Friday, December 28, 2012

Film #6: "Kitty Foyle" and a ship

No "Kitty Foyle" is not a nautical movie. When I say ship, I am referring to my strong feelings about Wyn (Dennis Morgan) and Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers) as a couple.
Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers) is a working girl who has to choose in between being her wealthy blue blood ex-husband's mistress (Dennis Morgan is the ex) or a doctor's wife. There are flash backs throughout the film that explain Kitty's past with both the ex-husband and the doctor. This movie was made in 1940. The doctor works at a children's hospital instead attending to the health problems of "rich neurotics." Wyn is married. What do you think is going to happen?

Reasons why I am Wyn FTW:

1) He is better looking. Looks: they're not everything, but they are something.

2) He did not blackmail his way into a date with Kitty (unlike a certain doctor).

3) Kitty really loves him. You can tell.

4) Because she was living in New York but wanted to go to this dance in Philadelphia, the Assembly Ball, Win rented out a ballroom in New York until 5 a.m. (The time the dance in PA ends). He bought her a really pretty dress to wear, breakfast, and gave her a family heirloom ring as an engagement ring.

5) He reads Kitty poetry.

6) His snooty family is what ruined their marriage. In whatever exotic country he's moving to they're not there.

7) The first time around, he was willing to give up his trust fund and stuffy family for Kitty. He would have too, but she thought poverty would make him hard and bitter, so she wouldn't let him and ran off to New York to get a divorce.

8) Wyn is played by Dennis Morgan. Have you seen him in "Christmas in Connecticut"? I rest my case.

Actually maybe I wouldn't go with Wyn, because being a mistress is for most very unrewarding, but Win and the doctor aren't the only handsome straight men in New York City. I would keep looking if I couldn't have Wyn.

P.S. Kitty has some amazing clothing in this movie. If you can find no other reason to watch this movie do it for the 40s clothing goodness.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Film #5: Midnight in Paris

Disclaimer: I've seen this movie before.

The first time I saw "Midnight in Paris" I literally danced out of the movie theatre. The beautiful images of Paris and the emotive strains of Sidney Bechet's soprano saxophone on "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" flooded my mind as I left. The film contained everything I have always loved and many things I never would have discovered otherwise. I never would've gotten interested in jazz or the lost generation if it weren't for "Midnight in Paris." Cole Porter would have just been a familiar sounding name, and forget about the exquisite Bechet!

In spite of the excellent soundtrack and cinematography, Midnight is not without its flaws. Rachel McAdams' character Inez is written as a very conventional two-dimensional evil fiancée.There is little depth to Inez and that bothers me. Mainly its because you can never understand what Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson) ever saw in her.

I'm getting ahead of myself! The basic plot of "Midnight in Paris" is as follows: a newly engaged couple (Wilson and McAdams) and some family go to Paris. Everyone is uninterested in Paris and its beauty and history. Except the fiancé, a romantic minded screenwriter named Gil, who is currently on a novel. One night after a wine-tasting party, Gil walks back to the hotel by himself and is ushered into a twenties automobile. He finds himself at a party taking place in the glimmering literary scene of twenties Paris!

As I gushed earlier, the music and cinematography are excellent, but I didn't even mention the superb costumes. Honestly, they are the best I have ever seen for a film that is trying to do twenties clothing (some bad ones: "The Great Gatsby," "Ziegfeld Girl," "The Roaring 20s," any 40s does 20s movie). All of the shimmering beaded evening dresses and little bags are perfection. A particular favorite of mine was Marion Cotilliard's cream and coral nautical-inspired dress. Also all of the actors, especially Cory Stoll (Hemingway) and Adrien Brody (Dali) did spot on impersonations of their historical figures.

Paris has never been more beautiful or magical than when viewed through Woody Allen's lens. Although a lot of the initial movie magic has faded with repeated viewings, there is still some left, and how it shines!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Centralia on a rainy day

On the most popular shopping day of the year for Americans (at least), Black Friday it poured. The rain was as I said earlier today, like bullets. And my family and I were taking the road less taken, which is going to antique stores in Centralia, WA. I had hoped to finally photograph the completely wonderful historic part of Centralia but I unfortunately picked the wrong day for it. In our mad dash from antique store to antique store I managed to snap a few and here they are. Also isn't the velvet dress (30s!) the dreamiest? Sadly it was trop cher pour moi.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cream puffs

Over the weekend a friend of mine from school came over and we made cream puffs. It was easier than I expected, but still very time consuming. The pastry dough was pretty easy to make. Our custard filling refused to set up until the next day, so I recommend to anyone who decides to try making cream puffs that they make the filling 4-5+ hours before they start. They turned out pretty well I think.

