Screen Time: “The Talented Mr. Ripley”

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I went to see “The Talented Mr. Ripley” in the theater when it was released in 1999, and I’ve re-watched it multiple times over the years. I enjoy this movie for many reasons—Italian locations! 1950s fashions! tightly plotted psychological suspense!—and a perfume moment never hurts.

In one scene, Tom Ripley (played by Matt Damon) sits at a portable typewriter to compose a letter that he will then sign as “Dickie Greenleaf,” another major character. (This story includes many themes of doubling and assumed identities; that’s all I’ll say.) Next to the typewriter sits a package from the venerable Florentine apothecary and perfumery Santa Maria Novella.

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Screen Time: The Muppets Take. . .Bergdorf

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My husband and I recently re-watched “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984). Neither of us had seen it in years and years, but we both found it as entertaining as we remembered, even if we were watching it through slightly different eyes. I got one of my biggest laughs from the sequence that begins with Kermit the Frog chatting with his friend Jenny, a waitress who’s an aspiring costume designer (such a New York occupation/aspiration!). As a child, I wouldn’t have been too concerned with the actual location of their conversation…

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Screen Time: An Idea…

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I’m thinking of adding yet another category to my posts here on Tinsel Creation: short meditations on movie scenes that include perfume or other beauty products as tokens of self-invention, entry points to fantasy, or clues to characters’ personalities. I’m not a film critic (unlike my friend The Self-Styled Siren, whose blog you really should read), and I won’t be commenting smartly on design the way my buddy Karen of Small Earth Vintage does on her blog (see her recent post on Moonrise Kingdom here!). Instead, I’ll be obsessing, in my usual way, about the bigger importance of little things like lipstick and scent bottles.

Image: Laurey (Shirley Jones) smelling “Elixir of Egypt” in Oklahoma! (1955).

Screen Time: Guerlain Perfumes on “Upstairs, Downstairs”

Although I didn’t find the first season of the new “Upstairs, Downstairs” (2010) all that riveting, I tuned in to watch the first episode of the second season on PBS on Sunday night. I’m glad I did, not only because the writing and plotting seemed a little better this time around, but because the episode featured a wonderful cameo appearance of a classic perfume.

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