Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wishful thinking

Sorry for the absence. I got bogged down in horror films...

My dad was in town on Saturday so we got up early for breakfast at Batch. I went a bit crazy and had potato rosti - a hearty dose of carbs to start the day. We then trotted off to town which was full of folks heading out for Derby Day. I do so love the racing season. Everyone dressed all ladylike with some beautiful hats on display. And of course, this lady...Dita!

There were race commentators calling the crossing of the traffic lights outside Flinders Street station - and the lady in the red fascinator has hit the lead. Which was so amusing we all forgot to cross the road. I popped in to L'Ucello for some buttons for my new sun dress. I love going to the Nicholas Building. There's the last manned lift in Melbourne and I love closing the double wrought iron doors. L'Ucello, the vintage haberdashery store, could be my favorite place in the city.

While it's fun to fossick, if you ask Kim for help, she knows just which box to pull out from under a table and finds just what you were looking for - in my case some bright red vintage buttons. I've been working on this sun frock

For which I have a billion acres of this fabric

The material can only be described as bouncy. The bottom layer stretched as I cut and sewed it so the pattern isn't matched exactly, though I defy anyone to notice it. You'll notice that the bodice and straps are similar to my swimsuit and again I had a huge fitting issue. The top was just inches too big around the bust. I've taken it in but I don't know, I could be rapidly falling out of love with this dress. Particularly when I turned around and noticed the back is too low cut for modern bras. Sure, I could keep the bolero on but then my beautiful buttons will be hidden! In any case the weather in Melbourne is still completely miserable so who knows if i'll ever get a chance to wear it!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Double feature - Before I Hang and The Boogie Man Will Get You

I love Boris Karloff. I think he lifts any movie he is in. And some of them certainly need lifting.

Before I hang features Karloff as a gentle doctor who is jailed for a mercy killing. While in prison, a supremely understanding prison warden gets interested in his research work and agrees to set up a lab. Karloff can work there with a scientist until the time comes for him to be hanged. Together they work to develop a serum that will reverse the effects of aging. All for the good of mankind!

Hours before the hanging they complete the serum. To activate it they need to mix it with some blood. To save time they use the blood of a recently hanged murderer. I know... but they were trying to save time. And with nothing else to lose they try it on Karloff. All seems good but it's time for Karloff to hang. Just as he's being marched off there comes a call from the Governor. He's saved! Hurrah! Off he goes home.

All is well until... creepy hand movements and Karloff becomes a killer! He goes around killing his friends, driven by the blood of the murderer. This was actually not a bad film. Karloff plays the scientist as a sweetly doddery old man and his physical transformation into a killer is well done. The creepy bits here are doctors in shiny black leather gloves, big needles and giving blood.

This one's a comedy. Like much 1940s humour you've got to be a fan of the era to endure most of it. Again, Karloff is a daffy old scientist. He's doing experiments to create a race of super beings to help the war effort, using traveling salesmen as his test subjects. Peter Lorre plays the local sheriff who gets interested in the profit making potential of the scheme. Bodies pile up. Lorre and Karloff are fabulous together. They obviously have a deep affection for each other, having worked together a number of times. I suspect there's a fair amount of ad-libbing going on, as Lorre was apt to rant on once he got on a roll. It's very sweet and endearing and I just wished I could have seen more of the two stars together.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sunny Queensland!

Wasn't so sunny after all!

Things started off well with a platter of fish and chips! The next day there was an awesome tropical storm so our trip to water world - and the debut of my 1940's swim suit - was cancelled! The day turned out sunny and fine anyway and we sat around eating sausages and salad at a BBQ.

Next day was super sunny and I got a bit sunburnt. (If you decide not to take your parasol with you to Queensland because it seems like too much drama please, please think again!) We caught the City Cat - a ferry along the river. It was lovely and we got to look at all the grand old Queenslanders lining the riverbank. We stopped off for brunch - yummy Italian savory mince - so good both Donna and I will be having it again for dinner soon! Then we went for a wander along Southbank - where the not very OHS conscious Brisbane City Council have built a pool and beach. Donna and I took our shoes off and paddled our toes.

The day was actually a lot sunnier than it looks here! We had homemade lemonade and then more food! And a laze beneath a tree by the river. Brisbane is so green and lush, though there's still plenty of evidence of the floods. I saw bush turkeys and lots of parakeets and ibis and all the jacarandas were in bloom.

There were lots of trips to the park and playtime with Gussie - who, I must say is a very chilled out kid. I had such a relaxing time - I feel very rested. It was great to simply hang out with Donna and just blather on. I do miss her!

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Operation Bathing Beauty - finished!

After the slight setback of giving away my sewing machine power cord, I've finally finished my bathing suit. I must say, I'm not super pleased with my sewing on this one. I decided not to hand stitch the shorts waistband and I think that lazy moment was a mistake - though thankfully a hidden one. I also had to take the over dress pattern in a crazy 6 inches. In retrospect I should have been bolder and taken it in even more. The top feels a bit gapey but not immodestly so. I did do an awesome job hand sewing the lining around the invisible zip. All set now for some sunny times in Queensland!

In other news my hats have started arriving. Probably a bad time for me to start wondering if hats suit me or not! Seeing a parcel arrive at work is always exciting but there's something special about unwrapping a hat. Open the box, undo the velvet ribbon, peel back the tissue paper and race off to the mirror - it's all so delightfully feminine. My most successful hat is the little one with a chrysanthemum (my favorite flower) given to me by my stepmother. Just need to make an outfit to go with it!

On my way to sunny Queensland! Have a good weekend!- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wolf Man

It beats me why anyone would want to watch horror films during the war but horror films there are. In England, production and distribution of horror films were banned for the duration. But in America, Universal Studios churned out a series of great films, building on its successful films of the 1930s (such as Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy).

Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

1941's The Wolf Man cemented contemporary ideas about werewolves. It wasn't the first werewolf film - that was Universal's own Werewolf of London - but it was the most influential. The atmosphere is great, all ancient buildings, gypsies and mist smoked forests with menacing leafless trees. The werewolf legend presented in the film is not ancient lore - it's all the invention of director Curt Siodmak, a horror movie master, including the bit about werewolves and the moon.

Lon Chaney Jr is a regular guy who gets bitten by a wolf in the woods one night. The wolf is Beal Lugosi (in a sadly brief cameo) - a werewolf. Now Chaney feels a change upon him and is transformed into a savage beast. Chaney does regular guy well and, most effectively, he's tormented by guilt and regret for the things he has done while a werewolf. You certainly feel empathy for his character, with it's troubled soul This role was the making - and breaking - of Chaney. It made him a B grade star and fated him to be typecast forever.

Maria Ouspenskaya, as the gypsy, is fabulous as ever. Claude Rains is Chaney's father, a little improbably, but he does a sterling effort. You'll also find Ralph Bellamy as the police detective investigating the mysterious deaths. And you must credit Jack Pierce's wonderful job at makeup.

A classic. Most enjoyable!

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