WCW: All the Bitches, Pt. 2

11

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

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.

11 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

Feel the love