Updated: May 9, 2020
People who aren’t into classic films sometimes can feel a bit perplexed about what makes a great gift — DVDs and Blu-rays seem like the perfect go-to idea, but a passionate fan already may have purchased that latest feature-packed 4K digital restoration for himself or herself. (Having said that, if you know a Bette Davis fan, new 4K digital versions of two of her most iconic films — Now, Voyager and All About Eve, both released by the Criterion Collection on Nov. 26th — are sure to inspire an enthusiastic thank-you note.)
From recently released books — such as the new Adrian biography or Always Audrey, a showcase of Audrey Hepburn images by six legendary photographers — to posters and prop replicas (Maltese Falcon, anyone?), it’s surprisingly easy to find gifts that not only appeal to a fan's love of all things classic, you may even be able to pinpoint something that relates directly to his or her favorite golden-age film or star. If you know someone who’s a fan of Ava Gardner or Judy Garland, for example, one idea is to visit the sites of their respective museums: On the e-commerce page of the Judy Garland Museum, located in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, you can buy ruby slippers as earrings or a bracelet charm, while the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina (Gardner was born in nearby Grabtown), offers a range of gifts online, from a 2020 calendar of her portraits to T-shirts embellished with quotes from the icon, including, “What I’d really like to say about stardom is it gave me everything I never wanted.” (In addition to these affordable options, also consider buying a membership for the gift recipient, to assist these museums in their efforts to highlight each woman’s place in Hollywood history.)
Still stumped? Here’s a roundup of stylish gift ideas guaranteed to thrill the classic-film fan who tops your list:
MGM Style: Cedric Gibbons and the Art of Hollywood’s Golden Age
By Howard Gutner
Lyons Press, $45
Available at Barnes & Noble
He was nominated for 39 times for an Academy Award, and took home 11 Oscar trophies, so if there’s a classic MGM film you love, chances are it was art-directed by Cedric Gibbons. This new book by Howard Gutner — who also authored 2001’s Gowns by Adrian: The MGM Years 1928-1941 — is a comprehensive look at Gibbons’s career at MGM, from the studio’s inception in 1924 until his retirement in 1956. This spotlight on the more than 1,000 films he oversaw during that period is nothing less than enviable, from The Wizard of Oz and An American in Paris to 1938’s Marie Antoinette (still considered the most lavish production of all time) and 1936’s The Great Ziegfeld, with its unforgettable staircase. MGM Style is the perfect book for that classic-film fan who loves more-is-more detail, no matter whether it’s happening in their favorite movies or in real life.
Bette Davis Now, Voyager Minimalist Movie Poster
By artist Danilo Salvo
$34 and up, available on Etsy
Minimalist movie art has become hugely popular as fans discover new, artful interpretations of their favorite films. In his Film Freak Design Etsy shop, artist Danilo Salvo has taken that idea a step further for those who love iconic costume design, creating prints that showcase his illustrations of looks and films beloved by fans. Part of Salvo’s “Fashion in Movies” collection includes Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale in 1942’s Now, Voyager, with Salvo creating a gorgeous grouping of all the Orry-Kelly designs worn by Davis, from pre-therapy Charlotte to the stylish woman who wins Paul Henreid’s heart. Salvo has created similar pieces for Gone With the Wind (separate prints for Rhett and Scarlett’s costumes, which work nicely as a pair), as well as more contemporary films, including The Devil Wears Prada and Clueless. The prints are available in a variety of sizes and are shipped unframed and rolled; Salvo also takes requests if you prefer a different color for the background and can personalize the piece with the recipient’s name.
“Spade and Archer” T-shirt
By GiftShopBoutique on Etsy
$22 to $24, depending on size, available on Etsy
Guys often can be tough to buy for, among the reasons this T-shirt, emblazoned with “Spade and Archer/San Francisco, California” leaped out at us. Any fan of 1941’s The Maltese Falcon will instantly get the reference, but this piece is far more subtle and boasts a much higher hip quotient than a T-shirt that simply reproduces the poster design. For the guy in your life who loves Humphrey Bogart or film noir — or girl, as this cotton/poly T-shirt comes in unisex sizing — this is an ideal choice.
Vertigo iPhone Case & Cover
By Alejandro Mogollo Art
$21 and up, available on Redbubble
It’s no secret that at Screen Chic we’re fans of Alejandro Mogollo’s colorful illustrations of iconic classic-film moments and characters, and among the wide variety of items available at his Redbubble shop (more than 300 products), his dual interpretation of Kim Novak in Hitchcock’s Vertigo seemed like the perfect gift for any fan of the legendary director. Check out the site for other choices that include Mogollo’s interpretation of Rita Hayworth in Gilda, Faye Dunaway in Chinatown, Elizabeth Taylor in Suddenly, Last Summer, and many more. The cases are available in a variety of both sizes and styles — in addition to iPhones, it also can be purchased to fit Samsung Galaxy models — or if a phone case isn’t needed this year, you also can buy the design on T-shirts, leggings, throw pillows, a travel mug, shower curtain — and yes, as wall art.
Princess Audrey Gift-Boxed Set
$51, available at Utopiat
If you’re a fan of the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies, you might already be familiar with Utopiat, which sells the Breakfast at Tiffany’s sleep set that looks identical to tuxedo-inspired nightshirt, eyelash-embellished sleep mask and tassel earplus/earrings that Reese Witherspoon sported for the finale of the first season, as well as the original costume worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 Blake Edwards film. For this holiday season, Utopiat has put together a trio of gift-boxed sets: two inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany's — accessories inspired by the opening scene and the aforementioned sleep set — while the third, dubbed “Princess Audrey,” takes its cue from 1953’s Roman Holiday, though the brooch-accented pearl necklace, pearl and crystal tiara and earrings, and long white satin gloves also are perfect for anyone who wishing to channel their inner Holly Golightly. The turquoise-hued gift box, complete with ribbon and a fanciful card — inscribed with “Be Like Audrey/Be a Princess” — make this gift a no-brainer for your favorite Audrey fan.