Friday, December 18, 2015

Fashion Friday #6: The Woman In Fashion

In 1949, Doris Langley Moore published The Woman In Fashion. This book featured clothing and accessories from Moore's private collection covering the years 1800 to 1927. Moore gathered several famous ladies (actresses, ballerinas, society ladies, editors and opera singers) to model her collection. Some of the models for the book included: Rachel Kempson- with her daughters Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave, Googie Withers, Margot Fonteyn, Beatrice Lillie, Sally Ann Howes and of course, Vivien Leigh.

Doris Langley Moore
Doris Elizabeth Langley Moore came into this world on July 23rd, 1902. One internet bio of Moore states that she grew up in South Africa and returned to England in the early 1920s. She became a fashion collector and historian, scholar, author, Lord Byron authority, co-founder of the Costume Society, wife and mother.

Ms. Moore founded the Museum of Costume in Bath (now known as The Fashion Museum), in 1963, though she'd been planning a fashion museum for decades. In an interview she gave in 1938, Moore said that at the end of each year, she was putting away at least two dresses (evening and day), with accessories, for her future museum. Her idea behind doing this was so that people of the next century may have a perfect picture of changing fashions, year by year.

Below are the descriptions of the dresses that Vivien wears in The Woman In Fashion. The descriptions are quoted directly from the book.

From 1877,  here's the first dress modeled by Vivien Leigh in The Woman In Fashion:

This bottle green gabardine tunic, trimmed with intricate embroidery and coloured fringe and worn over a black half trained skirt was the beginning of my collection. Bought in Paris by a woman accustomed to spend substantial sums on dress, it was preserved among family relics until it ultimately made its way into my possession.  The dress... is buttoned nearly all the way down, a style which was revived -in very different shape- during the First World War under the name of the coat frock. In the eighteen-seventies it was called the matinee and was described in The Ladies' Treasury as the proper costume worn when ladies enter the billiard room for the purpose of playing billiards or bagatelle.


It has sleeves of comfortable width, terminating a little above the wrist, but lengthened in this case by a black chiffon frill, pleated and ruched, which falls over the hand. The neck-line... is fairly high, but not, as in the years to come, actually covering the neck. The future trend is indicated, however, by the black velvet ribbon on which hangs a locket. The bustle has greatly diminished in size. A mere pad now suffices to effect the desired protuberance.

The little round topped hat, worn towards the back of the head has a straw crown and a turned up satin brim. By a compensatory impulse, the forehead was invariably more or less covered with a fringe. Aesthetic ladies had their fringes cut straight and despised curling tongs, but almost no one committed the defiance of completely exposing the forehead.


From 1883:

We see in this gold coloured brocade evening dress the last phase in the transition between the tied back costume and the revival of the large bustle....

The back drapery of Miss Leigh's dress is lined with gold satin, and a kilting of the same material appears at the bottom of the skirt between the deep indentations of the satin bound border.  The front drapery is of lace in a dark yellow shade, and is drawn up a la blanchisseuse or a las laveuse [washerwomen].


The bodice is laced down the entire back opening, surely the most inconvenient of all nineteenth century modes, for it meant that the dress could not by any possibility be fastened except with a second person's assistance, and even then not rapidly.

The decolletage is of very moderate depth and is square in shape. There is a trimming matching that of the skirt. The lace covered sleeves reach to the elbow- a length that wouldn't have been permissible with full evening dress a few years earlier.

The fan is of an entirely new design recalling a very old one, and is made of the natural feathers of the scarlet ibis set off by white swansdown and a humming bird.


From 1898:

A black velvet jacket, relieved with white and embroidered handsomely with steel beads and a half-trained black broche skirt appropriately trimmed make a carriage toilette suitable for visits of ceremony. A certain sense of formality is conveyed by the sable and velvet bonnet, now a little suggestive of ancien regime. The bonnet was, in fact, persistently worn, after it was otherwise outmoded, by those who sustained the character of grande dame.


To judge from the prevalence of lorgnettes in the smartest nineties fashion plates, they were sometimes used rather as an attribute of stateliness-- a counterblast to the undignified modern sporting girl- than through any epidemic of myopia.

The Woman In Fashion is a lovely book for those interested in fashion. The book is 184 pages in length, containing 108 black & white illustrations and one color illustration.


