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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

30's Fashions and Frolics

Director Irving Cummings and Technicolor Cameraman Ray Rennahan Look On As
Warner Baxter and Helen Vinson Emote

1937 Brings Walter Wanger's Vogues Of 1938

It might do for pop culture historians and fashion designers to make close inspection of this, a Technicolor'ed sampling of  what men/women wore and listened to at a moment Wanger freezes in time. Maybe there should have been a Vogues movie every year so we could better gauge the decade's faddish dress and up-to-moment music. The fact it's disposable otherwise is a given, the story being repeat of Warner Baxter 42nd Street struggles, transferred blocks up (or is it down?) to the garment district. He falls for dizzy deb Joan Bennett, much as producing Wanger would offscreen. She was at verge of coif-hue change and  renewed career as dark avenger among women of noir. Vogues color registers fine even on TCM's print from wherever; I don't know present ownership of this or fate of camera elements. Wanger had produced Trail Of The Lonesome Pine in pioneering Technicolor, so knew what not to do this time out. I'll bet Vogues Of 1938 would look dazzling restored, but who's going to front the expense? It's all for fun and fun for perhaps few now, song/dances nothing special, and comedy a matter of Alan Mowbray and Mischa Auer doing time-honored shtick. I watched out of a kind of duty, just another off a to-do list of obscurities.

5 Comments:

Blogger Kevin K. said...

That bulky Technicolor camera looks like a '50s robot. And is that somebody's jacket atop it?

9:52 AM  
Blogger Lou Lumenick said...

VOGUES is part of the same package that includes Wanger productions like STAGECOACH and FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, as well as titles that Paramount sold to UA like I MARRIED A WITCH and YOUNG AND WILLING in addition to the UA-financed TO BE OR NOT TO BE. On TV since the early 1950s, they've passed through many hands and are currently controlled by Westchester Films. The more prominent titles are licensed for video to Criterion. TCM's video label licensed the lesser titles, but apparently gave up after SUNDOWN and HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY because of poor existing materials.

7:16 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Thanks for that info, Lou. I had not noticed the TCM site offering "Sundown" and "House Across The Bay," but might pick them up if the quality is OK. I did watch "Sudown" once on TCM and thought it looked pretty good.

7:31 PM  
Blogger VP81955 said...

And let's not forget that "Vogues Of 1938" is the source of one of the best-loved standards of the era, "That Old Feeling," performed by dozens of artists, including superb versions by Frank Sinatra at Columbia in the 1940s and for Capitol in 1960 on the "Nice 'n' Easy" album. (The other tracks are all reworkings of Frank's Columbia ballads; in fact, had it not been for the success of "Nice 'n' Easy" as a single, the album was to have been called "That Old Feeling.")

12:46 AM  
Blogger Lou Lumenick said...

I haven't seen SUNDOWN but the low-contrast version of HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY that TCM showed looks many generations removed from the original.

5:11 PM  

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