Hey, I just watched the film We’ll Take Manhattan and I can’t believe I haven’t seen it before! It’s amazing; I love the story, the actors who did a wonderful job, everything!
The movie simply captured the atmosphere of the changing times; the beginning of the youth culture, new fashion for mini skirts that had evolved from Mary Quant’s mind, matrons having a hard time accepting the new style… This movie portrays Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey’s trip to New York that eventually served as a prelude to ’60s Swinging London as we know it now. Opening lines give a rebellious edge to the movie:
‘In 1962. no one had heard of The Beatles.
No one expected to be famous, who was not born rich or titled.
And there was no such thing as youth culture.’
Another thing that I love about the film is how it portrays Jean as a shy, innocent and inexperienced girl whereas you see real Jean in the photos looking confident and aware of her beauty but in reality it wasn’t like that. I enjoyed Karen Gillan as Jean for I’ve seen her earlier in Doctor Who. I don’t really need to say that Aneurin Barnard was brilliant as David Bailey; always in tight black trousers, with dark eyes and messy hair. In the opening scene David and Jean board on the plane; David all in black again and Jean wearing a simple black dress, black leather trench coat and a pair of black thigh-high boots. I was wowed by the first scene and needless to say that all of Jean’s apparels were as brilliant.
I usually like films that concentrate on one moment; one month, week or so because they’re reliable when it comes to atmosphere of the time. This film is a detailed portrayal of their trip to New York and you can really feel the changing mood of the time, the fashion, even the city, just everything that happened at the moment. Since I love the 1960s I was thrilled to see the movie, particularly the garments. Though I prefer the later ’60s fashion, 1967. being my absolute favourite amongst all the years of the decade, I relished in Jean’s extraordinary dresses and David’s black jacket with sunglasses; not just the clothes; the way they wore them.
Both Jean and David look so cool; so modern as if they’re announcing the upcoming Swinging London. A conflict between the old and the new draws through the whole movie and, at the end, the new wins; the gateway to the Swinging 1960s are finally open, let the party begin! I just love to learn more about that big change for I know that London did not change over night, things were gradually becoming more and more youth oriented until the youth earthquake had shaken the society.
In New York Bailey photographs his young, shy and naive lover and a muse – The Shrimp, as she was later called, in modern and youthful poses. His rather different approach to fashion photography was not embraced by most people in the Vogue magazine. However, this New York photo shoot, though not the most successful, proved to be crucial in developing the 1960s culture. So, this film tells the story how it all begun. If you like early 1960s fashion with a slightly rebellious touch, you’ll enjoy the film a much as I did.
Also, Jean’s vivid green dress in simple cut, said to be designed by Mary Quant, is one of my favourites for it looks so modern compared to her earlier, stiff garments. Still, the beauty of her black airport ensemble is unbeatable. As far as Bailey is concerned, his garments were ahead of their time; he wore messy Beatles-like hairstyle before even they got famous.
And here are the real photos of Jean Shrimpton in New York: