Thursday, June 30, 2011


Here is a wonderful period robe worn by the legendary Richard Burton in the 1956 United Artists picture “Alexander the Great”. Costumes for the film were designed by David Ffolkes.

This full-length light brown woollen robe with powder blue silk lining is adorned with embroidered aqua sunbursts and depictions of lions.

The following photos show the detail in the embroidery.

Below is the original 1956 trailer to the film. You can see the costume at 1:02 in a scene opposite Claire Bloom.

He originally worked on the stage and in cinema while in the United Kingdom.

He will be remembered for his roles in the film Cleopatra (1963) opposite Elizabeth Taylor and where they first met. Other films together included The VIPs and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Other memorable film appearances include My Cousin Rachel opposite Olivia de Havilland and The Robe with Jean Simmons.

Burton had great critical success both on stage and in film.

Burton was nominated seven times for an Acadamy Award, six for best actor. He never won. He will be remembered also for the very public romance and twice marriage to Elizabeth Taylor.

Burton was married five times and he had four children.

Burton died suddenly at the age of 58 from a brain haemorrhage. He was plagued with illness issues for most of his life. At one time he was highest paid actor in Hollywood.

He will always be remembered as one of the greatest.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This navy jacket with military braiding and buttons was worn by Robert Taylor in the 1936 MGM film “The Gorgeous Hussy”. Directed by Clarence Brown, the film also starred Joan Crawford.

The film tells the story of President of the United States Andrew Jackson and an innkeeper's daughter.

This was considered quite a lavish production and particularly in terms of the number of leading men given to Joan Crawford for the film, including Franchot Tone, Melvyn Douglas and James Stewart.

The Gorgeous Hussy earned two 1936 Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography and Supporting Actress Beulah Bondi as the First Lady. It is also remembered for being the only sound era appearance of Joan Crawford in a costume period film.

The following photo provides more detail of the military braiding and buttons.

Lionel Barrymore appears as Andrew Jackson and would reprise his role in 1952's Lone Star, with Clark Gable and Ava Gardner. Sadly that would be his final screen performance.

Taylor was famous for having appeared in many MGM and other studio classics including Camille opposite Greta Garbo and Waterloo Bridge opposite Vivien Leigh. One of my favourites is his appearance as General Marcus Vinicius in Quo Vadis, opposite Deborah Kerr.

Robert Taylor can be seen wearing the jacket in various scenes throughout the film. Below is a scene the costume appears in opposite Joan Crawford:

At one time Taylor was married to actress Barbara Stanwyck. Taylor died of illness in 1969 at the age of 57.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Here is a beautiful 1940’s dress worn by Judy Holliday in the 1949 MGM film classic “Adam’s Rib”.

The film was written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin and directed by George Cukor. It starred Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. This was Judy Holliday in her first major film role. The film is considered one of the great classic romantic comedies of the 1940’s.

The film was used by Columbia as her audition for re-creating her role on film of her Broadway success in Born Yesterday. Holliday went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for Born Yesterday.

Holliday is also best remembered for her role in Bells Are Ringing which she also performed on Broadway and then reprised her role on film. Holliday also starred in the film ‘The Solid Gold Cadillac”.

Below is the trailer to the film where you can see Judy Holliday in costume:

Holliday passed away from illness in June 1956 far too young at age 43.


Here is a wonderful wedding gown worn by Judy Garland in the much-loved 1946 MGM musical classic “The Harvey Girls”. The gown is a creme-colored (Hollywood white) silk wedding gown with ornate puffy shoulders, lace sleeves and lace trim on the front.

A handwritten cloth label sewn into the zipper lining reads “1348-9123 Judy Garland”

Garland played Susan Bradley in this film classic that tells the story of a mail order bride who makes her way out west under a mistaken offer of marriage and instead joins a group of young women who are opening a Harvey House in the wild west.

The gown can be seen in two scenes in the film.

The first time it appears is when Garland, lets the Harvey girls know that she is to be married and showing the girls her wedding gown. This scene takes place on the famous Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe.

The gown then appears in the wonderful closing number to the film when Garland finally marries her love, John Hodiak.

Here is a close up of the bodice showing the intricate lace work on the gown.

The gown also appears in the poster art which was used to market the film.

The gown was originally one of the many MGM treasures that appeared in the "Star Wardrobe" portion of the great MGM auction in the 1970's.

Costumes for the film were designed by Helen Rose.

The film also starred some other MGM greats including Angela Lansbury, Cyd Charisse and Marjorie Maine.

Garland was also reunited with her Wizard of Oz yellow brick road partner, Ray Bolger and enjoyed some memorable scenes together.

The most famous of which would have to be the big, eight minute production number "On The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe."

The following costume is a jacket worn by Ray Bolger in this number.

You can see the jacket in the musical number here:

Men’s costumes were designed by Valles for the film.

Also from The Harvey Girls is a nightgown worn by Marjorie Main in a scene where the Harvey Girls are woken up by a bullet hitting a light fitting in order to scare the girls into leaving town. Marjorie Main was a much loved character actress best remembered for her role as Ma Kettle in the Ma and Pa Kettle series.

Purchased from the Bill Madigan Collection