WCW: All the Bitches, Pt. 2

12

Our last rundown of some of our favorite bitches in historical costume flicks elicited some good suggestions, so I decided we needed a redux on this theme. Because everybody loves a bad girl!

 

Helen McCrory – Barbara Villiers (The Last King)

I initially thought Helen McCrory was a weird casting choice for the role of Charles II’s chief mistress, Barbara Villiers. The role starts when she’s about 19-years-old and McCrory was, well, considerably older than that. But once the character matured into the domineering “queen in all but name” of Charles’ court, the choice to cast McCrory was a good one.

 

Siân Phillips – Livia (I, Claudius)

I will cop to the fact that I’ve never actually seen I, Claudius. But in Part 1 of this series, the overwhelming response for not including Livia meant I had to make amends. So, here she is.

 

Maggie Smith – Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Downton Abbey)

This entry could fill an entire series of posts dedicated solely to the nearly endless snark that seemed to drop from Maggie Smith’s lips in every scene she’s in.

 

Lesley Manville – Lydia Quigley (Harlots)

Don’t let the sweet face fool you. Mrs. Quigley is not afraid to cut anyone who stands in the way of her ambitions. A substantial part of my enjoyment of the show is watching Quigley and Margret Wells go toe to toe in the battle for harlot supremacy.

 

Katherine Kelley – Lady Mae (Mr. Selfridge)

The money behind Mr. Selfridge’s success, Lady Mae can either be your greatest ally, or your worst enemy. Or possibly both.

 

 

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Tags

About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

12 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Love them all. I agree with you about McCrory casting as Barbara Villiers. She was amazing in it.
    One of my favourite snarks from Lady Violet is ‘What’s a weekend?’

    Reply
  2. MoHub

    What about Susan Hampshire’s Becky Sharp? Hers was the closest to Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, which the author himself subtitled “A Novel Without a Hero.”

    Reply
  3. Stephani

    Ah, Lady Violet, patron saint of snark. It’s worth rewatching Downton for her snippy remarks alone.
    I have to admit I haven’t seen the other films/series yet. Must add to my list!

    Reply
  4. Broughps

    Let’s not forget Shirley MacLaine’s Martha Levinson on Downton Abbey. She was a great match up for Maggie Smith’s Violet Crowley.

    Reply
  5. picasso Manu

    I know these are very French suggestions, but may I nominate Miss Jeanna Moreau in “Le journal d’une femme de chambre”, and Isabelle Huppert for “La dame aux camélias” and “Madame Bovary” amongst others.
    Just not Deneuve… Enough with Deneuve!!

    Reply
    • Susan Pola Staples

      Mlle Moreau is amazing and talented actor. If I remember correctly she was in the Train a film set in WWII about French Art Treasures being sent to Goring and Hitler. She played the art historian from the Louvre. Same character as Cate did in Monument Men, Dr Rose Villand Legion d’Honneur.

      Reply
  6. Terry Towels

    Ah, don’t bother to write another one. Siân Phillips as Livia is the ultimate evil bitch. You MUST watch I, Claudius. Everyone else is a pale imitation of Livia.

    Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      OMFG, Sarah, please say you’ve watched “Claudius” by now. Phillips is the best, and best-spoken, evil empress in the world.

      Reply

Feel the love

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.