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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meandering Through A Mid Century Movie Set

I have been DYING to see “The Help” since it was released on August 12th. I finally went last weekend. Don’t you just love it when something not only lives up to your expectations, but exceeds it?

Of course the Fashionista wanted to see the movie for the costuming (which is indeed TO DIE FOR) and I of course was eager to view the set décor. It did not disappoint. Aibilene’s kitchen was as simple, sparse and clean as it is portrayed in the book.

Just look at the beadboard! It only needs a lick of paint.

A few liberties were taken in the décor of Elizabeth Leefolt’s home. Here is the family room ~because dens are for animals sugar! (You can also get a wee glimpse of the adjoining parlor). This setting was featured in many a happy bridge party scene.

While the décor is circa 1962, when paneling was de rigueur, I could see the sofa and floral chair fitting in a room today. (Décor aside who else wants Hilly’s pink camellia dress?) 

Elizabeth, tries desperately to keep up with the Joneses Holrooks , but falls a wee bit short. If she painted her coffee table and étagère creamy white, covered the orange chair in natural linen, removed the cornice and added a few turquoise pillows, she would be IT!

Here’s a close up of one of the chairs being sat upon by Sissy Spacek , watching her program (The Guiding Light), and stealing the show as Missus Walters.

My grandparents had a similar lamp, the exact same ceramic “birds” and very similar tee vee trays. Anyone else?

Now let’s move on to the living room of the Queen Bee of the social scene, Miss Hilly Holbrook. The addition of a few nice paintings, a silk rug and crystal chandeliers let you know she is one step above everyone else, save one, which infuriates her to NO end.

Ah, the infamous pink commode. I know a few ladies who would just DI AH (die) to have such a sweet seat ~ minus the pencil marks on the bath tissue.

The home where our heroine, Skeeter Phelan, resides is her mamma and daddy’s cotton plantation, Longleaf, which is steeped in tradition. 

Now Skeeter’s bedroom has more of a high school meets college grad dorm décor, but it is fancied up a bit with some wallpaper and trellis patterned drapes.

Her mamma, Mrs. Charlotte Phelan, has a traditionally furnished bedroom sprinkled with a few family treazahz (treasures). I for one like the drapery material and the lovely side table. 

Sadly, Missus Phelan thinks her canopied bed is lovelier than her plain jane daughter.

But there’s hope for Skeeter when Mamma discovers the hair straightening miracle known as the Shinalator. (Only 2 hours for gloriously smooth hair!) Loving the sweet Hoosier cabinet in the background and the genuine linoleum floor.

A truly Southern mansion exists at the plantation home of Mrs. Celia Foote, who formerly lived in white trash Sugar Ditch. Her husband inherited the house from his grandmother and Celia’s mother in law has forbidden her to change anything. 


The dreary interiors fit Celia’s dreary life. But you realize things might be looking up for her when her new maid Minny is shown hilariously vacuuming that awful bear.

For those that think production designer Mark Ricker (of Julie & Julia and The Nanny Diaries fame) and set decorator Rena DeAngelo don’t deserve an Oscar nomination, let me say “Bless your heart, you must have been dropped on your head as an infant because ya’ll are soft in the head.”

I can’t wait to see where you have wandered, meandered, strolled or skipped.


Wayfaring Wednesdays


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I want to see this movie soooooooooo bad!! I loveeeeeee your breakdown of the era pieces they used on set! :):):):):):):):):):):)

Pat said...

We saw The Help last week. I read the book awhile back and imagined the clothing and furnishings and was so pleased to see the sets were just as I imagined. I grew up during the 40's-50's and married in 1961. I suppose you could say I was witness, first hand, to the sofas, chairs, tables and yes....those TV trays.:-)

Loved the story and the film. Looking forward to Oscar nomination time. Several are well deserved for The Help.

mississippi artist said...

I could not wait for the movie after reading the book, and it was wonderful. I too loved all the sets and the clothes. Of course since I am from Mississippi and lived in the Delta for twelve years, I know some of the houses and etc, that they used in the movie, as well as the Jackson scenes.I certainly hope there are numerous Oscars for this movie!

