That's the challenge set before us by FelixInHollywood. As a rule, we're not particularly fond of memes, but this one intrigued us. Whether we should have bought, done, or thought these things is debatable, but here we go:
- The last item we bought after viewing a movie was a pair of deep, golden yellow Sermoneta kid gloves piped in a light, doe brown and lined in cashmere. We were so inspired by Anton Walbrook in The Red Shoes (1948), who wears the most impeccable suits, stylish eyewear, and gorgeous gloves of any man in any film we've ever seen. There's a throwaway moment where Walbrook is at a train station, wearing a simple, flawlessly-cut black suit, with his yellow kid gloves peeking out of his suit pocket. We were enthralled.
- Oh, how many times have we done one of these scenes - often with our sparring partner completely unaware of the fact that we were actually channeling Helen Lawson, Margo Channing, or Faye-as-Joan?
- When we first came to New York, we thought that life would be like How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) - we'd have a soundstage-sized apartment, scads of beautiful clothes, and handsome millionaires (or at least Rory Calhoun) throwing themselves at our feet.
It's funny, though, how many things (both specific and abstract) have been influenced by films that we love: the way we think, how we conduct ourselves, our view of life in general. We particularly identify with miraculous transformation stories: Bette Davis blossoming from spinsterish "Aunt Charlotte" to confident "Miss Charlotte Vale" in Now, Voyager (1942) is a touchstone in our lives.
Having undergone our own metamorphosis from drab to divoon, we were convinced that Charlotte Vale's triumphant tale was really our own. Everything seemed to mirror our own real life situation. Ugly eyeglasses, unruly brows, and ungainly appearance? Check, check, and check.
Bonita Granville, as Charlotte's bitchily bullying niece, could have been any number of classmates who made going to school an endurance test. "We always ragged Aunt Charlotte...it was only a game!"
And if our own mother wasn't quite the monstrous gorgon so brilliantly essayed by Gladys Cooper, she had the same steely, domineering edge as Mrs. Vale, and we shared the same complex, maddening relationship as Charlotte and her mother ("My mother, my mother, my mother!")
Some other films we've strongly identified with over the years:
In Possessed (1931), Joan Crawford plays Marian, a factory worker who climbs her way up the social ladder by climbing on top of Clark Gable. In one of the film's earliest, best, and best-known scenes, a passenger train filled with beautiful, elegantly-gowned and -tuxedoed swells passes through town, bound for glamorous New York City, while Marian watches, literally from the wrong side of the tracks.
Twenty years later, Crawford was playing nearly the same role, only with even more guts and less sentiment, in The Damned Don't Cry (1950). As smalltown drudge Ethel Whitehead-turned-faux society dame Lorna Hansen Forbes, Crawford knows what she wants and how she's going to get it - and she's none too fussy about the body count.
As we delved deeper into affaires de coeur, we suddenly began imagining our day-to-day routine as produced by Ross Hunter, wardrobed by Jean Louis, with jewels by David Webb, furs by Alexandre, and a swoony title song. We lived out the drama and romance of Back Street (1961) on more than several occasions, although we have never had a showdown with a Vera Miles-esque scorned wife - for better or worse, depending on how you look at it.
Finally, one of the defining, seminal moments in our warped childhood was the first time that we saw Mahogany, the 1975 feature film which elevated Diana Ross to the status of uber-gay icon, while simultaneously nearly ruining her mainstream film career (The Wiz put the final nail in the coffin).
We positively gasped, gaped and gawked at the insane fashion show that Miss Ross put on for 90 glamorous minutes, all designed (yes, she really took credit for it!) by her own hand, and heavily inspired by kabuki, Erté, Ross's own Motown finishing school-run-amok idea of elegance, and a little Boom! (1968) thrown in for good measure.
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