Women He's Undressed is a cinema length documentary that explores the life of Australia's most prolific costume designer. Until now Orry-Kelly has been unacknowledged in his country of birth and pretty well forgotten in the adopted country of his greatest success. During the boom years of Hollywood he was the costume designer on an astonishing 282 motion pictures. He designed for the stars like Marilyn Munroe, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Rosalind Russell, Errol Flynn and many more of the immortals. His films included Some Like It Hot, Casablanca, An American in Paris and Now, Voyager. Orry-Kelly (Jack to his friends) won three Academy Awards and was nominated for a fourth. Orry-Kelly was Head of Warner Brothers Costume Department during the richest period of American film, the establishment of the dream factory and its effect on mass culture.
I was completely captivated by this extraordinary 'story telling' of one of Australia's best kept secrets. As every scene unfolded there something of marvel and wonderment was revealed about this 'iconic' master of design. Surely Orry Kelly was one of the all-time greats of Hollywood's glitter and glamour ages that not very many people know about. I think that it's this fact that amazes me so much.
Although a documentary, this true story managed to keep me interested from the beginning to the end proving that once again that Australian film makers do still know how to spin a good yarn. This is certainly one of the more impressive yarns that I can remember encountering in the past decade or so from over the ditch. Why Orry Kelly wasn't Knighted is beyond me? The film is cleverly put together with combinations of footage from Hollywood's elite archives which include some of the truly 'golden moments' of Hollywood's greatest and monumental stars and starlets and secondly with various enactments of Orry by an actor and thirdly with interviews with some of Hollywood's current stars.
The list of leading ladies that Orry designed costumes for as well as develop life long friendships with is nothing short of breath-taking, but it doesn't stop there. You would think that designing the most glamorous outfits and dresses for the most iconic stars that will ever grace the silver screens of Hollywood and indeed the international stage including stars like Betty Davies and Marylyn Munroe in there more well-known outfits, would be enough? But I can truthfully say that what happened behind the scenes was as equally as gripping and mind- blowing.
A really good piece of film making. If you are attracted to all of the 'Glitz and Glamour' of 'Tinsel Town' and love all of the 'behind the scenes' goss? Then it's worth the ticket price alone. However, there is so many more reasons to see this film. It really is quite a gem. I have been quite fortunate of late to have been able to have seen quite an exceptional run of great films and this is certainly another one. One that I'm sure you will thoroughly enjoy. It's actually quite moving in parts too. Highly recommend viewing.
DVD Releases: 23rd Deceber 2015
Duration: 100 minutes
Duration: 100 minutes
Starring: Darren Gilshenan, Deborah Kennedy, Louis Alexander
Director: Gillian Armstrong (Death Defying Acts)