Undergarments & States of Undress

Happy New Year! Wishing all & sundry a peaceful and prosperous 2014. ūüôā

In the spirit of beginnings, today’s post will feature those most basic items of attire (cinematic and otherwise): undergarments!

Naturally, there are far too many and varied types of underclothing in the cinematic world to do them all any kind of justice, so I will present just a handful. Since I tend to avoid the obvious and/or mundane, the three I’ve picked are a little eclectic, and off the beaten track….

1) THE CORSET

Again, there are¬†many¬†corsets on film, so I’ve chosen three examples:

Corset #1 ~ Gone with the Wind (1939)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who recalls – and sometimes quotes! – the memorable corset-related lines in¬†Gone With the Wind:

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“Just hold on, and suck in!” ~>

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“You done had a baby, Miss Scarlett, and you ain’t never gonna be no eighteen and a half inches again!” ~>

I even recollect once reading an anecdote in a costume book, saying that the director held up filming of GWTW until suitable French undergarments had been received by the costuming department!

~ costume designer: Walter Plunkett ~

Corset #2 ~ Jane Eyre (2011)

This entire film is an exquisite display of 1840s costuming, and the undergarments are no exception. The scene where Jane unlaces her own wedding dress is especially poignant:

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~ costume designer: Michael O’Connor ~

Corset #3 ~ Possession (2002)

The unlacing scene here is also quite memorable, albeit for different (ahem *Jeremy Northam* ahem) reasons!

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~ costume designer: Jenny Beavan ~

2) THE CHEMISE

Just one example (but many photos!) of this somewhat neglected undergarment, which goes under one’s corset:

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Yes, that’s Drew Barrymore in¬†Ever After¬†(1998), and the photos are courtesy of this website:

http://www.everaftercostumes.com

via this one:

http://www.costumersguide.com

And this outfit comes with a great line, too:

“I still can’t believe that I’m down here while you’re up there… and in your undergarments, no less!”

Jump to 6:35 Р7:15 ~>

~ costume designer: Jenny Beavan ~

3) THE BUSTLE

Departing a little from any kind of historical accuracy, we have the wonderfully fantastical underwear-as-outerwear in¬†The Secret of Moonacre¬†(2008). I’ve waxed on before about the brilliance of the costumes in this film, so suffice it to say that¬†Victoriana + fantasy + pure whimsy =¬†TSOM’s costumes

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P.S. There is also a wonderful, whimsical set of chemise, bloomers, and corset in this film:

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~ costume designer: Beatrix Aruna Pasztor ~

Putting it all together, here is one of my personal favorite “down-to-the-corset” scenes, from¬†The Spanish Main¬†(1945):

And lest you think that gentlemen have no role to play in all this undergarmenting business, here is one of the original examples of a scene highlighting underclothing – or rather, the lack thereof! – on film:

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—>

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Yes, it was quite a shocker when Clark Gable, the reigning “King of Hollywood”, disrobed in 1934’s¬†It Happened One Night, only to reveal that (brace yourself)¬†he¬†wore no undershirt!!¬†This breathtaking discovery has even been credited with a sudden sharp decline in undershirt sales. ūüėČ

You can find the scene in question (with surprisingly racy dialogue for the time period!) here, from 28:00 – 29:00:

As Gable points out, there are many different ways to remove a shirt. So to close today’s post, here’s another personal favorite, from¬†The Sword and the Rose¬†(1953), with the added bonus of 1950s-does-1500s men’s underclothing….

Jump to 5:00 to view unorthodox style of shirt removal! ~>

My conclusion? If you can make blue leggings and “pumpkin pants” look appealing… then you must be Richard Todd. ūüôā

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