Pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Women He’s Un­dressed Sun­day, 8.30pm, Show­case (115) If, like me, you’d never heard of Orry-Kelly, this doc­u­men­tary by award-win­ning di­rec­tor Gil­lian Arm­strong will be a treat. How his story has gone largely un­told for so long is be­yond me. So, hats off to Arm­strong for giv­ing him air. Orry-Kelly (1897-1964), born Orry Ge­orge Kelly, lived with his dot­ing mum in Kiama on the NSW south coast be­fore tak­ing off for New York where life was just a bit more colour­ful. He shared an apart­ment with his close friend Cary Grant and be­gan de­sign­ing cos­tumes for Broad­way be­fore mov­ing to Hol­ly­wood in 1932. Warner Bros snapped him up as chief cos­tume de­signer. He cre­ated the most stun­ning wardrobes for lead­ing ac­tresses such as Bette Davis, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, Olivia de Hav­il­land, Katharine Hep­burn, Ava Gard­ner and Merle Oberon. Some re­fused to do a film un­less he de­signed their clothes. Orry-Kelly worked on 285 films, in­clud­ing Casablanca, Irma la Douce and Aun­tie Mame, and won three Os­cars for cos­tume de­sign for An Amer­i­can in Paris (1951), Les Girls (1957) and Some Like It Hot (1959). A bril­liant, dar­ing per­fec­tion­ist, he was also a dif­fi­cult char­ac­ter. An al­co­holic with a hot tem­per, he hit rock bot­tom at one stage, but man­aged to climb back. Arm­strong pieces to­gether a fas­ci­nat­ing story us­ing old film clips and in­ter­views with peo­ple who knew him, such as Jane Fonda and An­gela Lans­bury.

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