Let’s give it up for the ponciest, flounciest, and prissiest of characters in historical costume movies: foppish boys! I counted down my honorary mentions and top 6-10 fops last Friday, now let’s go to the best of the best:
#5: Richard Cosway in Jefferson in Paris (1995)
I’m not positive why Simon Callow as Richard Cosway kills me so much in Merchant/Ivory‘s Jefferson in Paris. It’s partially the wig and makeup, but it’s even more Simon fickin’ Callow, who can ponce with the best of them! So he’s a cockblocker, he looks great doing it…
#4: The Prince of Wales in Blackadder the Third (1987)
Blackadder, in all its iterations, has had many fops, but no season is foppier than the 18th century-set one (Blackadder the Third):
But none of them can match the MAD GENIUS of Hugh Laurie as the Prince of Wales. Okay, so I’ve raved about this version of Prinny before. It doesn’t matter. Laurie’s Prince of Wales is the foppiest, airhead-iest, ditziest, flounciest man in Regency England!
#3: Lord Arthur Goring in An Ideal Husband (1999)
Oh, Rupert Everett as Lord Goring. SIGH. So dapper. So perfectly turned out at every moment. So god-damned witty! Yeah, pair a hot, talented actor, sharp suits, and Oscar Wilde’s genius writing, and you’ve got the fop you really really want to shag.
And yes, you may want to split hairs about a “dandy” vs. a “fop.” I guess they are different, but I’m still including Everett/Goring in my list. BECAUSE I WANT TO.
#2: Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
It’s probably going to be a fight-to-the-death about whether I’m right to put the fabulous Sir Percy in at number 2 and not number 1. Sir Percy Blakeney is, of course, the foppiest, prissiest, flounciest fop EVER as a disguise for his real identity as a badass spy known as The Scarlet Pimpernel. And, of course, there’s been multiple versions of this story, and you may be team Leslie Howard (don’t hate me, but I haven’t seen that version yet so I can’t compare!) or Richard E. Grant (who, in my opinion, pales in comparison).
Anyway, Anthony Andrews just about killed me with his take on Sir Percy. He flounces. He gesticulates. He gets prissy. He fluffs his lace and prances around and then suddenly, WHOMP, he’s all badass and capable and hot.
#1: The Duc d’Orléans in Marie Antoinette (1938)
I’m sorry guys, but the Joseph Schildkraut as the duc d’Orléans just takes the cake for me with THAT HAIR and THAT MAKEUP. Gaaaaaaahhhhhh! So he’s really evil, and plotting against you, and would compromise you in an instant! LOOK AT THOSE PINCURLS!! THE 1930S PENCIL BROWS!!! THE CUPID’S BOW LIPS!!!!!
Okay, let’s do this. Are you going to kill me over Leslie Howard? Who else did I forget?
Shame, shame, shame on you! Leslie Howard’s Lord Percy is the crème de la crème of film fops, and I will brook no argument with that. Andrews isn’t even close.
And Drawlight in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a definite contender.
However—thank you, thank you for the Blackadder the Third collection, which makes it all worthwhile.
I’m not going to condemn you for choosing Anthony Andrews. And I’ve seen the Leslie Howard version.
I got hooked on the Scarlet Pimpernel when I watched Leslie Howard. Then the next version, Richard Grant as Percy and Elizabeth McGovern as Margarite. So far my fave is Anthony Andrews as the foppish Sir Percy. For me at this moment, it’s Anthony Andrews who wins. B’cuz the French thought him to be just a rich English fop but in reality he is the illusion Scarlet Pimpernel. Love Anthony Andrews the best❤️❤️❤️
Andrews is, hands down, my favorite Percy. Nobody else comes close. (Sorry, Howard fans! He was great! But Andrews made me and my mother laugh so hard the first time we saw it, we had to rewind portions of the dialogue, since we couldn’t hear it for our undignified chortling. I wanted to introduce the movie to a friend of mine recently, who looked at the cover and said, “That looks dull.” Oh, poor woman. She’ll learn, in time.)
I’ve never seen the #1 but lawdy, the duc d’Orléans deserves the top spot on looks alone. I don’t know whether to laugh or be disturbed.
Arthur Goring… mmmm! Love that movie. I admit, I watched it mostly the first time for Jeremy Northam — and came away a fan of everybody, especially Oscar Wilde.
“Lord Goring, you are speaking QUITE seriously!”
“Oh, I am sorry!”
“No! I like you to be serious!”
Yeah, the banter between Goring and Mabel is possibly the sexiest thing EVER.
You know I’ll throw down over Leslie Howard’s Sir Percy. Pistols at dawn. Your place or mine?
Sarah, I’ll be your second in the duel … Leslie Howard’s Percy is THE foppiest fop :-)
Yes, with sabers as backup! (But whose second will Trystan be??)
I’ll provide the weapons. Team Howard all the way.
I just LOVE it when I have them all on my DVD shelf :D
I loved Antony Andrew’s Lord Percy. He was seriously foppy and intelligence behind the fop. Colour, too. So possibly for that reason the version beats the Leslie Howard one. ‘Is he in heaven…That demned elusive Pimpernel’
My 2ND is Lord Goring played by Rupert Everett. With Wilde, you cannot loose. Also liked Importance of Being Ernest (Dame Judi one)
My 3rd is Blackadder III, Hugh Laurie’s Prinny has me ROTFLI and rewinding.
BTW. Stephen Fry did a nonfrock series called Kingdom. Very good.
Dare I suggest, as a distant runner up, George Hamilton in “Zorro the Gay Blade” as Bunny Wigglesworth? Sink me!!!!
2, 4, 6, 8!
Two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar, all for Zorro, stand up and holler!!!!
Oops. I think it actually was “Two bit, four bits, six bits a peso, all for Zorro stand up and say so!”
I feel you’ve left out one of the finest fops of all
Alan Cumming’s wonderful turn as Lord Rochester in Plunkett and Macleane
If only Lord Akeldama had a screen appearence. The man speaks in italics.
Lord Akeldama is my favourite fop. Well-dressed, intelligent and languid.
Antony Andrews, the man who made NOSTRILS sexy! I can’t even!
Can I put in a bid for Julian Orchard as the cousin in The Slipper and the Rose? Effortlessly breezy entrances, he dances beautifully in high heels, and is a main purveyor of witticisms. Much as I love Chamberlain as the prince, he does seem a bit staid next to the excellence of Lord Montague’s foppery.
And though I totally agree on the odd costume choices for the 1999 Scarlet Pimpernel (it looks as if Elizabeth McGovern was simply allowed not to wear a corset, and she looks frumpy amid the bevy of correctly-undergarmented beauties), Richard E. Grant is fabulous. With a devastating smile, he puts Chauvelin (whose cravat looks as if he just rolled out of bed) in his place with the epigram, “Only a cravat? A cravat, sir, is the apotheosis of neckwear!”