The pre WW-II world of the British ex-pat in the far east. Raffles Hotel, Singapore, China, Malay. The weather reminds me a lot of living in the Low Country only with better clothes.
After the master engineers left, and after lunch, Mrs. T decided to leave me alone for the afternoon. It was rainy, so I curled up with TIVO, and re-watched a lot of old movies. The Letter, with Herbert Marshall and Bette Davis.
Bette is cold as ice. It's a role she played a hundred times. Scheming, cheating wife of a decent guy. Half the men in the movie sell their soul to do her bidding. Based on a Maugham short story. The men's clothes are fantastic. Mostly all white, silk suits for day wear, dinner jackets in the evenings. I realize movies are made of magic, but I have never seen such structured clothes move so well in real life. Life in the tropics in uncreasable suits. Go figure.
Another Maugham story based in China, after the first world war. It's gloriously filmed. If you haven't seen it, you must. Naomi Watts is stunning. Its the story of a couple who marry although they barely know each other. She is quickly bored by being a doctor's wife in Shanghai, and has an affair with the British Consul. The good doctor quickly finds out and for revenge drags his wife to the interior to help him fight a cholera epidemic. He's half hoping she dies. She's half expecting to.
The Painted Veil came next.
Over time they mature, appreciate each other and eventually fall in love. I cry every time.
As a period piece it works well. In the hottest weather, in the worst muck, he's buttoned up. Dressed in linen suits, with vest and tie. The suit rumples, shows sweat stains and he doesn't care a wit. The clothes throughout are fantastic. Did I mention Naomi is stunning?