I’m sure you Bitey-ites know 1939 was a HUGE year for classic films. Historians and film buffs alike call it "The Greatest Year in film history," and If you don’t know this, shame on you. How could you possibly miss The Wizard of Oz? Gone With the Wind? Mr Smith Goes to Washington? The Women? Have you been living in a cave on a Pacific desert isle with a beaded Tom Hanks and a soccer ball named Wilson?
Trust me when I say, 1939 was a stellar year for cinema and a brilliant year for underwear too–maybe not in the same way as 1934, when, in It Happened One Night, Clark Gable took off his button-down shirt to reveal a bare chest. That’s right Dear Mr. Gable wasn’t wearing–gasp–an undershirt! and that little moment in film caused the bottom to fall out of the t-shirt industry. If you don’t believe me check out this link to TIME in 1970:
Yes indeedy-do, look who knows so much. Now, back to the matter at hand;1939 and ladies lingerie.
Now, the other night, and I have no idea what possessed me to do it because frankly, Meg Ryan looks as if her face is made of moulded plastic, and that alone should have skeert me off, but because I loved director George Cukor’s1939’s Norma Shearer/Joan Fontaine/Joan Crawford/IPaulette Goddard/ Rosalind Russell (Oh, I love, love LOVE Rosalind Russell) bitch-fest, I happened to watch the 2008 Diane English remake of The Women. I figured it would be great for my PhD research, as it starred a slew of amazing actresses over 40. Despite Meg Ryan’s Bakelite face (why Meg, why?!), with actresses like Annette Benning, Debra Messing, Bette Midler and Candace Bergen and Cloris Leachman (watch The Last Picture Show right now to see how fine and beautiful an actress Cloris is), I expected something wonderful. What I got was…Well, let’s put it like this:
Clark Gable took off his shirt and instead of a bare chest all I got was a sweat-stained t-shirt that said, I‘m with Stupid.
Bear with me for a moment. I’ll get to the lingerie bit in a sec, yet before I do, let me tell you about my New Year’s resolution. I’m not one who usually makes an NYR, but I did this year. I’m trying to find something good in everything I do and everything I’m exposed to. While the 2008 version of The Women was disappointing, I have to admit that the white bustier Meg Ryan wore in the scene where she confronts the "Perfume bitch" who’s having an affair with her husband, was a probably the nicest bustier I’ve ever seen. But it’s not as nice as the frilly lingerie the ladies wore in the 1939 version. That stuff was amazing! It cinched and showed off and made those women look wonderfully womanly
Yet, as lovely as that lingerie was, it’s nowhere near as pretty as the pale pink silk robe I got in 1993 from Victoria’s Secret–when they were making lovely, soft, romantic lingerie based on 1930s and 40s vintage style. it is quite simply The Most Beautiful Robe In The World, or for those of you who aren’t Shrinky or Noolie Poolie, The MBRITW. With one silk-covered button strategically placed, it shows off my figure the way lingerie is supposed to. Whisper light, diaphanous, it falls softly around my ankles. The photo of Barbara Stanwyck up there, in the corner, she’s wearing something close to what I’m trying to describe, yet failing miserably. Trust me. It’s THE most beautiful robe in the world. IIn fact, it’s such a beautiful robe, I bet it could have saved the remake of The Women.
Well, maybe not. But it gives me an idea. I have a suggestion for Hollywood (one that goes hand in hand with making better romantic comedies). Instead of remaking classic films that still hold their own 71 years later, remake the lingerie!