Academy Award-winning costume designer Cecil Beaton was a respected photographer, artist, and set designer. The film features archive footage and interviews with a number of models, artists, and filmmakers who worked closely with Beaton during his illustrious career.
Cecil Beaton was probably best known for his production design for Oscar-winning films Gigi and My Fair Lady (especially the white and black Edwardian costumes for the unforgettable Ascot race) but his talents went far beyond that.
Beaton himself was frustrated by his wide-ranging interests and abilities – as photographer, theatre and film designer, gifted diarist – and wondered whether he would have done better to concentrate on just one field, but this film makes it clear that our culture would have been far less fortunate if he had.
Using previously unseen footage and stills, and with excerpts from his diaries wittily narrated by Rupert Everett, you get a sense of Beaton as the furthest from “just an ordinary, anonymous person”, his lifelong fear. His world is one of utter fascination –– from his work for Vogue, as a photographer in World War II, to his relationship with the Royal Family and his alleged affair with Greta Garbo (her picture was discovered in his bedroom among those of two of his male lovers).
A story of reinvention, of passion and with a lot of soul. A bit different approach and much more about the man. I did learn a bit as for me Sir Beaton was very much a fashion photographer. Here I realize that was a small, yet significant, part of his life. So bohemian, in a dandy way. And listening to Truman Capote yarn on about him was just too much. Takes one to know one! A delight.
USA 2017, 98 min, rated M
Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland