Monte Carlo Story (1957)
Monte Carlo Story features superb location shooting in a superb format using superb color. A gem of a motion picture. In contrast to nearly all movies of its generation, filmed almost entirely on location, even with interior scenes.
1957: The divine Marlene Dietrich crosses the square from the Hôtel de Paris to the Casino, wearing a silver-white silk shroud dress by the consummate couturier Jean-Louis Scherrer . It does not get better than this.
Jean Louis Scherrer, along with William Travilla , Adrian of Hollywood , Travis Banton and Edith Head were the group of couturier who in the post-war decades took the mere mortal clay of women such as Marlene Dietrich , Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth and re-cast them in divine form as Goddesses, thanks to brilliance in the art of Haut Couture. Men such as these achieve the equivalence of the great automotive designers: Giotto Bizzarrini , Giorgetto Giugiaro and Leonardo Fioravanti , Marcello Gandini , who clothe the mere skeletal structure of Engineering's products in aluminum couture.
1957: The twin towers of the Casino rise above the promontory as Marlene Dietrich and her escort played magnificently by Vittorio de Sica stroll along the harbor wall. Photographer Helmut Newton would shoot some of his photographs of Nadja Auermann for Blumarine on this harbor wall in the 1990s.
The Harbor at Monaco from the West in 1957.
Monaco Harbor from the West circa 2000
Against the same wall visible in the above frames: Grace Kelly in a suit by the great Cristóbal Balenciaga above the harbor at Monaco, 1963
From The Richard Burton Diariesfor 1965
Last Monday night we had drinks at the Palace at Monaco and then went on to the Hotel de Paris to a banquet in aid of the British American Hospital, at which we were the guests of honour.16 [16 The Prince's Palace of Monaco, the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. Htel de Paris, Place du Casino, Monaco.] I enjoyed but don't remember too much about it. He was tubby and smiled kindly and seemed nice. She was pretty and young looking and very short-sighted. Her eyes indeed are terribly weak and at the end of the evening were shot bright with blood. 17 [17 It would appear that Burton is referring here to Prince Rainier of Monaco (19232005) and his wife Princess Grace (192882), actress. ]
Casino Square from the Harbor entrance.
Under the nose of the Hôtel de Paris and the Casino. Note that all the motor yachts are steel hulled in 1957. There is no fiberglass .
Directly under the Hôtel de Paris (left) and Casino (right).
Casino Square viewing the front elevation of the Casino. Hôtel de Paris to the right of frame.
Harbor entrance from the shore. There is now an extensive mole on the seaward side which allows large ships to dock.
The motor-yacht Esperanza, residence of the protagonist, Vittorio de Sica, a nobleman who has lost his fortune.
The edge of the harbor with its boatyards.
Eastern half of the harbor from the shore.
Eastern Corner of the Harbor
Eastern Harbor Wall
In the above comparison, the old harbor wall as it was in 1957 versus how it looks now. The red bar shows the position of the harbor wall in the lower frame.
Eastern corner of the harbor.
Interior of the harbor wall. The Count retrieves his bicycle.
On the approach to the Hôtel de Paris.
The camera tripod is just inside the environs of the Hôtel de Paris.
The Count enters the Hôtel de Paris through the servants entrance.
Interior, Hôtel de Paris.
The taxi pulls up outside the Hôtel de Paris. This location is also used in Monte Carlo or Bust (1969) as well as the opening episode of The Persuaders! (1971).
The front of the Casino viewed from the steps of the Hôtel de Paris.
Lobby of the Hôtel de Paris.
The lobby of the Hôtel de Paris Grand Prix (1966)
Marlene Dietrich's huge luggage train arrives. In reality, Marlene Dietrich traveled with an even larger train of luggage, which included several of the full-height wardrobe trunks, designed to hold long evening gowns with full trains or items such as her gigantic Swan's Down coat. These full-height wardrobe trunks are rare and dealers with a lifetime in the trade will see only a handful of them. They were heavy to move even when empty but necessary for a woman such as Marlene, who relied on her wardrobe at all times.
Here you can see no less then five of Marlene Dietrich's full-height wardrobe trunks.
A wardrobe trunk opens like a book stood upright on a table top, in contrast to a steamer trunk which is a box with a lid. Note that the wardrobe trunks are domed in order to prevent them being stood upside down. Prior to the age of air travel and the weight limits which eventually came with it, one could carry as much luggage as required, including large dispatch boxes , some the size of a small bureau, complete with all necessary correspondence and books. By the Sixties, the age of mass air travel had truly arrived, and the Great Liners were crossing the Atlantic with more crew than passengers. The age of the Great Liners was only a hundred years, from the fore-noon of steam railways in the Eighteen Eighties to the Nineteen Sixties. For an account of those times see Jeff Cooper's superb book of memoirs Another Country, chapter four The Crossing. Jeff Cooper crossed the Atlantic on Acquitania , Mauretania , Berengaria , Olympic , Majestic , Rex , Conte di Savoia , Bremen , Europa , Île de France , Normandie . For accounts of the travails of less civilized liner travel on the British Empire routes from London across Europe by rail and thence from French and Italian Ports via the Suez Canal to the Middle East, India and the Far East, read Sir Ronald Storrs superb volume of memoirs Orientations.
Here you can see some of Marlene's original luggage on display at the Film Museum in Berlin.
