This is a splendid film in its own right, shot in a sumptuous black and white. However, what interests us today is the extraordinary care taken in recreating Edwardian dress. As Mazzini slowly murders his way up the social ladder, his manner of dress, starting as a humble store clerk in a lounge coat, becomes increasingly extravagant and dandified, in keeping with the growing hubris of the character.
With that let us move onto to seeing pictures of how Dennis Price is dressed in the film. It will be patently obvious to all here that every single garment is a bespoke item. One look at the fit of the garments says all. Costume design, incidentally, is by Anthony Mendleson (The Blue Lamp, Bill Budd).
The range of different coats cut for Price are designed to showcase Edwardian dress recreated with remarkable historical accuracy and recreates beautifully the spirit of the age as describe by Byrde. Unlike with modern period films, I can detect almost no obvious violations of Edwardian dress codes – with one exception, when Mazzini wears a frock coat with silk faced lapels to the funeral of one his victims. For funerals, frock coats should be self faced. But that is the only transgression, and a subtle one at that.
The uniform worn by a police officer also elicits stereotypes about that human being''s status, authority, attitudes, and motivations, The police uniform serves to identify a person as one vested with the powers of the state to arrest and use force. The uniform also serves to establish order and conformity within the ranks of those who wear it by suppressing individuality. The psychological and physical impact of the police uniform should not be underestimated. Depending on the background of the citizen, the police uniform can elicit emotions ranging from pride and respect, to fear and anger.
One interesting experiment to test the power of the police uniform was conducted by psychologist Dr. Leonard Bickman. Pedestrians on a city street were approached at random and ordered by a research assistant to either pick tip a paper bag, give a dime to another person, or step back from a bus stop. The research assistant was alternately dressed in casual street clothes, a milkman uniform, or a grey, police-style uniform bearing a badge but lacking weapons. Only the police-style uniform resulted in a high rate of cooperation from citizens. Obedience to the police-style uniform usually continued even after the research assistant quickly walked away and did not watch to ensure compliance.
In one experiment students viewed black and white drawings of three styles of police uniforms. Two of the uniforms were of a traditional paramilitary-style, but were lacking a duly belt or weapons. The third, nontraditional uniform involved a sport coat blazer over slacks, and a shirt with a tie. Although all three uniforms were rated similarly for objectivity and trustworthiness, the blazer style uniform rated slightly higher for professionalism, However a similar experiment using color photos found the traditional, paramilitary style uniforms rated as more honest, good, helpful, and competent than the blazer uniform.
Just as with the style of the police uniform, the color of the police uniform has meaning. Psychological tests have found that people associate colors with specific moods. For example, red is generally associated with excitement and stimulation, thus explaining why it is often a color in flashing emergency vehicle lights. These tests have also found that the color blue is associated with feelings of security and comfort, and black is most often associated with power and strength. Studies of both high school and college students in the United States have found that students perceived light colors such as white and yellow as weak, but also good and active, The same students perceived dark colors such as black and brown as strong and passive, but also as bad. These results were not based on cultural influences because they did not vary with the race of the students.
Even people in Europe, Western Asia, Central Africa, and the Middle East had similar perceptions of colors. Across all cultures that have been studied, light colors are consistently associated with goodness and weakness, while dark colors are consistently perceived as strong but evil. On psychological inventories, test subjects rate lighter colors as more pleasant and less dominant. Dark colors on the other hand elicit emotions of anger, hostility, dominance, and aggression.
"Supermodels. Heh! Nothing super about them... spoiled, stupid little stick figures with poofy lips who think only about themselves. Feh! I used to design for GODS!"
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