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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Minton in the Movies

Some time ago I did a post of Majolica in the Movies over a piece of majolica I perceived to have been used in the movie Pillow Talk. What I somehow managed to miss in that post though was two pieces of Minton used earlier in the same film. Oddly enough they are the same pattern piece also used in the movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane— the Minton Thorwaldsen jardiniere—although in Baby Jane only one is shown. Whether either of the pieces used in Pillow Talk are the same exact piece used in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane there is no way to know for sure but there is a case for saying it's possible.

Scene from Pillow Talk showing the Minton Thorwald jardinieres
Scene from Baby Jane showing the Minton jardiniere on the dresser in the background
Minton Thorwaldsen jardiniere
Pillow Talk and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane were made around the same time, Pillow Talk in 1959 and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane in 1962. One movie was filmed in color and the other in B&W so glaze colors can’t help in the identification, but both movies were independent productions filmed in Hollywood so they were each free to draw upon the same studio prop resources. In Pillow Talk the pair of jardinieres are part of the inventory of a decorating firm. In Baby Jane one sits on Blanche Hudson’s dresser.

It’s not uncommon for movie props to show up in numerous productions. The majolica clock that appears in Gigi (1958) also appears in In the Good Old Summertime (1947) and several westerns. The antique boat bed in Sunset Boulevard (1950) was also used in several movies: Trifling Woman (1922); The Phantom of the Opera (1925); Twentieth Century (1934); and Good Neighbor Sam (1964).

Scene from Gigi showing the frequently used majolica clock in the background.
Antique bed that appears in multiple movies
Scene from Twentieth Century showing the antique bed in the background
Scene from Sunset Boulevard that features the antique bed shown above
It's also common to see the same sets used in different movies. The extravagant Victorian staircase built for The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) was also used the Cat People (1942). The entire industry behind searching out props appearing in multiple movies has a blog community of its own. One of my favorite blogs of this kind is Recycled Movie Costumes which furnished a couple of the images used in this article.

Should you see the Thorwaldsen jardiniere in any other mid century movie please let me know and I'll post it here.

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