could give HERSELF permission to be all that she could be. And I’m really at peace with that; even if it does kind of sort of re-works “The Taming of the Shrew” with a little romantic spin. Hepburn hits it out of the park. Tracy hits it out of the park, and director George Stevens adds another classic notch to his belt.

The battle continues NEXT WEEK with HIS GIRL FRIDAY.”

(  H O M E )