Saturday, July 09, 2011
Screen Gem Saturdays: Debbie Reynolds Auction, Pt. 3
Back to the Debbie Reynolds auction! Today's selection features costumes 3 Gene Kelly movies, with the first being "The Three Musketeers." With Lana Turner and June Allyson in the cast, this 1948 swashbuckling film is still very fun to watch.
Here's the description from the catalog for the costume that brought in a very respectable $7,000:
Gene Kelly “D’Artagnan” cape, pantaloons, (2) shirts and boots from The Three Musketeers. (MGM, 1948) Blue wool cape with silver bullion, a brown suede shirt, a brown wool lace up shirt, brown wool pantaloons, thigh high brown suede boots, brown suede half boots, and grey suede half boots. Worn by Gene Kelly as “D’Artagnan” in The Three Musketeers. Cape has MGM label handwritten “Kelly.” Pantaloons have MGM label handwritten “Jene Kelly 1420-4826 30-13 ½.” Both shirts have MGM label handwritten “Kelly 1420-4826.” Tall dark tan suede boots have “Kelly” handwritten on bottom. Brown half boots have damage on the bottom back. Grey half boots have handwritten “Kelly” on bottom.
Two screen shots of Kelly wearing this outfit:
"An American in Paris" is one of my favorite Kelly movies. 3 costumes from this movie were featured in Debbie's auction, starting with one that Leslie Caron wore in the grand finale:
Leslie Caron signature “Lise Bouvier” peacock feathered dance dress designed by Walter Plunkett from An American in Paris. (MGM, 1951) Turquoise velveteen bodice/chiffon petal skirt dance dress with peacock feathers and rhinestones by Orry-Kelly for Walter Plunkett. Worn by Leslie Caron as “Lise Bouvier” for the fantasy ballet duet with Gene Kelly in An American in Paris.
If you had a spare $15k, you could have nabbed this one.
Vincente Minnelli's visual genius was apparent in the Black & White Ball scene; Nina Foch's outfit came up for auction and went for a mere $3,000. I have always loved the harlequin costume that Kelly wore; his hat appeared on ebay a few years ago, but I have no idea where the rest of his costume ended up.
Nina Foch “Milo Roberts” ecru satin halter-style ball gown from An American in Paris. (MGM, 1951) Ecru satin short front, long train ball gown with plunging neck halter-top and internal bustle, designed by Orry-Kelly for Walter Plunkett and worn by Nina Foch as the older, rich American sponsor of Gene Kelly in An American in Paris. Internal label marked “1507 Nina Foch.”
Georges Guétary was a sad bit of miscasting in this movie; Maurice Chevalier would have been much more believable in the role of an older gentleman who wants to marry Leslie Caron's character. Chevalier's talents would have also been much better suited for the “Stairway to Paradise” number where Guétary's uncontrolled vibrato drives me crazy each time I see it. This elaborate costume of one of the showgirls from this number went for a paltry $1,100.
Pat Dean Smith “Showgirl” pink satin and ostrich-feather dance gown from An American in Paris. (MGM, 1951) Elaborate pink satin long skirt with internal bustle, rhinestones, and ostrich feather accents, together with bikini-style top with ivory lace and ostrich feathers, designed by Orry-Kelly for Walter Plunkett. Worn by featured extra Pat Dean Smith as one of Georges Guétary’s pink showgirls for the “Stairway to Paradise” musical number in An American in Paris. Internal label marked “1507 Pat Dean Smith.”
"Singin' in the Rain" was the big hit that catapulted Debbie Reynolds into stardom. Released in 1952, it is still one of the best loved movies ever made. This original poster…
Singin’ in the Rain original 14” x 36” insert poster. (MGM, 1952) U.S. insert-size poster on acid-free paper backing. Colors are slightly darkened though not faded, and paper backing has wrinkled slightly, leaving result Good-Very Good.
brought in $3,750 for Debbie. Bet she wish she'd saved more of these!
Amazingly enough, this Donald O'Connor worn suit didn't sell.
Donald O’Connor “Cosmo Brown” three-piece “Good Mornin’” suit from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Gray wool with red pinstripe 3-piece single-breasted suit with double-breasted vest and cuffed slacks. Worn by Donald O’Connor for several scenes in Singin’ in the Rain, most notably the “Good Mornin’” number (without the jacket). All three pieces bear the correct MGM studio label “Donald O’Connor 1546 8532” and slacks include the size as well.
