New on DVD: Orry-Kelly Documentary “Women He’s Undressed”

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 3:23 pm

The greatest hat in the history of movies is the one worn by Ingrid Bergman at the end of “Casablanca.” The second greatest hat in the history of movies is the one worn by Bette Davis in “Now Voyager.” Both, along with iconic gowns like Marilyn Monroe’s almost-bare dresses in “Some Like it Hot” and “Auntie Mame’s” over-the-top fashion forward couture and many, many more were designed by a man known as Orry-Kelly, a three-time Oscar winner who ran the costume department at Warner Brothers and dressed everyone from Bette Davis and Greta Garbo to Natalie Wood and Jane Fonda.

A new documentary about Orry-Kelly called Women He’s Undressed is now available on DVD and streaming.

Director Gillian Armstrong, like Orry-Kelly an Australian, has made a movie with a lot of style and brio. I was not wild about the re-enactments and too much time is spent on whether a particular male icon was one of his lovers, but the interviews with stars, friends, and costume designers are fascinating and of course the costumes themselves are extraordinary because in addition to being beautiful (when called for in the story) they are critical to the creation of character, mood, and narrative.  This is a must for all fans of classic movies, design, and a great story.



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