2 items from 2015
A performative exploration of Australia’s own Orry-Kelly, perhaps most infamously known as Cary Grant’s lover, Women He’s Undressed is a playful look at the man behind the costumes worn by Marilyn Monroe, Betty Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Rosalind Russell, and Errol Flynn, amongst other legends of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The film’s story is told via an electrifying mix of first-person interviews, performances of Orry-Kelly’s letters, and archival materials, including clips from his films Some Like It Hot, The Maltese Falcon, Les Girls, and Arsenic and Old Lace.
The film’s charms exist in the performative elements contextualized amongst the film’s interviewees. Director Gillian Armstrong (known for her narrative films Little Women and Oscar and Lucinda) paints a picture partially routed in national pride, about a small town boy from rural New South Wales who makes good in Hollywood. The fragmented nature of the narrative »
- John Fink
Nothing against production designer Ross Wallace, but if a documentary film needs a production designer at all, it’s a sure sign something’s afoot. Such is the case with “Women He’s Undressed,” the first film in five years from Gillian Armstrong, whose 1979 feature debut, “My Brilliant Career” was a defining moment in the Australian New Wave. An illuminating and involving portrait of the prolific, Down Under-born and Oscar-winning costume designer Orry-Kelly, whose crowning achievement was that gravity-defying gown Marilyn Monroe fills out admirably in Billy Wilder’s “Some Like it Hot,” the film overstays its welcome by punctuating his story with ill-advised dramatic fantasy sequences that are meant to illustrate the anguish of a gay man in mid-century America, but come across as heavy-handed and mean-spirited. Armchair Hollywood historians and fans of the artist’s films will be drawn to the subject, but in the end it feels »
- Eddie Cockrell
2 items from 2015
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