FASHIONS OF 1934
35mm print preserved by the Library of Congress
Most notable for mischievously riding the edge of the Production Code, FASHIONS OF 1934 features a lot of naughtiness and a trio of lovably unethical lead characters. William Powell plays Sherwood Nash, a charming rascal who ropes Bette Davis' amateur dress designer into a scheme for bootlegging top Parisian fashions for high prices. In fact, the Busby Berkeley dance number comes as somewhat of a surprise, but when it does appear as an elaborate cog in Nash's complex ostrich-feather racket, "Spin a Little Web of Dreams" twists into delectable Berkeley decadence, with dancers wearing feather fans, playing living harps and sailing atop an undulating, glistening faux sea. His most astonishing flourish: overhead shots of the plumed dancers forming a beautiful, feathery flower, which opens and closes as if photographed in time-lapse. (Note adapted from Harvard Film Archive.) DIR William Dieterle; SCR F. Hugh Herbert, Carl Erickson; PROD Henry Blanke. U.S., 1934, b&w, 80 min. NOT RATED
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