Did I ever tell you about my years in "Show Business"? Well, from the time I was 16 until I was about 23, I worked at two wonderful old-fashioned downtown movie theaters, the kind with huge lighted marquees, balconies, and loads of Art Deco embellishments inside and out.
The Ward Theater, pictured below, is a little past its prime in this picture. It was built in 1937 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, in the "Streamline Moderne" style. Renovations relocated the old ticket booth, and the once bright and shiny orange enamel tiles are a bit faded. But consider the audacity of the designer.....orange and blue as a color scheme? What a statement!
Over a year ago, I posted about my favorite movies with Old Timey goodness, back when my blog was fairly new. I'm going to re-post my list, mainly because I don't think very many people were reading my new-ish blog back then.
My Favorite Movies with Old Timey Goodness
"Sweet and Lowdown": Woody Allen’s faux-documentary about a guitar player/con man during the 1920's played by Sean Penn. Lots of great flapper fashion and swell interiors.
"O Brother, Where Art Thou": The Coen brothers depression-era masterpiece. All the costumes have a dusty sepia-tone look without one bright color anywhere. I love all the cloche hats the women wear.
Pete, Delmar, and Everett, the main characters in "O Brother, Where Art Thou".
"Chicago": Once I got over the fact that Richard Gere could sing, I noticed and appreciated the great set design including Roxie Hart’s boudoir, a great example of my favorite style....sort of a warm, cottage-style with painted furniture circa 1920's and cool old lamps. Lighting is soooo important, isn't it?
"Coal Miner's Daughter": I love the decor in the little motel room where Loretta and Doo spent their wedding night. Do you remember it? Bark cloth curtains, sea foam green walls, an iron bed and dark chenille bedspread. I'll betcha there was a tiny bar of Cameo soap on the bathroom sink....
Here's a list of seven more Old Timey favorites:
Paper Moon: Peter Bogdonovich's black and white cinematic treasure set in the 1930's dust-bowl states of Kansas and Nebraska. How can you forget the Cremo cigar box that Maddie carries her valuables in, or the cloche hat she wears, or the depression-era furnishings of the Exchange Hotel where the characters stay?
Room With A View: Oh, the lovely Victorian parlors, gallery style wall art, and detail upon detail. You'll have to rent it to see what I mean, as I was unable to grab a picture of the set design, just these characters (was Helena Bonham-Carter born to play in Victorian period dramas, or what?)
Grease: Fluffy prom dresses! Need I say more?
The Shining: I love The Gold Room at the Overlook Hotel, a classic 1920's ballroom that survived some unfortunate 1970's updates, but still had those great chandeliers and a magical amber ambience. Who can forget Jack Nicholson ordering a drink from Lloyd, the bartender on duty in the Gold Room?
On Golden Pond: Great vintage Adirondack style!. Black and white snapshots tacked right on the walls, mismatched pillows on slipcovered couches. Wouldn't you love to spend the weekend in that cottage? I would even play checkers with Norman Thayer just to be able to soak up the cozy surroundings.
The Great Gatsby: Upper-crust flapper girl fashions circa 1927.
The Last Picture Show. A second Peter Bogdonovich treasure, depicting a Texas town's dysfunctional folk in 1951. Just in case you want to rent this again, notice the vintage boudoir doll on Jacey's bed, the cool TV set in her house, and enjoy the Hank Williams-dominated sound track, a perfect accompaniment to the bleak dusty town of Anarene...
Cloris Leachman as Ruth Popper
Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Mark
Do you remember when Peter Bogdonovich was The Man back in the 1970's? With two major hits, Paper Moon and The Last Picture Show under his belt, he was on top of the world. Then, everything crumbled when he made a series of movie bloopers, such as Daisy Miller, Texasville, and At Long Last, Love. His personal life was also troubled, as he became obsessed with young actresses, beginning with Cybill Shepherd, then the tragic Dorothy Stratten and her younger sister, Louise Stratten. Real life is often more bizarre than a movie script, as Mr. Bogdonovich can attest.
Do you have any great movies with Old Timey goodness to add to my list?
I'm all ears.