Fashion in Film - Tales of Manhattan Introduced by Timothy Long

Fashion in Film - Tales of Manhattan Introduced by Timothy Long

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  • Fri 24 Mar
  • 120 minutes
  • Director: Julien Duvivier
  • Cast: Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Ginger Rogers
  • (1942)


Directed by French filmmaker Julien Duvivier during his WWII exile in Hollywood, Tales of Manhattan presents a series of individual stories with different characters and situations. In this neglected film, the link is a dress suit that seems to carry bad luck. Unlike many anthology films in which the linking device is little more than a convention, here the exchange of the suit carries an extra charge with its owners cutting across different class and social strata. An amazingly diverse cast fits into the suit as it migrates not only from wearer to wearer but also from genre to genre and through various fashionable situations (theatrical performances, weddings, concerts). Exchanges of the tailcoat allow switches in romantic partners, social status, even as it comes apart at the seams and inspires a shirtsleeve solidarity. If the finale now seems condescending in its portrayal of black stereotypes, Paul Robeson’s passionate articulation of the Popular Front vision of social equality nonetheless has poignant resonance.

Includes screening of the short film In Which We Live: Being the Life Story of a Suit Told by Itself (Richard Massingham)