Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – if you could too, what day would you choose to live in?

Couch Potato Pickings

This movie tells the entertaining tale of an unemployed governess who plunges into the dizzying world of 1939 London high society after bluffing her way into a job as social secretary to a giddy American singer and actress. I have some wonderful memories of this film. But its screwball comedy storyline isn’t one of them.

And, while the performances by Frances McDormand as governess Miss Guinevere Pettigrew and Amy Adams as the dizzy Delysia Lafosse are both brilliant, they aren’t the focus of my favourite recollections either.

No, it’s the film’s 1930s setting that has firmly lodged itself in the vaults of my mind. The locations, the costumes, the music, the manners, the hairdos – they’re all very much of their decade and I love it all.

I can’t get enough of the outfits. The men certainly wear some stylish attire, but the women’s fashions are even better – those stylish day suits, those glamorous evening dresses, those hats, the accessories… How I wish this film had been around to inspire me when I was buying my 1930s-style wardrobe for a special stay at the art deco Burgh Island hotel a few years ago.

As a Londoner, I also absolutely adore the way the capital has been thrust back 70 years. But, for me, the most exciting feature of this film has to be the fantastic art deco interiors, from bathrooms to banqueting halls to boudoirs. I just love the colour palettes and symmetry of this distinctive style. If you do too, you should check out Eltham Palace in South London (I’m sure the film’s set designer did). Speaking of design, I feel compelled to praise the fabulous work of this movie’s artistic team, including Set Decorator Katie Spencer and Costume Designer Michael O’Connor. You can almost taste and smell the period setting of this film.

If I could ‘live’ for a day in any era, this would be the one.

How about you?


Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is showing on Sky Movies Premiere today at 5.50pm, and at various times throughout the week.

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