Dressed to Kill

Classic Crime & Noir Films That Edith Head Designed Costumes For

The always stylish Edith Head (1897-1981) designed costumes for almost 300 films in her long and distinguished career, nabbing an amazing eight Academy Awards for "Best Costume Design" in the process.

Her very last film, Steve Martin and Carl Reiner's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, was in fact a tribute to many of the very films she herself had worked on back in the day, and gave her the chance to recreate some of her own designs. When she passed away, shortly before its release, the film was dedicated to her memory. Among those 300 or so films were many classics of the crime and film noir genres, including:

  • This Gun For Hire (1942, Paramount)
  • The Glass Key (1942, Paramount)
  • Lady of Burlesque (1943, United Artists)
  • Double Indemnity (1944, Paramount)
  • Ministry of Fear (1944, Paramount)
  • The Blue Dahlia (1946, Paramount)
  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
  • My Favorite Brunette (1947, Paramount)
  • Sorry, Wrong Number (1948, Paramount)
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950, Paramount)
  • Dark City (1950, Paramount)
  • Detective Story (1951, Paramount)
  • The Desparate Hours (1955)
  • The Trouble With Harry (1955, Paramount)
  • Vertigo (1958, Paramount)
  • The Sting (1973, Universal)
  • Family Plot (1976, Universal)
  • The Big Fix (1978, Universal)
  • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982, Universal)

BY THE WAY...

  • Renée Patrick (actually the husband and wife writing team of Rosemarie and Vince Keenan) have a series of frothy, stylish mysteries, featuring struggling actress Lillian Frost and up-and-coming costume designer Edith Head working as as amateur sleuths in Hollywood. The books include Design for Dying (2016) and Dangerous to Know (2017). Louise Penny calls the debut "a beguiling champagne-cocktail-of-a-crime-novel".

List respectfully compiled by by Kevin Burton Smith. Image courtesy of mptvimages.com.


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