Friday, November 30, 2012

The Skinny -- Artistic Inspiration


We Blackbird girls are very visual people.  We love art, advertising, magazines, movies, videos...OK, just about everything you can look at and be inspired by.  We have so much artwork that our walls are full, and what's more is that we have stacks stored under our beds, tucked away into corners, and shoved into just about any place we can find, all of it being saved for that day when we miraculously acquire new wall square footage.

I've talked before about how we get inspiration from art -- and that some images seem to stick with us for some reason.  Well, we're also classic movie fanatics.  Robert Osborne is our hero, and TCM, our idea of heaven.  The image above was found on Hoodoo That Voodoo, a great Tumblr site with the most fascinating fashion and female images I've ever seen on one site.  I loved this lady instantly, and had to find out some of the backstory. 

First, it's for a movie called, obviously, Mademoiselle Modiste.  It was a silent film made in 1926, directed by Robert Z. Leonard.  The film was based on the operetta by Victor Herbert and Henry Blossom, first performed in 1905.  It's about a girl named Fifi that longs to be in the opera, but her boss at the hat store where she works discourages her from her dreams.  Fifi is a fantastic hat seller, so why would her boss want to lose the star employee to the opera? Oh, and there's a forbidden romance.  (Of course, there is.)  The operetta was very successful, having an initial run at the Knickerbocker Theater for 202 shows.  It was even revived for the stage in the 1970s and 80s.  The film with Corinne Griffith is, sadly, lost.


Corinne Griffith, known as the "Orchid Lady of the Screen", was a silent actress that was considered the most beautiful of the bunch.  She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "The Divine Lady" in 1929.  She was wildly successful -- until talking pictures came along.  Alas, her voice was very nasal, and her first talkie was a flop.  She made one more picture, but after that, retired and became a successful author.  She wrote eleven books, had two bestsellers, and one was even made into a movie with Jackie Gleason.  She had four husbands, one of which was the owner of the Redskins football team.  She wrote the lyrics to "Hail the Redskins" -- the team's fight song.  She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street. 


 To see her in action, I found this great clip on YouTube.  Check it out:



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