The screen shot shown with this suit is not from the "Good Mornin'" number, but rather the section of the film where Cosmo Brown describes to the leading man (Kelly) and the studio head how they are going to save a bad silent film by turning it into a musical.
The Broadway Ballet number from "Singin' in the Rain" is a masterpiece, but definitely slows down the pace of the movie. It stands very well on its own but does very little (if anything) to move the plot along. Rather, it is a showcase for Kelly and Cyd Charisse's vast talents. Here's the jacket Kelly sported as he portrayed a nerd who longs to break into show business:
Gene Kelly “Don Lockwood” joke pink sport coat from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Pink, heavy tufted-pile wool “gag” sport coat with baby blue and maroon “crazy quilt” overstitching, worn by Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain for the fantasy “Gotta Dance” number. Fashioned intentionally a few sizes small for “gag” look.
$6,500 was the final price for that one.
Cosmo Brown may not be a fan favorite, but Cyd Charisse more than pulls her weight still! This heavenly flowing outfit was worn by Cyd in the Broadway Ballet number and sold for $7,000:
Cyd Charisse “Dancer” Ivory crepe and chiffon ballerina dress from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Ivory crepe & chiffon ballerina dress by Walter Plunkett, with attached trunks, asymmetrical drape of chiffon, and scattered sequin trim. Worn by Cyd Charisse as the un-named principal dancer in Singin’ in the Rain for the fantasy dance sequence with Gene Kelly entitled “Pas de Deux”. Internal label marked “1546/ 9036 Cyd Charisse.”
This dress was worn by Reynolds herself as she dubs for the squeaky-voiced leading lady. The irony is that Reynolds' voice was dubbed in the movie for the dubbing scenes by two different actresses. Apparently irony is quite valuable, as this green number sold for $15,000.
Debbie Reynolds “Kathy Selden” green & white leaf patterned sleeveless dress from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Green and ivory leaf pattern flapper dress. Typed label “1546 8623 Debbie Reynolds.” Worn by Debbie Reynolds as “Kathy Selden” in the scene where she is dubbing Lina’s voice in the recording studio in Singin’ in the Rain.
"Fit As A Fiddle" is a rousing number with Kelly & O'Connor. Proving that sweat matters, Gene Kelly's suit & shoes sold for $14,000 while O'Connor's sold for $6,000 less.
Gene Kelly “Don Lockwood” outfit “Fit as a Fiddle” suit by Walter Plunkett with shoes from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Green and ivory square patterned jacket with matching and shoes. Worn by Gene Kelly as “Don Lockwood” in the “Fit as a Fiddle” number in Singin’ in the Rain. Jacket has MGM label handwritten “Gene Kelly 1546 8555.” Material is faded and lining heavily damaged. Pants have MGM label handwritten “Gene Kelly 1546-8555 30 2 31 2,” and the material exhibits some fading. Painted green and white shoes size 8 ½ handwritten “Rusty Tamblyn” stamped Neolite and Good Year on bottom.
Donald O’Connor “Cosmo Brown” outfit “Fit as a Fiddle” suit by Walter Plunkett with shoes from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Green and ivory square patterned jacket with matching pants and shoes worn by Donald O’Connor as Cosmo Brown in the “Fit As A Fiddle” number from Singin’ in the Rain. Jacket has MGM label handwritten “Don O’Connor 1546 8555.” The material exhibits some fading. Pants have MGM handwritten label “Don O’Connor 1546-8555 28 ½ 30 2.” Material is faded. Painted green and white size 9 ½ D shoes handwritten “Days” and stamped Neolite and Good Year on bottom.
O'Connor turns on the charm in one scene as he tells a flapper at a party that he could further her career. What a wolf! $3,750 for this one.
Dress made for Debbie Reynolds in Singin’ in the Rain but worn by Gwen Carter. (MGM, 1952) Varying pink satin and chiffon low-back “flapper” dress with gold sequins on shoulders and torso. Bears internal studio tag “8450 1546 DEBBIE REYNOLDS” indicating it was intended for Reynolds’ character “Kathy Selden”, but was instead worn on screen by Gwen Carter as she is sweet-talked by Donald O’Connor’s “Cosmo Brown” at the initial Hollywood party. Some separation at closure seam and to chiffon flaps.
