SNARK WEEK: Annie Lennox “Walking on Broken Glass” Video

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I. Love. Annie. Lennox.

LOVE HER.

But lest you think I’m going to go soft on her 1992 video “Walking on Broken Glass” out of love, you will be mistaken. After all, it is Snark Week, and our mandate here at Frock Flicks is to take no prisoners, no holds barred. And by God, this video delivers all the cheese you can possibly handle in 3 minutes and 58 seconds and leaves you wondering “WTF did I just watch?”

The video was directed by Sophie Muller, who had directed Lennox’s award-winning video “Why,” as well as pretty much every music video associated with Annie’s 1992 album, Diva. Wikipedia claims that the inspiration for the video was Dangerous Liaisons, but the fact it’s set in the 18th century, and that John Malkovich appears as the lover who jilted Annie is pretty much as far as the association goes. Hugh Laurie inexplicably co-stars as Annie’s new lover, allegedly reprising his role as Prince George from Blackadder III, attempting to unsuccessfully woo Annie while she has a meltdown over Malkovich showing up to the party with some bimbo in a bad wig.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

The happy couple.

And there are plenty of bad wigs on view here. But what perplexes me is that the choice was made to wrap Annie’s head in a towel. A TOWEL. Like she’d just stepped out of a shower and was like, “Welp, fuck it, I’m wearing the towel to the ball because I haven’t got time for a shitty wig.” We’ve all been there, right? However, we put the shitty wig on and a giant fucking tiara and march into the party and drink all the champagne to numb the pain of all the crap on our heads LIKE A PRO. Annie, however, sticks with the towel, which somehow or another, is apparently supposed to be Turkish? I guess? Because if it’s in the 18th century, and it’s WTF, it must be Turkish? Whatever.

So, some shit is about to go down, because everyone is looking at her, silently judging her. Maybe it’s the towel?

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Judging.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Judging.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Definitely judging.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“Don’t worry honey. No one notices your crappy wig, because they’re all staring at the chick with the towel on her head.”

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Totally judging.

But Georgie seems oblivious to the fact that his girlfriend is about to throw down. Or throw up. Not sure yet.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“I’m Prince George and someone keeps pinching my socks!”

The camera cuts to random courtiers milling around before it settles back on Annie looking like she’s been bathing in the blood of virgins and forgot to ditch the towel afterward…

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

A clowder of bad wigs in their natural environment.

That’s when Annie sees him.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Maybe she’s born with it… Maybe it’s murderous rage about to erupt forth…

Who?

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“I like socks.”

HIM. WITH HER.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

OH SHIT. IT’S JOHN MALKOVITCH AND SOME BITCH IN A BADLY FITTING DRESS!

THAT SON OF A BITCH, HOW DARE HE BRING HER TO MY PARTY??

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“BRB, gonna cut a bitch.”

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“Cut a what…?”

The camera returns to the newlyweds for some creepy public canoodling.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“You sure smell purdy.”

And we are treated to a nice, big close-up of John Malkovich rocking some pretty inappropriate facial hair. Like, it would have killed him to shave for this video?

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Also, the makeup artist apparently went to great lengths to match the color of his eyeshadow to his goatee, which was a bad move, yo.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Prince George is also confused by the facial hair situation happening on John Malkovich.

Then comes the creepy necking!

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

I just got chills looking at this. And not in a good way.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

OH, HEY, IT’S A FLASHBACK!

Now we see that John Malkovich was Annie’s former lover, and he’s jilted her for this new bimbo! Annie grabs the first drink that comes her way and downs it in one gulp.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Mmmm. Virgin’s blood.

Prince George, meanwhile, is slowly having doubts. Or he could be realizing it’s his valet that’s been pinching his socks all along.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“I’m starting to reconsider this relationship…”

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

I want to talk about this chick’s wig, but I can’t tear my eyes away from the horrifying goatee and eyeshadow situation happening on JM.

Annie has had just about all she can handle and is now ready to tell Malkovich exactly what she thinks of him.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

THAT. TOWEL.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

“We need to talk. It’s about that facial hair.”

Awkward grappling commences.

Walking_On_Broken_Glass

 

And now it’s the stuff of nightmares:

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

I am never going to sleep again.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

FUCKING. TERRIFYING.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

Seriously, they deserve each other.

Finally, we are treated to the one full-body shot of Annie’s gown. From above, naturally, so we can’t make out any real details.

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes
Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

But wait! Who is this at the foot of the stairs? Can it be…?

Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass video costumes

AND THEY LIVED CREEPILY EVER AFTER.

