You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘September Issue’ unveils Vogue

Film humanizes editor-in-chief Anna Wintour

WELL, I wasn’t going to say more about the R. J. Cutler documentary “The September Issue,” but I have to go back on my word to myself. I saw this documentary and think it’s a work of modern art. The film about the inner workings of Vogue magazine is beautiful and dazzling, just as high fashion is.

This is what I learned watching this dynamic film. Anna Wintour does not come off as an ogre, at least not in my view. But the film sometimes stuns one as it shows Anna’s comprehension of herself as — not the Devil who wears Prada — but an engaged, mystifying, uncertain woman who acts all too certain in her job. She smiles, she laughs and she is much more charming and engaging than her usual public appearances. She is especially interesting discussing how her very bright, well connected siblings view her job. The camera catches Anna with wrinkles, lines and sags, but she remains quite appealing here. She is more real than when encountered in real life.

And so the real hero of “The September Issue” is Grace Coddington, a fashion veteran with flaming and irrepressible red hair who speaks her mind, tells the truth, and urges the viewer to join in her intellectual and cultural rebellion. She emerges as “the” personality of the film; and of Vogue. There are others — Andre Leon Talley, a huge endearing presence, trying to play tennis and lose weight by Anna Wintour’s direction. Anna’s daughter, Bee Schaffer, is beautiful, frank, outspoken without being outlandish and shows remarkable common sense in a somewhat nonsensical world.

I was sorry when “The September Issue” came to an end. I watched it like a snake watches a bird. It’s simply irresistible. Mr. R. J. Cutler has made his documentary high water mark!

REMEMBER DISCO? Remember Thelma Houston and her classic “Don’t Leave Me This Way?” Well, at 66, this woman is still at it, and her recent gig at Universal City Walk in L.A. wowed fans. She sang her hits, she delivered a scorching Motown medley, and then she performed numbers from her new album, “A Woman’s Touch.” (This is Thelma’s first disc in 17 years!) On her new CD, she performs songs previously and most famously done by male singers, from Al Green to Sting to Glen Campbell’s “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”

And though she is a diva, she doesn’t behave like one. Asked if she needed anything special backstage, Ms. Houston cheerfully said, “All I need is a towel and some water!”

Thelma and other 70’s stars will appear at the Hollywood Bowl on September 27th for a big disco tribute.

You know, the 1970’s just don’t seem that distant to me. Hmmmm…. maybe I had too much fun during that decade to relegate it to nostalgia.

WHAT rock or pop star’s concert sold out in hours in New York, racking up 2.5 million dollars in ticket sales? None. This was first day box-office haul for the Metropolitan Opera’s coming season. So, who says culture is dead? The season officially opens on Sept. 21st with a new production of Puccini’s “Tosca.” (When this classic debuted, in 1900, it was not well received. One contemporary critic called it a “shabby little shocker.” No matter, it’s still an audience favorite, one hundred and nine years later.)

Popular on Variety

More Voices

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Tom Hanks Mr Rogers A BEAUTIFUL

    Tom Hanks' Portrayal of Mister Rogers May Put Him Back in Oscar's 'Neighborhood'

    Sony recently hosted a SAG-AFTRA screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Marielle Heller-directed drama starring Matthew Rhys as a magazine writer who befriends Fred Rogers, played by Tom Hanks. While the screening didn’t include a guild Q&A with cast or the film’s creative team, the audience was greeted with a video message from [...]

  • Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese,

    Martin Scorsese and 'The Irishman' Enter Oscar Race With World Premiere at NYFF

    Even with its three-hour run time and a short 28 days in theaters before it’s available on Netflix, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is likely to be a major contender at the Oscars. The 57th New York Film Festival opened on Friday night with the world premiere of the epic real-life mob drama. Scorsese and his [...]

  • Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time

    How Much Does Hitting the Awards Season Circuit Really Matter to Stars Like Brad Pitt?

    “Do you want an Oscar?” That’s the first question one top awards consultant asks any potential contender when they first start talking. Everyone is wondering how Brad Pitt would answer that question these days. He recently raised eyebrows and made headlines when he proclaimed that he would not be campaigning this awards season. “Oh, man. I’m [...]

  • Renee Zellweger'Judy' film premiere, Arrivals, Samuel

    'Judy's' L.A. Premiere: Renée Zellweger Takes Another Ruby Step Toward the Oscars

    Renée Zellweger continues to follow the yellow brick road to the Oscars. The Los Angeles premiere of Judy on Thursday night in Beverly Hills kept the Academy Award winner on track for a possible second win come February. “We’re just so happy we’re able to share it with you tonight,” Zellweger said to the crowd [...]

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

  • Fleabag Succession Emmys

    Could 'Fleabag' and 'Succession' Be Spoilers on Emmy Night? (Column)

    At the onset, this year’s Emmy Awards felt a bit anticlimactic, as the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” appeared to have this year’s drama and comedy categories locked up before campaigning even began. But that’s how upsets happen: Just when we’re pretty confident about how things might go, a couple of wild [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content