A list of other works, fiction and non-fiction, by Moore:
All Done By Kindness
The Child in Fashion
The Technique of the Love Affair
Pleasure: A Discursive Guide Book
My Caravaggio Style
Marie and the Duke of H
Fashion through Fashion Plates, 1771-1970
The Museum of Costume Assembly Rooms Bath, Guide to the Exhibition and A Commentary on the Trends of Fashion
E. Nesbit: A Biography
The Great Byron Adventure
The Late Lord Byron
The Late Lord Byron: Posthumous Dramas
Lord Byron
Lord Byron Accounts Rendered
Ada, Countess of Lovelace
Pandora's Letter-Box: Being a Discourse on Fashionable Life
The Pleasure of Your Company: a Textbook of Hospitality, co-authored with June Langley Moore
The Vulgar Heart: an enquiry into the sentimental tendencies of public opinion
Doris Langley Moore's Book of Scraps: New Verses for Old Pictures
A Game of Snakes and Ladders
Not At Home
The Quest (a ballet)
Carlotta Grisi by Serge Lifar, translated by Moore
Gallery of fashion 1790-1822 from plates by Heideloff and Ackermann (contributor)
Victorian Jewellery by Margaret Flower with a contributing chapter by Moore





Friday, November 27, 2015

Fashion Friday #5: A Yank At Oxford

In 1938, Vivien Leigh co-starred in A Yank At Oxford with Robert Taylor and Maureen O'Sullivan. Vivien, as the second female lead, played the very flirtatious wife of the local (and older than her) book-seller at Oxford. As Elsa Craddock, Vivien stirs things up for the local collegians, which includes Robert Taylor's character, Lee Sheridan. Lee is a brash, cocky, young American who triumphs sportswise over the other young men at Oxford. Maureen O'Sullivan plays Molly Beaumont, Robert Taylor's love interest and sister of his athletic rival.


The clothes for A Yank At Oxford were designed by Swiss designer, Rene Hubert. Ultimately, Rene would work as costume designer on four of Vivien's movies, Fire Over England, Dark Journey, Yank and That Hamilton Woman. He designed costumes for well over a hundred movies during his long career and received two Oscar nominations for his work. His first nomination was in 1954 for Desiree (color) and his second came ten years later in 1964 for The Visit (black & white). In addition to movies, Mr. Hubert also designed stage sets and costumes for plays and revues.


The first outfit we'll look at today is this lovely three-piece, plaid ensemble. The jacket is black tweed with the lapels and pockets trimmed in a black and yellow plaid design. The skirt is also made from tweed with the same plaid pattern as the jacket's trimmings in black and yellow. Even the gloves didn't escape Rene's attention with their plaid undersides.


One of the perks of playing 'the other woman,' in a movie from the 1930s, is that the actress usually gets to wear flashier clothes than the film's good girl. We can see that's the case with Vivien's character, Elsa, in her fur-trimmed ensemble, pictured below.


Vivien wears a smart, green, wool outfit that coordinates perfectly with her gloves and chin-strapped hat . The dress features ocelot fur-covered lapels and cuffs at the sleeves' end. The fur travels from the lapels up to the shoulders, then down the dress' backside to the waist as pictured below. One magazine referred to this as a cape effect. (Side note: Seriously, ocelots are so cute that I can't even believe anyone would use them for their fur. Even though they're part of the leopard family, they're only slightly bigger than domesticated house cats.)


Next up is this lovely cream coat, made from twilled fabric. The coat is stitched in dark brown silk and fastened with three wood grained buttons in the same shade. The coat is worn over an underdress of brown crepe de chine, tied at the neck with a bow. Bags, gloves and shoes are in the same shade of brown, the suede shoes trimmed with corded silk. The hat is cream felt to match the coat with dark brown stitching for trimming (San Bernardino County Paper). Crepe de Chine is a light material, usually made from silk.


Maureen O'Sullivan played the main female lead in A Yank At Oxford. Rene Hubert created fourteen costumes for her to wear in the movie. From the MGM publicity department: Here is Maureen in a neat, practical ensemble for the young undergraduette about Oxford. Skirt and coatee are in fine brown wool, with an attractive masculine feature in the brown check tweed waistcoat; imitation pockets are piped in brown wool and buttons are covered in brown wool. Shirt, collar, tie and cuffs are in an off-white pique, with shoes in brown suede.