A few pictures:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Film #4: Baby Face

"Baby Face" is a pre-code drama starring the late and great Barbara Stanwyck. Babs (as I affectionately call her) plays a speakeasy owner's daughter, who on advice from a German cobbler moves to New York City after a raid on her father's gin joint. Baby Face finds gainful employment at a posh looking bank, sleeping her way up the corporate ladder. When Baby throws over one lover for the bank's V.P. (his future father-in-law) the results are disastrous ending in the deaths of both of the above mentioned. The bank then hires an amusingly named lothario as their new president, Courtland Trenholm (played by George Brent). He refuses to pay her for her silence and sends her to work at the bank's Paris branch. Under the glittering lights of gay Paris he too falls for her. When he proposes marriage she accepts. But when it comes time to chose in between him and money she's torn.

As I don't want to give anything away I'll stop there. Barbara Stanwyck is brilliant as always as the hard-boiled Baby Face. Baby Face's best friends are an immigrant cobbler and her African-American maid Chico, which makes her seem a little bit nicer than one initially would think. Both Stanwyck's portrayal and that fact make her seem more a victim than a villainess, in spite of the way she uses men like tissues. Speaking of tissues, toward the end I cried because I am a sap.

On a more superficial note, I enjoyed Babs' hair (which was beautiful like always) and the 1930s office wear and evening gowns she donned.

The overall verdict for this movie is Ugh Babs why are you so flawless?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Film #3: Out of the Past

"Out of the Past" is a 1947 film noir by RKO starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, two actors I have never seen in anything before. Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum), a P.I. who is in hiding in a small town, is found by a man working for an old client of his that he "failed." His mobster client (Kirk Douglas) needs his girlfriend and the $40,000 she absconded with located. When Bailey finds Kathie Moffat (the client's girl played by Jane Greer), instead of releasing her whereabouts to his client he falls in love with her, leading to a doomed romance and a murder by Kathie.
Now all this time later, Whit (Douglas) wants him to do another job for him, involving income tax evasion and Bailey has no choice because Kathie told Whit everything. Tragedy ensues.
Now comes everyone's least favorite part, reading my opinion. I found this one of the most confusing film noirs to understand and explain that I have ever seen. However all of the cast members turned out good performances and the movie held my attention the entire time. Also worth noting, it has forties clothing of varying degrees of beauty and in Kathie's last scene she wears an amusing hat that makes her look positively nun-like. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

University Bridge

Amelia and I went to the University Bridge and pretended we were in France while listening to Sidney Bechet. And then we took pictures et voila!

In the past few months

I have bought a 1940s skirt pattern from Maine and watched "The Shop Around the Corner" and "Love Finds Andy Hardy" (in addition to "16 Candles" and "Christmas in July"). I have bought a pair of boots that are too small and frolicked with Amelia on the University Bridge (more pictures from that later). I've also acquired at least three wool vintage dresses and some Glenn Miller 78s.

P.S. I have an Instagram. (@touslestemps)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The cold cold night

Jack White at the WaMu Ampitheatre.

It was sweaty, crowded, uncomfortable, loud, and absolutely glorious.

She is sparkly and amazing.

I am somewhere in the mass of people. (Tallest crowd ever. I am 5'7" and I felt stumpy.)

(All photographs taken by Jack White's personal photographer as he is averse to cellphones.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


  Due to the sad demise of my point and shoot in late June, I have been much absent from this blog. In my absence from here I have been sewing, reading pulps, and watching many old movies of varying degrees of quality. My brief return is inspired by this post on favorite dresses. Because of the post I have decided to show you my favorite dress.
  It is a 1930s Vionnet dress that is a dusty pink color but due to the poor quality of these snapshots does not appear so. I love all of it's lace and pleats. It is so delicate that I wonder if I will ever be able to restore it enough so I can wear it for more than an hour.

I never know what to do when standing still. Hence, my preference for dancing related poses.

