In honor of the Oscars (Feb. 22) and Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century, we’ve compiled the following list of movies that feature some of the finest jewels from Cartier on several of Hollywood’s most iconic leading ladies. During the golden age of Hollywood (1920-1960s), many leading actresses created longstanding relationships with Cartier and accumulated collections of the exquisite jewelry, worn on and off screen. And, as you'll see below, Cartier is referenced in numerous movies. Check out these films and see some of the gems in the exhibition!
Films with Cartier’s Leading Ladies
Doña Bárbara (1943): Mexican actress María Félix’s most famous film, from which she took her nickname, La Doña. Although she doesn’t wear Cartier jewels in the movie, her flamboyant personality (reflected in her jewelry shown in Brilliant) is abundantly clear.
High Society (1956): Bing Crosby plays Dex, a jazz musician who tries to win back the affections of his ex-wife, Tracy, played by Grace Kelly. She is preparing to marry another man, and they both encounter additional competition from a tabloid reporter, Mike (Frank Sinatra), who also falls in love with Tracy. Grace Kelly wears her 10.48 carat diamond Cartier engagement ring (shown above; on view in Brilliant) throughout the film, which was released the same year she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
A Little Night Music (1977): Although Fredrik Egerman (Len Carion) is happy in his marriage, he goes to see an old flame, the famous actress Desiree Armfeldt (Elizabeth Taylor). Desiree’s interest is rekindled, and she gets her mother to invite the Egermans to her country estate for the weekend. But when Desiree’s other lover and his wife arrive, too, hilarity ensues. Elizabeth Taylor wears her famous Cartier necklace with the Le Peregrina pearl.
W.E. (2011): This movie explores the affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, one of Cartier’s most important clients and collaborators.
Films Featuring Cartier
Perfect Understanding (1933): A couple (Gloria Swanson and Laurence Olivier) marries, under the condition that they agree never to disagree. Gloria Swanson wears her famous Cartier rock crystal and diamond bracelets (on view in Brilliant).
Sunset Boulevard (1950): A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star (Gloria Swanson), who has faded into Hollywood obscurity. Gloria Swanson again wears her favorite Cartier bracelets.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953): Singers Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) travel to Paris, where they’re trailed by a private detective and a variety of doting admirers. Features Marilyn Monroe’s iconic song about diamonds and jewelers, including Cartier (film clip on view in Brilliant).
Some Like it Hot (1959): Two musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) witness a mob hit and flee, disguised as women, as part of a traveling all-female band, including the alluring Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe). In the film the iconic Cartier red box is presented to Monroe’s character.
Of Love and Desire (1963): An American engineer working at a mine in Mexico falls in love with the mine’s owner, Katherine Beckmann, played by Merle Oberon. Her half-brother disapproves and brings in an old lover to try and tempt her away. Merle Oberon wears a Cartier emerald necklace, made in 1938 (on view in Brilliant).
How to Steal a Million (1966): Nicole (Audrey Hepburn) must steal a statue from a Paris museum to help conceal her father's art forgeries. Many Cartier jewels are featured throughout the film.
French Kiss (1995): A woman (Meg Ryan) flies to France to confront her straying fiancé, but gets into trouble when a charming crook hides a stolen Cartier panther necklace in her bag.
Moulin Rouge (2001): Set at the turn of the twentieth century, a poet falls for a beautiful courtesan. Satine, a cabaret star played by Nicole Kidman, sings about Cartier in the film.
Image: Grace Kelly on the set of "High Society." Credit: © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis