Fashions of 1934
name = Fashions of 1934
image_size = 200
caption = theatrical poster
writer = Story:
F. Hugh Herbert
William Powell Bette Davis Frank McHugh Hugh Herbert
Sammy Fain"(music)" Irving Kahal"(lyrics)"
editing = Jack Killifer
runtime = 78 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
imdb_id = 0025101
"Fashions of 1934" is a 1934 American
musical comedy filmdirected by William Dieterlewith musical numbers created and directed by Busby Berkeley. The screenplayby F. Hugh Herbert and Carl Ericksonwas based on the story "The Fashion Plate" by Harry Collins and Warren Duff. The film stars William Powell, Bette Davis, Hugh Herbertand Frank McHugh, and has songs by Sammy Fain(music) and Irving Kahal(lyrics).
When the Manhattan investment firm of Sherwood Nash (
William Powell) goes broke, he joins forces with his partner Snap ( Frank McHugh) and fashion designer Lynn Mason ( Bette Davis) to provide discount shops with cheap copies of Paris couturedresses. Lynn discovers that top designer Oscar Baroque ( Reginald Owen) gets his inspiration from old costumebooks, and she begins to create designs the same way, signing each one with the name of an established designer.
Sherwood realizes Baroque's companion, the alleged
Grand DuchessAlix ( Verree Teasdale), is really Mabel McGuire, his old friend from Hoboken, New Jersey, and threatens to reveal her identity unless she convinces Baroque to design the costumes of a musical revuein which she will star. Baroque buys a supply of ostrich feathers from Sherwood's crony Joe Ward ( Hugh Herbert) and starts a fashion rage.
Sherwood then opens Maison Elegance, a new Paris fashion house that's a great success until Baroque discovers Lynn is forging his sketches. He has him arrested, but Sherwood convinces the police to give him time to straighten out the situation. He crashes Baroque and Alix's wedding and promises to humiliate the designer by publicly revealing who is bride really is unless Baroque withdraws the charges. The designer agrees and purchases Maison Elegance from Sherwood, who assures Lynn he'll never get involved in another illegal activity if she returns to America with him.
William Powellas "Sherwood Nash"
Bette Davisas "Lynn Mason"
Frank McHughas "Snap"
Reginald Owenas "Oscar Baroque"
Verree Teasdaleas "Grand Duchess Alix"
Hugh Herbertas "Joe Ward"
Henry O'Neillas "Duryea"
*Phillip Reed as "Jimmy Blake"
Gordon Westcottas "Harry Brent"
Dorothy Burgessas "Glenda"
*Etienne Girardot as "Glass"
*William Burress as "Feldman"
Nella Walkeras "Mrs. Van Tyle"
Spencer Chartersas "Man removing telephone"
*George Humbert as "Caponelli"
*Frank Darien as "Jules"
*Harry Beresford as "Paris bookseller"
Arthur Treacher, appearing in his fourth Hollywood film, played his first part as a butler, a role he was to play many times in his long career. [IMDB [http://imdb.com/name/nm0871546/ Arthur Treacher] ]
With this film,
Warner Bros.chief Jack Warnertried to change Bette Davis' screen persona by putting her in a platinum blonde wigand false eyelashes and dressing her in glamorous costumes. The actress, who had been trying to convince the studio head to loan her to RKO so she could portray slatternly waitress Mildred Rogers in "Of Human Bondage", was appalled at the transformation, complaining they were trying to turn her into Greta Garbo["The Lonely Life" by Bette Davis, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1962, pg. 173] . In an interview with " Photoplay" editor Kathryn Dougherty, she complained, "I can't get out of these awful ruts. They just won't take me seriously. Look at me in this picture - all done up like a third-rate imitation of the MGMglamour queens. That isn't me. I'll never be a clothes horse or romantic symbol." [Lorraine LoBianco [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=3830&category=Articles "Fashions of 1934" TCM article] ] To Gerald Clarke of "Time" she lamented, "I looked like somebody dressed up in mother's clothes. But it was a great break because I learned from the experience. I never let them do that to me again. Ever!" [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,923967-2,00.html "Just a Dame from New England" by Gerald Clarke, "Time", April 14, 1980] ]
Working titles for the film, which was filmed at Warner Bros. Burbank studios in 1933, were "King of Fashion" and "Fashion Follies of 1934". Warners listed writers
Gene Markeyand Katherine Scola as having adapted the original story that was the basis of the film, but according to the the Screen Writers Guildthey had nothing to do with the film. [TCM [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=3830&category=Notes Notes] ]
The film's musical numbers included "Spin a Little Web of Dreams" and "Broken Melody" by
Sammy Fainand Irving Kahaland "Mon Homme (My Man)" by Maurice Yvain, Albert Willemetz, and Jacques Charles.
New York Times" described it as "a brisk show" and added, "The story is lively, the gowns are interesting and the Busby Berkeley spectacles with Hollywood dancing girls are impressive . . . William Dieterle, that expert director who has been responsible for several imaginative pictures, does well by this particular production." [ [http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D0DE3DF113DE33ABC4851DFB766838F629EDE "New York Times" review] ]
"Variety" called it "a bit far-fetched and inconsistent . . . but it has color, flash, dash, class, girls and plenty of clothes . . . Just why and how Bette Davis enters the picture never quite rings true." [ [http://www2.variety.com/ref.asp?u=IMDB&p=H2BE&sid=VE1117790843 "Variety" review] ]
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