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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WRITTEN ON THE WIND ( 1957 )


HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAUREN BACALL

LAUREN BACALL ( in DARK PASSAGE )

When Lauren Bacall looks at you, or gives you her side-eye glance, brothers and sisters…you  are  done! Her eyes are scorching laser beams, slicing through you like butter. Her gravelly voice can be commanding, withering or mesmerizingly sultry. When she died last August 12th, 2014, it was a shock to all in the classic film community. She seemed so indomitable. She could glare death into submission. What was I thinking. It truly sunk in as I bought several New York newspapers the day her passing was announced:

LAUREN BACALL ( NY DAILY NEWS - I ) LAUREN BACALL ( NY POST ) LAUREN BACALL ( NY TIMES - I )

That’s just me; being romantic again about the power these film stars hold over me. Here in the cocoon of this blogathon, I can speak of one of my favorite performers when Crystal’s blog: In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood presents THE LAUREN BACALL BLOGATHON. My “Bacallathon” entry will be Douglas Sirk’s 1956 film WRITTEN ON THE WIND.

   LAUREN BACALL BLOGATHON BANNER ( Mine )LIEBSTER ( WRITTEN on the WIND )

Lauren Bacall gives a subtle quiet performance as Lucy Moore in “Written on the Wind.” She starts off with edge, sharpness; after all, she’s an Executive Secretary for a top advertising agency in NYC. The film’s opening shorthand gives us the score on her.

WRITTEN ( I )

She wants a career. Picture her at 21 with a martini in one hand, witty repartee in the other and fending off Madison Avenue Casanovas with the other other hand. She says so:

  WRITTEN ( VII ) WRITTEN ( VIII ) WRITTEN ( IX ) WRITTEN ( X )

          STACK:      “What wouldn’t bore you?”
          BACALL:   “My career.  Advertising.”
          HUDSON: “Bravo, as they say in Texas.”
          STACK:      “Where did you learn the advertising game?”
          BACALL:   “With the Sheridan Agency.”
          STACK:      “Top drawer, huh?”
          BACALL:   “One of Madison Avenue’s finest.”

By mid-point in the movie, we are in the SAME predicament as Bacall:

“How the  *$^!#@*&  did we get here?”

The movie is actually told in flashback to show how we ALL got to this point. And for the sake of full disclosure, I must admit I don’t understand her character’s psychology in even marrying Robert Stack in the first place. The why of her marrying him is the crux of the story and sets a lot of things in motion…check out this clip:

So…you tell me. He never blinks, and has a glassy glazed intense look on his face. If I question her motivations for marrying this guy, the movie might be over in 20 minutes, and you might not want to read about her any further.  It does naggle at my brain. But lets just take it as a given.

 WRITTEN ( XIII ) WRITTEN ( XIV ) WRITTEN ( XV )
( Temptation )

WRITTEN ( XII )WRITTEN ( XXXIV )Now even though we   all do know
Bacall has edge, her panther-like persona is not brought to this role. She is rather demure I’d say ( often casting her eyes downward. ) She is partly an observer…a conduit of the crazy goings-on of this waaaayward family of the rich and neurotic she’s married into. She’s warm. She exhibits a calming kindness and understanding. Of course all bets are off when it comes to dealing with her new sister-in-law, played with fire and pizzazz by Dorothy Malone. Malone plays Iago to her brother,

WRITTEN ( XXXXXXII ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXIII )
( Tell me lies…tell me sweet little lies )

dropping innuendoes and sarcasm like bar-bells. If he had any self-esteem he wouldn’t believe her but, well…therein lies the rub. When she belittles him to his new wife, Bacall steps up to the plate in his defense, swatting down her dear, heat-seeking sister-in-law:

 WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXX-I ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXX - II ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXX - III ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXX - IIII ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXX - V ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXX - VI ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXX - IX ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXX - VIII )

MALONE:   “Anyway, about your marriage. You have my condolences.”
BACALL:     “Pardon me if I seem to be brushing you out of my hair.”
MALONE:   “Darling I’ll send you some of my towels. I believe you’re still wet behind the ears.” 

I love their exchange. Bacall’s no patsy. She doesn’t show fire, but the sharpness is there. What’s more, she tempers that edge, which is what I like about her performance in this movie. She has a nice scene when she meets her father-in-law, played by Robert Keith; he senses she’s no gold digger – she has a down-to-earth personality and a direct gaze. Though his manner is avuncular, he’s got his issues too. He IS the Dad who put his friend’s son ( Rock Hudson ) above his OWN son ( Robert Stack ).

