When I heard about The Bustles and Bonnets: Costume Blogathon being hosted by Paul at Silver Screen Classics and Gabriela at Pale Writer, celebrating costume dramas, I couldn’t wait to participate.
In recent years, I’ve developed a particular interest in costume design and have been reading up on various designers. Needless to say, I wracked my brain trying to decide which film I wanted to feature here, until I stumbled across The Toy Wife, a rather unknown pre-Civil War drama.
Based on the French play Froufrou written by Ludovic Halévy and Henri Meilhac, it was adapted for the American screen during the time when Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was large in the public conscious and in the middle of being filmed. Warner Brothers’ answer to the popularity of Mitchell’s book was the release of Jezebel starring Bette Davis. MGM too wanted to capitalize on public interest with their own antebellum story and so Froufrou became The Toy Wife.
Set in New Orleans, The Toy Wife is the story of Gilberte Brigard (Luise Ranier), otherwise known as Frou Frou. Having been raised in France, she is finally returning home with her older sister Louise (Barbara O’Neil). Frou Frou is a shallow, silly girl despite the influence of her sensible older sister. Upon her return she meets two men; the dashing Andre Valliare (Robert Young) and George Sartoris (Melvyn Doulas), an upright, responsible man who is the secret desire of Louise’ heart. Continue reading “Classic Film Review – The Toy Wife (1938) for The Bustles and Bonnets Costume Blogathon”