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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Movies of the Week

My whole point in posting a movie of the week is to highlight some of our favorite old and, in many cases, somewhat forgotten films.  To meet our criteria, they have to be great movies, but they also have to have fabulous ideas for making your life and home more beautiful.  This week we have two for you - one, perhaps, not as well known and another that's had plenty of publicity over the years.

Let's start with the better known movie - Pride and Prejudice.  We have three versions of this story sitting in our film cupboard.  The first is the 1995 BBC miniseries.  A wonderful production and, as far as the story goes, the favorite.  Colin Firth is the perfect Mr. Darcy (rather like Sean Connery is the best James Bond...  I'm treading on dangerous territory there, am I not?), while the other British character actors shine as they always do.

Our second copy is the 1940 version starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.  I have to admit that I've yet to watch this one as, to us, Greer Garson seems a bit mature for the role of Lizzie.  Perhaps we'll change our mind?

Finally, there's the 2005 blockbuster starring Keira Knightley.  This, in our opinion, is a visually stunning movie.  The interiors of the Bennet's somewhat dilapidated home will make you want to do nothing more than let the paint on your walls peel and to throw loose brocade coverlets over your run down Queen Anne furniture.  The mud and chickens skittering through the front garden and the drafty, candlelit nights are not only romantic, but highly acheivable for just about anyone.  Much like Brightstar, you'll also want to throw the windows of your home open to let in the cool, bracing country air.  Those of you who know me personally might think that I'm being somewhat sarcastic.  Actually, I'm not.  This movie really does make a sort of genteel poverty seem desirable, where love, manners, knowledge and charm are more worthy of one's time than the quest for money (despite Mrs. Bennet's obvious concern that her daughters should marry well).  A sort of sense that making do elegantly with what's available might be more fun than having it all.  Certainly, when compared to the homes of Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, the Bennet's live a rather humble existence, but a far more interesting, life.


The Bennet's home - decaying, but welcoming all at once.

The Bennet living room - somewhat faded, but very lively.
Now, to that less known film of the week - Indiscreet.  A 1958 Cary Grant/Ingrid Bergman vehicle, this movie is both highly entertaining and endlessly inspiring from a decorative point of view.  Unlike most of today's romantic comedies, Indiscreet's seductiveness lies not in the obvious displays we're used to today, rather this is mature romance, in the best possible way.  Cary Grant is, as usual, Cary Grant with all of his charm, wit and elegance.  Perhaps no man on earth set the bar for effortless perfection in every possible situation than Cary Grant.  In addition to all of this, we get to see Grant employ some of his vaudevillian talent for comedy and dancing in a scene where, despite his best efforts, he can't seem to impress Ingrid Bergman.

Besides the story and the stars, Indiscreet displays one of the most beautiful living rooms in movie memory.  Ingrid Bergman's apartment is intensely colorful - grey/periwinkle walls setting off dramatic Picasso-esque art (many pieces highlighted with brilliantly colored mattes), a luxuriously soft sofa upholstered in navy blue silk shantung, and polished wood surfaces - doors, floors and a grand piano.  Sometimes the room is filled to bursting with yellow ("far too many" in Ingrid's words) or red roses - a motif that we first see in the opening credits.

Do you have the courage to use that much color in one room?!
Indiscreet is a delightful film, one that you'll probably go back to again and again.  Not only will Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman's stellar performances beckon to you, but so will the sets, which you just might be tempted to emulate in your own home!

You can now buy both Indiscreet and Pride and Prejudice in the Dapper and Dreamy Bookshop!

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