Mom in High Heels said...

I can't wait to see this! I've got the book in my TBR pile.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

You've got to know this vintage girl is entranced. Nope, haven't seen it. I meet an old friend every other Wednesday for a movie and she went and saw this one without me! I might have to sneak off by myself and take this one in. I don't know what I love more, the clothes or the decor!

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

LOVEDDDDDD this movie and if it doesn't win a ton of awards, I am going to be ticked! You laugh, you cry, you can't believe it is taking place in the 60's! Fabulous, absolutely fabulous!!

French said...

I'm soft in the head I guess 'cuz I haven't heard of this film..? But we lived just like this, as did my Grandparents. The sets really take me back!

Blondie's Journal said...

Great post, Laura! I read the book but haven't seen the movie yet. You bet I will be soaking in all that scenery!


Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I just finished the book and I loved it. Thanks for showing me a little decor!

Lisa said...

What a great review, Laura! I have read the book like so many others, but have yet to see the movie.(Getting kids to school, honey) This week is my week to see it! Can't wait!

Jacqueline said...

I read the book last year but haven't been to see it yet. This is the most I have seen! How fun - maybe tonight with hubby! Thanks for the party. I just heard about it on someone's blog. So fun to join in.

Barefoot in Blue Jeans said...

I heard the movie was great, I can't wait to see it either. Hopefully this weekend.

Kit said...

No more wandering for me for awhile. Back to the grind starting tomorrow. But I don't mind, I really love it! I had to say that the pic of the den, looks just like my living room I grew up with in the 60's. Counting all the paneling. :) Kit

Sharon Wengel said...

I am reading this book right now , and want to see the movie as soon as I'm done ,

Stitchfork said...

Enjoyed the book, but have yet to go see the movie.
xo Cathy

My name is Ali... said...

Loved the book, loved the movie!! While watching the movie I leaned over to my friend and asked, "Don't you wish we could dress like that nowadays"...the fashion was just so modest but sophisticated. I love it! Great post!


Kristen said...

Loved the book so much and enjoyed the movie, too. Thanks for this post - I liked seeing the still shots...during the movie I was too distracted by the comparisons/contrasts with the book, so it was nice to concentrate on the set details. =)

Jacqueline said...

I saw it tonight. I laughed and cried. It was fab!

Valorie said...

Can't wait to see it! I grew up in the 60's with older parents and so remember the card parties, hair do's and tiny waists in pretty dresses! Thanks for the inside peek.

Terry said...

Such an interesting post. I am going to see this movie...I can remember when I used huge rollers like that in high school to get my hair to straighten.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Now I really want to see the movie!
Great post Laura, love the pics, it really takes me back to my earliest childhood memories!

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

I so loved the book and I just finished it. Now I can see the movie and these photos look just how I pictured it! Can't wait to see it. I have heard nothing but good reviews!!

Colleen @ MuralMaker&More said...

Oh, Laura! Thanks so much for sharing this. It takes me back to my childhood. The living/family rooms (before we had 'family' rooms) transport me in time.

I do believe we had the same TV trays as pictured in Sissy Spacek's photo. And the huge hair rollers? I had those in high school (1970's), although they were in pink. Yep, nearly every night I slept on those horrid things. That is, until the Farrah Fawcett 'shag' caught on, ha!

Thanks again for the stroll down memory lane. Now I'll have to see the movie!

Language of Color and Texture said...

Wonderful Post! I saw the movie last weekend,I was so enthralled with the story and was busy studying the decor so it was a fantastic few hours get away for me. Thanks for the good read.

Deanna said...

Laura, Loved this post and I am waiting to see the film of the year with my daughter.

Think this is one film I will probably want to purchase for my HOME LIBRARY.

God bless and here's to ya!

Liz said...

Oh My! the book club is going to see the movie on Sunday. I can't wait. I am on page 399 and can't put the book down! It has been one of those books that becomes your new best friend and you don't want to be separated from her by work, dinner, cleaning, e-mail, etc. I am LOVING IT!