Podcast: Dangerous Liaisons (1988)


We take on the modern classic of 18th-century historical costume film, Dangerous Liaisons, starring the wickedly good Glenn Close as a marquise out for retribution and a disturbingly sexy John Malkovich as a vicomte who’s happy to help in her amoral escapades. James Acheson won a well-deserved Best Costume Oscar for this film, even though he made these exquisite 18th-century costumes on a tight budget (the film only cost $14 million, comparable to an average non-historical costume film of the 1980s).

You can listen to us admire Dangerous Liaisons costumes online below or on iTunes.

10 Responses

  1. Sharon Rose, LAc, MSAOM

    DL has been my favorite movie of all time since I saw it in the theatre. It’s absolutely perfect. Every tilt of the head, every moue of the lip, every outfit, every word, every set. I cannot get enough of it. I was terrified to listen to your review because (knowing nothing about this period) I was afraid you’d shred it and I would have my eyes opened to all matter of egregious errors. I am unspeakably happy to have my high opinion backed by your considerable knowledge. I even concur with the ethical problems of enjoying watching Valmont being rapey.

    Thank you so much! *hug*
    Northern Tullia

  2. katie

    I am so glad you guys reviewed this! Thank you! 18th Century is my weakness and this film is just stunning and done so, so well. I’m glad that you guys found very little wrong with it. I agree it holds up REALLY well.

  3. Adina

    I was so happy to hear you guys say that her dress was based on the Madame du Pompadour one, because that sprung into my mind when I saw the picture.

  4. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    I was 13 when this movie came out and I thought it was just the sexiest thing ever! From the gowns, to the seductions, and all the decadent court drama I was captivated. My biggest complaint with the story was that Madam de Torvel wills herself to die in shame of a broken heart. At 13, I could not understand that part at all. Now I need to watch this movie again.

      • Lena

        I much prefer her character in the Korean version “Untold scandal” (2003) where she instead kills herself. As an aside, if you haven’t seen that movie, do so. I find it just as good as Dangerous liaisons.

  5. Rachel

    So, I have a master’s degree in French literature and Dangerous Liaisons is one of my favorite novels ever, of all time. It’s such a wondrous piece: it predates (by a lot) the age of the novel, it is the only good epistolary novel I’ve ever experienced, it is a page-turner like you wouldn’t believe, even 200+ years after publication. Just wanted to mention, since you point out that the novel was published in 1782 but the costumes are more 1760s, that the story is not contemporaneous with publication but presented as a collection of letters written some time ago — probably just about twenty years, actually, so the the 1760s would be perfect.