Woman Crush Wednesday: Glenn Close

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Glenn Close’s acting career has spanned four decades and given us some of the most beloved costume flicks of the modern era. Let’s revisit the highlights, starting with her first major costume drama that set many of us down the 18th-century path:

 

Dangerous Liaisons (1988) – Marquise de Merteuil

Costumes by James Acheson.

Elegant, sophisticated, intelligent, and dangerous when bored by the strictures of her class and gender, Glenn Close helped give depth to the Machiavellian marquise beyond “scheming bitch.” The costumes in this film raised the bar for historical films in general, particularly for 18th-century movies. Dangerous Liaisons costumes have been regularly appearing in television and film for the last 28 years, everywhere from music videos to museum exhibitions.

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Bitch was so fabulous, Madonna had to borrow her dress for the VMAs.

 

Hamlet (1990) – Queen Gertrude

Costumes by Maurizio Millenotti.

I’ll be covering this film soon enough, so I won’t go on at length trying to justify my love for the Zeffirelli’s treatment of Hamlet. I’ll just say that the Glenn Close as Queen Gertrude is the #1 reason why I love this version, and the #2 reason is because her costumes prove that the 12th century can be fabulous.

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Mary Reilly (1996) – Mrs. Farraday

Costumes by Consolata Boyle.

Really hard to find any images of Glenn Close in this ’90s Julia Roberts vehicle, unfortunately. It’s been 20 years since I saw it, but I remember Mrs. Farraday was pretty fabulous, so clearly I’m going to need to watch this again soon.

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The Lion in Winter (2003) – Eleanor of Aquitaine

Costumes by Consolata Boyle.

I really resisted watching this remake of the 1968 Hepburn/O’Toole classic. However, I think I may have reacted too strongly — the cast boasts not only Glenn Close as the fiery Eleanor, but my personal totem animal Sir Patrick Stewart as King Henry. It’s another gorgeous homage to the 12th century so that also hits me right in the medieval feels.

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Albert Nobbs (2011) – Albert Nobbs

Costumes by Pierre-Yves Gayraud.

Glenn Close plays a woman cross-dressing as a man to try and make her way in late 19th-century Ireland. It’s been on my watch list for a while, but since it’s a tragic drama, I’m kind of hesitant to dive right in. However, Albert’s suits are impeccably tailored, and I have a real and burning love for Victorian menswear.

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Do you have a favorite Glenn Close historical costume film? Share it with us 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.

16 Responses

    • MoHub

      Close is actually classically—operatically—trained. She did an episode of Tracey Ullman’s show in which she actually sang “Un bel di.” The woman’s got true vocal chops!

      Reply
  1. Bea

    For Close, no….but your coverage of her in Dangerous Liasions made me think of the originator of that role: Lindsay Duncan.
    Duncan’s done a lot of amazing work over the years (a lot in theatre, but not all), and some film and TV work are historically costumed. (I got to see her on stage in Private Lives with the late Alan Rickman, who she also premiered Les Liaisons Dangereuses–he was Valmont. She was dazzling.)

    I searched and haven’t found her on your website. Would you consider a Lindsay Duncan spotlight?

    Reply
  2. Susan Pola

    Favourite Glenn Close costume role has to be Dangerous Liaisons. Herb Marquise de Merteuil is so layered, so we’ll thought out, I found myself rooting for her. James Acheson’s clothes are amazing and they made me love 18th century dress again.
    The next possibly is Hamlet. Her Gertrude really brought the fact how old these royal brides were upon their first marriage. Children.

    Reply
  3. Charity

    Dangerous Liasons is such a tremendous film, and so gorgeous to watch. Close was wonderful in it — but she always is.

    On the modern end, I really loved her turn as Patty Hurst in DAMAGES. Such a dangerous, complicated character…

    Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      I *love* Fatal Attraction – that & Dangerous Liaisons came out in back to back years, & I saw them both in the theaters. The characters Close played in each one seemed complimentary in a weird way.

      Reply
        • J Lou

          The film was Maxie (1985). I vaguely remember the film, but I certainly did not remember that the ghost was Glenn Close1

          Reply

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