I think the moral of the story here is you can be a hot mess wearing a red towel on your head at a fancy party with the Prince of Wales and still wind up with the creepy guy with the misguided facial hair in the end. Or, as I like to think of it, when you’re the diva, you wear the fucking towel and ROCK IT because FUCK YOU, HATERZ.

In closing, you should definitely check out Recycled Movie Costumes, since a couple of the costumes in this video have appeared elsewhere, including the suit John Malkovich wears. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the suits he wore in Dangerous Liaisons. Also not surprisingly, many of the costumes worn by the extras were also worn in Dangerous Liaisons:

I’m also 99% sure that The Bride’s gown is the same as Swoosie Kurtz’s opera gown in Dangerous Liaisons:

Which makes me wonder if Annie’s red gown is also from Dangerous Liaisons… If anyone can pin point it, hollar in the comments!

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Website

Sarah discovered her dual passion for history and costume right around the age of twelve. Dragged kicking and screaming to her first Renaissance Faire at Black Point, she was convinced she was going to hate it, but to her surprise, she fell head over heels in love with the world of reenactment and dress up immediately. Her undergraduate degree is in Clothing & Textile Design, and she has a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture. When she’s not hauling crap to SCA events and ren faires, Sarah enjoys reading true crime books, writing fiction, and sewing historical clothing from the Middle Ages through the 20th-century. One of these days, she might even start updating her old costuming blog again.

20 Responses

  1. Carolyn

    Brilliant! I’m not so good with off-the-cuff cleverness, all throughout reading this (as soon as I saw it was Hugh Laurie) I wanted to think of snappy way to bring in “enormous trousers!” but failed. And I have to admit, when this first came out I loved the dresses in it (I was 14/15 so I think that should be allowed).

    Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      I think it’s totally allowed to love the dresses in the video! After all, like, 90% of them are from Dangerous Liaisons. That’s about as good as it gets in movie costuming. :)

      Reply
  2. Jenn

    I was 9 when this came out and remember running into the living room whenever it came on because costumes! Alas it does not stand up to the test of time.

    Reply
  3. clara

    OH GOODNESS.
    I am saving all those judging faces to my computer. They are going make for very interesting commentary additions.
    Also, poor Annie Lennox. She tried to make the towel happen. But it never did.
    (But really, Annie Lennox, as the Sassy Gay Friend would say, WHAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING?)

    Reply
  4. Isis

    You can do as I did (I am planning to have a bad wig 18th Century party this summer- you will get extra Point if you also come in panne velvet or poly satin) and watch Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” Before “Walking On Broken Glass”. Suddenly the wigs aren’t all that bad… ;)

    Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      I love “Rock Me Amadeus” just because it is 100% pure shlocky goodness. And young Falco is hot.

      So, after writing this post I kind of went off the deep end on Annie Lennox videos and I’m starting to think she’s just got this really cheesy sense of humor that I must have never noticed before now. Almost all of her videos pretty much make me ask “is she serious/not serious?” at one point or another. And now I really want to hang out with her even more than I did before. :P

      Reply
  5. Isara

    ahahahahaha!!!! Oh, how I LOVE this video for all its gothic angsty campiness. But only having just recently seen Blackadder (I know, I know), I suddenly understand Prince George now! I never could figure out what was going on with Hugh Laurie in this video, but now it all becomes clear…

    … and I’m going to have “Walking on Broken Glass” stuck in my head for the next three days …

    … and I feel like we might need an 18thC music video costume party or something, just so that I can wear a towel and orange eyeshadow.

    Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      Welcome to the Annie Lennox earworm club. I’ve been sick the last few days and have been dreaming “Walking on Broken Glass” every time I close my eyes. It’s definitely made for some surreal dreams!

      And we plan on doing more music videos, too. Nothing is safe from us! If it’s on film/video, it’s up for grabs!

      And DEFINITELY on board for the 18th century video costume party. I feel like it needs to happen at Costume College to really reap the benefits… hehe

      Reply
  6. Hieronimo

    I just watched the video after reading this and noticed that John Malkovich looks very bored or put-upon to have to be there at the bottom of the stairs at the end of the music video.

    “Go home, Annie, you’re drunk. I’m carrying you to a taxi cab.”

    Reply
  7. Cheryl Peterson

    I heard this song playing in a store, and when I got home, I typed in “broken glass song” on youtube and found out it’s Annie Lennox singing this song! I found this write up on the music video by chance when googling “Hugh Laurie and Annie Lennox”. I LOVE how you wrote this…so hilarious, I was laughing and laughing! You have a great sense of humor; thanks for adding some fun to my day!

    Reply

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