Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Back to the delirious '50s: WOMAN'S WORLD

WOMAN'S WORLD. For me this 1954 Fox movie is the '50s in aspic. Its a fabulously entertaining variation on the '3 girls sharing an apartment and looking for love' genre that Fox and director Jean Negulesco did so well (HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, 3 COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING) - here the 3 girls are married and visiting New York - cue great views of 50s Manhattan - as Clifton Webb, the head of a motor company, has to choose a new general manager and the wives are being vetted too to see if they are suitable material for company events.

The 3 couples are out-of-towners Cornel Wilde and ditzy (or is she?) June Allyson, sophisticates on the point of divorcing Lauren Bacall and Fred McMurray, and ambitious Van Heflin and Arlene Dahl who will go to any lengths to get her man the position. The gals get to wear to some marvellous frocks, Allyson and Bacall play their usual personas so the unknown quantity here is Dahl who steals the film - particuarly when she enters in that green clinging sheath with a divine little fur-trimmed bolero which she knowingly removes as she puts the make on Clifton and lets him see how grateful she will be if Van is the man. June spills coffee on her cocktail dress so she can get to be alone with Clifton's all-wise sister Margalo Gilmore (who is advising him), while Bacall gets the measure of Dahl: "have a cookie, cookie"!

Finally, once the manager is announced (right man, wrong wife - but that is soon rectified) they can all eat dinner! Clifton is in his element here and even seems to be (can it be possible in '54) a coded gay as he is not married and seems devoted to his general managers. Whatever, its an absolute treat to see anytime, a nice contrast to that other '54 star-studded executive drama EXECUTIVE SUITE.

Its one of a dozen or so '50s movies I simply adore - not classics like EAST OF EDEN, SUNSET BOULEVARD, ALL ABOUT EVE or A STAR IS BORN, but simple splashy, star-studded entertainments where fabulous gals wear fabulous clothes and live the high life, or the most delirious costume epics [more on them at Glamour label]. As well as WOMAN'S WORLD, bring on THE OPPOSITE SEX, DESIGNING WOMAN, LES GIRLS, THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE, HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, JUPITER'S DARLING, ITS ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER, QUENTIN DURWARD, MOONFLEET, THE PRODIGAL, THE EGYPTIAN ... i enjoyed all those as a kid, and still do now.
Next: People We Like: Clifton Webb, the films of Jean Negulesco.

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