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Literary, Theatrical and Film References: It's a Mad Men World


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#1

jakesmom

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 @ 4:11 PM

So I've decided that part of the way I'll make it to next season is to get myself better up to speed on some of the many Mad Men referenced books, movies, etc. I guess I have to start with Ayn Rand and John Cheever. It's also been awhile since I've seen The Apartment. And then there are all the movies MW talks about in his interviews...

#2

arlykeeno

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 @ 5:55 PM

Ooooh! I want to start a Mad Men film festival. We can show "The Apartment," of course, and also "The Best of Everything" and "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and "The Fountainhead."

"Never on Sunday" and "Butterfield 8" are also on the must-see list, I think. "Exodus," anyone? "A Face in the Crowd"? "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter"?

Oh, and definitely "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

#3

bobs yer uncle

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Posted Oct 23, 2007 @ 9:02 PM

Great idea, jakesmom.

I think "Executive Suite," "Lover Come Back," and a few Hitchcock's--at the very least, "Psycho," which was mentioned on MM, and "North by Northwest," which featured Cary Grant as an ad man accused of murder--should be included as well. MW mentions "Dear Heart," starring Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page in one of his interviews. And, of course, we can't forget about La Dolce Vita, which provided the visual reference for Roger Sterling's midnight ride of Mirabelle. "Patterns" and "Madison Avenue" are two lesser known movies from the time that deal with some of the same themes of isolation and trying to get ahead in business.

The "Twilight Zone" and "Bewitched" are obvious television fare, as are the Danny Thomas Show, and possibly the Dick Van Dyke Show as well.

#4

appleater

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Posted Oct 24, 2007 @ 9:54 AM

I wonder if Dick Whitman's name is supposed to conjure up Walt Whitman. Don is good with words. I don't really know Walt Whitman.

I agree The Fountainhead movie may be the way to go if anyone's interested in Ayn Rand; Atlus Shrugged is 1000+ pages. If you watch the film, you can compare Don Draper to the American icon Gary Cooper and decide if you think Don is an Ayn Rand hero. I don't think so, mainly because of the episode Hobo Code. (That's a compliment to Don in my opinion.)

If Rand's books are checked out at the library, a new video game named BioShock may be the reason. Video gamers are actually reading up on her. Strangely, both BioShock and Mad Men are set in 1960 and are about advertising and Ayn Rand, although BioShock emphasizes the latter. I couldn't believe the similarity when I watched Mad Men, which is the only tv show that's ever grabbed me. BioShock was just named game of the year, and I expect Mad Men to win something too.

Here's something about great advertising campaigns, icons, etc.:

http://adage.com/cen.../campaigns.html

#5

Nouvelle Fille

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Posted Oct 24, 2007 @ 2:17 PM

In honor of "Long Weekend" I nominate The Seven Year Itch for the MM Film Festival.

And even though the visual style of Mad Men is nothing like that of the French New Wave, there's something about Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows (troubled kid seeks escape through creating his own fantasy life in movies, books, and lying about dead mothers) and Shoot the Piano Player (talented, mysterious pianist walks away from his old life and starts another life under another name--although in this case he goes from upper-class to lower/working-class) that reminds me of Don.

Edited by Nouvelle Fille, Oct 24, 2007 @ 2:18 PM.


#6

Pepper Mostly

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Posted Oct 24, 2007 @ 3:41 PM

The "Twilight Zone" and "Bewitched" are obvious television fare


The Twilight Zone, yes, but Bewitched didn't come on the air until 1964. Unless you mean for the advertising angle?

#7

Hilary Dickulous

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Posted Oct 24, 2007 @ 4:18 PM

Yes, even though Bewitched was a little later, I saw a darker subtext in the one first-season episode I've watched since Mad Men began. Might be my imagination.

#8

jakesmom

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Posted Oct 24, 2007 @ 9:45 PM

I always thought of Bewitched as a little subversive - maybe in some alternate universe we'll find ourselves in a season of MadMen set in 1964, and Betty has extended her new empowerment to include witchcraft? In any case, the film festival seems to be shaping up nicely - I'm thinking that maybe I'll have to start trolling the Mad Men Food and Canapes thread to find appropriate movie night snacks.

