Costume designer Orry-Kelly is a fascinating subject. Vastly influential, enjoying a career of over 30 years and almost 300 pictures, Kelly’s creations are featured in Casablanca and Some Like It Hot and on actresses such as Bette Davis. As a triple Oscar-winner though, he is bizarrely unknown – particularly in his Australian homeland.
Armstrong brings a lovely focus on Oz to her docu-drama, and the vibrant atmosphere fizzes with gossipy monologues from the man himself – who abhorred fakeness and was one of very few out men in homophobic Golden Age Hollywood – as well as insight from personal friends and industry experts.
Women He’s Undressed is clearly made with love. The slightly jarring whimsical style works to emphasize Orry-Kelly’s uniqueness – and surely everyone will find his relationship with one Archibald Leach intriguing.
CAST: Darren Gilshenan, Deborah Kennedy
DIRECTOR: Gillian Armstrong
WRITER: Katherine Thompson
SYNOPSIS: A docu-drama on one of Hollywood’s most outspoken ‘behind the scenes’ stars. Orry-Kelly’s life provides a suitably scandalous struggle into the costume designing profession, which he would go on to revolutionize through his insistence on pared-down, more realistic looks and his ability to ‘design for distraction’.