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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

List: The Best Glove Movies

posted by Nell Minow

At Thanksgiving, my mother brought out a collection of about 30 pairs of gloves, most of them her mother’s but a few my sisters and I had when we were little girls back in the days when young ladies wore white gloves to go into the big city, attend religious services, or fly in an airplane. I took home two pairs of wrist-length white kid gloves and our daughter picked out two elegant pairs of opera-length gloves. It made me think of some of my favorite gloves in classic movies. Like cigarettes, gloves give rise to a ballet of expressive movements that can be very evocative and even help to tell the story and reveal the character. These are not wool or leather gloves worn for warmth or protection; these are indoor gloves, worn for elegance. Well, except for the last two.

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1. Let’s Make Love You can glimpse Marilyn Monroe wear two pairs of gloves in this trailer for her movie about a wealthy man who tries to shut down a satiric musical show because it makes fun of him. The pair I love is the short daytime gloves she wears in the elevator, while Yves Montand is kissing her and singing.

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2. The Age of Innocence Director Martin Scorsese shows us that sex and violence can be powerfully portrayed even without guns and goodfellas. In this story of impossible love based on the novel by Edith Wharton and set in 19th century New York high society, Daniel Day-Lewis kisses Michelle Pfeiffer on the wrist under an unbuttoned glove and it is as erotically charged an image as has ever been filmed.

3. Little Women Older sister Meg loans a glove to her impetuous sister Jo so that they can both be properly attired at a party in this film of the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. Jo has spoiled one of hers and it would be unthinkable for well-brought-up young ladies to go out without them, so each wears one and carries one.

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4. Woman of the Year Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn began one of the great on and off-screen love stories in this film about the romance between a sports writer and a columnist. The gloves (and hat) she wears to her first baseball game are hilarious.

5. Lover Come Back In this frothy Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy, Day wears 1960’s professional woman chic, beautiful suits and impeccable white gloves.

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6. Meet Me In St. Louis Only Vincente Minnelli would think of putting his heroine (Judy Garland) in purple gloves for her clang-clang-clang “Trolley Song” number in this turn-of-the-century musical based on the childhood memories of Sally Benson at the time of the St. Louis World’s Fair.

7. Gilda Rita Hayworth wears long black gloves in one of the steamiest dance numbers in history, “Put the Blame on Mame.”

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8. Breakfast At Tiffany’s Watch this movie and you’ll want to wear gloves like Audrey Hepburn, the essence of elegance in this Truman Capote story about two people who have made many compromises but find the courage to build a relationship that will make them be honest with each other and themselves.

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9. This Is Spinal Tap This outrageously funny mockumentary about a metal hair band includes a hilarious scene where they get the news that the record company will not permit the art they selected for their new album, “Smell the Glove.” For some reason, they found it offensive.

10. Yellow Submarine Who can forget the Dreadful Flying Glove, one of the most important weapons of the Blue Meanies but no match for the music and love of the Beatles in this animated classic?

  • jestrfyl

    This is not a “guy thing”. You named the only “glove movies” I could think of. The only others are “The Natural”, “Field of Dreams” “Major League” and Bull Durham” – baseball gloves, all. Maybe “Slapshot”, as a nod to hockey. I am not up on the details, but would “A League of Their Own” span this phalangeal chasm?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Hmmm, not exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned “elegant” and “indoors,” but otherwise some very good choices! Thanks, jestrfyl!

  • jestrfyl

    I was being a bit cheeky with my suggestions – as if you didn’t guess. Actually, I think there is a great deal of sensual attraction and erotic appeal to womens gloves. A lithe gloved hand is mysterious and hidden. Add to that fabrics that attract the eye and stimulate the senses and the effect can be exciting. Watching a woman remove her glove can feel as intimate as watching her undress. Gloves can be as attractive and revealing as other items of clothing. It is for that reason that the artists that created movie posters like “Breakfast at Tiffanys” emphasized the character’s hands. (Hmmm, it is getting warm in here).

  • Alicia

    I love this list, Nell, especially “Breakfast at Tiffanys,” “Yellow Submarine” and “Gilda.” My mother used to make me wear those little white gloves, and I could never stand them. Too fussy. On the other hand, the gloves Audrey Hepburn wears in “Tiffanys” are the height of elegance. (I would kill to look like Audrey Hepburn, just once.)
    Gloves as a fashion statement today don’t really work, do they? I remember a couple of years ago, Diane Keaton took to wearing very long gloves when she was promoting “Something’s Gotta Give” on talk shows, and it just seemed bizarre. (And I love Diane Keaton and would also kill to look as good as she does at her age.)
    BTW, I loved your list of inspirational movies, Nell. “The Music Man” has always been my favorite movie musical. Did you know that Shirley Jones was very pregnant during that movie, and her baby kicked Robert Preston during their love scene on the footbridge?

  • jestrfyl

    The Music Man – an awesome film! My favorite question is this: Based on the song “76 Trombones”, what instrument did the Music Man play? (and you will guess in part why I love this song and movie)

  • Alicia

    jestrfyl,
    “…so I modestly took my place as the one and only base, and I oompahed up and down the square.”
    As one reviewer put it, there is only one conceivable Harold Hill, and that is the late, great Robert Preston.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Alicia and jestrfyl! Yes, Alicia, I have the “Music Man” DVD with the interview where Shirley Jones tells the story of their embrace and how shocked Robert Preston was when the baby kicked him. It is also my favorite musical and I’m happy that you love the movie as much as I do. Some nice gloves in that one, too!
    And yes, jestrfyl, one of the things I love about gloves in movies is the little ballet of gestures we get to see, putting them on, taking them off, sometimes tugging them off with teeth, all very expressive.
    I may just have to do a follow-up! I’ve had so many great comments here and on Facebook about this post.

  • Andy

    Fascinating that gloves seem to be a fashion item once again. Who would have thought that something made for practical means has become something a lot more. But then again, so do a lot of things. But anyway, here’s a good resource for the History of Gloves for further study. http://www.goleathergloves.com/history-of-gloves.htm

  • Peter Sjögren

    Gloves are just so sexy and cool looking!
    One should always protect ones hands!
    /Peter

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