Movie Ticket Weekly “The Smurfs”

To make up for missing last week, there are going to be two reviews this week. First up will be The Smurfs and then later this weekend, Cowboys and Aliens! Unfortunately I had missed seeing both films on opening weekend, hence the delay.

Now, getting back to business, it’s safe to say that The Smurfs are among the most iconic cartoon characters in history. The original comics began in October of 1958, having been brought to life on paper by a Belgian cartoonist by the name of Peyo. Originally the Smurfs (or known as Schtroumpf in French) had started off as nothing more than a joke between Peyo and his friend André Franquin, unaware of how much of an impact these little blue creatures and their strange language would have on the world.

Having grown up watching Cartoon Network as a kid it’s no surprise that among the various shows that aired I watched The Smurfs. Those blue creatures in white pants and hats that stand at no more than three apples tall in height had captured my heart and were an absolute joy to watch. So upon hearing that the cartoon was going to be getting a live action movie, I knew I had to go and see it. And during a time where every cartoon that was popular in the 80’s and 90’s was getting either the movie and/or reboot treatment, it wasn’t a surprise to see this happen.

So the question is how does the movie treat these beloved Smurfs? Are they given the respect and love they have come to deserve? Or is it riddled with pop-culture references, weak humor and slap-stick antics, and leaving you slightly terrified of a possible Smurf army showing up at your door one day ready to take over?

There were moments in The Smurfs movie that had the same tone and messages that the original comics and cartoons had taught everyone. One scene in particular that stands out among the rest was when Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters) and Patrick Winslow (as played by Neil Patrick Harris) talk about what it means to be a father. It was a simple scene with a moving conversation between the pair. Or how about seeing Clumsy spend the duration of the movie learning to come to terms with his clumsiness and prove himself to his family? Scenes like these were the most endearing and reminded me why I loved The Smurfs.

I could have gone without seeing Garamel using a wine bucket as a chamber pot though. Just putting that one out there. There was too much potty humor that had no place in this film and, in all honesty, was there really a need to set this all in New York City? Is there something wrong with little mushroom villages in magical kingdoms in times of fairy tales?

But for those of you who remember their love for these characters, we have made sure to stock up on costumes and accessory kits to fulfill your smurfy needs! A traditional Smurf costume is available in both standard as well as plus sizes for the men, and for the women we carry Smurfette! And for less than two (2) dollars we also have make-up kits that include the blue make-up as well as the blue, round rubber nose. Even something as simple as the iconic white hats are available, so be sure to stop by before they’re out of stock!

Costume Design: From Fashion House to the Big Screen

The tradition of fashion in the film industry reaches back to its very beginnings. As soon as the first leading lady stepped onscreen, she became known for her sense of style. In fact, many of our current and past fashion icons made their mark by showing off their trend-setting look on film. The question is, when did the marriage between film and fashion begin?

From Costumes to Everyday Wear—Film Fashions Through Time

When filmmaking first began in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they were silent films filled with interesting costumes. The drama required in early films was reminiscent of that which was seen in theaters at the time, which meant the styles were far different from everyday wear. As movie making progressed into a popular source of entertainment, which was more easily accessible, actors began to take on more realistic personas.

As this transition occurred, distinct differences in costuming could be noted. What was once seen as ornate costuming meant to steal the show on the silent screen became a more accessible style that could be found in fashion houses. Leading ladies and men alike would begin to don styles that were common to the people watching the films. Trendsetters were now seen onscreen and the styles they wore would become the latest fashions.

From On Screen to Off the Rack

As this transition occurred in the movie industry, fashion houses began to see the powerful advertising tool films could be. Movie stars like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor would emerge in the 20th Century as fashion icons. The careful selection of accessible styles the audience could find in their own towns would change movies from a simple source of entertainment to a powerful marketing tool used to influence the public.

As movie making continued to grow throughout the 20th Century, the role of fashion in film would flourish. No longer a matter of creating one of a kind costumes for performers to wear, costuming in movies is about building a character the audience can relate to. Fashion is one of many tools used to build a character and generate a connection to the audience. Today’s fashion-forward stars make their mark in film and on the red carpet, their fashion choices creating a stir wherever they go. As costume design continues to evolve, the film industry continues to influence the style choices of audiences worldwide.

Costume Designers: Creating Characters with Fabric

The process a costume designer goes through is very much like that of an actor. When an actor receives a script, it’s like they’re trying on a new identity. Success is determined by whether they can bridge the gap between who they are, and who the character is supposed to be.

They look for the nuances of the character they’re going to play, and reach deep inside to see if they have what it takes to bring that to the surface. Can Colin Forth really be the stammering King of England? Lucky for us, he read through the script and found enough royalty in his soul to say “Yes!”

Likewise, a costume designer reads through the script and searches their imagination for the resources equal to the task of making the characters breathe. But they are more limited than the actors, who have the same working parts as the character. Instead, designers have nothing but the pictures in their minds, and yards and yards of fabric.

How’s that for a daunting task?

And yet, they do it. Time and again, we sit in our seats in the dark theater, and we believe what we see. It’s magic. And the magicians creating the costumes deserve just as much thanks as everyone else that worked to give the story a voice.

The Costume Designers Guild Awards was created in 1999 to do just that. Each year, we get to honor the artists working behind the scenes in Motion Pictures, Television, and Commercials. But for almost 50 years, they were the unsung heroes of the industry.

