I’ve been reading books but not talking about them. Then I couldn’t get started because I’d forgotten some of the details but I still wanted to talk about them. I’ve been stuck for awhile. So, I thought I’d just quickly summarize a few of them and then move into digressions.

The makeover in movies : before and after in Hollywood films by Elizabeth Ford & Deborah C. Mitchell

This is what I remember: The authors like makeovers in movies but they are concerned about the motivations of the women have for transforming themselves and what they transform themselves into. They say that Now Voyager is the prototype for modern makeover movies. (This is explains why I adore this movie). They were kind to the makeover movies I like (Clueless, Moonstruck) and so I liked the book. This book is easy to read and the analysis of the components of a classic makeover is spot on.

digression begins

I like watching What Not to Wear and I think it’s called Clean House – I especially like WNTW when the victims, I mean participants, start crying and say their self esteem has improved.

makeover movies I like:
Now Voyager
Sabrina (the original)
My Fair Lady
Strictly Ballroom
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

There aren’t as many male makeovers. Most of them are athletic training movies like Karate Kid or Rocky or Knight’s Tale. And male-to-female makeovers (Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire) don’t exactly count because that isn’t their ultimate form. I thought of Cat Ballou (the corset = makeover), George of the Jungle, and Men in Black. I forgot Earth Girls are Easy.

I still think the ultimate male makeover in fiction has to be Georgette Heyer’s Powder and Patch.

It’s a Georgian romance in which good-hearted but sartorially-challenged young Philip is rebuffed by his childhood sweetheart Cleone because, in her words, he is a “raw country bumpkin.”

He heads off to Paris to gain some polish. There is extensive and gratuitous description of all his new clothes. He flirts with all the married ladies and survives countless duels and writes atrocious poetry. Imagine a Scarlet Pimpernel/Ferris Beuller character. He is thoroughly adorable.

When he returns to Cleone, she barely recognizes him and, horrors, he doesn’t seem to love her anymore! In pique, she makes a series of poor decisions.

My copy is stored elsewhere, otherwise, I’d pull it and treat you to the makeover scene. Maybe I can find it at the library.

digression ends


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