Sunday, July 10, 2016

Movie Cars and Clothes

Today there is a special post. I recently took a road trip to Tennessee and North Carolina and thought I would share some pictures and information about vehicles and costumes in films.

In Gatlinburg Tennessee I explored the Hollywood Star Cars Museum. This location contains authentic modes of transportation featured in numerous movies and TV shows. If you are a fan of the Fast and Furious films, you will find the original supercharged 1970 Dodge Charger driven by the father of Vin Diesel’s character, Dominic Toretto, when the elder Toretto was killed. At the end of the first film, Dom, having maintained but never driven the Charger, hits the road with it, trying to escape the law. He gets into a nasty accident, but now cop pal Brian (Paul Walker) lets him go. This car also shows up in Fast Five.
Also on display is the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona that Dom drives in the sixth film in the series. The car was altered to make it shorter, taller, and sleeker for the stunts.
Some of my favorite cars are made by Aston Martin. No, you won’t find the one first featured in Goldfinger, and later seen in the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. But, there is the DB9 version that features Jason Stratham as the designated driver in Furious 7.
Speaking of James Bond, you will discover the Goldeneye BMW Z3 driven by Pierce Brosnon. Besides the standard 007 smoke screen, machine guns, and bullet-proof protection, there are supposed to be stinger missiles and a self-destruct system. You better read Q’s instruction booklet before operating.
There is the DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future series, flux capacitor and lightening-capturing rod included. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who named their dog Einstein or Copernicus after seeing these movies. No, the flying train in the last film is not here. It’s not real, people! My daughter and I watched these motion pictures several times when she was young, and would recite the dialogue. Be careful with that space-time continuum thing – you don’t want to get “erased from existence!”
You will find the Batmobile from the Michael Keaton 1989 version of Batman. The one at the museum is strictly a mock-up used for interior shots. So, if you visit, don’t try to drive it off. It is more foreboding looking than the one used in the Adam West TV series, which appears more comic book inspired with its bright outlines and convertible look.

With the new female version of Ghostbusters being released, you can revisit the converted Caddy seen in the original Bill Murray flick. Hey, you need a big ride to carry those blasters when you are fighting mutant marshmallow men. Wonder if the new vehicle is a hybrid?
Check out one of the trucks used to carry those “Dorothy” sensors in Twister. When you’re out there in the middle of the USA, watch out for those f5’s. The “finger of God” is not the kind of close-encounter you want to experience.
The Harley Davidson Softail Fatboy motorcycle is featured in the Terminator 2: Judgment Day showcase. The movie’s producer, Mario Kassar, kept it in his personal collection until it was sold to another private collector before finding its way to the car museum. The movie franchise never did explain why Skynet made a robot with an Austrian accent. Diversity, I guess.
Finally, you can’t get a more antique car than the one in the John Goodman and Rosie O’Donnell movie version of The Flintstones. I wonder if they had podiatrists back then.
 There is more to see at the Hollywood Star Cars Museum. It is definitely worth a stop if you are in eastern Tennessee.
I was lucky to be visiting the impressive Biltmore mansion once owned by George Vanderbilt, with its amazing gardens and grounds in Asheville, North Carolina, at the time there was an exhibit of costumes which appeared in period piece motion pictures. The costumes on display were primarily wedding outfits.

Well into the 1800’s, a wedding dress was the average woman’s best dress, with the white gown coming into fashion at Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding. In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor Dashwood’s muslin wedding dress and velvet jacket worn by Emma Thompson were appropriate for her marrying a poor minister (played by Hugh Grant, who looked like he could hardly move his head in the collars he wore in the film).

In contrast, Elinor’s younger sister, Marianne (Kate Winslet), donned a more fashionable dress in keeping with her wealthy husband, Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), dressed in a military uniform.

For the Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) wedding gown in Out of Africa costume designer Milena Canonero made a linen suit in the French style with a false waistcoat front and high collar. The silk hat has a peaked crown. The designer wanted to illustrate Blixen’s strong, independent spirit. The gown must be associated with bad feelings for the character, considering one of her wedding gifts from her husband was a venereal disease.

In Emma, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wedding gown demonstrates the popularity of the Regency dresses in the early 1800’s. They had high waists creating the look of a column to evoke a Greek or Roman form. The self-proclaimed matchmaker was finally matched in this film.

Then there is Tess. Anybody who is familiar with Thomas Hardy stories knows that fate does not make it easy to get to that happy ending.

There were also costumes at the Biltmore from such films as Howard’s End, Mansfield Park, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, among others.

Well, I hope this post was a pleasant diversion. Next week we’re back to film analysis with A Clockwork Orange.

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