A Few Frock Flicks That Deserve a Remake


You all know how I feel about remakes (and Trystan too, FWIW). I’m generally of the opinion that, since the same five films only ever seem to get remade, that remakes are pointless and unnecessary. There are SO MANY OTHER STORIES out there that deserve to get made, so please, for the love of god and all that is holy, COOL IT WITH THE PRIDE AND PREJUDICE REBOOTS.


The thing is, though, that often times a film does get made that just doesn’t cut do the subject or the material justice. So, here’s a brief list of films that deserve to be remade.


The Marquise of Darkness (2010)

This one is actually kind of a soft-pass since the TV series Versailles appears to be attempting to integrate the Affair of the Poisons into its second season. That said, Madame de Brinvilliers poisoning antics and subsequent high-profile trial and execution kicked off the Affair of the Poisons. And all we have to show for it currently is the highly mediocre The Marquise of Darkness, starring Anne Parillaud as Brinvilliers.


The Devil’s Violinist (2013)

I wanted to like this film so much, but instead, it was a huge letdown. Someone should give Paganini another chance, and this time cast someone who can act, rather than someone who can play the violin.


The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

There’s been a few renditions of this classic novel by Alexandre Dumas, the most recent being the 1998 version starring Leonardo diCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu, and Gabriel Byrne. It’s not that the film sucked, per se … It’s more that, of any of the popular Dumas adaptations that get remade every five years or so, this one has fallen by the wayside. Also, the review of this film by Bizarre Victoria is well worth a read.


Dangerous Beauty (1998)

This film holds the distinction of being the one flick we couldn’t make it all the way through in order to podcast it. I’ve watched it a few times, and I always feel like there’s about 45 minutes missing from it, cutting scenes that would explain the characters’ motivations, and making the whole plot make so much more sense. Veronica Franco is a really fascinating figure in feminist history, and she deserves another shake, IMO. And maybe this time, no cold-shoulder gowns?

Are there any other historical costume movies you think deserve remakes?


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.

14 Responses

  1. Carmen Beaudry

    I loved the 1998 Man in the Iron Mask—with the exception of DiCaprio. His performance felt like he phoned it in. Of course, I didn’t like him in anything until Gangs of New York. I think someone kicked him in the butt and made him really act in that one, instead of emoting ‘spoiled pretty boy’.

    • egizzius

      I totally agree! It ‘ld deserve even a series. I love highly this movie and Veronica Franco’s real spirit, nicely put here.While teaching at high-school I usually do at least a couple of lessons about her (and other courtesans’) writings.

    • saffireblu

      It’s my guilty pleasure, too- I have it on VHS (showing my age, here)- in Australia it’s known as ‘A Destiny of Her Own’. I’ve always loved that title for it.
      I mean, it’s Early Modern Venice, with a young Naomi Watts, the lovely Melina Kanakaredes as Livia- & Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt & my dreamy silver-fox Simon Dutton as Ramberti- what’s not to love!
      One thing I don’t think any historical movie/ series does- actually apply a country’s sumptuary laws of the time, & put prostitutes &/ or courtesans in the items that they were required by law to done- yes, I know it’s not ‘cool’ to see a bunch of pros in Marseilles all wearing striped cloaks, but- shug.
      If you’re making something historical, you do have to care about the history you’re portraying- but, to quote Ozzyman, ‘maybe I’m a naive d*ckhead’.’

  2. Kate D

    The Brothers Karamazov maybe. Tolstoy just got another War and Peace and there are plenty of Anna Kareninas, perhaps Dostoevsky could get a little love.

  3. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    How about an updated version of Westward the Women from 1951. It was a B&W film about a wagon train of mail order brides going west to start new lives. They endure all sorts of hardships like the death of the men sent to protect them so they are required to learn how to shoot for themselves, abandoning supplies, and when they ride into town the refuse to meet the men until they are about to bathe and have proper dresses. In the end they refuse to allow the men to pick them over like fruit, instead THEY choose who they marry.
    In the right hands this could be a fun female friendly action adventure film that is not comic book related.

    • ctrent29

      I must admit that I don’t particularly like the idea of “Westward the Women” being reduced to a “fun” movie. It’s already female friendly.

  4. Lynne Connolly

    How about “The Sheikh”? True, it’s rape, pure and simple, but still, it’s the classic desert drama. Maybe they can, I don’t know, do something about the rapey bit.
    There was a dreadful movie with Ben Kingsley and Natassia Kinski about a woman kidnapped for a harem, with a more enlightened sheikh who is trying to bring modernity to his people. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. I’d like to see a remake of that, with a better ending. It’s just called “Harem.”

  5. Penny H

    The Devil’s Violinist: I haven’t seen it, but we need an actor who can act and play the violin. Once you see the wandering fingers of Jean-Pierre Marielle, supposedly playing the part of the great violist Sainte-Colombe, not synced to the gorgeous playing of Jordi Savall, there’s no way you can unsee those fingers. Guillaume Dépardieu playing Marin Marais, on the other hand, who may have been a cellist beforehand, I’m not sure, took the trouble to get the viol playing right.

  6. ladylavinia1932

    The only “Man in the Iron Mask” adaptation that I’ve truly enjoyed was the 1977 version with Richard Chamberlain.

    In 1979, the BBC aired an adaptation of Susan Howatch’s 1971 novel, “Penmarric”. Needless to say, it was a mediocre adaptation of a first-rate novel. I would love to see another remake of it.

  7. LouisD

    Too bad The marquise of darkness is such a mess. The book (“la marquise des ombres” ) by Catherine Hermary-Vieille is very good and very entertaining.

    Louis D

  8. Elisa

    Much as I enjoy Versailles, their version of the Affair of the Poisons was severly stunted, probably because the show focus so much on Louis XIV, so to show the whole spectra of what actually happened wouldn’t fit into the narrative. So a big yes to something which show all the complexities of what actually happened!

    • Caroline

      Agreed, Elisa. Not to mention that the Affair of the Poisons happened much later in Louis’s reign. It irked me that they got rid of La Montespan way before she was set aside. They had a crap load of kids together and the show showed her pregnant once. Very misleading.


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