Below, Maureen wears a two-piece outfit designed for her character, Molly, when she's off campus. The fitted, slender skirt features three inch slits on each side and is made from medium blue, wool cloque. Cloque is a woven material with a textured or quilted look, which came into popularity in the late 1930s.


The form-fitting jacket zips up in the front and is also made from wool cloque, with front and back panels of dark blue velvet. The jacket's pockets are trimmed in a medium blue, while the collar, tie and zipper covering are of pale blue pique.


I don't have any close-up pictures of Vivien and Maureen's shoes as they all come out too blurry when I enlarge them. I do have these two vintage ads for shoes from 1938, which I absolutely love since they're in color.


The shoes in the bottom right, with the eight open-holes, are similar to a pair that Vivien wears in the movie, minus the buckle straps. Other shoes from the movie feature ties and bows. If any of today's shoemakers were to produce a vintage line of shoes like these from 1938, I'd be first in line for them.


Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!
~Michelle





Friday, November 13, 2015

Fashion Friday #4: Shakespeare's 400th Birthday

To mark William Shakespeare's 400th birthday in 1964, Vivien Leigh and her good friend, Robert Helpmann, attended an outdoor celebration for the Bard. The party took place on an overcast day at the partially finished Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.


In addition to Robert Helpmann, Vivien was joined by Michael Redgrave (who would star in the theater's opening play,  A Month In The Country with Ingrid Bergman, in 1965) and Diana Wynyard, (who sadly passed away from kidney failure three weeks after this picture was taken).

For this special occasion, Vivien chose to wear a hot pink, two piece outfit. The boxy shaped jacket featured five buttons down the front, pocket flaps and side buttons. Vivien accented her outfit with a fur stole around her neck, gloves and a black velvet hair band a la Alice In Wonderland.

Michael Redgrave and  Vivien Leigh
For their part of the celebration, Vivien and Helpmann recreated one of their scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream, titled Ill Met by Moonlight.  The two had co-starred in the play twenty-six years earlier in late 1937 to early 1938, as Titania and Oberon, respectively.


Vivien Leigh and Robert Helpmann as Titania and Oberon
Here's part of that scene:
Oberon: Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
Titania: What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence:
            I have forsworn his bed and company.
Oberon: Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord?
Titania: Then I must be thy lady: but I know
            When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
            And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
            Playing on pipes of corn and versing love
            To amorous Phillida.


Vivien Leigh and Robert Helpmann
Then Vivien recited the Quality of Mercy speech by Portia from The Merchant of Venice. Since the theater wasn't completed yet, they stood on a platform built into the scaffolding.

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthron├Ęd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

This next picture of Vivien was taken at another event. She's wearing the same outfit, but this time we get to see her ensemble in color. Note how vibrant the pink would have been in person.


A side view of Vivien, at the theater, with Helpmann looking on:


Members of the audience included several swans, from the River Wey, who came ashore to enjoy the tribute to Shakespeare :)

Thanks for joining me for this Fashion Friday post!



Friday, October 2, 2015

Fashion Friday #3, On the Golf Course

Today's Fashion Friday outfit comes from the 1937 comedy, A Storm In A Teacup. 


If you haven't seen A Storm In A Teacup, here's a very brief synopsis for you: The movie stars Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison, Sara Allgood, Cecil Parker and Scruffy the dog. Vivien plays Victoria, the daughter of the local provost (similar to a mayor) played by Cecil Parker. Rex Harrison's the reporter who's come to town and stirs up trouble. Sara Allgood's fur baby, Scruffy, is at the center of all the trouble. The movie is based on a play, which was about the politics of the time, specifically dictatorships.


Vivien Leigh shows up fashionably dressed on the golf course. For this scene, Vivien wears a checked tweed skirt in red, green and fawn. She tops the skirt off with a green suede jacket, along with a green felt hat. Vivien's feet are encased in brown suede shoes with buckle straps and fringed tongues.




Above are a couple of shoe advertisemnts from 1937. I don't know the particular shoe brand that Vivien wears in this golfing scene, but these shoes are somewhat similar to what she wears in the movie. I think it's kind of fun to see the styles that were popular when the film was made.


