For any fan of old movies, especially those of Warner Brothers, the name of "Orry-Kelly" is as familiar to us as Bette Davis, Max Steiner, Michael Curtiz. Yet, in watching this documentary about one of the most legendary of the grand studio wardrobe designers, we never once see an image of this iconic wardrobe pioneers until the very end, where he bounds up to the stage on Academy Awards night to accept an Oscar for "Some Like It Hot." Throughout the movie, we're told how impish, out-spoken, talented he is, that he developed a serious drinking problem which eventually got him fired from Warner Brothers but we never actually see Orry-Kelly during his heyday. Surely there are hundreds of photos, if not film footage, of this fascinating and very out gay pioneer.
What irritated me to no end were the endless shots of this designer in a row-boat, beating his oars against the waves. Over and over again. What did this mean? More film time is wasted with insertion shots of someone playing Orry-Kelly's mother who reads letters and pontificates about her son and which serves no purpose to advancing the story of the subject.
It is certainly no news that he and Cary Grant were rommmates for several years and they probably had a romantic relationship. Grant, although outwardly affectionate to his boyfriend, Randolph Scott, during his early years in Hollywood became ultra-closeted when a studio head warned him about the gossip of the two being more than buddies and so Grant, according to this documentary, became rabidly closeted and refused to have anything to do with Orry-Kelly until the very end of their lives when they reconciled.
I wanted to see more of the actual working conditions and the actual dresses created by Orry-Kelly. The actor who portrayed the designer was highly irritating and there were more wasted minutes on him reflecting on his life throughout.
Much more could have been done to illuminate one of old Hollywood's true pioneers who stood with the great clothes designer of that era--like Adrian, Edith Head, Walter Plunkett.