Friday, 24 April 2015

I couldn't act, but I could swing through trees.

As a home sewist with a love of vintage, I find sartorial inspiration in the strangest places. Terrible 1950s jungle films for example. 

Now, I spent a lot of my childhood in fantasy jungle scenarios, some side effect of a million Tarzan films and Jana of the Jungle I should think. If I'd had access to Sheena Queen of the Jungle  I'd blame her too. The title of this post quotes actress Irish McCalla who played Sheena. She had what, in the mid 50s, they'd call 'physical prowess'.

In my jungle I did quite a lot of tree swinging. I had leopards as pets, swam in clear lakes and probably even had chocolates (it counts as a tropical food). In the 1950 gem 'Mark of the Gorilla'  which stars Johnny Weissmuller as Jungle Jim, the jungle has a similar sense of reality. 

Charming poster. 
"Zoologists come here from all over the world to study the animals" says Jim. I am not surprised. Lions, tigers, panthers, snakes, crocodiles, apes and eagles will rarely gather together like this, it's a unique opportunity. 

The poor animals aside, it's oddly entertaining. There's ever-wooden Johnny, gold-hunting Nazis dressed as gorillas, talking parrots, and a 'European princess' character with an exotic accent and a nice line in hooped earrings. Plot? Er, something like that, let's get to the outfits.  

'Those gorilla costumes are so elegant but they put me in this gypsy top thing.'

So what were they wearing in the jungle in 1950? Nicely fitted jackets, beautiful gypsy tops, full skirts with wide waistbands and pockets, stylish hair-dos and, of course, high heels. Expect to see them all here soon, apart from the heels. Well maybe some platforms.

I saw this on TCM rather than You Tube (my usual source of gems). I couldn't find Mark of the Gorilla on there, so I've taken a clip from my TV. Never mind the quality, it has the parrots and my favourite outfit. I will leave you with that. 

Have a happy weekend.


 Sunday by the fire material.

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen Mark of the Gorilla, it sounds hilarious! Lovely clothes though. xxx