Saturday, July 31, 2010

. Still Film: Bathing Beauty (1944)

Bathing Beauty (1944) is all swimming and music and swimming and music, in spetacular color and naivete, in that  joyous early 40s way.  Its a visual candy.  Every scene, every still is perfectly designed it was hard to choose stills to post, as the movie is chalk full of gorgeous still images.  Ethel Waters, the actress/professional athlete who popularized the sport of synchronized swimming, stars in this syrup-y sweet musical about the zany shannanagans of a college gal's beau. Its definitely a summer weather movie with lot's of Latin inspired musical numbers and shimmery blue pools of water.

Still Film: More Fashions from Bathing Beauty (1944)

Bathing Beauty is full of bright fashions that exist exactly on the edge between chic and kitsch...I didn't realize there was a shared border between the two until I saw this film. Costuming was supervised by Irene Sharaff, the oscar wining costume designer for a wide range of musicials and classic films from the 50s through the 70s.    

Bathing Beauty has a strong Latin undercurrent in the musical sequences, so at times the wardrobe also echoed the Latin American influences (above/below cape being the most overt). The film has a over-all meticulous design in color and form, and the fashion is so perfectly framed by the mise-en-scene that it must have been a major focus in the movie-making process. This movie certainly makes one of the most whimsical, light-hearted fashion statements in 40s film.

Lobby Cards.

I wish they would bring back the art of the lobby card.  Whoever they are... There's something magic about a collection of these cards, every film you've seen and loved.

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