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 knitting in really old movies
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New Pal

10 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2008 :  12:28:09 PM  Show Profile Send hna46 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been home sick all week and watching a lot of tv unfortunately. Fortunately, a lot of knitting is getting done also. Anyway, I've seen 3 movies now on TCM from the late 30's that have a scene with a woman knitting - in the office, in a posh restaurant, etc.

The first had Rosalind Russell knitting in public, can't remember the name of the movie but it had no men on screen and was about wives, going out west to get a divorce, the "other woman", etc.

Another movie was with Joan Crawford as a hard-nosed head of a corporation. Her secretary knits at her desk. Eventually Joan falls in love and asks her secretary to teach her to knit. She learns and seems to be in love with knitting also.

The third movie was the original Hitchcock "Man Who Knew Too Much." There is a scene in a nightclub with the wife, (the Doris Day role in the second version), bringing her knitting with her to dinner/dancing.

I find this really interesting to see knitting in older movies like this. You don't see too many current movies with knitting, but here in just a couple of days at home, I've seen 3 from 1939 and thereabouts.


Permanent Resident

1429 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2008 :  1:29:06 PM  Show Profile Send fiddlerbird555 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
1939 and thereabouts? The Great Depression, maybe? It was pretty well over by then, but given a bit of a lag for writers/directors/etc....

Again, before China, making it yourself was cheaper.


I can go loopy, or I can knit. Your choice.
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honorary angel

1650 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2008 :  2:48:22 PM  Show Profile Send llinn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Knitting and other forms of "fine" needlework were (and still are) used as metaphors for "proper" womanly behavior. In movies from the 30s and 40s, especially Joan Crawford, the whole point of the movie is that she gives up her "male" behavior (being a boss, intelligent) and embraces her "female" nature by adopting normal female behavior. (knitting=nuturing=womanly).

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Seriously Hooked

716 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2008 :  4:22:13 PM  Show Profile Send stitchmd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I watched Meet the Stewarts this morning, about a working man marrying a rich girl who can't do basics like cooking. Her only experience was with things like modeling in Junior League fashion shows. Her wealthy mother is seen knitting. I think this said something about generations as well as what is expected in terms of self sufficiency from people of different income levels.

You can't have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
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Permanent Resident

1408 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2008 :  8:04:32 PM  Show Profile Send Katheroni a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Meet the Stewarts also sounds a lot like Great Expectations.
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Permanent Resident

3817 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2008 :  9:07:18 PM  Show Profile Send Milinda a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not exactly knitting, but it involved yarn.

One of my old favorites is I Was A Male War Bride with Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan, 1949. Grant plays a French army officer who marries an American Army Corps officer and the film deals with how difficult it was to bring foreign spouses back to the States. the hirlarious part is when Grant has to pretend to be a female officer. While he was arguably one of the most handsome of men, a pretty, graceful, feminine woman he was not.[:00][:00]

There is a scene where Grant can't stay with his wife so has to sit up all night in a lobby and he helps the woman on duty by holding his arms out so she can wind up her yarn. He did it so well, it made me feel as if he'd actually done some time holding yarn for women.

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1179 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2008 :  9:21:14 PM  Show Profile Send lizknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by hna46
The first had Rosalind Russell knitting in public, can't remember the name of the movie but it had no men on screen and was about wives, going out west to get a divorce, the "other woman", etc.

That was The Women. Great movie!

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams, 'The Dilbert Principle'
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Permanent Resident

6331 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2008 :  02:38:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
During that same Joan Crawford day on TCM they showed a biography of her career. I knew she was a real life knitter but one thing made me laugh. She had an ongoing and mutual hatred of Norma Shearer but they were cast together in The Women. During certain scenes in closeups the camera was just filming Shearer but Crawford had to be there, off camera, to say her lines for Shearer to play against, and Shearer had to do the same for Crawford.

They showed a film clip of this procedure taking place and Crawford was knitting. The narrator said that Crawford knit throughout Shearer's closeup filming so as to display complete disrespect to Shearer.

click here for free sock pattern
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Honorary Angel

919 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2008 :  04:17:38 AM  Show Profile Send lucienh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I saw the 1937 Shall We Dance the other evening. One scene in which Ginger Rogers was knitting -- not very well. The dancing, on the other hand, was incredible.

New blog, not about knitting, but I bet it keeps sneaking in:
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Seriously Hooked

721 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2008 :  08:47:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit bfaye's Homepage Send bfaye a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Myrna Loy knits in the "The Thin Man" movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles (and their dog Asta.) Katherine Hepburn was a knitter and she knit in some of her movies, as I recall.

Here are a couple of links to knitting in movies. Angel Hair Yarn is one of my two LYS. Well, they are within 100 miles of me. :)

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Gabber Extraordinaire

400 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2008 :  10:10:10 AM  Show Profile Send Catlover a Private Message  Reply with Quote
State of the Union is a wonderful Katherine Hepburn movie. In that one she knits while flying in a plane doing stunts. Even flipping over of flying upside down she doesn't miss a stitch. I sure that was special photography but not making any mistakes seemed a bit surprising. She looked like a very capable knitter.
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New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2014 :  6:07:38 PM  Show Profile Send mamlady a Private Message  Reply with Quote
most movies in the thirties and forties were either for relief during the drought or dirty thirties and war efforts showing movie actors knitting to get women involved at home to knit for "the boys over seas"
in stat of the union Miss H was really making a sweater for Spencer and she was a very good knitter as was Bette and Joan
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Permanent Resident

2611 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2014 :  08:38:36 AM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And of course there was Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Much later than the 30's, but knitting nonetheless.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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New Pal

10 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2014 :  9:02:56 PM  Show Profile Send Munchkn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Rosalind Russell also knits in Night Must Fall.

Greer Garson knitted in the bomb shelter during an air raid in Mrs. Miniver.
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