Women He's Undressed

DIRECTOR: Gillian Armstrong

In this glitzy, dishy documentary, esteemed director Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career) traces the rise and fall and rise again of one of the most prolific costume designers of Hollywood’s golden age: three-time Academy Award winner Orry-Kelly. Born in a small Australian town in 1897, the artistic young Orry George Kelly left for Broadway in the 1920s to seek his fortune. Finding he wasn’t quite cut out for the life of a chorus boy, he worked as a set painter and costume designer while his handsome British boyfriend, Archie, struggled to make it as an actor. The pair headed to Hollywood in the 1930s. Archie ditched Orry, (mostly) retreated into the closet, and became Cary Grant. Orry, who refused to hide his sexuality, eventually became the head costume designer for Warner Brothers—responsible for dressing leading ladies (such as Bette Davis, who adored him) in as many as fifty movies a year. Along the way, he dropped “George” from his name and added a hyphen, for a bit of exoticism.

An outspoken creative genius, Orry-Kelly worked on three decades’ worth of classic films: Jezebel, 42nd Street, Casablanca, Oklahoma, Auntie Mame, Some Like It Hot, An American in Paris—and hundreds more. This enchanting, inventive documentary, rich with film clips, features tributes from today’s top costume designers and the reminiscences of those who knew him, bringing Orry-Kelly—the man and the artist—to glorious life. Women He’s Undressed is a must-see fashion extravaganza for film lovers.

— Charles Purdy

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D326

Co-presented by:
Academy of Friends
California Film Institute
Mostly British Film Society

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