Art Deco fantasy

Last night we watched Topper on TCM. The Thorne Smith novel of the same name was written before the stock-market crash, but it's breezy escapism was perfect fodder for dreary 1937. The premise: The Kerbys, two young socialites (Cary Grant and Constance Bennett) are killed driving their improbably glamourous car and realize that in order to distinguish themselves in the afterlife they need to throw off their foolish ways and be of service. The project they choose is Cosmo Topper (Roland Young), a meek, diminutive banker married to the prudish Clara (played by "Good Witch" Billie Burke). Hilarity ensues.

The triumvirate of Grant, Bennett and Young do smart comic turns, but the real star of this film is its appearance. The sets are Art Deco masterpieces; the image above depicts the Kerbys' luxe penthouse. And the costumes, glorious. In one scene Constance Bennett swans about in a dark suit set off with a lavish fox stole, tails dripping. We don't cotton to that kind of thing in Colorado, anymore, but she looked smashing.

Glamour is relevant because it's fun and expressive, and it can be green to boot. Plus it can be had for the price of good taste or a fine sense of humor. The following was purchased for $25 from a friend when I was a poor single girl. Another pal retied the springs and recovered it as a project in uphostery class. I refinished the wood. (Yes, it was originally stuffed with horse hair.)

And it tickles me every time I see it. 

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