This dress worn by Reynolds while she sang "Good Mornin'" sold for a whopping $27,500. This is probably my favorite musical number of the film.
Debbie Reynolds “Kathy Selden” flapper dress for “Good Mornin’” number in Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Short-sleeve knee-length “flapper” style dress of knitted sleeveless top in varying blues divided by a diagonal ivory lightning bolt, and pleated skirt in grey wool and ivory sleeveless bodice. Designed by Walter Plunkett for Debbie Reynolds as “Kathy” in Singin’ in the Rain for the iconic “Good Mornin’” musical number. Top bears internal label marked “1546-8448 D. REYNOLDS”. Together with original matching ivory silk scarf.
As Lina Lamont, Jean Hagen steals the show. I loved her character and how she played the shrewish diva.
Lina Lamont: People"? I ain't 'people.' I am a - 'a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament.' [picks up newspaper] It says so - right here."
This coat was a real steal at $6,000.
Jean Hagen “Lina Lamont” camel coat with monkey-fur collar from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Camel-colored wool coat with long monkey-fur collar and black sleeve decoration worn by Jean Hagen as “Lina Lamont” for the disastrous “Dueling Cavalier” premiere, in Singin’ in the Rain. MGM cleaning tag pinned inside sleeve.
This elaborate period set is from one of Hagen's best scenes. The uncomfortable wig and costume obviously have Lina displeased:
Lina Lamont: Gee, this wig weighs a ton! What dope'd wear a thing like this?
Rosco, the Director: Everybody used to wear them, Lina.
Lina Lamont: Well, then everybody was a dope.
Hagen's gown went for $5,500; Kelly's for $9k.
Jean Hagen “Lina Lamont” gold lace over pink satin period gown by Walter Plunkett from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Gold lace over pink satin period gown with large floral accents designed by Walter Plunkett. No label. All the pink satin is faded and the silk flowers appear to have been replaced. Worn by Jean Hagen as “Lina Lamont” in the “Dancing Cavalier” scenes in Singin’ in the Rain.
Gene Kelly “Don Lockwood” Pewter brocade period jacket, pantaloons and shoes from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Pewter brocade cavalier jacket with rhinestone buttons. MGM label handwritten “F5 Gene Kelly 1546 8537.” MGM cleaning tag 16151 15. Includes the matching pantaloons with MGM label handwritten “Gene Kelly 1546-8537 30-14,” and grey suede shoes with silver metal buckle. Worn by Gene Kelly as “Don Lockwood” in the “Dancing Cavalier” scenes in Singin’ in the Rain.
Rosco: Lina! We're missing every other word! You've got to talk into the mike!
Lina: [pointing at the bush] Well, I can't make love to a bush!
For the real value purchase of today, you get ALL these pieces for a mere $5,500!
Suite of four costumes from Singin’ in the Rain. (MGM, 1952) Suite of four (4) costumes designed by Walter Plunkett from Singin’ in the Rain. Pair of blue satin shoes worn by Jean Hagen as “Lina Lamont” when she confronts Don and Kathy. Andrew Geller stamp, handwritten “Jean Hagen 8 ½ aaa 69150 E9340.”
Ivory lace over satin 1920s style short wedding dress with long-veiled lace and net hat for featured extra Beverly Thompson as “The Bride” in the “Beautiful Girl” musical ensemble. Internal label reads “Beverly Thompson”.
Bright yellow satin flapper dress with ivory chiffon cover accented with green satin ribbon, orange and yellow flowers at waist. Handwritten label “LEE BEREQUIST” and MGM cleaning tag. Coordinating hat of delicate ivory chiffon and green satin ribbon. Chiffon is torn from hat. “Summer” outfit from the same number.
Peach velvet coat with Chinchilla fur collar and cuffs, silver stamped design on front and edges. No label. Lining is detached in both arms. Worn by an extra sitting in the audience at the premiere of The Dueling Cavalier in Singin’ in the Rain.
There's at least one or two more posts yet to come from this auction. To see more classic Hollywood photos, visit my regular website.