Sunday, 29 August 2010
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Nowadays viewers seem to expect their thrillers to deliver a corpse in the first five minutes with more following at regular intervals. Lady of Burlesque won’t give you that. Instead, as in the thriller novels of the era, there’s a slow build up, allowing you to see all the possible suspects, and very little gore or forensic science. To be honest, the film is as much about Dixie Daisy as it is about the murders. Stanwyck’s Daisy is hard-boiled yet good-humoured, keeping her head even as fellow performers are found strangled, G-strings around their necks. The performance isn’t especially risqué, but it does hint at the real stage shows that inspired the story, especially Daisy’s signature song ‘Play it on the G-string’.
My favourite of the other characters is Alice Angel, a lovely dumb blonde played by Marion Martin, who was actually a very well-bred young lady who took to the stage after the Wall Street Crash wiped out the family bank account. Daisy’s rivals, pretentious opera singer Lolita La Verne and fellow stripper Princess Nirvena are both satisfyingly annoying: if sweet Alice Angel had been caught by the strangler, the film would have been a much sadder, darker one. (I am not suggesting that in reality some people deserve to be killed; this is a film and the less-likeable characters are the ones to get murdered. Fiction.)
I really like this film, although I’m not sure why. As a thriller it’s not particularly thrilling and the stage acts are rather tame. There’s just something about it I enjoy.
If ever there was a film that deserved to be made into a stage show, this is it: one for a small-scale venue, with a real burlesque artiste playing Dixie. It could easily be reduced to three sets: ladies’ dressing room (including roof), backstage and stage, and if need be the lights or curtains could come down for a quick chorus number between scenery shifts. Fingers crossed that someone will do it one day, eh?
Note on source of DVD: this was a birthday gift from my husband, so it’s all been fully paid for. I suspect he got it from Duck, Son and Pinker in Bath, possibly my favourite shop in the whole world. Don’t be fooled by the website; at the front of the shop there’s a wonderful selection of vintage music CDs and old film and television on DVD. I never walk out of there empty handed!
Monday, 16 August 2010
Reading these analyses has sent me off on a bit of a 1960s tangent. I'm not so fond of a lot of the more casual clothing, but I do love the early 1960s evening dresses and suits, and the flowerpot hats. Still, my heart is still somewhere around 1932...
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Here's my dilemma: I'm not a proper vintage fan. I read and watch lots of vintage stuff, I have a keen interest in clothes, and I've been wearing bits of vintage clothing for years (my wedding dress was a late 30s ivory silk evening gown). Now my knitting skills have reached a level where I can create the things I want for myself my wardrobe will probably look much more vintage. BUT I don't do it full-on, all the time and you're more likely to find me in a black shift dress than anything else. I don't know if it's okay to go to an event like this that nods at a time period but isn't an original or even a full-on recreation. Is it better simply to go in something modern? They do have hints on the Dig For Victory site about getting the look, and my brown dress is very like a 1940s tea dress. I guess I'll have to hunt out a pair of gloves, knit myself a 40s-style hat and hope everyone is kind. In truth, most people are.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Someone has left a page from a newspaper or old furniture catalogue in the book; it's stamped '1936' and is clearly aimed at people of a lower social class than the book (probably still rather wealthier than my own family was, I must say). Some things look much more typically 1930s, in particular the upholstered settees and chairs with thrusting, curved arms like the wheel arches on a 1930s car. Others still show hints at past ages; just as the 18th-century ancestry of Adams' furniture shows, so there are tables with twisted 'barley sugar' legs and sideboards with Chippendale-style animal feet. People were modern… but very few went completely modern! A touch of something familiar in our homes is human nature, perhaps.
Saturday, 7 August 2010
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
As my personal tastes lean towards stylised looks, the art deco and 1950s atomic styles are my favourites. The 'Atomic Doodle' reminds me of the wallpaper in my husband's Professor's office when he was at university - it was only 15 or so years ago, but I suspect that wallpaper really had been up since the 1950s! My absolute favourites are 'Volute' and 'Mirage' from the 1920s/1930s designs, however. They're so intricate and elegant. I could just sit and trace the graceful lines with my eyes all day!
Note: I am in no way affiliated with Bradbury and Bradbury, nor am I making any money from this post. I just like the papers.