Marlene Dietrich's luggage as been monogrammed » M.D.«. The red circular symbol was likely added to aid recognition of the luggage during loading and unloading of at station platforms and docks. This was a common feature of luggage because of the quantity of luggage and number of times it would be trans-shipped. The leather handles look like they could do with being doused with a little leather food. You can see on one suitcase nearest the camera the symbol of the Lloyd Lines operating out of Bremen . The functionality of Marlene's luggage has a beauty of its own. But the knowledge of the life and times it traveled through gives the imagination wings, as if the objects had been suffused with aura of the era.
Marlene Dietrich's full length Swans Down coat. If this creation was a mountain, it would be Mount Everest. The peak of haute-couture. The coat was designed by Jean Louis and the cloth by Bianchini Ferier , of Lyon , France. The coat, unique in couture, would have cost as much as a house and would have required an entire full length wardrobe trunk to itself in order to travel.
Marlene Dietrich wearing her Swan's Down Coat
Marlene Dietrich's Swans Down coat in the Film Museum, Berlin.
The wardrobe trunk of Princess Margaret , sister of the Queen of England . The trunk was manufactured by an English company called Papworth . The blue and black livery was common on Papworth trunks.
A wardrobe trunk used on the set of Grand Hotel (1932) representing part of the luggage train of Greta Garbo . In later frames you can see the trunk when it is open.
A Rimowa half height Wardrobe Trunk made from Aluminum.
Rimowa made their name in luggage during he early days of air travel when weight suddenly became a consideration and aluminum began to be used in the construction of luggage. There were occasions when luggage would have to be ejected from aircraft in mid-ocean due to adverse weather conditions affecting their fuel consumption. The Boeing Clipper service , if facing a head wind, would be able to take only a portion of the passengers and their luggage, depending on how strong the head wind was. On one occasion they could only take a small lady passenger but the headwind increased further and the flight had to be cancelled. You can see the Boeing Clipper service in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent.(1940) .
Louis Vuitton half height wardrobe trunk . This interal layout, with clothes hangers left and drawers right, is the most common in wardrobe trunks. Most wardrobe trunks open to ninety degrees but some are designed to open to one-hundred and eighty degrees in order that they may be stood flat against the wall.
In the world of antique trunks, Louis Vuitton trunks command prices ten times that of any other make of trunk. Louis Vuitton themselves have to purchase antique Louis Vuitton trunks from dealers to fill their shop displays. If the actual function of a trunk is required then any of the other makers will be satisfactory and will avoid the huge premium on Louis Vuitton trunks. Louis Vuitton has realised that it can access the huge mark-up on its vintage trunks by re-starting manufacture of new ones. The price of old trunks had reached a height where soon it would be economic to forgers to fake them. The most important part of faking antiques is reproducing the wear, tear and accretion of dirt and trunks are the most difficult items in this regard because of the amount of wear and tear they received and the quantity of dirt which lodges in their surface openings.
A modern Louis Vuitton bureau trunk. This superb piece of innovation carries the three most important accompaniments to any voyage: (1) Good quality Arabica coffee, (2) books&papers and (3) signals traffic, in these times made through a laptop computer. I do not think I would ever go home. Sadly it is too large and heavy to be transferred into an aircraft hold. Special (and no doubt costly) arrangement would have to be made. Air travel is now so cheap and labor so costly that even routes between poor countries are made using air travel, not steamer. Up until the Eighties there used to be regular steamer services between the Indian subcontinent and the Trucial States in the Arabian Gulf, upon which laborers could make their annual return home, taking large quantity of luggage and newly purchased possessions with them. However, all this, including the air freight is handled by aircraft now.
Marlene Dietrich makes her entrance. All Marlene's costumes in this movie were designed by Jean-Louis .
Studio still from Monte Carlo Story
Marlene Dietrich strides across the Casino Square in a Jean Louis silver-white silk sheath dress.
Marlene Dietrich within the Casino
East elevation of the Hôtel de Paris
Hôtel de Paris, overlooking Casino Square
Monaco Harbor 1914 (below) and 1956 (above)
A Riva crosses the harbor at Monaco
Marlene Dietrich steps abroad the Esperanza from a Riva
Marlene's evening gown sports a sheer back and shoulders.
The old harbor walls at Monaco
Approaching the harbor at Monaco
The schooner enters Monaco harbor. The schooner was the Favorita, which was then owned by the deposed King Farouk of Egypt. The son of the chief engineer of the yacht contacted me via email with this information.
Note that the Schooner is under power for this shot. The flag is showing that the schooner is heading directly into the wind.
A Riva carves across the harbor.
The considerable size of the schooner Favorita can be understood when viewed against the Esperanza, which can be seen at its bow.
Marlene Dietrich wears a Sauternes colored Opera coat over her evening gown.
Eastern part of the harbor from the west. Visible are the towers of the Casino and the main elevation of the Hôtel de Paris.
Close up of the harbor entrance.
A Riva carves the waters through the harbor entrance.
The schooner Favorita at her birth
The schooner Favorita leaves the harbor.
Schooner Favorita at sea
The Casino at Monaco from the sea. The motor boats will hit the harbor wall if they do not turn sharply to port.
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+ SEE ALSO
- Monte Carlo or Bust (1969)
- The Persuaders! (1971)
- Die Falscher (2007)
- Filmlocations Marlene Dietrich
+ EXTERNAL LINKS
- Monte Carlo Story at the Internet Car Movie Database
- To Catch at Thief (1955) at LeStuff Blog
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