Posts Tagged ‘BFI’

Meet Me in St. Louis

A couple of weeks ago I went to go see a press viewing of Meet Me in St. Louis with one of my oldest friends S. The BFI are re-releasing Vincent Minnelli’s most well-known film on 16th December and it’s one of those classics that I saw in S’s loft when we were about 11. S has always been a big Judy Garland fan and she told me lots of fascinating bits and pieces after we watched the movie, over a decade after we last saw it together.

I thought, since the movie is so Christmas-sy – with Garland singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ [see vid below], I best relay a couple of these fascinating titbits here…

It was during the filming of Meet Me in St Louis, aged 21, that Garland had a breakdown. The studio had prescribed her sleeping pills, as well as pills to wake her up so they could get lots of movies out of her. At this point she had already been at MGM quite a while and had developed a full-blown addiction. Apparently Minnelli was pushed into marrying her after they begun a love affair as she was so vulnerable.

During the trolley song the sound of a guy in the background saying ‘hiya Judy!’ is audible. Apparently, this take was actually a dress rehearsal but it turned out to be better than the actual, ‘real deal’ take so they disregarded this randomer’s shout-out to Garland and included this version in the end cut. You can still hear it in the film now.

Here Esther Smith (Judy Garland) sings ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ to her sister Tootie. (Margaret O’Brien).

Posted: December 7th, 2011
Categories: Film
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Funny Face (1957)

I have just got in from a fantastic cheap night out at the BFI.

Funny Face (1957) starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire is an interesting portrayal of the world of modelling and the fashion industry.  It doesn’t matter that it’s hardly a plausible portrayal (the way the fashion editors storm into (Hepburn’s character) Jo Stockton’s bookshop is ludicrous and brilliant), it’s an extremely comical movie with some great dance performances. That said the BFI’s fact sheet notes that ‘photographer Richard Avedon, whose marriage to one of his models provided the basis for the story, served as visual consultant on the film’ and that ‘Audrey’s collaboration with designer Givenchy reaches its apex [in this film]‘.  At the very least this film is Hepburn and Astaire at their best, but I see it as piece of cinematic entertainment that strikes the balance between insight and escapism.

If you haven’t seen it before, I urge you to check it out.  Until then, here’s one of my favourite dance scenes…

Posted: January 13th, 2011
Categories: Fashion, Film, People
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