I enjoy pretending (unsuccessfully) that I am in the tango scene of "Some Like It Hot."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Monkey Business

  One of my favorite Marilyn Monroe movies is "Monkey Business (1952)," even though she only has a small role as Charles Coburn's secretary. It has a stellar cast (Grant, Rogers, Coburn, and Monroe) and is just full of all sorts of madcap shenanigans (As my freshman English teacher would say). I only am bringing this film up because Marilyn wears a really fantastic blue swimsuit. Today I too became the owner of a nice (supposedly) blue vintage (1940s) swimsuit.

Her swimsuit:

My new swimsuit (which will arrive on my doorstep late next week!):

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mes grands-parents

  My grandmother gives everything away. I mean everything: her beautiful clothing she owned when she was young, the family record player, and my grandfather's beautiful 1920s functional (gasp) typewriter. One could say she has a zeal for it. Her philosophy seems to be "out with the old and in with the new" and she disdains my strange  fascination with relics and clothing from the past. Therefore, I was quite surprised when on last Christmas Eve I discovered she kept all of the old family photos, even the ones of my grandfather's family in the 1920s. Here are a few of the ones I got decent pictures of.

My grandmother in fantastic dress (right) with her friend and the friend's baby. Circa the early 1960s.

My grandparents' wedding photo circa the early 1960s. They made and continue to make a good couple.

My grandfather's class photograph from elementary school circa the mid to late 1930s.

My grandmother's friend on a trip to some distant foreign land. C. 1960s.
  Mostly I am doing this post because I am visiting them at their home in the country this week. Hurrah!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Film #2: Golden Boy

  Initially I had plans to write about Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," but then I saw "Golden Boy" which wasn't in the cards. "Golden Boy" is a 1939 Barbara Stanwyck, William Holden, and Adolphe Menjou film, starring the super young William as the son (Joe Bonaparte) of an Italian immigrant who has to choose in between violin-playing and Babs (Lorna Moon), or boxing and wealth. To make matters more complicated, a member of the Italian mob wants to sponsor him and Lorna's married boyfriend is Joe's manager.

  Yes, it is a little absurd and some of the messages are little corny. But somehow in spite of it all (or perhaps because of it) it is enjoyable, and it has so many good aspects. "Golden Boy" has a pretty violin-piano duets, a love affair between beautiful people, nifty fashions, and a wacky Italian family.

  I think it is time for me to stop rambling on about how much I loved the film. Instead, regardez aux photographies!

William and Barbara in love.

Oh William, why did you have to get a hair cut? You were kinda cute with the curls.

The nutty Italian family + Babs

Joe Bonaparte (William) and his sister Anna  doing a duet.

(Source: Dr. Macro)
Good night!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This weekend has nearly passed by

  This weekend, I went to two garage sales, a vintage car show in Greenwood, and Capitol Hill. The Red Light and Value Village (I have my eye on a vintage cape there) had abnormally good clothing in stock. I engaged in one of my favorite childhood past times: swinging (the other two are reading and inventing imaginary worlds). I mourned the loss of my trusty point and shoot. I made a pie. I watched both "Moonrise Kingdom" and "The Prince and the Showgirl." I walked too much and indulged in too much food. I also bought too much. With clothing costing only two or three dollars, how could I resist?
A few photographs (taken with my uncle's camera as mine is broken):

Part 1: Baking

Homemade strawberry rhubarb pie: a collaborative effort

Amelia my co-baker and best friend in a customary act of pre-baking silliness.

 Part two: Brief clothing post with new Madewell full skirt (from Value Village)

Goodnight all. (It's quite apparent that I'm sleepy isn't it?)

P.S. Expect a post on Moonrise Kingdom.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A good egg

  Today was the last day of school, thank goodness. The highlight of my day so far has been when my English teacher called me "a good egg." A) It was really sweet of her. B) For me, that phrase will never not have Wodehousian connotations. I love Wodehouse so. But I digress.

  Yesterday I wore a thrifted mustard shirt and my favorite 1950s grey wool skirt. Oh how I love that skirt! In French class we watched the super sexual tension filled 2006 remake of "Le Silence de la Mer." My pattern came in the mail and I cut out all of the pieces.

(Taken by my mother)

  And now unburdened with schoolwork, soon I am going to watch "The Artist" for the second time with a friend, eat salted caramels, and try not to become over emotional about the life of George Valentin.

This week has been kind to me.