This month, I’ve watched two very different Angelina Jolie thrillers on DirecTV, both of which I had missed at the theater. One was a Hitchcock-inspired thriller set against the beautiful backdrops of Paris, France and Venice, Italy, “The Tourist,” complete with classic film noir glamour in its costumes. The other was a better action-oriented, spy movie that wasn’t worth its “Salt” when it came to the costumes.
Oh, the difference a movie’s costume designer can make.
Responding to one of my earlier posts, “A treat when pantyhose show up unexpectedly,” Julio commented about Jolie wearing pantyhose throughout “The Tourist.”
“The Tourist,” tells the story of an American tourist, Frank, (played by Depp) who meets a mysterious beauty, Elise, (Jolie) on a train, while traveling through Europe. While the flirtatious encounter appears innocent, we soon learn that Elise deliberately crosses Frank’s path as part of a much more sinister plot, leading to a whirlwind romance and dangerous pursuits, as both dodge deadly criminals through historic streets of Paris, and the winding canals inVenice.
While “The Tourist” is a pretty good thriller on its own merits, the movie is helped by the beautiful scenery, which includes Jolie herself.
Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood dressed the characters in classic, contemporary clothes “to complement but not overwhelm the breathtaking settings of Paris andVenice.”
Atwood, who won Oscars for costume design for “Chicago” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” told People Magazine, “My inspiration for Elise’s costumes were the Hitchcock movies – minimal elegance. In a Hitchcock movie, everyone looked great, even if (he or she) was not a particularly chic or fashionable character.”
It was so nice seeing Jolie in those very sheer and soft-textured pantyhose, especially because of the shoes she wore with that outfit, supplied by legendary designer Salvatore Ferragamo.
Knowing Atwood’s work on such films as “Chicago” and “Nine,” as well as her devotion to classic film glamour, it’s no surprise that Jolie wore pantyhose throughout the entire film.
What is a surprise, however, is that wonderful scene our reader, Julio, described earlier.
Another lovely surpise happened in “The Tourist” starring the always sexy Angelina Jolie. About halfway through the movie, both she and Johnny Depp start to undress, each in their own rooms, and there it was – a very short glimpse of Angelina stepping out of her shoes, revealing the most lovely pantyhosed feet. Too bad the surprise only lasted a second, but the image lasts forever.
Right then, I made a mental note to see “The Tourist,” and I got that opportunity, as it was on one of the Starz channels last night.
That scene is exactly what’s been missing in film for decades. When Elise slips out of her heels, the camera doesn’t cut away or pull back, or come at an inconvenient (for us) angle. Rather, the scene is shot close up, and we get a close, clear look at Jolie’s very pretty nylon-covered toes, albeit, for only a couple of seconds. It’s the sexiest such scene I’ve seen in about a hundred years.
It makes me wonder why a scene like this is never shot today, and why it was shot in “The Tourist.” For the past, well, ever really, a scene like this – if it were done at all – would be shot far away, the angle would be wrong, and the actress would have curled her toes in a way that the audience wouldn’t have gotten a good look. And, if she were actually in pantyhose, they would have had a reinforced toe, or would have been so dark or so thick, you wouldn’t have been able to see anything.
But in “The Tourist,” this scene is delicious. The pantyhose is so sheer and delicate that they do what they’re supposed to do – enhance the beauty of what they cover. This is what so many women today don’t get.
If those stilettos Elise was wearing were open-toe or even peep-toe shoes, all the “fashion experts” would have said that the character shouldn’t have been wearing pantyhose with them. Yet, this scene in “The Tourist” clearly shows why that thinking is just ridiculous. The pantyhose Jolie wore were completely sheer. One couldn’t even see a seam (not that it would matter to me because I think it’s sexy anyway), and the nylon made Jolie’s feet absolutely beautiful.
It makes me wonder how this scene even made it into the final cut. It wasn’t essential to the story in any way, but it was done so beautifully and tastefully. Could this mean that someone with influence over the script – a writer or director – “gets it?” Is this a case of someone giving the millions of people out there with a foot fetish or a pantyhose fetish (or both if we’re truly tortured souls) what they so long for – a closeup of pretty toes in pantyhose?
Or, could it be that this scene was shot to focus our attention on those fabulous shoes, and Jolie’s pantyhosed feet were just a freebie for us? I guess if you’re the sexiest shoes on the planet, you deserve a closeup, and ….. wait for it ….. the lovely lady wearing you had better be in pantyhose to honor your true beauty and sexiness.
More often than not, I am disappointed in movies because the costume designer ruins the look of its female lead by dressing her in fabulous costumes, but bare legs.
A case in point is the other thriller starring Jolie, “Salt.” Jolie plays a CIA agent named Evelyn Salt, who, while interrogating a Russian defector, is told (as her superiors listen) that she is actually a Russian sleeper agent who will assassinate the president of Russia during his upcoming visit to New York City.
The movie then goes into practically nonstop action, as Salt employs all her spy skills to elude capture. She runs, climbs buildings, jumps on moving trucks, and pretty much just kicks everyone’s rear end who tries to stop her, while she tries to learn the truth about her identity and clear her name.
In this movie, Jolie is at first dressed in what would seem to be the usual “spy wear” for a female agent, a skirt suit, pumps and ….. wait, no pantyhose? That can’t be. I can’t believe a CIA agent based in Washington, D.C. would be bare-legged.
This is all the more disturbing because it follows the same thinking as another disappointing spy show, starring Piper Perabo, who is almost always bare-legged in the TV drama, “Covert Affairs.”
While I have no way of knowing whether real-life female spys routinely wear pantyhose as part of their usual dress, I know this: costume designer Sarah Edwards didn’t do Jolie any favors in calling for bare legs with her suit.
I hate missed opportunities, and so when Salt tries to extricate herself from CIA headquarters, there’s a scene where she kicks off her pumps, exposing some Casper-like white tootsies with bright red toenail polish. I thought then (before I saw “The Tourist”) that this scene would have been really sexy if she had been wearing pantyhose.
Now that I’ve seen just how gorgeous Jolie’s feet were in pantyhose in “The Tourist,” I feel even stronger that costume designer Edwards blew it in “Salt.”
When seen in their expanded state, who could honestly say that Jolie’s character in “Salt” looks equally as lovely as her character in “The Touist?”
I have to wonder how much credit the costume designer in movies gets, versus how much influence the actress has over what she wears. I would have to think that someone of Angelina Jolie’s status would insist on her character wearing pantyhose if she felt strongly about it, but maybe it doesn’t work that way.
But how can Jolie watch herself in “Salt” after seeing how much more beautiful she looked in “The Tourist?”
Maybe next time, she’ll demand more say over her wardrobe and choose pantyhose.