Edited by jakesmom, Oct 24, 2007 @ 9:49 PM.


#9

bobs yer uncle

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Posted Oct 24, 2007 @ 9:55 PM

I suggested Bewitched because of the subject matter, yes, but also because of its...sensibility? While the show didn't debut until the mid-sixties, it still had an early 60s vibe about it--especially the black and white episodes of the first season. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but those early shows really felt like they were more from the Kennedy era, than from post-Beatles America. To me, the early episodes represented a time that was certainly familiar to viewers--modern, but not necessarily contemporary. I think TV worked like that back then, reflecting a time in the not so distant past as if it were the current reality.

And I love the idea of discussing the French New Wave as it pertains to MM. All that existentialism and angst--they're perfectly suited.

Edited by bobs yer uncle, Oct 24, 2007 @ 9:59 PM.


#10

Decormaven

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Posted Oct 25, 2007 @ 6:36 AM

Re: Bewitched - didn't Darrin work for an advertising agency? That's a good tie-in. As for a movie, I submit 1960's From the Terrace with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. New York City, affairs, big business- all familiar territory.

#11

bobs yer uncle

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Posted Oct 25, 2007 @ 9:07 AM

Oh yeah, From the Terrace. Another good Paul Newman movie from that period is The Young Philadelphians...and, of course, Exodus, just because. Paul Newman chose very "Draperesque" roles during that period in his career.

#12

Nouvelle Fille

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Posted Oct 25, 2007 @ 2:00 PM

Sweet Smell of Success would be another great addition to the MM film festival--a bleak, cynical, beautifully-photographed look at the PR industry in (late?)1950's Manhattan. Tony Curtis even has a bit of Pete's desperate, grasping young-up-and-wanna-be-a-comer, and Burt Lancaster is a darker, more controlling Don.

#13

GraphicDesigner

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Posted Oct 29, 2007 @ 5:21 PM

In college in the mid-seventies, when I'd tell folks that my major was "Graphic Design," only to be met with blank stares. Then I'd say, remember how Darren Stevens would sketch out the look of an ad on Bewitched? Then they'd get it.

#14

redhairedgirl

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Posted Nov 9, 2007 @ 9:10 PM

I'm not sure where else to put this, and I can't remember where people posted the book recomendations, but I've read two books based on posts here.

The first is The Girls Who Went Away, about women who's babies were adopted during the 50s, 60s and 70s. I make a point of not saying "gave up thier babies" because it's clear that very few of these women were given a choice. They suffered from guilt, shame, ostracism, post-partum depression, post traumatic stress, and the belief that there was something wrong with them, because they were all told they'd "forget it and move on." They never did, but they could never talk about it with anyone, so they all suffered alone.

It's a heartbreaking book.

The second is Manhatten Memoir by Mary Cantwell. Mary Cantwell grew up in Bristol, RI and went to New York and worked at Mademoiselle and Vogue in the 1950s. Several elements of her story have popped up in MM- her going to a psychiatrist and finding out that her husband was being told everything that happened in her sessions. Finding herself trapped in marraige she really didn't intend. A husband who sort of sleazes his way into a better job. Even a higher up in her office name Joan. There was also a lot of talk about people coming to New York and changing their names. Becoming a new person. It's pretty good, but a bit slow going. She has a lovely way with words, though.

#15

jackiecarr

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Posted Nov 28, 2007 @ 5:24 PM

I watched "The Apartment" last week and I've netflixed a few 60s movies due to Mad Man withdrawl. Mostly Doris Day stuff- "That Touch of Mink", "The Thrill of it All" and some mid-60s stuff like "A Guide for the Married Man" (1967) "How to Murder Your Wife"(1965) which still had an early-60s look but a more cynical sensibility.

#16

KissMeKate

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Posted Nov 29, 2007 @ 10:00 AM

I so miss this show (did/will it ever go on reruns?) and the sensibilities of the contributor's here.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I watched early The Pink Panther movies to get a minor pre hippies 1960's fix. Great scenes (sets, clothes) in bars where they keep trying to kill the Inspector. There was a love of the International then in America, partly because we were the World Leader. A time before when people where just about to stop caring about World's Fairs.

I so wanna see Joan dressed like a Parisian. Sorry for straying off topic.

