Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Old Movie Madness: Remember the Night (1940)

Oh, Barbara, Barbara, Barbara...she can do no wrong in my eyes.  Yes, after the disappointment of my last old movie viewing I decided to treat myself to something I knew I'd love - a 1940 movie starring the luminous and talented Barbara Stanwyck.

Our Babs stars as Lee Leander, a professional shoplifter who has just been arrested for the third time, John Sargeant (Fred MacMurray) is hired to prosecute her and, thinking that the jury will let her off because it is almost Christmas, he postpones the trial.  He then suffers a pang of guilt and posts bail for her so that she can spend Christmas out of prison.

Having nowhere else to go Lee winds up on John's doorstep and, as her family are from the same state, he offers to drop her at home on the way to his mothers.  All sorts of silliness ensues, involving minor car crashes, milking cows and a fire in a waste paper bin, which serves to cement John's view of the little lady as a petty career criminal.  He starts to change his mind after meeting her mother however, and decides to take her home with him so that she can share a warm family Christmas before sentencing.

The pair fall, rather predictably, in love and John's mother warns Lee that their relationship can only damage her sons legal career.  Lee agrees and, when John offers her a chance to escape she refuses, deciding to take her punishment. What does the future hold for them?

The film is saved from schmaltz by afine turn from Miss Stanwyck, she really excels in the bad girl doing good roles (Stella Dallas for example) and brings consierable gravity to what would otherwise be a rather frothy romcom.  It is also a joy to look at, Lee's wardrobe is stunning, including a range of incredible architectural hats which really pin the film into its 1940 date.

Take a look at these outfits:

I would kill for each and every one of those, and for this dressing gown:

There are also some lovely comedy moments, one in particular where Lee is putting on an old fashioned country style evening dress with a 19inch corset and padded bust.  Mrs Sargeant comments that in her day Lee's 25 inch waist would have been considered large.  Can you imagine?

I really enjoyed this movie, but given the female lead, I was always going to.  It also spawned the Lady Eve, which writer Preston Sturges created for Stanwyck based on her performance here. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Oh knickers! Paloma Faith for La Senza

As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I've been updating the old lingerie drawer recently.  After a long period of singledom I have decided it is time to get back out there and I've been going on a few dates and decided I needed the pants to match my new found attitude.  Those Primark cotton numbers just aren't doing it for me and certainly wouldn't do it for whichever lucky chap or chappess I decide to bestow my charms upon.

I've had a couple of little sprees at both good old M&S and the wonderful Lulu and Lush (I'll be talking more about this little gem of a shop in a  coming post) but, on reading my colleagues (not mine honest) copy of "Closer" magazine today I spotted another range I am just going to have to take a gander at.  the lovely and delightfully offbeat Paloma Faith has designed a range of silky vintage style pretties for La Senza, in aid of Breast Cancer Care.  This girl knows her vintage, and from the pictures I've seen the range shows that.  I also love the choice of colour, green being a somewhat unusual choice for lingerie.  And also, as a donation is made to charity with each purchase this is the kind of guilt free shopping I adore.

As the lady herself states:

"I'm really excited about my range of lingerie that I've designed for Breast Cancer Care this year. I've gone for a luxurious 1940s style and I can't wait for you all to see it! It's going to hit La Senza stores in October and every penny we raise will be used to help people affected by breast cancer. My Mum had breast cancer so this is a cause I am very passionate about. Without Breast Cancer Care some women would have nowhere to turn to. With one person diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes, many of us will sadly know of someone dealing with the disease right now. Breast Cancer Care will use the money we raise together to ensure none of them face it alone."

Hmmmm....I am definitely going to have to get the set in green and the knickers in the black for wearing with my girdle.

I just hope I find someone to show them off to soon.  ;-)

Monday, 26 September 2011

A little thrift lift.

Well, if you read my last post (and why wouldn't you, hmmm, HMMMM?) then you will know I have been suffering with horrible flueyness for the past few days.  Well today I actually left the house.

Spurred on by the need for stronger drugs and the cats yowling for biscuits I bravely removed my pyjamas, donned some outdoors wear and ventured out into the wilds of Hackney.

