For Reel

Women He’s Undressed (2015)
October 26, 2015, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Gillian Armstrong
3.5 Stars
Women He's UndressedIn Women He’s Undressed, renowned Australian filmmaker Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career) tells the supposedly untold story of Orry-Kelly, the costume designer with nearly three hundred credits to his name (including Casablanca and Some Like It Hot.) While the documentary involves mild pleasures as a hagiographical summary of a brilliant career, the film’s real impact comes from Armstrong’s interest in a very specific kind of mythologizing. She casts actor Darren Gilshenan as a stand-in for Orry, who spends much of the film speaking directly to the camera as he reflects on his love affair with Cary Grant. In these highly theatrical, romantic sequences, Women He’s Undressed services the reputation of its subject while effectively staying true to the spirit of the era that he participated in. Furthermore, these scenes lay Armstrong’s cards on the table as a clear demonstration of her artistic liberty–it’s an admission that this is a sketched persona, further exemplified when the documentary shows rare footage of Orry accepting an Academy Award and it significantly contrasts with Gilshenan’s performance.