6.8/10
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Fashions of 1934 (1934)

When the Manhattan investment firm of Sherwood Nash goes broke, he joins forces with his partner Snap and fashion designer Lynn Mason to provide discount shops with cheap copies of Paris couture dresses.

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

F. Hugh Herbert (screen play), Carl Erickson (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Powell ... Sherwood Nash
Bette Davis ... Lynn Mason
Frank McHugh ... Snap
Hugh Herbert ... Joe Ward
Verree Teasdale ... Mabel McGuire aka The Duchess
Reginald Owen ... Oscar Baroque
Henry O'Neill ... Duryea
Phillip Reed ... Jimmy
Gordon Westcott ... Harry Brent
Dorothy Burgess ... Glenda
Etienne Girardot ... Glass
William Burress William Burress ... Feldman
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Van Tyle
Spencer Charters ... Man Removing Telephone
George Humbert George Humbert ... Caponelli
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Storyline

Sherwood Nash is a swindler who bootlegs Paris fashions for sale at cut-rate prices. His assistant Lynn poses as An American interested in a dress and Snap conceals a camera in his cane. When they try to steal the latest Baroque designs hidden cameras capture them. Threat and counterthreat lead to the suggestion of putting on a legitimate show. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two Big Stars in One! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

14 February 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The King of Fashion See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two things are notable: the only time the studio glamorized Bette Davis (she hated it) and a stupendous Busby Berkeley number where women's belly-buttons are prominently featured (under the code they would disappear for almost 25 years). See more »

Goofs

When Harry delivers the dresses to Sherwood Nash, the vehicle he is driving has the company name "Duryea" on the side. But the uniform cap Harry is wearing has the name spelled differently as "Duryea's". See more »

Quotes

Mabel McGuire aka The Duchess: Say, what is this Lynn girl to you anyway?
Sherwood Nash: Now, don't you start. I'm having enough trouble explaining you to her!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Untitled
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when the new creations are unveiled at the Maison Elegance
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ah, those ostrich feather bikinis
6 October 2019 | by gbill-74877See all my reviews

The plot of this film wanders all over the place, from various schemes of a con man in the fashion world (William Powell) to a few melodramatic romantic interests. The highlight worth waiting for is the ostrich feather musical number choreographed by Busby Berkeley, as well as a smaller number showing fashion designs inspired from historical figures. Until then, Powell is reasonably engaging in pursuing a young woman he's hired to sketch fashions (Bette Davis) as well as an old lover masquerading as an aristocrat in Paris (Verree Teasdale). To the latter, he says he never forgets her "personality" after swatting her behind, which reminded me of the playful euphemism in the 1946 song of the same name by Johnny Mercer. Davis is pretty and very chic, though she's unfortunately underused. It's great to see the fashion elements which appear throughout the film, but the rest of the cast and their various subplots don't add much. Frank McHugh plays a guy who laughs in a silly way in response to anything, including seeing the "filthy" postcards a bookseller is trying to push, and Hugh Herbert is sedate as an ostrich feather supplier who drinks too much. Of course, right? The film was released early enough in 1934 to beat the enforcement of the Production Code, and as a result there are lots of revealing outfits on display, including ostrich feather bikinis which predate the modern bikini by over a decade. Worth watching for the stars, fashion designs, and the musical numbers, but don't expect much more.


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