The Quick 10: 10 Iconic Movie Costumes Owned By Debbie Reynolds

Long before it was popular to do so, Debbie Reynolds collected Hollywood memorabilia. When costume departments were cleaning out their closets or repurposing garments for a new movie, Reynolds would swoop in and purchase items for her personal collection. Along the way, she has amassed more than 3,500 costumes and thousands of props and costume sketches. Sadly, her museum had to file for bankruptcy in 2009, and as a result, her amazing collection is being auctioned off next week. Here are a few of the impressive items she owns.

1. Barbra Streisand’s gold gown from Hello, Dolly! It's been called the most expensive dress ever made for a movie, and with half a pound of real gold used in all of the thread, I'm inclined to believe it. It cost $100,000 to produce back in 1969 and isn't expected to sell for that (I bet it does). Here it is in action:

2. Marilyn Monroe’s subway dress from The Seven Year Itch. If you're thinking about bidding, though, you might want to know it's no longer the ivory tone it was in the movie. " "It's turned an ecru color because it's very, very old as you know by now," Reynolds told Oprah in February.
3. Judy Garland’s blue dress from The Wizard of Oz. OK, it may not be the blue dress, but it's one she used during the first two weeks of filming. The "Arabian" ruby slippers are also up for sale - they're a pair of curled-toed slippers used in tests, but ultimately deemed too exotic-looking for Dorothy from Kansas.
4. Audrey Hepburn’s ascot dress from My Fair Lady.
5. Charlie Chaplin’s bowler hat.
6. Vivien Leigh’s green velvet “drapery” dress hat from Gone with the Wind.
7. Elizabeth Taylor’s jockey outfit from National Velvet.
8. Tom Hanks’ white tuxedo from Big.
9. Claudette Colbert’s gold lamé Cleopatra dress.
10. Julie Andrews’ brown jumper from The Sound of Music. Reynolds is also throwing in the guitar used in the scene, which she had Julie Andrews sign relatively recently.

What movie costume would you buy if you had the expendable cash to do so? For me, it doesn’t get any more iconic than the black Givenchy dress Audrey Hepburn wears in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but since it sold for $1.2 million at a Christie’s auction in 2006... well, it’s slightly out of my reach.

5 Film Transitions Worth Knowing

You see them every day, on TV shows, the news, and in movies, but how well do you know the most oft-used film transitions? Here are the big five:


The dissolve is an editing technique where one clip seems to fade—or dissolve—into the next. As the first clip is fading out, getting lighter and lighter, the second clip starts fading in, becoming more and more prominent. The process usually happens so subtly and so quickly, the viewer isn't even aware of the transition. The above video offers a great overview of the cut, with examples.


This transition is the opposite of the dissolve in that it draws attention to itself. The best example of the wipe is what's known as the Iris Wipe, which you usually find in silent films, like Buster Keaton's or the Merrie Melodies cartoons—the circle getting smaller and smaller. Other wipe shapes include stars, diamonds, and the old turning clock.

The Star Wars films are chock-full of attention-grabbing wipes. Here are two good examples from The Empire Strikes Back. The first shows the clock wipe; the second, the diagonal wipe (pay no attention to the broken blocks at the start of the second clip—that's a technical glitch, not part of the film).


As the name implies, in the basic cutaway, the filmmaker is moving from the action to something else, and then coming back to the action. Cutaways are used to edit out boring shots (like people driving to their destination—why not see what the character is seeing or even thinking sometimes?) or add action to a sequence by changing the pace of the footage. My favorite use of the cutaway is in Family Guy, where the technique is used to insert throwaway gags. Here's a great example:


The L Cut, also called a split edit, is a very cool technique whose name dates back to the old analog film days.

The audio track on a strip of celluloid film runs along the side, near the sprocket holes. In the L Cut transition, the editor traditionally cut the picture frames out of the strip, but left the narrow audio track intact, thus creating an L-shape out of the film. A different camera angle, or scene was then spliced into the spot where the old picture was, so the audio from the old footage was now cut over the new footage.

Of course, with digital editing, one doesn't need to physically cut anything anymore, but the transition is still widely used, and the name has remained the same.

Split edits like these are especially effective in portraying conversations. Imagine how a simple conversation between two people might look if all we ever got was a ping-pong edit back and forth between the two people talking. The L cut allows the viewer to read the emotion on the listener's face, as the dialogue continues over, as we see in this clip from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:


The fade in and fade out usually signal the beginning or end of a scene, especially if the filmmaker is fading to/from black. This is the most common, of course, but fading to white has become trendy, too. The opening title sequence from the HBO series Six Feet Under featured many fades to black and a couple brief fades to white. The very last bit in the sequence fades slowly to white, and is my all-time favorite example of the transition:

science fiction
Why So Many Aliens in Pop Culture Look Familiar

Aliens have been depicted countless times in cinema, from Georges Méliès's A Trip to the Moon (1902) to James Cameron's Avatar (2009). But despite the advancements in special-effects technology over the past century, most aliens we see on screen still share a lot of similarities—mainly, they look, move, and interact with the world like humans do. Vox explains how the classic alien look came to be in their new video below.

When you picture an alien, you may imagine a being with reptilian skin or big, black eyes, but the basic components of a human body—two arms, two legs, and a head with a face—are likely all there. In reality, finding an intelligent creature that evolved all those same features on a planet millions of light-years away would be an extraordinary coincidence. If alien life does exist, it may not look like anything we've ever seen on Earth.

But when it comes to science fiction, accuracy isn't always the goal. Creating an alien character humans can relate to may take priority. Or, the alien's design may need to work as a suit that can be worn by human performers. The result is a version of extraterrestrial life that looks alien— but not too alien—to movie audiences.

So if aliens probably won't have four limbs, two eyes, and a mouth, what would they look like if we ever met them person? These experts have some theories.

[h/t Vox]


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