A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Majolica in the Movies: Gigi


I love my iPad!
I spend hours on it every day playing games, searching the internet and watching movies and TV shows I download from iTunes.

Yesterday I was perusing the movie catalog on iTunes and saw that one of my favorite musicals, Gigi, was available for download in HD. It had been years since I had seen the movie. My own copy on DVD was not made from the best elements so I didn't watch it very often. This, I thought, was a perfect excuse for buying another copy that I could download to my iPad and watch whenever I want.
So I spent the evening downloading the movie and set it aside to watch the next day.

So, with a lazy Saturday afternoon in front of me I decided to indulge in my latest download. As that wonderful Lerner and Lowe score started it transported me back to my childhood, when I first saw the film at the Logan theatre in North Philadelphia with my Mother and brother. At the beginning of the movie Maurice Chevalier opens the story with "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" and introduces us to the title character Gigi playing ball in the park. As the song ends, Gigi rushes home to the flat she shares with her mother and grandmother. There on her grandmother's table is a large majolica vase with applied flowers. You can see the vase on the table on the left below. You can't see it in this picture but later in the scene the grandmother picks up the vase and you can see a huge magnolia flower on the opposite side.


I can't say that the piece looks familiar to me but it is very reminiscent of the kind of thing made by Menton, a French faience company that specialized in ware with applied decoration in the 1880's. This would certainly be appropriate for the story, which takes place around 1900.
Like another movie I mentioned in this blog that also featured a piece of majolica, Meet Me in St. Louis, it was directed by Vincente Minnelli, a former Broadway set director whose movies are meticulous in their decor. 

For the remainder of the movie I kept open an eagle eye for more majolica, though no more appeared. What a wonderful treat this was though, to see a piece of majolica in this lovely movie. I'll never be able to look at it again in quite the same way.

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