Thursday, February 15, 2007

Interior Design in Film

A few months ago, House and Garden featured a list of the most striking interiors of cinema. Many of the movies that were mentioned were favorites of mine, while others I was not familiar with. I adore old movies for many reasons: the suave actors and glamorous actresses, the gorgeous costumes, and of course the scintillating dialogue. But what I love most about movies are the interiors. Many times I catch myself focusing on a character's home rather than on the plot.

I thought I would make a mini-list of some of my favorites as my complete list would be far too long. I tend to gravitate towards the movie sets from the 1930s and 40s. I love the glamour of it all. What would really be interesting, though, is to hear from others- what are your favorite movie interiors??

(And please forgive me for the quality of the photos- it is very hard to find decent film stills of interiors!)



"Dinner at Eight" (1934). This comedy with a cast of characters that included Jean Harlow, the Barrymores, and Wallace Beery has fantastic Art Deco interiors. Jean Harlow's bedroom is so over the top, but it's perfect for her character. Art Direction was by Hobe Erwin and Fred Hope.







"The Thin Man" (1936). The Art Director was the legendary Cedric Gibbons. I adore Nick and Nora's apartment in this movie. It's quintessential Manhattan of the 1930s.





"Top Hat" (1935). What list could not include a Fred Astaire movie? It was actually hard for me to pick one Astaire/Rogers movie, but this one is fun to watch. Art Direction by Van Nest Polglase.




"My Man Godfrey" (1936). Yet another screwball comedy, this time with William Powell and Carole Lombard. Fun (and a bit theatrical) art deco/ Hollywood regency interiors.



"Rope" (1948). This is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies, and the plot was so creepy that I actually had trouble concentrating on the set. The entire movie takes place in a bachelor's Manhattan apartment, and although the apartment is very elegant, sinister things occur!



"A Perfect Murder" (1998). Ok, so I'm the only person who seemed to like this Gwyneth Paltrow movie. I loved her Fifth Ave. penthouse- quiet chic!

16 comments:

  1. Love this!!!

    One of my favorite interiors is Indiscreet with Ingrid Bergman.

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  2. What a great idea for today's post! I've always thought a fashion designer should do a line of clothes based on these old films, but the interiors are also very inspiring!

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  3. Alyssa, I love that movie too, esp. her apartment. I wanted to include it, but couldn't find any decent images on the web!

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  4. I think Indiscreet with Ingrid Bergman has the best apartment ever (maybe London flat or townhouse is the better description, I'm not sure.)

    Also for color inspiration, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The last Imperor. For French 18th century style, flowers etc., Valmont and now Marie Antoinette.

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  5. Traveller One- That's a great idea! I would buy a satin bias-cut gown inspired by 1930's films!

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  6. Style Court- You're right- it's a flat! And I've always read about Umbrellas of Cherbourg, but have never seen it. Perhaps I need to rent it this weekend!

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  7. Oh my goodness! I also love "A Perfect Murder"... one of my all-time fav sets. A dream suite. And her ring is to die for...

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  8. Terramia- Glad to know I'm not alone. I didn't think the storyline was all that bad, either!

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  9. I’m such an old film buff! I can't get enough of the clothes, interiors, dinner parties and proper cocktails.

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  10. Based on your post, I checked out Rope (I love Alfred Hitchcock, and this one I hadn't seen yet) and Perfect Murder. Awesomeness! Loved them both. (And the interiours were fabulous.) Sidte note: can I have a studio like David's in perfect murder? So awesome and huge...

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  11. VDOprincess- Glad you liked both of those movies. I know- that studio was huge!!!!

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  12. I can not believe I have finally found someone as fascinated with those interiors as I am. Top Hat is the best (of all time), Joy of Living, Life of the Party, and absolutely any Busby Berkely musical (the Golddiggers of 1935, etc.) whose endings are spectacular. You are right, you, (I) could go on and on. Set directors & designers make the difference, VanNest Polglase, Darrell Silvera, etc. I am going to start to redo my bedroom and sitting room as soon as the weather cools, and I can not find but a few set images at all. I have googled and dittoed images, but set pictures are hard to find. How in the world did you find these pictures you have shown, and how, oh how, can I find more to help get me started? This is a diy, and I need help! I am just tickled pink (and white stripes) to see others enjoy those sets!

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  13. Grey Dame- Oh yes, I love all of those old movies. I did a Google image search to find these images, but, there are some books on Amazon that have pics as well. Do a search for author Howard Mandelbaum. I have his book on thirties screen style, and it's pretty good. I would like his book on forties' style, but haven't purchased that one yet. But I agree, it's hard to find decent shots- ones in which you can really see the set!

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  14. funhouse6:54 PM

    I know this is a 2 year old thread, but I had to comment. Found this because I just watched Perfect Murder again and I was searching for the address of the Taylor apartment. I agree it was very well done. Also don't forget just about any interior in Interiors. Minimalism at its best. I've come across your blog before and love it.

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  15. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Does anyone know what the name of the painting above the fireplace is in "A Perfect Murder"? (photo is pictured above)

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  16. Anon- I'm afraid that I don't know. Anybody??

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