Top 6-10 Fops in Historical Costume Movies

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I got all excited when I thought of the idea for a Top 5 Friday post honoring our beloved fops in historical costume movies … but then I started trying to decide who would make the cut, and I just couldn’t cut them all! So I decided to make this a two-parter. Today, I’ll count down my #6 to 10, and then next week my #1 to 5.

So, let’s give it up for the ponciest, flounciest, and prissiest of characters in historical costume movies: foppish boys!

Honorary Mention Fops

Okay, so I couldn’t really make it only 10…

The Duke of Sandringham in Outlander (2014- )

Outlander: Duke of Sandringham

You just know he made his valet iron that cravat about 20 times.

Oh Simon Callow, you are so fabulous and SO well cast as the very gay, somewhat foppish, definitely dangerous Duke of Sandringham in Outlander. He’s not over the top or anything, he just has a particularly spiffy wardrobe and wigs that are Just So. And he’s Simon Callow, so he chews the scenery with the best of them!

 

Léonard in Marie Antoinette (2006)

Marie Antoinette (2006): Léonard

Work, work, fashion, baby!

If famed hairdresser to French queen Marie-Antoinette had had a bigger role in the 2006 film Marie Antoinette, he’d probably end up higher on my list. Nonetheless, he still needs a mention for his love of pink, his “work, work, fashion, baby” walk, and his response to the Duchesse de Polignac’s pertinent question — that’s right, baby. EVERYTHING.

Marie Antoinette (2006): Léonard

 

#10: Philippe d’Orleans in A Little Chaos (2014)

A Little Chaos

I like a boy in lavender!

French king Louis XIV’s younger brother, Philippe d’Orléans, enjoyed the gentlemen and a good frock. Stanley Tucci plays the part beautifully in A Little Chaos, giving Orléans a touch of foppishness without going crazy. Plus, any guy in a long, full-bottomed wig is my friend.

A Little Chaos

So many boys, so little time.

Also, let’s give it up for the screenwriters who came up with priceless dialogue like:

A Little Chaos A Little Chaos

Orléans (aka Monsieur) will be a major character in the mini-series Versailles coming to U.S. screens in October, and I can’t wait to see what they do with him!

 

#9: The Duc d’Anjou in Elizabeth (1998)

Elizabeth (1998): the Duc d'Anjou

Who can resist a smarmy Frenchman?

My vague memory is that the duc d’Anjou, who came to England to court Queen Elizabeth I, was actually pretty unattractive (she called him “her Frog”) and sweet (she actually quite liked him). Nonetheless, Vincent Cassel is hilarious as the totally French duke who is convinced he’s god’s gift to the lay-deeze…

Elizabeth (1998): the Duc d'Anjou

Monsieur de Foix: [in French] She is a woman, Sire. They say one thing but mean another. No one can unlock their secrets.
Duc d’Anjou: [also in French] Unless they have … a very big key [laughs loudly] Yes! A *very* big key!

…but also appreciates a good gown!

Elizabeth (1998): the Duc d'Anjou

Servants, amirite?

 

#8: Robert Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Why Robert Ferrars, younger brother of Elinor’s love interest Edward, amuses me so much I’m not sure. He’s just the proper mix of ponce, starched cravat, and toady-to-his-sister.

Sense & Sensibility (1995)

This is his “you live in a COTTAGE?” face.

Okay, it probably helps that he’s just about the oiliest “gentleman” ever:

Sense & Sensibility (1995)

And joins his sister Fanny in being good at making you feel small (while doing the “paw” dance):Sense & Sensibility (1995)

 

#7: Cecil Vyse in A Room With a View (1985)

A Room With a View (1985): Cecil Vyse

Be afraid of any guy who the elderly ladies adore.

Oh Cecil Vyse. He used to drive me CRAZY when I watched A Room With a View as a teenager, but now that I’m all growed up I can appreciate his comedic qualities. He should be your mother’s wet dream, but Lucy’s mother is smart enough to know that her daughter will come to regret marrying such a ponce.

A Room With a View (1985): Cecil Vyse

So self-satisfied, so un-shagable!

Cecil Vyse: I have no profession. My attitude — quite an indefensible one — is that as long as I am no trouble to anyone, I have the right to do as I like. It is, I dare say, an example of my decadence.

A Room With a View (1985): Cecil Vyse

So comfortable pontificating!

A Room With a View (1985): Cecil Vyse

So brave in the wilds of Surrey!

 

#6: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Amadeus (1984)

Amadeus (1984)

That is what I can an Heirloom Chicken Wig.

Y’all know I have my problems with this movie, but what I can’t argue with is the fabulously entertaining portrayal of Mozart. I don’t even care if it’s historically accurate, Tom Hulce is too hilarious as a poncy-yet-straight version of the musician. I mean, he just wants to wear silly wigs and have a great time!

Amadeus (1984)

What’s funnier, Mozart with a unicorn on his head or Mozart with a unicorn on his head??!!

Amadeus (1984) Amadeus (1984)

 

What do you think of the first part of my Fop Fiesta? Who do you hope will make the next part of the list? Stay tuned next Friday for #1-5!

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

19 Responses

  1. Heather

    CECIL VYSE for the win! Daniel Day-Lewis invested him with such pathos in that last scene with Lucy. He says “until this moment, I never knew myself” – and he still doesn’t, not completely – but I just want to hug him as he sits there with his sad, perfectly polished shoes.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      YES. Poor Cecil! Maybe he learned from the whole debacle and went on to a satisfying relationship with the woman/man of his choice?

      Reply
    • Bonnie

      I agree! DDL was so brilliant as Cecil, and the character is so much more than just a comedic fop.

      Reply
      • Sarah F

        My favorite Cecil moment is near the end of the movie when he’s walking back to the house, completely oblivious to all the intrigue and romance, reading that novel and giggling to himself.

        Reply
  2. MoHub

    Will this be strictly films and no television? Because I long to see the variety of fops featured in Blackadder the Third.

    Reply
  3. Charity

    I laughed so hard at this post / these gifs. Fabulous.

    Is Sir Percy a fop even if most of it is just an act? Because… if so, that’s my favorite fop, right there. *cues up Anthony Andrews* “Look at that cravat! It’s stickin’ out like a PIN CUSHHIN!”

    Reply
  4. Susan Pola

    Gosh, I simply cannot choose between Cecil Vyse and Wolfie Mozart. The mad wig is definitely a Lol and I can see where Taylor Swift got her unicorn idea. Mozart as a unicorn is the ROTFLI moment of my day. Thanks.
    Also both Pimpernels should be on 1-5 or should it be 3 Pimpernels with Blackadder?

    Reply
  5. Kathleen Norvell

    I don’t know who 1 through 5 will be, but I’m voting for Victor Spinetti in “Start the Revolution without Me.” (And my favorite scene, the throwdown with Gene Wilder — “Are you here in Paris for business or pleasure?”)

    Reply
  6. Dawn

    The Elizabeth movie conflated Francois, Duc d’Anjou, with his brother Henri III, I believe.

    Reply
  7. M.E. Lawrence

    A late response: Tim Roth in “Rob Roy,” an enjoyable 18th-century swords and castles and crofts and heather, etc., sort of movie. He is a fabulous fop, a mincing sadist who’s great with a blade, and all messed up because of his unhappy childhood. I almost hoped he’d kill Liam Neeson, whom I usually root for.

    Reply

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