Fig Leaves

USA 1926. Dir Howard Hawks.

In this joyful satire, Hawks light-heartedly suggests that fashion is the Satan ultimately responsible for the fall of (wo)mankind. The snake, aka Alice, tempts Eve into fashion’s realm of illusion, with its pandemonium in Joseph André’s decadently run couture salon on “rue de la Fifth Avenue.” The film’s crescendo is a dramatically staged dress parade of Adrian’s designs, a sequence that was originally executed in Technicolor. The fashion show, together with the then popular plot of “the husband and wife debate,” was a winning formula which had critics hailing it as “exquisite” and its star Eve (Olive Borden) as “ravishing”. Hawks’ second film as a director in Hollywood, Fig Leaves is visually dazzling and at the same time has an enduring power to amuse.

Museum of the Moving Image, New York Sunday 18 Mar 2007, 2:00 p.m.