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Beauty Break: "I like thinking about the red dress..."

50 years ago today Marnie (1964) hit movie theaters and, as quite a divisive picture in the Hitchock filmography, ended one of the most beloved perfect runs that any filmmaker has accomplished in the history of ever  (1958-1962: North By Northwest, Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds).

So Marnie has a bad rep, posts about her don't get you riled up like other Hitchcock fests, and she's underseen today. Not to lovingly kick that crazy bitch while she's down but it occurred to me the other day when she popped into my head that Marnie's color phobia means she would never be able to see an Almodóvar picture. Her loss. And she would be absolutely terrified by Sara Goldfarb addictions in Requiem for a Dream. (I mean more terrified than the rest of us) 

I like thinking about the red dress. And the television and your father."

I dedicate this following gallery of beautifully cinematic red dresses to Marnie who fears them and to Ellen (currently battling Pazuzu) who likes thinking about them.

God, could Cyd Charisse reveal the details of her wardrobe

The Bride Wore Red

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes but Blondes and Brunettes prefer Red

Careful where you're going alone when you're wearing expensive on trend dresses


[Insert Julia's Adorable Hyena Laugh Here]

Audrey resplendent

It twirled up

 Michelle Makes Whoopee

She could go on singing... and standing in a red dress in front of a red curtain

this dress didnt start out redScarlett is always a scandalFlying Snow in Red

Get out of here. Get me some money, too ♫

Give her a second, she's going to look stunning once they strap her in

Burn, baby burn Part 1Burn, baby bury Part 2

...and of course that scandalous Jezebel, Bette Davis, upsetting everyone because she won't wear white to the ball like a good girl should!

What's your favorite red dress to ever grace the screen?

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Reader Comments (29)

Nicole's Moulin Rouge! red dress should be here too.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Great idea for a post. Also reminds me of one of my favorite stories (which I recounted to a friend last week because she was wearing a red dress).

Apologies for the self-promotion but it's here: http://eriklundegaard.com/item/the-wisdom-of-buck-o-neil

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik

I am now humming Helen Reddy's classic Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

It's pink, Mama.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJA

Dirty pillows must always be red.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I wouldn't say it's my favorite but just the other day I watched an obscure Kirk Douglas/ Mitzi Gaynor movie called For Love or Money and Mitzi entered wearing a bone white coat and when she removed it she had a form fitting bright red dress on. The thing that really made it pop though was that the lining of the coat was the same color red as the dress. It was a very POW! moment.Bonus points Mitzi's mother in the film was Thelma Ritter and one of her sisters was Julie Newmar!

That red dress Judy wore in I Could Go On Singing made a statement with the red curtain but Edith Head was having an off day when she fitted it. It was far too tight to be becoming. Judy tore the scene up anyway singing a song so full of bitterness and regret you forgot what she was wearing.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Speaking of Hitchcock, I love that red and black rose print dress Eva Marie Saint wears in North by Northwest. Julia Roberts's gown is so iconic and so '90s, though.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I can't believe you forgot the Moulin Rouge dress! Also Rose's dress from Titanic is another good one.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

I was just coming here to say Satine's red dress but BVR beat me to it. That dress is utterly gorgeous. Other dresses/colors:

White: Kim Basinger's white dress from L.A. Confidential (the dress she wore in all promo materials and for a brief scene)
Green: Keira Knightley's acid green dress from Atonement
Gold/Yellow: Belle's ballgown from Beauty and the Beast (which I think would look terrible in real life, but lovely on film)

I know I have a couple more dress/colors but i can't seem to remember them...

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Divine in Pink Flaminogos now THAT'S a red dress.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

I love Marnie, and I know many who love it too, so in my world Marnie is not underrated.

I see your red dresses and raise you Emma Stone in Gangster Squad; Now there's a stunner.

My personal perfect run of any filmmaker ever comes courtesey of Scorsese:
Taxi Driver 1976
New York New York 1977
Raging Bull 1980
King Of Comedy 1982
After Hours 1985

-throw in the 2nd. best concert film of all time, The Last Waltz (1978) and you've got THE perfect run.

Best concert film of all time? Stop Making Sense.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Sister Ruth transformative red dress in Black Narcissus

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

"Put on plenty of rouge. I want you to look the part."

And boy does Rhett pick the right dres for his Scarlett.

To me that dress worn to Miss Mellie's party is the answer.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDrew C

Bette Midler looked very nice on Oscar night in red. So did Pink.

And, the boys from my youth were all gaga over Kelly Le Brock in The Women in Red.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Cher in The Player.

Stockard Channing in Too Wong Foo.

Adjani's wedding dress in Queen Margot.

Jolie in Alexander.

And the blonde in the red dress in The Matrix.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Sara Goldfarb is my favorite everything. I have two additions: the gown Dolly Parton wears in her fabulous Best Little Whorehouse entrance, and whatever it is that Madame Medusa squeezes into in The Rescuers (is it a cocktail dress? a neglige?).

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

Satine's red dress in Moulin Rouge is so, so perfect.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGabby

The red dress trope is possibly my favorite and certainly the best clothing-related trope out there. When you want to announce to the audience from the rooftops that this character has

or is

...you put them in a fitted red dress.

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

Doesn't Keira Knightly have a great dark red dress in Anna Karenina?

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I seem to be one of the few people that like "Elizabeth: The Golden Age. And one of my favorite moments from it is the sudden reveal of Samantha Morton's red dress in her final scene. A visual thunderclap.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Where's Kidman's MR! red dress? OMG, Satine in tears.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ.D

So glad you included Jezebel! I kept scrolling down, wondering if you would include it, and then kinda gave up thinking that since it was a black and white movie it wouldn't count. And then there it was.

Great list.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

DJDeeDay -- it was actually the first one I thought of but I wanted it as the closer.

July 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

That Hitch run is impressive, but for my money, you can't beat William Wyler's wildly artistic spree from 1936 to 1942: Dodsworth, Dead End, Jezebel, Wuthering Heights, The Letter, The Westerner, The Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver. Eights classics, one right after the other, boasting a thematic versatility, a stylistic virtuosity, and an astonishing perceptiveness into the human condition like no other. His rise was swift and indelible.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I would also like to add Anjelica Houston and Annette Bening in The Grifters. Undeniably sexy.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMustafa

Once again - where's Satine's unforgettable dress? I cannot forgive that omission :)

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpaulj

paulj -- fine fine. COMPLAINERS ALL ;) added

July 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I saw a few minutes of Autumn Sonata on TV the other day and realized that Ingrid Bergman's hair and red dress are pretty much identical to Maureen Stapleton's in Interiors. Interesting, since both films came out the same year and Interiors was clearly Ingmar Bergman-inspired.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Michelle wins this, hands down.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

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