At the time, I researched the origins of the photo and the movie and found it was not available or released on video so I was thrilled when I saw that the DVD was in the Netflix catalog. This French New Wave 1966 gem, directed by William Klein and shot entirely in black & white is the story of Polly Maggoo, an international modeling sensation, as she hits the peak of career. With a background in abstract painting and later, fashion photography, Klein uses this film to mock the fashion and celebrity culture. The opening scene, my favorite, perfectly shows just how ridiculous and fickle fashion can be.
Most of the film revolves around a very modern day MTV-style TV show called Qui êtes vous?, where they interview Polly and then edit her answers into a psychedelic collage that repackages her just in time for her 15 minutes of fame. This is a clip from the first session of interviews:
Throughout the film, Klein brilliantly uses Cinderella as a metaphor to weave together Polly's career and the surreal side story of Polly being whisked away and married to a Prince which solidifies this as an art house classic. This movie is worth watching just for the visuals alone. I could not get enough of the fantastical sets, mod styling, seeing Paris in the 60's.
Polly is played by real-life American model Dorothy McGowan, who was a favorite of Klein's during his photog days. She is smashing, playing the part of the It Girl. This was her first and only acting role and it is said that she stopped modeling and dropped out of the public eye after working on this project.
After finishing Polly Maggoo, I lined my eyes a little heavier, layered my mascara thicker, smoothed my hair and went out for a cocktail!