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Academy and L.A. Film Fest team up for the 'Iconic Moment'

June 18, 2013|By Susan King
  • Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak star in Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 "Vertigo," which screens Thursday evening at Oscars Outdoors.
Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak star in Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 "Vertigo,"… (UCLA Film & Television Archive )

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Film Festival are teaming up Thursday evening for “The Iconic Moment” at the academy’s Hollywood campus.

The program is not only a celebration of the craft of  movie costume design but also a toast to the academy’s new Costume Designers branch, which was announced in January. For more than 60 years, the costume designers were part of the Art Directors branch.

The evening culminates at Oscars Outdoors with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic “Vertigo,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak and featuring the evocative costumes designed by the legendary Edith Head.

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“There are iconic moments in films one remembers for the rest of all time,” explained Jeffrey Kurland (“Inception,” “Erin Brockovich”), who is the governor of the Costume Designers branch.

Such moments, he noted, include Scarlett O’Hara’s green dress made out of curtains in 1939’s “Gone With the Wind.” “It is a brilliant moment. There have been so many through the history of film -- Gloria Swanson in ‘Sunset Boulevard’ in her outfit in the car when she goes to see Cecil B. DeMille."

Before the screening of “Vertigo,” the Oscar-nominated Kurland and four fellow costume designers -- three-time Oscar-winner Colleen Atwood (“Chicago,” “Alice in Wonderland”), Mark Bridges, an Oscar winner for 2011’s “The Artist,” Michael Kaplan (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Blade Runner”) and Ellen Mirojnick  (“Wall Street”) -- will discuss iconic moments at the academy’s new Lab space.

There will also be a reception and exhibit of photographer and filmmaker’s Alex Prager’s work, including a screening of his Hitchcock-inspired short film, “Despair.”

Actress Laura Dern will moderate the panel.

“Vertigo,” of course, features one of those iconic costume moments: the dove gray suit and black pumps Novak wears in the beginning of the film as the coolly elegant Madeleine, an outfit that Stewart’s dangerously obsessed Scottie then re-creates for her look-alike, Judy.

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But that moment almost didn’t make it to the screen. “The legend is there was definitely a disagreement over the suit,” Kurland said. Novak had told Head before the film started production that she didn’t wear suits, the color gray or black shoes in her films.

“Edith had the problem that the script especially said that Madeleine enters in a gray suit and black pumps,” Kurland said.

“Edith went to Hitch and said, 'There is a problem.' He said, 'She will wear the gray suit and black shoes as Madeleine and she can wear whatever she wants as Judy.' I am paraphrasing, but he said [the ensemble] was imperative to Madeleine’s character. It was a foreshadowing of who she is and why she is. It was so important to Alfred Hitchcock and the storytelling that the character be wearing the suit in that color.”

The “Vertigo” screening is sold out, but there will be a standby line. Film tickets are also available by buying a package that includes the "Iconic Moment" panel discussion and reception.


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