I’ve already whined about my endless list of movies I plan to watch — but there’s also a shorter list of frock flicks I am intrigued by but can’t commit to adding to my queue. Pictures from these historical costume movies keep showing up, and they look GORGEOUS. But when I investigate the films themselves, I’m underwhelmed. Also, some of these movies are simply hard to find; maybe they don’t exist on streaming services, or the DVDs are out of print. It all smacks of effort.
Can you convince me to suck it up and watch one of these? Are the pretty costumes worth my time? Do tell!
Death in Venice (1971)
Costumes by Piero Tosi. Pros: Oscar-nominated costumes by Piero Tosi, including stunning 1910s gowns for women in a story primarily about a man’s obsession with a younger man (+1 for artsy homoeroticism). Cons: It’s literally all about a man staring at a younger man.
Goya’s Ghosts (2006)
Costumes by Yvonne Blake. Pros: 1790s-1800s costumes made wildly interesting! Apparently no little white dresses! I’ve been obsessed by this lavender embroidered jacket for ages. Cons: Reviews say “glacial pace and confused plot.”
Swann in Love (1984)
Costumes by Yvonne Sassinot de Nesle. Pros: Jeremy Irons in his prime, love him! Set in 1880s Paris and chock full of elegant bustles, pretty much my fave era after 16th century. Cons: Based on a Proust novella, bleh. [Kendra’s note: yeah, it’s gorgeous, but as I said in my mini-review, you’ll want to throw a shoe at both of the main characters]
Costumes by Piero Tosi. Pros: Anything Piero Tosi and Tirelli Costumi touches is golden! The 1890s gowns in this film are mouth-wateringly beautiful and look like museum replicas. Cons: The story sounds like a standard-issue romantic triangle.
Madame Bovary (1991)
Costumes by Corinne Jorry. Pros: Costumes look moody and goth as fuck, totally a hand-staple-forehead twist on mid-Victorian, yet not cliche all-black (yeah, that works for me). Cons: I seriously HATE the Flaubert novel Madame Bovary.
OK, are any of these frock flicks worth a full review? Opinions?