Thursday, August 16, 2012

Classic Movie Challenge: The Gay Divorcee

I went a bit academic in my review for The Seven Year Itch.  I couldn't help it.  That movie had me itching in disgust (bad pun intended).  I actually watched that movie and The Gay Divorcee on the same Saturday.  I had a rough week at work and I wanted to curl up with movies and unwind.  I am having another crummy week, but I don't know if I'll have the luxury to catch up on movies this weekend.  Then, next weekend, Lily comes home!  And J and I will be catching up on sleep (due to new puppy parenting) and not classic films.  So, I apologize for two reviews back-to-back, but a blogger has to do what a blogger has to do, and I scheduled them to post a couple of days apart, so it's not that bad.  ;)

Instead of critiquing the story and its execution behind The Gay Divorcee in the way that I did with The Seven Year Itch, I am going to instead, focus on the lighter things.  However, I would like to mention that I thought this movie was interesting in Mimi's approach to getting a divorce: get caught cheating and your loser husband will HAVE to acquiesce to the split.  Here is the synopsis from Wikipedia:

Mimi Glossop (Ginger Rogers) arrives in England to seek a divorce from her geologist husband Cyril (William Austin), whom she hasn't seen for several years. Under the guidance of her domineering and much-married aunt Hortense (Alice Brady), she consults a bumbling and less-than-competent lawyer Egbert Fitzgerald (Edward Everett Horton), who happens to be one of Hortense's previous fianc├ęs. He arranges for her to spend a night at a seaside hotel and to be caught in an adulterous relationship, for which purpose he hires a professional co-respondent, Rodolfo Tonetti (Erik Rhodes). But Egbert forgets to arrange for private detectives to "catch" the couple.

By coincidence, Guy Holden (Fred Astaire) an American dancer and friend of Egbert's, who briefly met Mimi on her arrival in England, and is now besotted with her, also arrives at the hotel, only to be mistaken by Mimi for the co-respondent. While they are in Mimi's bedroom, Tonetti arrives and holds them "prisoner". They contrive to escape and dance the night away.

I've seen Astaire's dancing skills in Funny Face and I was excited to see him dance again.  Although I adore Audrey Hepburn (she has a background in ballet), she doesn't compare to Ginger Rogers.  I know that people have often commented on the dancing duo of Astaire and Rogers, so I'll keep it brief: they are amazing.  I smiled while watching them dance.  This was the first musical where I was willing to be swept away in the silliness while not worrying about the plot.  I didn't know a thing about Rogers before watching this movie and I was really captivated by her beauty and gumption.  She brought Mimi to life in a complex way: she's guarded, but sweet, beautiful, but strong.  The dances were awesome.  Astaire was awesome.  Rogers was awesome.  But the thing that I loved most about the movie was the CLOTHES!  Oh. My. God.  I'd die for that wardrobe!

Rogers in an early scene of the movie.  I love the beret.

If they sold this outfit at Anthropologie, I'd buy it in a heart-beat.  She's sad, but she's so chic!

This dress was poetry in motion.  What is is about black and white movies that make diamonds sparkle more?  I wish there was a better picture of it.  I was mesmerized during this number (Night and Day).

Everything that Mimi wears in this movie (even what her older aunt Hortense wears) is simply stunning.  Her day-to-day fashion was adorable.  Oddly enough, some of the fasions in this film could be applicable today.  Just look at this jumpsuit from the number Knock Knees (sorry that the picture is so small):

Eggbert's socks and sandals are an affront to fashion- but I forgive him since he's the lovable goof in the film.  (You're not off the hook, Dad!)  This jumpsuit, while I wouldn't wear it, is similar to what pop stars are rocking today.  (This is not Rogers, by the way.)

The women in this film were glamorous, the men were dapper, and the interiors were beautiful.  I wanted to take the hotel room Mimi was staying in and make it my living room.  It was fabulous and graphic- I guess it had to be when film was black and white.  The writing and performances were pretty good too.  Unlike The Seven Year Itch, there was only one character I didn't like (Mimi's husband).  In The Seven Year Itch I only liked one character: Monroe's.  But one thing that both of these movies have in common is that they were both adapted from plays.  It sort of goes to show you that there hasn't been an original idea in Hollywood for a loooong time. 

I would highly recommend this movie for someone who is looking for something pleasant and light to watch with a glass of wine after a long day at work, for a musical lover, or for someone who wants to enjoy some serious fashion. 

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