For Snark Week, Trystan threw down with her list of supposedly bad redheads in historical costume movies. I refuted in the comments, but if she’s going to start something, I’ve got to finish it! So here, my list of fabulous redheads in historical costume movies … in which I shall prove that not only are redheads the best, but they can also save some questionable movies!
Mina Lucy in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
We’ve podcasted about this, and I’m pretty sure everyone agrees: Mina is mealy, Lucy is fabulous. Why? Well, Lucy is ready to roll when Dracula comes around, plus, RED HAIR.
And don’t ask me, ask the Coppola and the movie itself!
The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)
Meryl Streep, one of the best actresses of all time. This movie, one of her best. She was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress. Why? RED HAIR.
Queen Elizabeth I
Everyone knows that Queen Elizabeth the I of England was and remains the best queen of all time. Yes, that’s because she was super smart, badass, and interesting, but it’s also because she has red hair. Pick any on-screen appearance and you will find it only improved by the hair.
Duchesse de Polignac in Marie Antoinette (2006)
Fabulous movie. But are you team Antoinette or team Polignac?
Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
Probably Nicole Kidman’s best performance ever, with stunning natural form bustle gowns. And let’s look at her character’s hair change over the film:
Madeleine in Interview with the Vampire (1994)
This film is a mixed bag, but who is the best dressed, even though she’s only on screen for about 5 minutes? Madeleine!
An incredibly talented actress who has done a number of period films. When has she looked her best? When she has red hair, instead of her usual blonde!
Speaking of which…
I Capture the Castle (2003)
I’ve raved about this movie, and the book it is based on, before. The lead character, Cassandra, is brilliant. But who has the best look, Cassandra or her sister Rose?
Wives & Daughters (1999)
We don’t hear very much about this anymore, but we should, as this adaptation of the Elizabeth Gaskell novel is REALLY well done. The lead character, Molly (on the right below), is a lovely, sweet, smart girl. But who is the hottie? The best dressed? The one described in the behind-the-scenes info as the Marilyn Monroe character? Why, that’s redheaded Cynthia!
What’s one of the most interesting takes on period film in the last few decades? Why, that’s Orlando. Who rocks the house in every era? Why, that’s Tilda Swinton in the title role.
The Borgias (2011-2013)
Okay, okay, so blonde Lucrezia Borgia is a stunner in this and her wardrobe is fabulous. Well, so is Giulia Farnese!
An Ideal Husband (1999)
We’ve gushed about this one before. Who is the most conniving and evil, and therefore most interesting? Julianne Moore as Mrs. Cheveley!
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
What is one of the best (if not THE best) modern vintage reproduction movies? That would be Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, in which Amy Adams shines as the consummate screwball comedy queen with strawberry blonde hair:
Howards End (1992)
As we know, Helena Bonham Carter was Merchant/Ivory’s muse. When was the one time when she had to play second fiddle to another actress? Howards End, in which Emma Thompson got 1) red hair, 2) the best clothes, and 3) the lead part.
The Wings of the Dove (1997)
The podcast that started all of this, in which I gush about Alison Elliott as Millie Theale.
It’s not fair, you might say, to only look at modern costume films. What about the classics? What about all the crappy redheads there? Well, I give you:
But, you say, that’s not enough! Okay, so there are some fabulous redheads in some fabulous movies. The real test would be whether or not a redhead could save a crappy movie! You’re right, so let’s get on it:
The story of the ship was riveting. The shlocky love story, and Leonardo DiCaprio, not so much. What saves this movie were fabulous special effects and Kate Winslet, who managed to take a stupid tween romance and imbue it with some real feeling. All while having fabulous hair.
Cousin Bette (1998)
A so/so movie. Jessica Lange schemes, but it’s Elisabeth Shue who steals the show as actress/courtesan Jenny — with red hair!
Lots of people loved this movie. I am not among them, mostly because I found the story ho hum. But I was particularly irritated by the bad wig on the lead actor. His love interest, however, had great red hair!
I Could Do This All Day
Besides, If You Really Wanted Crappy Redheads…
You’d talk about strawberry blonde Nicole Kidman in Far & Away (1992)…
Or Kim Thompson as Heloise (of “Abelard and” fame) in Stealing Heaven (1998):