Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grace: Effortless elegance of form, manner, motion...

The very definition of the word grace describes the lady that was born on November 12, 1929, Grace Patricia Kelly. Even her middle name conveys her presence. Patricia is from the word patrician meaning a person of refined upbringing, manners, and tastes. She carried her name well even down to the white gloves that she was known for wearing. You might remember that until the late 1950's and early 60's a lady was expected to wear them for most occasions though in Hollywood that was mostly ignored[1]. This post is not a biography of Princess Grace of Monaco but merely a look at some of the clothes she wore in one of her films.

The following photos are from Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. I suppose you could call it a comedy-mystery, but the film is mostly a visual delight. Filmed in beautiful Monaco on the Riviera, starring two beautiful people, and displaying a glamorous wardrobe designed by the renown Edith Head, there was much to like.

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There has been a series of jewel burglaries in Monaco and John Robie (Cary Grant), unbeknownst to some as an ex cat burglar, has become the prime suspect of the authorities. However the insurance representative with Lloyds of London trusts that Robie is innocent and decides to help him catch the real thief. The casino is filled with vacationing, wealthy people, many of whom are draped in expensive jewelry. The lovely, demur, rich, and cool Frances (Grace Kelly), her mother, and the insurance rep. meet Robie, a debonair, and handsome man who is now pretending to be a Mr. Burns from the state of Oregon, USA. Within a few hours Francie's iciness begins to melt toward Robie and the screen begins to heat up a bit.


The viewers know that Francie first noticed Robie earlier on the beach when she was sunbathing, but for the time being the viewers do not know just how much she observed.

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For the casino scenes Miss Kelly wears this two-tone blue evening gown with spaghetti straps. The scarf is a separate accessory.

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The following morning Francie and Mr. Burns are off to the beach for a morning of sun and swim. She is wearing capris with a white skirt over wrap. At the beach Robie reluctantly introduces her to a young French girl who matches Francie in verbal warfare. Perhaps Francie has a rival.

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the costume sketch by Edith Head
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In her flowing, pink pleated skirt and pink and white blouse, Francie takes Mr. Burns on a wild ride in her sports car. As she is speeding and swerving dangerously close to the edge of the corniche over looking the Riviera, Mr. Burns is becoming fearful for his life. She proudly tells him that she knows he is Robie the infamous jewel thief, and she intends to work with him. Apparently she finds him and what danger there might be alluring. Yes, she is the little rich heiress looking for excitement.




Francie in her beautiful white evening gown and sparkling necklace does her best to entice Robie.

I think the script writers had a lot of fun with the double entendres and fireworks in this scene.

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However, when she awakes the next morning and finds her mother's jewels stolen she becomes furious with Robie and calls the police to alert them of his whereabouts. Of course when they arrive he cannot be found.

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The trusting Lloyds of London employee and her mother convince Francie of his innocence and a plot is formed to catch the thief at the masquerade ball soon to be held.

If you could weave liquid gold into shimmering fabric Kelly's ball gown might possibly be the result.

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The ball is over, but how did it really end?

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Does the plan work or do the police catch Robie, convinced that he is the thief?
Does Francie win this man with the dark past or does the French girl steal him away?
Who is this French girl anyway?
Is this all an Alfred Hitchcock twist and Robie really is the cat burglar?
Could it be, to everyone's surprise, that there is more gold in Francie's ball gown, than there is in the stolen jewelry?


If you have not seen this film, or you have forgotten the story but are interested, maybe you would like to get the video and a bucket of popcorn and enjoy a couple of hours.










In this video are clips from a few of Kelly's other films that I thought you might enjoy and more from To Catch a Thief which by now you have probably seen.










credits:
1.quoting director Fred Zinnemann's about Grace’s gloves http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,866063,00.html

photo credits:
1. http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReview/tocatchathief.htm
2. http://community.livejournal.com/gracedaily/61085.html?thread=175005
3. http://community.livejournal.com/gracedaily/61085.html?thread=175005
4. http://styleminstrel.blogspot.com/2009_05_13_archive.html
5. http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/53138334.html
6. http://www.foxylicious.co.nz/post/2009/04/07/To-Catch-A-Thief.aspx
7. http://thegreatredression.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/to-catch-a-thief-wearing-ferragamo/
8. http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReview/tocatchathief.htm
9. http://educatedpony.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/to-catch-a-thief/
10. http://www.hitchcockwiki.com/wiki/Hitchcock_Gallery:_image_2881
11. http://enchantedvintageclothing.com/vintage-designer-history-edith-head/
with Creative Common Licence
12. http://www.foxylicious.co.nz/post/2009/04/07/To-Catch-A-Thief.aspx
13. http://www.impawards.com/1955/to_catch_a_thief_ver2.html

13 comments:

  1. I had never stopped to focus on the clothes, but they are utterly elegant, and such a contrast to the sloppy leisurewear on the streets nowadays.

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  2. What beautiful pictures. My mom and I loved Princess Grace's movies. She was so wonderfully elegant!

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  3. One of the classic movies of all eras, and Grace Kelly is simply one of a kind. Women may adore and try to imitate her, but she can not be cloned. What a gift she was to Monaco!

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  4. A Beautiful Post! Grace Kelly was such a true elegant beauty. Thanks for sharing! Hugs Tee

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  5. I love that very classic look! It's so elegant and timeless. Very fun!

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  6. Oh Mya! I adore Grace Kelly and especially in 'To Catch A Thief'. Fabulous post, thanks so much for bringing her back to my attention. Lovely.

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  7. it sounds so intriguing Maya...I've never seen this movie...but it looks so good and Grace Kelly is beautiful...and her outfits....superb

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  8. Thanks for sharing! What a classic beauty! xo

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  9. Grace Kelly has always been one of my favourites, thanks for this and the memories. Diane

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  10. Oh ! She was so beautiful.I can see how a prince fell in love with her.

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  11. Hi -

    I noticed you on Stan's blog and was inspired to visit yours.

    Wow! These are some great classic shots.
    Such class in photo form.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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