Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

12 Angry Men

I COULD NOT GET PERMISSION FROM THE STUDIO TO USE THEIR PHOTOGRAPHS. HENCE, CHACHI.

Review Date: 10-22-08
Release Date: 4-13-1957
Runtime: 96 min.
Period: Contemporary, 1957
Costume Designer: NONE CREDITED

Yes.  You read that right.  No costume designer credited for 12 Angry Men.  No costume designer.  I searched the entire worldwide web, imdB, books, everything, and there is not one single person credited with designing, or even maintaining the costumes for this Academy Award-nominated film.

I suppose that the actors came to work each day in their own personal clothes, went home at night, and had their wives dutifully wash and press every garment.  Then, in the morning, the actors would come in to work, fully dressed in the same clothing, and they would continue shooting. No costumes.  Just the actors’ own clothing.  Washed and maintained by their wives or lovers.

So then, it would just be a serendipitous accident that Henry Fonda’s character just happens to wear a nice white suit every day for the 21 days of shooting?  That his character is a “good guy”, and the white suit (symbolizing justice, purity, innocence) just happened to be what Henry Fonda decided to wear, himself, on the first day of shooting?  And poor Mrs. Fonda, for having to scrub the sweat and makeup stains out of that darned white shirt, night after night!  That makeup ring-around-the-collar is a real bear!  Too bad they didn’t have Zout back in 1957!  It would have saved all of those wives from the “dishpan hands”!!

And I suppose that the crazy antagonist character, played by Lee Cobb, just happened to show up for the first day of work wearing a black suit?  Or maybe his wife picked that out for him, because he looks so good in black?  And I guess the actor playing the milquetoast character was really a Nancy in real life, because he is, of course, wearing his own clothes, because there was no costume designer on the film?

Or there is an alternate theory.  It goes like this: the actors showed up for work on the first day, were blindfolded, hogtied, and thrown into a dark room.  There, the Supernatural Überfuhrer of Costumage cast a spell on them, one-by one, whereby a set of clothing/costume was hermetically sealed to their bodies for twenty-one shooting days, and they could not physically remove the clothing until the Überfuhrer returned with the costume-release key which was really a rib-bone from a baby Siamese kitten.  Whereby, s/he would unlock the costume, breaking the spell and banishing the garments to a life of obscurity in the stock at Western Costume.  Does that sound about right?

Nope, I guess on a movie with no costume designer, one of the above theories HAS to be the way those costumes miraculously appeared on the actors!  I suppose the fact that the makeup artist received a screen credit, and that the script supervisor received a screen credit must mean that those positions actually existed, hmmm.  It MUST have been the Supernatural Überfuhrer of Costumage in this case, because s/he HATES the publicity, and prefers to keep a low profile!

Wow, that Supernatural Überfuhrer of Costumage sure did a good job.  If any of you know how I can get in contact with him/her, will you please email me?  I’d love to get an interview up here on Frocktalk!

Oh, but s/he hates publicity.  I forgot.  Nevermind!

-KMB

** PS: You can get your very own “I AM THE Supernatural Überfuhrer of Costumage” t-shirt at the Frocktalk Superstore!!

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