Review: ‘Fashions of 1934’

Fashions of 1934 may be a bit far-fetched and inconsistent, being predicated on a false premise, but it has color, flash, dash, class, girls and plenty of clothes.

Fashions of 1934 may be a bit far-fetched and inconsistent, being predicated on a false premise, but it has color, flash, dash, class, girls and plenty of clothes.

Story [by Harry Collins and Warren Duff] has to do with the boot-legging of exclusive Paris models. Action starts in the US but quickly shifts to the French capital where the slick, racketeering William Powell transfers his ingenuity and buncombe to coincide with the ultra-ateliers of the French fashion founts.

Powell (who is starred) is a wrong guy, despite all his affability which alone sustains his sympathetic appeal. Just why and how Bette Davis enters the picture never quite rings true. But there she is and she must be accepted.

There’s the wow feather scene wherein Busby Berkeley has combined a pageant of ostrich plumes to include a Hall of Human Harps, a Web of Dreams, and Venus and Her Galley Slaves. Berkeley again repeats the prismatic formations, dissolves, overhead shots and other of the now established school of BB cinematerps.

Wisely there isn’t an overplus of music. ‘Broken Melody’ [by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal] is the one big number, reprised for the ostrich feather production, with the blonde lookers camera-angled from every stance.

Fashions of 1934

Production

First National. Director William Dieterle, Busby Berkeley; Screenplay F. Hugh Herbert, Carl Erickson; Camera William Rees; Editor Jack Killifer; Music Leo Forbstein (dir.); Art Director Jack Okey, Willy Pogany

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1934. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

William Powell Bette Davis Frank McHugh Verree Teasdale Reginald Owen Hugh Herbert
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