It’s a sad, sad day. I have to go back to school. Ugh! And you know what the worst part is? My Vintage Vogue suit isn’t finished yet! Double ugh!
I’ve still got to piece the lining of the jacket together and sew it in. I may be able to finish it, since my first (and only!) class today isn’t until late in the afternoon. I’ll try. I’ve got so many exciting things to share with you about the process of making this jacket. It has really advanced my “couture” sewing skills! :)
I won’t be able to post quite as much as I have, and my sewing future always looks bleak when the semester starts, but hopefully I’ll have some wonderful artwork to share with you all! Let me just say how much I enjoy reading all of your blogs and how happy I am to have made so many kind, new friends.
I leave you with this thrilling photo of the eternally dreamy Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and the always lovely Ginger Rogers. It’s from the film Having Wonderful Time in which Ginger has a short holiday at a mountain resort, meets and falls in love with Doug and then has to go home after having a fight with him. (Don’t worry, it turns out wonderfully in the end!) I have a soft spot in my heart for this sweet summertime classic. Seeing this photo makes me want to sit right down and watch it.
I’m finally earning my name here, because I am getting to review one of the best noir flicks there is. I have seen this movie once or twice already, but due to the unexplained fact that TCM seems to have something against Ladd/Lake films, I have been waiting years to see it again. TCM finally lifted the ban yesterday and gave everyone a treat. (Btw – if anyone out there knows the reasons why TCM seldom plays the Ladd/Lake films, I’d love to hear about it!)
Just a note to avoid misunderstandings: The Blue Dahlia is not to be confused with The Blue Gardenia (1953) (which is another great film noir you’re going to hear more about soon) or The Black Dahlia (The failed 2006 attempt at recreating classic film noir. The title of that film comes from an actual murder case that happened soon after our film was released. The newspapers dubbed the case “The Black Dahlia” to capitalize on the success of our film and sensationalize the case in the process.)
Back to the review: One of the reasons this film is fantastic is that it is based on a story by Raymond Chandler and he wrote the screenplay. The basic gist of the story of The Blue Dahlia (1946) revolves around Alan Ladd being accused of murdering his wife. He didn’t do it, of course, but he’s the only one who believes that. Although there is one other believer: Veronica Lake. Ladd has two friends who are played by superb character actors Hugh Beaumont (aka Ward Cleaver, Beaver’s dad) and William Bendix (affectionently know in our house as Bendi). You’d never think Ward Cleaver could have been mixed up with such a bunch of shady characters! It is obviously long before he met June and she reformed him. ;)
William Bendix is hilarious and sweet as the shell-shocked war vet Buzz. He has a lot of good lines, especially when he’s mad at people. Veronica Lake’s clothes in every single scene are noteworthy. The Blue Dahlia is worth watching just for her clothes alone. Then, there is the darling roadster that Ladd and Lake spend a good part of the film driving in. Now I know why I have such a partiality to 40’s roadsters. :)
The title comes from the name of a nightclub owned by one of the film’s many suspicious characters. This man always sends blue dahlias to the women in his life. Sadly, as far as I know, there are no true blue dahlias in real life. Just a figment of Raymond Chandler’s imagination.
I’ll leave you with this great bit of repartee from Ladd and Lake:
Johnny Morrison: “You oughta have more sense than to take chances with strangers like this.”
Joyce Harwood: “It’s funny, but practically all the people I know were strangers when I met them.”
Okay, for some time now I have been obsessed by a sweater worn by the amazing actress Barbara Stanwyck in the movie Clash By Night (1952).
Screen grab captured by me
Another screen grab - Look at those cuffs!
I have a pretty good idea of what’s available in the clothing market and I have never seen anything remotely resembling this. So, this leaves one option: make it myself.
I have been slowly moving toward the ideas of refashioning and reusing old, boring clothes to create new, exciting garments. Refashioning appeals to me for several reasons. 1) I’m a notorious penny-pincher and if I can get something really thrilling for practically nothing, I’ll take it! 2) I’ve followed several blogs (Casey’s Musings and Strawberry Koi) that demonstrate how to refashion garments with class, style and imagination and they have inspired me to try my hand at this art form.
So, I’ve finally taken the plunge – and it’s exciting!
I recently ventured into my local Goodwill and took a look at the stock. To my surprise, there was some great stuff in there! I was mainly concerned with finding a nice cardigan sweater in my size, in a color I liked. I actually attained my goal – times 2. I found two lovely sweaters and only paid $5 for both of them! The first is gray wool from J. Crew (no less!) and the second is pink cotton from a department store line.
Next, I paid a visit to Joann’s and perused the bead isle. The above images of Ms. Stanwyck were in my mind the whole time. Luckily for me, the beads were on sale so when I found some pearls to my liking their price was not going to break the bank. I settled on Blue Moon Glass Pearls colored Champagne in 4 sizes.
I used invisible thread and a ballpoint needle and just started sewing the pearls around the collar and cuffs of the gray sweater. I probably should have had more of a plan, but it worked out beautifully anyway. Have a look. I’m quite proud of my efforts! :)
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1. Errol Flynn
A handsome devil if there ever was one. EF is most famous for his spectacular portrayal of Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). I saw his costar in that film (Olivia de Haviland) describing the making of Robin Hood in a documentary once and she sheepishly admitted that while filming the climatic kiss scene, she deliberately kept ruining each take so she could get to kiss him as many times as possible. It’s not hard to understand why. ;)
2. Ronald Coleman
The man with the dreamy voice. My favorite RC film is the little known Random Harvest with Greer Garson. He is the perfect husband. Yet another reason why I am convinced that I was born in the wrong era. RC is probably most famous for The Prisoner of Zenda with another dreamboat, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. In Zenda, RC has a dual role as two men who look exactly alike. It’s an unlikely story that would not “work” if RC were not such a marvelous actor.
3. Robert Donat
Robert Donat was a real underrated hunk. I don’t think he was as popular here in America as he was in England. What a shame. He was Mr. Chips in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, but my favorite of his films is The 39 Steps (this photo to the left comes from that movie). The 39 Steps was made in 1935, co stars the beautiful Madeline Carroll and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is definitely worth watching if you ever happen to have the chance.
Well, that’s my first Let Me Introduce You post. I’m hoping to have a new one every Wednesday. Feel free to leave me comments or questions. I’d be thrilled to hear from you!