Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cinema Tuesdays {What's New Pussycat}

To finish off the month of Sex Comedies we have 1965's What's New Pussycat, clearly not a studio system film. From it's nonconformist plot and it's swinging gets stuck in your head soundtrack by Burt Bacharach, it shows the birth of the Sixties, right in between the growing independence and youth culture but before the rise of the counterculture. It's also a great family picture, but I might think that because I saw it when I was seven.
The gorgeous Peter O'Toole in a rare comedy (seriously, why didn't he do more Sixties comedies?) plays Michael, a fashion editor and playboy who wants to get married but has trouble giving up the thrill of the chase. So he consults Peter Sellers, a crazy psychoanalyst in a way cool Mod velvet suit.
All of Michael's flashbacks are in black and white settings.
He also has trouble sleeping because he keeps dreaming that he's Marcello Mastroianni in 8 1/2
Fritz is a very devoted analyst, he even follows Michael to the Crazy Horse in order to better understand Michael's problem, which he wishes was his problem.
He also has some unorthodox therapy methods, such as thrashing a patient with flowers while singing and locking patients in dark closets.
He also hates his wife and is in love and obsessed with one of his patients.
But he does live in this seriously awesome house.
Michael wants to marry his downstairs neighbour/girlfriend Carole (Romy Schneider) but he just isn't ready yet. Three years ago, Doris Day broke out into a rash at the thought of sharing the same hotel suite with Cary Grant and now a couple can share a shower as long as one is fully clothed.
I'm really starting to like the Sixties trend of wearing a beaded top over a plain shift dress and it saves money too, instead of buying a new dress, you could just buy a new top.
But nothing beats the LBD, especially with cute butterfly brooch.
Capucine plays a confused, married playgirl who likes fighting off Fritz's advances.
Very few people can pull off wearing a silk suit with pearls and a hair bow.
I think I now want a tweed cap like that for the fall. And just look at her stunning, timeless makeup.
Then there's Paula Prentiss who is truly wonderful at playing the stripper who writes absolutely terrible poetry and likes taking an overdose of pills at every opportunity.
She also wears some wonderful examples of post-Mod Sixties fashions and granny shawls.
Plus a matching top and pants combo that looks like it was made out of some curtains.
Woody Allen wrote the script, or at least the parts that weren't ad-libbed by the cast. He plays Michael's best friend Victor and is working on transitioning his Woody Allen character from stand up to movies.
Victor is in love with Carole, but neither can act without feeling guilty about Michael. It's a good thing that double-breasted corduroy suits never caught on.
There's not much of a plot in the traditional sense, just a series of very funny sketches. One of my favourites is where Richard Burton shows up and asks Peter O'Toole "Haven't you seen me some place before?"
I love how Michael gives Carole potted flowers instead of a bouquet, since the pot does last longer.
Not a lot of attention is paid to showing off the settings, which are a combination of shabbiness and modernity. But Michael's apartment is great, especially with it's splashes of red.

Eventually Michael decides that he wants to get married.
He goes away for the weekend in order to write an article about a hotel. Along the road he picks up a hitchhiker who just happens to drop in. However, she is a personal friend of James Bond.
Isn't that a beautiful hotel? It reminds me of Madeline's school but without the vines.
I also love how the rooms are all unique and decorated differently, like with the wallpaper and the paintings, which is a combination that shouldn't go well together, but does.
Capucine in a fabulous pink dress and matching turban also comes for the weekend.
And Paula Prentiss also shows up, but she is a bit weird after all.
I like Capucine's room best because of the wallpaper and the white furniture. Wasn't it lovely when hotels didn't decorate their rooms identically?
Fritz and his wife also arrive and Fritz joins Michael in trying to avoid the increasing crowd of hotel guests.
And then Carole shows up, wanting to know why there is a crowd in his room. Love the green shirtwaist.

And then the cops show up and ruin all the fun.
Naturally, the only way to escape involves a go kart chase scene and the fruit stand being knocked over.
I love the purple suit with the frilly blouse, only it's hard to find a purple velvet suit or really any velvet suit in a colour other than black.
This suit with the matching mink cuffs and hat is fabulous too.

Just to show how hard it was to advertise this new kind of movie, here is the original trailer:

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