Costume Design: Why I’ll Watch an Old Movie Even if It’s Bad!

Unless it’s really long, I will usually finish watching an old movie even if it’s bad, something I don’t usually do with current movies. The reason is that I can usually find something to like about it just because I love that time period so much or often times I will discover a new actor, director, or costume designer that I want to learn more about.

For instance, last night I watched the movie Homicide for Three (1948) on Netflix Instant. I was looking for a short movie to watch, and it was only 60 minutes long. When I found out that it was set in a hotel, I decided to watch it figuring at least the sets might be fun to look at.

Well, the story itself was a bit far-fetched and the acting was somewhat stiff and corny but some of the set designs and one particular outfit actually made the movie worth watching for me. One person from the movie whose acting was decent was actress Audrey Long, who appeared in some really good movies such as Born to Kill and Desperate (both from 1947).

For much of the movie, she wore an outfit that I absolutely loved. I spent pretty much the whole time admiring her dress instead of paying attention to the dialogue.

Unfortunately this picture doesn’t really do it justice. The top sparkled when she moved and you almost have to hear and see the swishing of her skirt as she walked to get the full effect. Regardless, I would love to have that dress! :-)

As I do anytime I see outfits that I love, I looked to see who the costume designer was. The only name I found was Adele Palmer, who was listed as the costume “supervisor”.

I’m not sure if that means she didn’t actually design the outfit, but I do know that she was the designer on over 200 movies including The Quiet Man (1952), Peyton Place (1957), and The Long, Hot Summer (1958).

I couldn’t find much additional information on her, but I will be adding her to the list of costume designers I’d like to learn more about.

Now I’m not saying I can watch movies like this one all the time. Obviously I’d rather watch a really good movie, but I don’t mind a “bad” one every once in a while, especially when I am able to take something positive away from it.

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2 Responses
  1. Frances says:

    She was VERY prolific !

    Check this info on her at the Movie Database
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0011790/

    I agree – they had GORGOUS gowns back then.

  2. John says:

    I sometimes find myself struggling to get through a movie. But if it is a B/W film I try and make it through. It is funny one time I only made it half way through Citizen Kane and just never got back to it. I think sometimes the mood you are in effects the way you see a film. I just was distracted that day while watching that particular film. I will have to get back to Citizen Kane one day.

    Weird thing is I might also see a movie backwards sometimes. If I catch a movie on TCM and miss the beginning of the film, I usually then stay with it if I am enjoying it. Then watch the beginning of the film later on down the road. I guess we all have different kind of habits when watching films.

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