Pivoting around the lively Truvy Jones' Louisiana beauty parlour, a tightly-knit band of friends, confront griefs, loss, life's unforeseen tragedies and heartaches with what they do best: gossiping and sharing. The spirited diabetic and bride-to-be, Shelby; her always supportive mother, M'Lynn; Truvy's gawky assistant, Annelle; the city's curmudgeon, Ouiser; and the town's former first lady, Clairee, are the warm Southern belles who know how to survive life's challenges with their unwavering friendship. But when Shelby decides to conceive, things will turn upside down..Written by
Decorator Lee Poll purchased six gross orders of artificial magnolia blossoms which the greens department tied to all the location magnolia trees' umbrella heads. Producer Ray Stark and director Herbert Ross never spared expenses in their filming plans for the Natchitoches "Steel Magnolias" location filming. During a preliminary location scout with production designer Gene Callahan, Ross declared "we need more old oak shade trees planted to shade our lady actors!" The production designer returned to the art department, announcing "Herbert needs some oak trees planted in Truvy's yard. About six! Order them!" Gene's art director Hub Braden began the search for "old oak trees" with enough top shape to shade the entire location house for Truvy's exterior beauty shop side yard. After a week, Braden reported finding the trees was an easy job, a source in Atlanta, Georgia. Discovering another nursery tree source located near Dallas, Texas, that had the six "old oak trees" costing $35,000 each, guaranteed by the nursery to survive the move and transplanting. Transporting the trees for transplanting was easy, which included highway permits from both Texas and Louisiana State highway divisions. Oak trees have a life cycle of nine hundred years; three hundred years of growth, three hundred years dormancy, the final three hundred years to die. The movie's production offices had taken over the University's grammar school facility, with producer Ray Stark using the Principal's office as his office. Stark, completely aware of Herbert's demand for shade trees, was with Herbert in his production office when Gene joined their private conference meeting, discussing filming plans including the shade tree request. In exasperation, Gene yelled, "You both are just plain CRAZY" and departed their meeting. Returning to the art department office, Gene had decided, announcing, "Kill the six three-hundred-year-old oak trees." See more »
When Jackson sneaks through the window to see Shelby (in the adjoining bath in the tub) the view through the window is clear, but as Shelby pushes Jackson back to the window, the shade has now been drawn. See more »
"Steel magnolias" is a chronicle of a small circle of friends .The actresses get the lion's share ,which has become unusual ;that alone is cause for celebration,mainly when the cast includes a grumpy sullen Shirley McLaine who overplays as hell,Sally -never without my daughter-Field,A holier-than- thou but good -hearted Daryl Hannah wearing horrible glasses ,a very young Julia Roberts who was more endearing than she is now in such parts as "Brockovich" and of course Dolly Parton -too bad she does not sing-.
The dramatic plot -Shelby's illness- is kept to the minimum,at least in the first hour.Then when the tragedy strikes,Herbert Ross avoids pathos and melodrama (it's not the return of Douglas Sirk).And the last scene is wonderful,Easter meaning a renaissance .As usual,Georges Delerue's score superbly enhances the film :he's so good a musician that even when the movie bores you (Godard's "le mépris" for instance,as far as I'm concerned),his tuneful work survives.
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