The 1950s was a new and exciting time for the 'teenager' with the popularity of the drive in theatres rising to almost 4,000 outdoor screens. The feature would more likely be 'The Attack of the Crab Monster' or 'The Blob'. The more mature viewer would most likely stay at home and watch their favourite series or comedy show on their new television set - approximately 10.5 million US homes owned one in the 1950s. Post WWII saw the cinema portraying men and women in a more conventional way but teenagers wanted new and exciting icons and symbols of rebellion. Paul Newman & James Dean replaced the old stalwart actors like Robert Taylor and Tyrone Power. The anti-heroine such as Marilyn Monroe or Ava Gardner overtook the more genteel screen actresses such as Grear Garson. Teenagers, Rockers, Rockabillys started queuing for their favourite movies and up and coming films could be shown on movie posters adorning the cinema. Movie cards appeared in shop windows to show what movies were coming soon to the local movie house.
Fashion, Rock n' Roll, fun and social changes were reflected in the films of the 1960s. a turbulent decade in the U.S. with cultural events, assassinations & deaths and monumental changes in laws and civil rights, the cinema goer demanded more to think about rather than the frothy movies of the 1950s. The film industry itself suffered its worse year in 1963 as made for TV movies became popular. Many film productions were made abroad to save money (spaghetti westerns) and the plethora of stars in the 30s, 40s and 50s became a memory as many had retired or died as had the talented production teams and directors. To aid the crumbling film industry back lots were sold and treasured movie props were auctioned off. Coupled with the 'Cleopatra' over budget costs disaster of 1963 of 44 million dollars ($300 million in todays money) the industry had to look to producing films outside of the U.S. with Britain being an affordable alternative.
The British queued up to see gritty, more socially realistic films known as 'kitchen sink' dramas known for their no-nonsense delivery. Most of the directors had backgrounds in television, film and theatre. Stars such as Albert Finney, Michael Caine & Alan Bates burst onto our screens as a different wave of straight talking, brooding, young angry men.
Financial and creative woes still beset the film industry in the 70s. However as the decade moved along creativity started showing a re-appearance however with restrictions on violence, language, adult content and sexuality becoming somewhat looser than earlier decades.Experimental filmmakers appeared on the scene and Hollywood was encouraged to take more risks. There were new story telling techniques and foreign language films influencing the industry. Films such as 'All the Presidents Men', Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The GodFather enticed the movie goer back to the cinema with a different approach to film going.
Although the 1980s wasn't exactly a trendsetter it did provide some movies packaged for mass audience appeal. In their own way they are 80's classics. 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles', Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Nine to Five & Harry Met Sally. There were many 'soul transference' films like 'Big'. Parenthood comedies like 'Three Men & a Baby', 'Parenthood' and 'Look who's talking' & the 80s heros Bruce Willis in 'Die Hard', 1988 & Arnie in The Terminator 1984.
In the 1950s fashion reflected a complicated mixture of conservatism and glamour. A girl next door freshness as well as alluring femininity - Grace Kelly for instance. A well dressed woman wore a hat and gloves outside the home for all but the most casual occasions. Long elbow gloves for formal and evening wear with a short sleeve, strap or strapless gown. Short gloves worn with suits - think Doris Day.
Although some of the 1950s pieces of jewellery were oversized and adorned with rhinestones or aurora borealis crystals, they remained feminine and wearable. The excitement of the Festival of Britain 1951 raised spirits and bought new hope in the form of new fashion trends and designs. Restrictions lifted and jewellery became big and bold.Cocktail parties became en trend resulting in a cocktail jewellery range being worn using curved designs, yellow gold and mixed metals.
Classic bags were a staple part of the 50's look and the 'Kelly' & Weymouth bag featured.Formal, gorgeous stitching, suede interiors, gold or silver tone clasps, elbief frames. The 'Kelly' getting it's name from the beautiful Grace Kelly of course.
Post War Britain flew open it windows and let the stale air of wartime Britain out and brighter cleaner modern living in. Bright colours, modern designs and open plan living arrived.