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! **

Tag Archive for 'analysis'

Hear Those Banjos a-Strummin’!

After much delay, I present to you the latest installment of the Dueling Banjos series of film/costume reviews… This time, Chris from clothesonfilm.com and I discuss The Big Lebowski.  I figured it was an opportune time to post this, as the big holiday weekend is upon us in the US, giving you plenty of time to smoke up study it again.  Enjoy it – such a good movie!!  And great costumes by Mary Zophres!  Many thanks to Chris for a great film watching and critiquing experience.

— KMB

The Big Lebowski: Synopsis

Review Date: 5-23-10

Release Date: 3-6-98

Runtime: 117 min.

Period: early 1990s

Costume designer: Mary Zophres

The Big Lebowski is a film about mistaken identity, but really it all boils down to a soiled rug. There is The Dude (Jeffrey Lebowski, played by Jeff Bridges) and there is the Big Lebowski (Jeffrey Lebowski, played by David Huddleston). Their worlds could not be further apart – The Dude being a grade-A slacker, and The Big Lebowski being a millionaire. It is this divide and juxtaposition that makes the film interesting.

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The Big Lebowski – KB’s Thoughts

Review Date: 5-23-10

Release Date: 3-6-98

Runtime: 117 min.

Period: early 1990s

Costume designer: Mary Zophres

This movie is brilliantly designed in that the characters are concisely and efficiently illustrated. These characters are clearly defined from the beginning, and their costumes tell us exactly who they are from the moment we meet them. In this sense, they are archetypes, strongly drawn and easily recognized. For a movie as wacky and all over the place as The Big Lebowski, the visual simplicity of these characters helps the audience to stay engaged.

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Saturday Night Fever – Synopsis

Review Date: 8-6-09    

Release Date:  12-16-77

Runtime: 118 min.

Period: Contemporary, 1977

Costume Designer: Patrizia von Brandenstein  

Tony Manero is a nineteen-year-old Brooklyn paint store clerk by day, living with his parents.  At night, however, he rules the dance floor at the 2001: Odyssey dance club.  Saturday Night Fever describes his existence, straddling these two worlds, and coming to terms with the expectations his family has for him and his siblings.  Saturday Night Fever is, in the end, much more than great dancing and an iconic soundtrack; it is about growing up, being accountable for one’s actions, and taking responsibility for one’s own life and happiness.

**  NB:  This film is rated R, and the plot described herein may not be appropriate for kids. **

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