LADY IN THE DARK (1944)

Director Mitchell Leisen’s background as a set and costume designer informs every frame of this glamorous adaptation of the Broadway musical. Ginger Rogers stars as a magazine editor who is stricken with a bout of indecisiveness, and sees a psychiatrist to analyze her dreams. The real-world scenes are sophisticated comedy as she copes with her romantic attraction to her married publisher (Warner Baxter), her insolent second-in-command (Ray Milland) and a movie star (Jon Hall). For her dreams, the film becomes a musical, though little was left of the classic Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin score by the time the movie hit theatres. As a compensating factor, however, Leisen pulled out the stops turning her dreams about high society, a marriage and the circus into lush visual displays. Edith Head did the costumes for the non-dream scenes, with Broadway designer Raoul Pene du Bois designing sets and costumes for the dreams. Leisen contributed his own ideas, including the jewel-lined mink gown Rogers wears in the circus dream. When the first gown proved too heavy for Rogers to walk in much less dance, du Bois got his friend, Madame Karinska, to build a lighter version. The original is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution.  Nitrate projection made possible through support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Turner Classic Movies and The Film Foundation in partnership with the American Cinematheque and the Academy Film Archive. 35mm nitrate print courtesy the UCLA Film & Television Archive and Universal Pictures. (d. Mitchell Leisen, 100m, Nitrate)

In attendance: ROSE McGOWAN