The Costume Designers Guild was founded in 1953 by 30 passionate designers that understood that the design process isn’t about luck – it’s about strategy and passion. Today, there are about 900 members of the guild, which is centered (surprise!) in Los Angeles.

Those who are so lucky may share an evening with the stars on February 22 as they gather at the Beverly Hills Hilton to celebrate, and thank the ones that help create their onscreen universe. For  the rest of us who have zero chance of going for whatever reason, check back to see who was given one of the costume designer’s high honor.  Who are this year’s nominees to catch movie lover’s eyes? Read below to see the list  so you know who to root for.

Excellence in Contemporary Film

“Black Swan” – Amy Westcott

“Burlesque” – Michael Kaplan

“Inception” – Jeffrey Kurland

“The Social Network” – Jacqueline West

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” – Ellen Mirojnick

Excellence in Period Film

“The Fighter” – Mark Bridges

“The King’s Speech” – Jenny Beavan

“True Grit” –Mary Zophres

Excellence in Fantasy Film

“Alice in Wonderland” – Colleen Atwood

“The Tempest” – Sandy Powell

“TRON: Legacy” – Michael Wilkinson and Christine Bieselin Clark

Outstanding Made for Television Movie or Miniseries

“Big Love” – Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko

“Dancing with the Stars” – Randall Christensen, Daniella Gschwendtner, Steven Norman Lee

“Glee” – Lou Eyrich

“Modern Family” – Alix Friedberg

“Treme” – Alonzo Wilson

Outstanding Contemporary Television Series

“Boardwalk Empire” – John A. Dunn, Lisa Padovani

“Mad Men” – Janie Bryant

“The Tudors” – Joan Bergin

Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series

“The Pacific” – Penny Rose

“Temple Grandin” – Cindy Evans

“You Don’t Know Jack” – Rita Ryack

Excellence in Commercial Costume Design

“Chanel – Bleu de Chanel” – Aude Bronson-Howard

“Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World” – Julie Vogel

“Netflix – Western” – Lydia Paddon

“Target – Preparing for Race/Black Friday” – Michelle Martini

Edith Head: Hollywood’s Costume Designer

If it’s a Paramount film, I probably designed it.” So said the tiny 5’ 1 ½” powerhouse long considered Hollywood’s most successful costume designer—not to mention definitely one of its most colorful personalities. Born in San Bernadino, California, to Max and Anna Posener, Edith’s exact birthdate is somewhat shrouded in mystery. Though she claimed to have been born in 1907 or 1908, she had graduated from college, married, divorced and worked as a teacher for a number of years by 1923, so those birthdates are highly improbable. Her birthdate on bios is listed as October 28, 1898. Though many tried to squeeze details out of Edith over the years, she remained vague on much of her background, and even stated that “I have in my mind a special room with iron doors. The things I don’t like I throw in there and slam the door.” Not such a bad idea!

The Designs

Following the divorce, Edith was in need of a higher-paying job so answered an ad for a costume design artist at Paramount Studios where the chief designer, Howard Greer, was incredibly impressed by her portfolio. A while after she accepted the job—which paid double her teacher’s salary—Edith confessed to Greer that she had actually “borrowed” the portfolio from another art school student. By this time Greer was impressed enough with Edith’s work that he let the deception slide. One of Edith’s first major projects was to design the gowns for Mae West in She Done Him Wrong; the extremely form-fitting outfit contributed to the film’s huge success, leading West to frequently request Head for her costume designs. In her message to Head, Mae, in her typically provocative manner said “Make the clothes loose enough to prove I’m a lady, but tight enough to show ‘em I’m a woman.” Edith was also responsible for Dorothy Lamour’s clinging sarong in The Jungle Princess, and once she began designing for Barbara Stanwyck, her success was almost a given.

In 1938 Edith’s mentor left Paramount for Universal Studios. Head was selected as his successor to run Paramount’s design department—a first for a woman. Edith created a flamboyant peacock cape for Hedy Lamar for the biblical epic Samson and Delilah in 1949 and designed the costumes for Bette Davis in All About Eve. Outfitting Elizabeth Taylor in the movie A Place in the Sun garnered Edith her third Oscar for best black and white costume design. Head would go on to design for many movies, and many stars, most notably Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood.

The Book

Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood’s Greatest Costume Designer, is a book that will leave you visually stunned by its array of gorgeous color photographs and illustrations of the costumes Ms. Head meticulously designed throughout her career. This scrupulously-researched book is filled with more than 350 images, including never-before-seen and rare sketches done by Edith through the years as well as costume test shots and behind-the-scenes photos. A fascinating book for connoisseurs of fashion and film, the golden age of Hollywood sparkles from the pages. Background and biographical information on Ms. Head is, of course, included, however the author, Jay Jorgensen, focuses primarily on the clothing designs of Edith Head.

The Memories

What we know definitively about Edith Head is that she was nominated for 35 Academy Awards including every single year from 1948-1966–winning eight of those–and designed the costumes for over 1,100 films. In 1967 Edith’s contract at Paramount was not renewed despite 44 years of faithful service. She moved over to Universal and continued her workaholic ways until her final film, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, starring Steve Martin. Edith Head will long be remembered for her unusual trademark appearance which included large-framed dark glasses, severe tailored suits and long bangs. Despite her generally unorthodox appearance, Edith admitted that at night she wore wild colors and evening pants. Edith Head was a feisty, incredibly talented designer whose immense talent and witty quips ensure she will be remembered for a long time to come.