I did have a bit of a wobble on the way, I hadn't realised how hot it was today and had to spend a good five minutes leaning over the freezers in Marks and Sparks, but after that I was fine, and managed to buy the items I needed and make a little foray into the local charity shop.

It seems the universe decided to reward me for such a valiant act and placed this little beauty in the shop:

Mmmmm, lates 50s/60s Del Boy-esque mirrory loveliness:

It is hard to see, you will have to click it, but it has a sort of willow tree thing etched on it.  Also, in this photo there is some sort of limpid pool into another world thing going on.  I haven't tried travelling through it yet, but when I have I'll be certain to report back.

I also picked up a very pretty silk (or silk-alike) scarf in the perfect colours to match a 30's knit I'm just stitching up.  You'll hopefully see more of that in the coming days, unless I get trapped in the mirror world without my laptop.

I'm off to take more flu tablets.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Old Movie Madness: Footlight Parade (1933)

Oh, I so wanted to enjoy this* - I've been saving it as I was so certain that I would but gawd, what a crock!  I can barely bring myself to write anything about it as nothing actually happens.  So here goes...sigh.

Now, I'm not a big musical fan anyway - this may have been my mistake - but I had heard so many good things about this movie that I was expecting something wonderful.  Sadly I was very much mistaken.

The film tells the story of Chester Kent, a director of Broadway musicals, whose career is being threatened by the introduction of talking pictures and so decides to branch out into prologues - short musical numbers to be performed before a film.  He has lots of ideas and a glamourous secretary, Nan Prescott (Joan Blondell). 

Of course (of course) Nan is desperately in love with him and he just doesn't see it.  This is the cliche the entire film is built around.  All that really happens is that he writes scenes, someone steals them and Nan moons about acting bitterly toward any other woman that goes near him.  Ugh.

Anyway, eventually he writes something half decent and gets a job and realises he loves Nan too, end of story.

Instead of having a real storyline the film is around 70% made up of overlong musical numbers.  these would have been fun had they not gone on for what seemed like hours.  I know a Busby Berkley film is going to be full of dance routines, but really, a 20-odd minute synchronised swimming scene, really? I had to fast forward through it.

I have nothing more to say - here are some pictures:

Yawn.  I'm bored again, off to have a bath and practise my synchronised drowning.

* This review may have been slightly affected by me having the flu, and thus the attention span of a goldfish.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Knitty update

So, I've designated September as my "make do and mend" month and am busily fixing all my damaged vintage and finishing off the many knitting projects I have stacked up and those which need to be sewn together.

Here is my latest cardigan, it is just the warmest thing!

It isn't wonky, I promise, but sadly my old mannequin is on her last legs and is held together with gaffer tape and string, bless her.

I knit this in a lovely pistachio green DK yarn and it was just a dream to make up as it is knit in one piece so had a minimal amount of the dreaded stitching up to do. 

I bought the pattern from one of my favourite sites, The Vintage Knitting Lady.

She has a great collection of patterns, the best I've found anywhere and her customer service is incredible.

This baby is going to look amazing with tweed pencil skirts throughout the colder months. 

Friday, 9 September 2011

Time (really is running) Out!

Good afternoon my lovelies,

As you may well have cottoned, tomorrow, Saturday 10 September, is the launch of the Vintage Mafia's inaugural club night, the Ric Rac Club, held at the Fox in Shoreditch.

We have all been beavering away madly to pull things together for the night and we can promise there is a treat in store for all attendees in the shape of delicious drinks, enchanting entertainments and a raucous raffle.

Prizes include:
  • A bottle of Gin
  • A Heyday Fleur dress
  • A giant pork pie
  • A set of Shirt Companions from Sharp and Dapper
  • What Katie Did frillies
  •  A bottle of Whisky
  • A fabulous, custom-made and special edition hat from Strumpet
plus some other odds and sods thrown in for good measure!

Here we are with a whole page interview in Time Out, rather exciting don't you think?

Tickets have been selling well and, judging by my math, we are getting close to capacity, so if you want to come please do book now to save disappointment.  Tickets are available from here for £8 or on the door for £10.

It would be lovely to see you!