The 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen‘s Sense and Sensibility is, for me, one of the ultimate frock flicks. It’s one of a spate of films from the 1990s that made a strong attempt to achieve period accuracy. Its screenplay was thoughtfully adapted by Emma Thompson, and it was directed with care by Ang Lee. The performances — by Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, and more — are strong and pretty much everyone is well cast. I’ve put off doing a real, thorough review of this film because while it’s not the flashiest, it’s so pivotal to me. So I’ve finally decided to break things up, looking at each main character individually, as well as some of the supporting characters in groups. According to Thompson’s script, the filmmakers have chosen the round year of 1800 in which to set the film – at least, the opening scene is March 1800.
In previous posts, I reviewed Elinor’s wardrobe and went over the basics of English women’s dress around 1800; Marianne, and got into how her wardrobe reflects some specific styles of the 1790s; the older ladies, Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Jennings; the bad girls, Fanny and Lucy; and then the rest of the female characters.
Today we’re finishing up by looking at the gentlemen. And, sorry kids, but I don’t care about men’s Regency dress! So you’re basically going to get a bit of man candy.
I did find these snippets about the men’s costume design:
“‘Sense and Sensibility’s’ Col. Brandon (Alan Rickman) opens the movie as an older, subdued man, as shown by his grey flannel jackets. When his joyful marriage to Marianne ends the film, he’s dressed in a red military uniform that transforms him into a dashing young groom” (Kathaleen Roberts. “Clothes make the Movies: ‘Fashion in Film’ Showcases Outstanding Period Costumes.” Albuquerque Journal, Oct 12, 2008).
“Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), in a magnificent red and shiny gold braid-trimmed army uniform. ‘We discussed this point with the National Army Museum in London. Even though Colonel Brandon had left the army by now, he would have worn a new uniform for his wedding made by his military tailor,’ [costume designer Jenny] Beavan explains” (Grecian Formula).
Played by Alan Rickman, he’s the slightly older ex-military colonel.
Played by Greg Wise, he’s the dashing, well-off heartthrob.
Played by Hugh Grant, he’s well off but humble.
Played by Hugh Laurie, he’s long suffering but turns out to be a good egg in the end.
Sir John Middleton
Played by Robert Hardy, he’s older and well-to-do.
Played by James Fleet, he’s just inherited the Dashwood family fortune.
Played by Richard Lumsden, he’s the younger brother of a well-off family; he’s obsequious and status-conscious.
Which is your favorite of the various men’s costumes in Sense and Sensibility?