This photo is a colorized image for one of the film's lobby cards. It was normal for photographers to take publicity pictures in black and white. Once it was decided which pictures would be used for the lobby cards, those pictures would then be colored in by hand. As you can see, the photo specialists who colored this in, imagined her coat, socks and hat in red.

Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!




Friday, September 25, 2015

Fashion Friday #2, Beaded Gown by Lanvin

In 2003, one of Vivien Leigh's dresses went on the auction block at Sotheby's. This stunning evening gown was created by Lanvin and sold for 1,320 GBP, inclusive of the buyer's premium.

This white silk evening dress is only a size two. Vivien was tiny! The fitted bodice features embroidery and beading in an intricate pattern, while the floor-length skirt flares out into a tulip-shape. Vivien wore a purple wrap with this dress.


The evening gown was designed by Antonio del Castillo for Lanvin in 1957. The House of Lanvin was created by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, when she was just twenty-two years old. Jeanne began her career at sixteen, as a milliner, and later moved into dressmaking. After Jeanne's death in 1946, her daughter, Marie, hired Castillo to design for the house. Castillo had been working for Elizabeth Arden when he left them to join Lanvin in 1950. Castillo also designed costumes for the stage and screen, winning an Academy Award in 1971 for Nicholas and Alexandra.

A peek inside Jeanne Lanvin's House
Though the dress was designed by Castillo, the bodice's beaded design was created by Francois Lesage, an embroiderer with his own workshop, Maison Lesage. Lesage's skills were utilized by several Parisian fashion houses including Balmain, a favorite designer of Vivien's.


Sotheby's website gives the following description: shaped and boned bodice with elaborate amethyst chenille and floss silk embroidery studded with blue and pink pastes and faux pearls, with matching deep purple stole, bust 86cm (34in), waist 66cm (26in). 


Vivien wore this gorgeous dress on at least three occasions in the 1960s. The first two times were in 1961, when she attended the ballet and a revival showing of Gone With the Wind. On both occasions, she's wearing the floor-length purple shawl as seen in the first image on this post from Sotheby's. The pictures above and below are from the Gone With the Wind showing.


Vivien also stepped out in this Lanvin number for a performance at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. She attended the opening night of the Leningrad State Kirov Ballet's season. She accented the dress with a three strand pearl necklace with a diamond drop pin, which she also wore to the GWTW revival. 

Vivien at the ballet (Photo from Alamy)
The third time we see Vivien in this Lanvin dress is at a party for Tovarich in 1963. The party was held at the Americana Hotel to celebrate their first night on Broadway. Vivien is pictured below with her co-star, Jean Pierre Aumont, and a gigantic cake complete with candles for the occasion. 



Below is another detailed shot of the bodice. Francois Lesage was a complete genius when it came to beading and embroidery. To see some of his other beautiful creations, click here for an article on him originally published in Elle Magazine.

Lanvin made several of these dresses for their clients. These detailed images are from one of those dresses; the difference being ownership and size.
Vivien Leigh loved to wear French designers. In the spring of 1957, it was reported by the newspapers that she had just spent $4,500 on clothes from Paris, which is about $40,000 in today's money. 


A lot of women will tell you that the most elegant person in London is Vivien Leigh, and I see what they mean. Miss Leigh is one hundred percent the perfect modern woman. -Leonard Mosley

Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Fashion Friday #1

In 1958, Vivien Leigh attended a charity event for the Boys and Girls Exhibition. At the National Spastics Society's stand, Vivien recruited youngsters for The Whistlers, a new club for children with Cerebral Palsy. The club's motto was "whistle for the kids who can't."

From the National Spastics Society's webpage: In 1952, three parents of children with cerebral palsy set up The Spastics Society because no one would educate their children. The organisation grew and changed to become a household name. But attitudes to disabled people changed as well. The word 'spastic' became a term of abuse. Suddenly, The Spastics Society's name was holding it back. We wanted to say something positive about disability. In 1994, The Spastics Society became Scope. To read more about this organization, please click here.


For the occasion, Vivien topped her curls with a white boater hat, traditionally made from straw, and which featured a dark band and veil. The outfit she chose to wear for this event was a blue, trapeze-line dress by Dior. A trapeze-line dress is one which is fitted at the shoulders, then progressively flares out as it travels down the female form. Trapeze-line dresses were the new rage from Paris, as seen in the 1958 spring collection from the House of Dior.

