And now for something completely different! Thanks to the immensely nice people at Invaluable.com, I was inspired to write about what movie props I would like to see at an auction. Now, this is such an interesting aspect of movie making – set design (AKA movie props). Most of the time you never even noticed them, but upon repeated viewings of a movie, it becomes clear just how vital they are to the film making process. While they can’t save a bad movie with a thin plot or stereotypical characters, they can elevate a mediocre one or make a very good movie a classic! So, let us never underestimate set design again!
The list of props I want to see is very, veery long, and I could even write an additional post or two about it some day, but I said to myself: Limit! Limit! And here it is, the top five props!
Anyway, Before I start, take a look at the Invaluable web site – any lover of beautiful things will find himself in paradise! I enjoyed browsing the site very much, and hopefully everybody can find something they admire. They even have a part devoted to movie props, of which the most famous was Han Solo’s blaster from the Star Wars original trilogy 🙂
Now, on to my list! The 5 things I want to see in an auction:
1. The throne/lip couch from Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Let me tell you, I ADORE Tim Curry. I consider him one of the ultimate talents of the 20th and 21st centuries. And well, Rocky is a staple for all Tim Curry fans. It’s a weird but incredibly deep and profound movie (and so much more, but you have to watch it to understand why I like it so much and why I like Curry even more!). Plus, if you like glam rock, welcome to the movie that started it all!!!! Rocky all the way!!! The famous lip couch is of course a derivation of the even more famous Salvador Dali’s Mae West lip couch. In the movie he has a less extravagant throne, but you get the picture!
The lip couch version:
Watch the clip here (this is the scene that started it all for me!):
2. The chess set from Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Whoa, this is one steaming hot scene, and the chess piece is the KEY! Yep, when you have Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in a hot clinch, you somehow tend to forget that there is anything else, but it all started with a simple chess piece. Watch the clip here:
What more is there to say? They don’t make them like this any more! I love, love, love this movie (the remake, from 1999, with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, is good but it’s a fun and stylish caper and nothing more, while this version goes much deeper – if you watch it several times, you’ll notice it’s more about human unfulfillment and existential crisis than the bank robbing and the stylish clothes) and it remains one of my all time favorites. The role of Thomas Crown is also one of the best roles McQueen ever gave to the movie world. Also great for fans of unusual love stories (like me).
3. The paintings from Indiscreet (1958)
I saw a post about the usage of art in Indiscreet on the superb blog, the Art of Film (http://theartofilm.blogspot.com/2013/05/modern-art-masterpieces-in-indiscreet.html), and went to re watch the movie to capture some of the paintings. And, was I impressed! Set designers looked for pieces by Picasso, Roualt, John Piper and Raoul Dufy. For any fan of modern art, this is absolutely drool worthy and I am no exception. Yep, I have to say I am far from being a modern art connoisseur (it’s on my bucket list), but the pieces are stunning even for my crass taste! Of course, it’s hard to see them in the first viewing but repeated viewing of this guilty pleasure movie will open you a whole new dimension to what you thought was a simple rom-com with great stars. And great actors they were: Cary Grant and Ingrid Berman are wonderful matched, and the costume design is divine. Recommended!
4. The mandolin from Dream Wife (1953)
I only recently watched this movie, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The critics buried the movie along with some viewers, but for me, it’s a classical Stanley Donen, an elegant and funny romp more than worth your time.
The prop that caught my attention was the mandolin princess Tarji plays to Cary Grant’s character, her future husband, in order to “enchant” him. And boy, did she enchant me! The poem she is singing is by Omar Khayyam, one of the best poets that ever lived (and author of the famous Rubaiyat), and the singer dubbing for Betta St. John (who plays Tarji) has such an incredibly alluring voice. It was my favorite scene in the movie and it stayed with me for a long time afterwards. A big plus is that the leading lady is my absolute favorite actress, Deborah Kerr.
Watch the trailer:
5. Golden cigarette holder from Come Fly with me (1963)
One of the “Three girls looking for husbands” genre of movies, this time the leading trio are Pan Am stewardesses. I won’t spoil it but the innocent golden cigarette holder is a major plot point in this fun movie. Yes, it’s also not rated highly by the critics, but Dolores Hart and her performance as the sharp-as-a-razor, cynical air stewardess just blew me of! Pamela Tiffin is the usual boring dull-head as the second stewardess, and Lois Nettleton good enough as the normal third stewardess. But the man are very interesting in the movie. Imagine: Hugh O’Brian (hunky!), Karlheinz Bohm (royal!) and Karl Malden (old school chauvinist!). While it’s not a masterpiece, I consider it a worthwhile early 1960s comedy. Here is the golden cigarette holder:
Watch the trailer here:
This is it! Until next time!!!