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Fashions of 1934 (1934)

Sherwood Nash is a swindler who bootlegs Paris fashions for sale at cut-rate prices. His assistant Lynn poses as An American interested in a dress and Snap conceals a camera in his cane. ... See full summary »

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

F. Hugh Herbert (screen play), Carl Erickson (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Powell ... Sherwood Nash
Bette Davis ... Lynn Mason
Frank McHugh ... Snap
Hugh Herbert ... Joe Ward
Verree Teasdale ... Mabel McGuire aka The Duchess
Reginald Owen ... Oscar Baroque
Henry O'Neill ... Duryea
Phillip Reed ... Jimmy
Gordon Westcott ... Harry Brent
Dorothy Burgess ... Glenda
Etienne Girardot ... Glass
William Burress William Burress ... Feldman
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Van Tyle
Spencer Charters ... Man Removing Telephone
George Humbert George Humbert ... Caponelli
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Storyline

Sherwood Nash is a swindler who bootlegs Paris fashions for sale at cut-rate prices. His assistant Lynn poses as An American interested in a dress and Snap conceals a camera in his cane. When they try to steal the latest Baroque designs hidden cameras capture them. Threat and counterthreat lead to the suggestion of putting on a legitimate show. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

14 February 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El altar de la moda See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Eula Gay' is in studio records for the role "Cook" but does not appear in the movie. See more »


Soundtracks

My Man
(Mon Homme)
Music by Maurice Yvain
French lyrics by Albert Willemetz and Jacques Charles
English lyrics by Channing Pollock
Performed by Phillip Reed
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Early Bette Davis treasure
31 July 2009 | by NYLuxSee all my reviews

This amusing concoction is worth the money because of two dyed blonds and one extravagant, divine musical number. The bleached Bette Davis as a fashion designer smitten with the antics of professional crook William Powell, who appears too well dressed and polite to be totally believable in the job. Bette actually manages to look great as an ornamental sidekick to Powell, but underneath the determined designer girl we can detect the power house that will culminate in her unsurpassed rendition of Queen Elizabeth with Errol Fllynn years later.

The second bleached blonde is Verree Teasdale who plays a fake Russian grand-duchess from Newark, NJ, who not only manages a phony accent and some extraordinary clothes and jewels for every scene, but has also managed to convince "Baroque" the king of Parisian fashion that she is the real thing and worth marrying, this feat alone deserves an Oscar, at the very least.

Drag-Queens beware: This is an undiscovered treasure performance,that can give enough material for a national tour show, including her musical name itself which is a cocktail of sound effects: How many Es can you squeeze in one word? Her off-key, fluffy delivery of the lyric to the song "Spin a Little Web of Dreams" has all the components for a drag anthem, in any language, and huge cross over potential as impromptu cabaret number. The 'Broadway Follies" sequence itself, directed by Busby Berkeley, is the other real reason to watch this film. For one thing, this scene has illustrated the cover of that most necessary book on film : "Holywood Babylon" and although there is absolutely nothing Babylonian about it, except perhaps the excess of ostrich feathers, there is a horde of platinum blonds festooned with endless variations on the 'white ostrich feathers fan motif' moving and dancing in hypnotic coordination. Some are actually part of the harps that others play, they curve at the harp's end like the wooden sculptures of sail vessels for a fetish-furniture look that is perfection. The scene includes an overhead shot that demonstrates the complex flower patterns that can be achieved with all this female trouble.

There is also a fashion show. This one obviously influenced Cukor's in "The Women" when all those nice ladies go to 'Fraks', but is actually much better. For one thing we see a painting before the model comes out wearing an adaptation of the design. The first one is Cardinal Richelieu, followed by a model wearing an evening gown inspired on his cape, but the others are more generic of different periods, the adaptations are all very 30's and all considerably better than that weird stuff out of Halloween that comes out in "The Women" as supposedly 'haute couture'. In the movie itself, Bette had discovered that Baroque was buying old books on fashion to inspire his designs, so we know it was her idea to develop that into a fashion- show-extravaganza, and she watches it approvingly from what looks like an opera box, opera glasses in hand. That shot catches her in a more regal pose than the grand-duchess could muster through the film in its entirety, and the impact of that image puts all those ostrich-fan bearers in perspective too: this woman is no one's ornament and she sure could be a queen anytime she wanted to.

This movie is a most for Bette Davis fans, musical comedy lovers and all those interested in the historical development of camp. Highly recommended!


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