WRITTEN ( XVII ) WRITTEN ( XVIII )

STACK:    “Mitch’s old man was my Dad’s boyhood pal. His idol, I guess. He’s a small rancher. Kind of a legend in our country. A great hunter. Sort of a throwback to Daniel Boone. I used to wish he were my father.”
BACALL:  “Is your father aware of this?”
STACK:   “Dad’s a big man. So big he and I know I can’t fill his shoes. Even come close to it.”
BACALL: “Can anybody?”
STACK:    “Yes.   Mitch.”

This is one of the things that makes Bacall sympathetic to Stack. With her influence, she makes Stack want to be a better person. And though I STILL see no visible means of his being a tangible asset to the family oil business, he’s laid off the booze and has gotten rid of the gun he sleeps with underneath his pillow ( RED FLAG #1 or #5,374 ). Sirk leaves no foreshadow unturned, heralding it with dramatic music. But can one person prop up another person’s life? Bacall’s about to find out it’s an impossible job.

WRITTEN ( XVI ) WRITTEN ( XXXXX )

Back In the Friend Zone is Bacall’s ‘Rock’. Rock Hudson did see her first at the ad agency

WRITTEN ( IV ) WRITTEN ( III ) WRITTEN ( VI )

but faint heart never won fair maiden. His pal ( Stack ) swoops in with his charm and millions ( and unwavering gaze ) – probably their dynamic since childhood. With Bacall marrying Stack, Hudson sort of stands watch over her from the sidelines. He’s a comfort to have around even if they don’t act on their feelings. Oh yeah, there are feelings. She definitely shows us she’s attracted to him; they’re shy around each other. And Stack is as territorial as a dog with a mailman’s leg. She’ll need Hudson more than ever now.

    WRITTEN ( XXXX ) WRITTEN ( XXXXI ) WRITTEN ( XXXXII ) WRITTEN ( XXXXIV )

DOROTHY MALONE ( I )

WRITTEN ( XXXXVIII ) WRITTEN ( XXXXVII ) WRITTEN ( XXXXV ) WRITTEN ( XXXXIX )

Her father-in-law has just keeled over dead from a heart attack in the classic Mambo of Death dance scene ( click Malone above for her dance scene and here for her Oscar-winning speech ). Bacall’s reaction is a combination of horror and numbness. Keith’s death leaves her alone with a nymphomaniac sister-in-law and an alcoholic husband. Hudson’s sort of an enabler in all this, not definitively putting his foot down. So NOW, he’s had enough?

WRITTEN ( XXXXXXI )

“To Hell with the Hadleys!!”

He’s going to a safe place ( Iran!!! ) to work for another oil company and get away from the lot o’ them. I like how subtly torn Bacall shows us here; her body language leans slightly forward…anxious to stop him, but stopping herself ‘less she looks like she wants to stop him…which she does.

WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXI ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXVI )     ( Lets just kiss…and say goodbye )

BACALL:     “Will you pick me up at the drugstore in about an hour please?”
HUDSON:   “Better take a taxi.”
BACALL:     “Am I that much trouble to you?”
HUDSON:  “You don’t know how much.”
BACALL:    “I’ll be waiting for you.”

The soft sweet pain and yearning of unrequited love.

The descent begins in earnest when Stack believes he can’t father children and Bacall tells him she’s pregnant. He goes from zero-to-sixty…downhill. All Sirkian Hell breaks loose.

WRITTEN ( XXXXXXX )

And Bacall is caught in the cross-hairs.

WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXIV )WRITTEN ( XXXXXXVIII )WRITTEN ( XXXXXX )WRITTEN ( XXXVI )WRITTEN ( XXXVIII )  WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXI )WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXX )
WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXV )WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXVII )WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXVIII ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXX ) WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXVII )WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXII )  WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXV )  WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXIV )

WRITTEN ( XXXXXXXXXVIII )Many times Sirk positions Bacall in scenes in the middle between Hudson and Stack, or puts Stack between Hudson and Bacall. She plays calm and understanding. She’s fearful. She is a woman in trouble in a troubled marriage using coping mechanisms to survive this. She IS a damsel-in-distress but doesn’t go big or showy. Bacall is usually a cool customer; calm, smoldering and collected. I see her maturity as an actress through quietly shifting emotions to weather this soap op’ry storm with a good message…even a smart gal like Lauren Bacall can get in trouble.

You can get all manner of Lauren in this BACALLATHON. To see one of her other screen personas all you have to do is put your fingers together, and click. Click the banner for other blog entries. Click the YouTube thumbnails for a nice tribute to Written on the Wind accompanied by a Britney Spears song ( yes, Britney! Give it a chance ) – and for the film’s official trailer below. Thanks for reading. Lauren Bacall, you made your mark. It’s your birthday, but you’ve given us the gift. YOU.

LAUREN BACALL ( BANNER #2 )  

 

(  H O M E  )

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