In honor of the Academy Awards last Sunday and the stress of the rush movie job being over (there's still more to come, just at a more leisurely pace), I give you now my top 5 framing movies. Oh yes, there are some great moments in framing on film.
5. John Waters' Pecker (1998). There is a wonderful scene where Pecker has his first photography exhibit in a Baltimore sandwich shop. The framing is AWFUL and obviously done by the artist who has no formal framing education. Outsider framing. The frames are garage-sale finds and the glass doesn't fit so newspaper is wedged at the top and bottom to hold things together. If I had more time on my hands I would do a screen-cap from my signed copy. I love how John Waters can even make framing hysterically funny. I reference this scene all the time at the shop when art students get sticker-shock and look for alternatives.
4. How to Steal A Million (1966) starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. This is a comedy about art forgery and thievery shot on location in Paris in glamorous mansions and museums. The frames are gorgeous and tacky in a fabulous 60s way. Worth watching for the art direction alone, but also there's Audrey in her Givenchy wardrobe, too.
3. Vertigo (1958) Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak star in this Hitchcock classic. In one of the beginning scenes, Kim Novak arrives home after having been to the framer's. Her parcel is enormous and covered in brown kraft paper. I am from modest beginnings, so this was the first time I had ever seen someone return from a frame shop and the package looked very elegant to me! There are some later scenes in an art museum which also contain some nice frames, but the kraft paper wrapped parcel is what has stuck with me through the years.
2. Unbreakable (2000). Philadelphia's own M. Night Shyamalan directs a second picture with Bruce Willis and great framing. There is a scene in Samuel L. Jackson's lair that includes dozens of gallery-style images of superheroes. I worked in a very well-staffed frame shop at the time this film was released (I had not yet come to Philly or Frugal Frames) and this scene influenced some of my colleagues and our designs. It also led to our hypothesis that M. Night Shyamalan might have at one time been a framer himself.
1. The Sixth Sense (1999). One cannot discuss frames on film without mentioning this, M. Night Shyamalan's first feature film. There are lines of dialogue in at least two scenes that talk about how stunning a particular piece of framing is, which may be unprecedented in film. Again, I would screen-cap if I could. The frame is a Stradivarius veneer, and back in the day I sold it to customers as "The Sixth Sense" frame, unaware that eight years later I would work in the shop that created it.
Here's the Stradivarius and photo of the newspaper article (sorry, it's not archived online--just click to enlarge). And go figure, Frugal Frames on Pine Street also did 100 pieces for that great scene in Unbreakable, too.