A Dior trapeze-line dress from the spring 1958 collection.
These dresses were designed by 21 year-old Yves Saint Laurent, who had recently taken over the helm at Dior. Just a few months before his passing, Christian Dior had personally chosen Saint Laurent to succeed him after his death. The trapeze-line dresses were a continuation of Dior's 1955 A-line collection.


Yves Saint Laurent and an assistant make a few adjustments on one of his trapeze-line dresses, being modeled by Svetlana Lloyd. According to Svetlana, Yves was unbelievably shy.


In between whistling and signing autographs (about 300 in thirty minutes), the forty-four year old Vivien bragged that she would soon be a grandmother. My daughter Suzanne is having a baby in December. I'm fixed up in films and plays until mid-1960-- not bad going for a grandmother. Not bad at all!



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kenneth More on the Well Endowed Actress

British actor, Kenneth More, Jayne Mansfield's latest movie costar, said Sunday that bust size, rather than measure of talent, has become the gauge for an actress' success at the box office.

More said Miss Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren were killing off such sophisticated performers as Lauren Bacall, Rosalind Russell and Barbara Stanwyck.

He told United Press International in an interview that he likes the last three because- "I like a little bit of wit and polish, but that kind of actress has sort of died out due to the bosom cult."

More, [who is] in the United States for the opening of his latest movie, "A Night to Remember," in which he is costarred with the sinking liner Titanic, offered these evaluations of the bosomy actresses:

On Miss Loren: "I don't see much in this woman at all."

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield at a Paramount party for Miss Loren
On Miss Mansfield: "Her talent is very limited, but she is a good trooper. She's always on time and always knows her part. She knows all the other parts, too. She never fluffs."

On Miss Monroe: "She is wonderfully effective on the screen. She's like Lassie- one bark and she steals a scene."

Marilyn Monroe
More said he did not understand how Ingrid Bergman, a non-bosomy type, has remained popular at the box office in the face of this voluptuous competition.

"The idea that girls can get to the top on bosoms is extraordinary," he said. "It is not merely a passing phase, either. Films are bigger and showier than ever before. Bigger screen plays require bigger screens. Bigger screens require bigger girls. Perhaps there is no place for the flat-chested girl any more."

More, a veteran actor, has costarred with Vivien Leigh and Kay Kendall, both slender, witty and polished. His next picture will be with Miss Bacall, who, in his view, is even more so.

Kenneth More and Vivien Leigh in a scene from The Deep Blue Sea, 1955
He said that he had been less worried about appearing opposite the liner Titanic than with Miss Mansfield in a film they recently finished called "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw."

"The idea of me getting the best of three falls with Jayne was amazing," he said. "People are still wondering how I got close enough to her to kiss her."

More said his fellow Britons rely mainly on American imports for their "bust pictures," despite the existence of Diana Dors and Sabrina.

"There are no British bust pictures," he said. "We haven't got any busts in England. We're flat-chested. Our actresses are deflated when it comes to bosoms. It must be because there is too much rain."


Article published by UPI, 1958



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Evil Under The Sun

Evil Under The Sun is a 1982 murder mystery, based on an Agatha Christie book with the same name. The movie was adapted for the screen by Anthony Shaffer and directed by Guy Hamilton. Peter Ustinov once again utilizes the little grey cells as Christie's Belgium sleuth, Hercule Poirot.


The setting for this whodunnit is an island situated off the coast of Albania and the year is 1937. When the King of Tyrania decided to marry, he gave his former mistress an old summer palace. She turned it into a resort and named it Daphne's Place. The movie is actually filmed on location on Majorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. 

We begin with a death on the moors and Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate. Sadly, he can't find the perpetrator of this murder, but the insurance company he works for has another assignment for him. Sir Horace Blatt (Colin Blakely), a millionaire industrialist, wants to insure a diamond brooch, but the brooch he sent in is a fake. Monsieur Poirot is sent to find out why. Sir Horace shares with Poirot how he met a stage actress named Arlena (played by the fabulous Diana Rigg) who left the play she was starring in to run away, across the ocean, with him. He gave her the brooch as an engagement gift, but then she met someone else on board and dumped Sir Horace for her new love, to whom she is now married. As Sir Horace says, a diamond brooch is too much to pay for three days fondling on the high seas.

Sir Horace and Hercule agree to meet at Daphne's Place, run by Daphne Castle (Maggie Smith). Sir Horace is delayed by a day while Hercule arrives with the Marshalls. Arlena's new husband is Kenneth Marshall (Denis Quilley), a widower with a teenage daughter, Linda (Emily Hone).

Soon everyone at the resort is acquainted and reacquainted.  The producers of the play that Arlena walked out on, Myra and Odell Gardener (Sylvia Miles and James Mason) are also there. They lost a great deal of money when Arlena left. Yet as the Gardeners harbor their bitter hatred, they still hope to convince Arlena to return to the stage in their new production. Then there's Rex Brewster (Roddy McDowall), a shallow gossip columnist, who's written a scandalous biography of Arlena, but can't get it published without her release.


The proprietress, Daphne, is an old acquaintance of Arlena's and the two had once tread the boards together. Smith and Rigg have some delicious dialogue in the movie. Daphne on Arlena: She could always throw her legs up in the air higher than any of us [pause] and wider. The two actresses play very well off each other with their catty remarks. Daphne also knows Kenneth Marshall, who'd been at the resort three years ago after the death of his first wife. The last guests are the Redferns, Christine and Patrick (Jane Birkin and Nicholas Clay). The Redferns argue a great deal and it's made clear from the beginning that Patrick is an adulterer. 


The cast of Evil Under The Sun-- Standing: Peter Ustinov, Colin Blakely, Jane Birkin, Nicholas Clay, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Emily Hone and Denis Quilley; Sitting: Sylvia Miles and James Mason; Reclining: Roddy McDowall

Unfortunately, one of these characters will be murdered shortly and it will be up to Hercule Poirot to figure out who the killer is before he or she leaves the island. The biggest obstacle for determining the murderer is that everyone has an alibi.


Daphne: You mean nobody did it?
Poirot: And yet we still have a body, madame. 

The costumes in this movie are almost another character. They are visually stunning in color and style. The costumes were designed by Anthony Powell and created by: Barbara Matera, Germinal Rangel, Bermans & Nathans; hats were made by Freddie Fox and Woody Shelp. 

Diana Rigg wears no less than three swimsuits: a polka dot kind of print; a red one with a white leaf design at the neck; and a white one with a red Chinese hat. 




Jane Birkin is so plain and dowdy in this movie, it's hard to believe that Hermes named a purse after her. She plays a shy and timid wife, always nagging at her husband, yet bending to his will. Christine Redfern has delicate skin and burns easily in the sun, hence the head scarves, long sleeves and long skirts. Everything is billowy on her and centered in the beige family.

Jane Birkin as Christine Redfern
The opening credits are not to be missed as they feature the fine artwork of Hugh Casson, while the film is filled with the music of Cole Porter. There's even a scene where Arlena sings You're the Top, with some help from Daphne, of course.


Besides the costumes and music, there's the amazing photography of Christopher Challis. Challis takes full advantage of the natural beauty of Majorca. You can almost feel the heat from the sun, hear the gentle lapping of the water against the shore and taste the salty air, all through the lens of his camera. There are glorious shots of the Mediterranean with the light bouncing off of the water and the island's cliffs become a place one aspires to hike. 

Sylvia Miles as Myra and Nicholas Clay as Patrick go for a spin around the island.
Ustinov is absolute perfection as the brilliant, picky, Belgium detective. He'd previously tackled the role of Poirot in the 1978 movie Death On The Nile (and would later reprise the role in four more movies). The summation Poirot gives is a not-to-be-missed scene. As the murderer says, Poirot is the well-known romancer and teller of tales.

This is one of my favorite Agatha Christie movies. It's well worth watching if you've never seen it. I really can't discuss the plot in more detail without giving away the victim or the murderer, because quite frankly, that's half the fun of a whodunnit.

The most notable side-effect of watching Evil Under The Sun is that after viewing, you may want to pack your bags and head off to Majorca.

This post has been my contribution to The Beach Party Blogathon (click here for more entries). Thanks for stopping by!