Thursday, September 30, 2010
JEANETTE MACDONALD SINGING SWEETHEART
Jeanette MacDonald will always be remembered as the American operatic singer and actress and more so for her appearances in MGM musical films of the 1930s and 1940’s with MGM co-star, Nelson Eddy.
Some of her much loved films include “The Merry Widow” in 1934 with Maurice Chevalier, “Naughty Marietta” in 1935 and “Rose-Marie” in 1936.
MacDonald gave a exceptional performance opposite Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy in the 1936 MGM film “San Francisco” which told the story of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
My personal favourite is the 1937 film “Maytime” which co-starred Nelson Eddy.
This incredible concert gown was worn by Jeanette MaDonald in the 1949 MGM film “The Sun Comes Up”. Costumes for the film were designed by Irene. This was also to be MacDonald’s last film appearance. The film teamed MacDonald with Lassie, in an adaptation of a short story by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. MacDonald played a widow who has also lost her son, but warms to orphan Claude Jarman Jr.
The gown is made of beige chiffon with heavily jewelled bodice and waist of silver bugle beads and pearls. The waist ornamentation is held in place with two finely crafted clasps of the same design.
MacDonald also performed live in concerts from 1931 through to 1950s.
This gown was worn also worn by her at a Hollywood Bowl concert in the late 40’s. Here is a photo of MacDonald in the gown in concert.
And here you will see MacDonald wearing the gown in the film, The Sun Comes Up and in which she sang, “UN BEL DI" from Puccini's Madame Butterfly.
The costume also features in advertising for the film. MacDonald thought so highly of the costume as a piece of her MGM history that she cherished and indeed enjoyed wearing the gown in concerts well after her film career had come to an end.
A wonderful costume piece worn by an Operatic singing legend in the last of her film performances.