#17

quaintirene

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Posted Dec 3, 2007 @ 9:48 PM

Dammit, double post again!

Edited by quaintirene, Dec 3, 2007 @ 9:50 PM.


#18

quaintirene

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Posted Dec 3, 2007 @ 9:48 PM

I love that Don was reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. It was such chicklit! And Peyton Place should be on your reading lists I think. And don't forget Ryan O' Neal and Mia Farrow in the tv show. As for movies--Days of Wine and Roses. Breakfast at Tiffany's of course, The Man With The Golden Arm. And On the Beach would probably still stand up.

#19

Tucker

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Posted Dec 27, 2007 @ 8:56 AM

This is not exactly a literary, theatrical or film reference, but it is related to the art of the period...

Don Draper's office painting up for auction

#20

Pepper Mostly

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Posted Jan 9, 2008 @ 12:32 PM

Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Its from 1957, but the fashion! And of course, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, with Gregory Peck! A Summer Place, with Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue.

#21

TheSundanceKid

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Posted Jan 29, 2008 @ 4:56 PM

Was watching Hitchcock's Vertigo last night, and noticed some strong parallels between one of its opening scene and one the first scenes in the Mad Men pilot. In Vertigo, James Stewart visits the studio apartment of his lady friend (potentially with benefits), Midge, where she is sketching advertisements for bras. In Mad Men, Don visits the studio apartment of his friend-with-benefits, Midge, where she is sketching puppies for Grandparent's Day advertisements (or greeting cards?). Just thought that seemed like a pretty overt allusion, but maybe not?

#22

LaLokah

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Posted Jan 30, 2008 @ 12:23 PM

I remember that scene in that movie and I think that's an excellent catch.

#23

tribema

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Posted Mar 2, 2008 @ 5:53 PM

I love that Don was reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. It was such chicklit!


Peggy's arrival in the office in the Pilot reminded me quite a bit of Hope Lange's first day at work in The Best of Everything -- from the direction of the scenes to the content. Of course, as part of her journey now we see a slight update, i.e. more sex but overall, very similar.

#24

bobs yer uncle

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Posted Mar 10, 2008 @ 4:20 AM

Wow, TCM hit Mad Men movie Nirvana last night, showing The Apartment, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Patterns, and Executive Suite in succession, one after the other. All that was missing was The Best of Everything and Lover Come Back. AMC should take notes.

#25

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Posted Jul 23, 2008 @ 5:37 PM

I just read Sex and the Single Girl and definitely see its influence in MM, but Helen Gurley Brown would probably have deemed Joan "overweight" (her opinion of Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe) and chastised her for having a roommate in a drab apartment. She proposed women going without girdles, bras or panties if they had the figure to get away with it. HGB would approve of Peggy trying to advance her career, but would sadly shake her head about Peggy's style and think there was no point in seeing a married man if you weren't being wined and dined or lavished with presents. The book was first published in 1962 and I'd love to see what characters on the show think of it.

#26

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Posted Jul 25, 2008 @ 8:40 AM

So I was talking with a friend about erotic Japanese illustrations and he mentioned one called "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife," which is one of the more famous examples. It depicts a woman being . . . orally serviced by two octopuses (octopi?) I looked it up on Wikipedia and found out that the picture is hanging in Bert Cooper's office! Sure enough, I found it in the background while watching the DVDs. Matt Weiner is so particular about details, I can just imagine what it was like when he suggested that painting.

#27

Jumpin

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Posted Jul 25, 2008 @ 2:24 PM

What, no mention of Lady Chatterly's Lover? I loved Joan being condescending about it to Peggy, and Peggy snapping back.

#28

indianhoop

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Posted Jul 25, 2008 @ 4:05 PM

Anybody catch Don and Betty's mailing address when Betty was checking the phone bill? Forget the exact ep but their address I'm nearly certain is Bullet Park Drive. Bullet Park is a classic John Cheever novel.

#29

glermick

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Posted Jul 27, 2008 @ 1:46 PM

An article examining the contents of the bookshelf behind Don Draper's desk: Don Draper's 'Mad Men' Bookshelf

#30

bastillemetro

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Posted Jul 28, 2008 @ 12:58 PM

Mayakovsky by Frank O'Hara

Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that?I mean, what do I?And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.